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Todmorden, West Yorkshire

A home and meeting point for Folklore and Storytelling in the North.
Arts Film Crafts Library Archive Education Workshops Exhibitions Storytelling Conferences Local Folk History
Opening times:
Monday/Tuesday 12-3pm
Wednesday-Friday 9.30am-3pm
Saturday 10am-4pm
Sunday- events only

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Saturday 16th July 2022, 3pm

Tom ‘the Tale Teller’ Phillips is a part-time professional storyteller, part-time author, full-time Site Manager running a museum and country park and a full-time husband and father of 2 very energetic little ones.

Starting his life as a trained primary school teacher, Tom began telling his tales to his class on a Friday afternoon before venturing into grown-up storytelling. That was nearly 15 years ago. In this time, Tom has told stories across the land at storytelling clubs, in schools, at festivals big and small, and other social clubs (his favourite being a wine and beer club).

Alongside that, Tom has always had a passion for writing and has used his storytelling and knowledge of folklore to help him write several articles for Folklore Thursday. Following this, he had the chance to write Leicestershire Folk Tales for Children for the History Press, shortly followed by Forest Folk Tales for Children a year later. Both of these books are available now.

Tom has always loved stories, from his Dad telling him Brer Rabbit stories at bedtime to telling his own children stories around the fire in the garden, stories and storytelling run through his veins. His animated and loose style engages and captivates audiences of any age.

What do you need to tell a good story? That’s simple, a stick, a suitcase, an audience and a storyteller. Armed with his trusty Story-stick full of stories (in case he forgets them), his Story-Suitcase to hold his various furry friends and props and his boundless energy and excitement for stories, Tom the Tale Teller will whisk you away to far off lands and adventures, all without leaving your seat. Come prepared to join in, to listen and to use your imagination as Tom takes you on an adventure like never before. No books, no scripts, nothing is rehearsed and ANYTHING can happen (and often does). There will also be a chance to buy some of his folk tale books, if you just don’t want the magic and adventure to end, you can take it home with you!

For tickets see events tab.



Saturday 16th July 2022, 7pm

Devils, Death and a Hessian Sack: 

What price a lifetime of loyalty? What price for a generous, true heart? What price for love? All worth a farthing or maybe more?

A tired soldier, on his way home from war, with a generous heart and an empty belly, finds luck and fortune in the most unlikely of places.

Follow the Soldier on a journey that spans a lifetime, trying to save those closest to him

but paying the ultimate price in return.

A classic tale retold for today with other stories from Tom's repertoire.

For tickets, see events tab.

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Phil Legard

When twilight shadows fall across Ilkley Moor, strange things happen. Torches flame, flute music meanders beneath darkened boughs, heralding rites of Baphomet, Choronzon, and Yog-Sothoth. Elsewhere people camp at a newly discovered stone circle, beholding apparitions and glowing earth energies. Do they have something to do with the UFOs and Earth Lights that haunt the place? Magical rites, visions, and awakenings all happening in an area of 1670 acres.
Giants, cunning men, hermits, UFOs, witches, occultists, fairies: Ilkley Moor has attracted its own share of curious lore and esoteric characters over the centuries. This talk, by Phil Legard, explores the use of Ilkley Moor by West Yorkshire’s occultural milieu from the late 1970s to the 2000s, illustrating how the moor drew together loosely connected groups of chaos magicians, Ley Hunters, UFOlogists, witches, and Psychic Questers, whose presence can be felt to this day.
Phil Legard is a musician, lapsed chaos magician, lecturer, and PhD candidate with the Leeds School of Social Sciences. His current research explores the lived experience of occultism through autoethnography, phenomenology, and discourse theory. With Al Cummins he is the co-author of An Excellent Booke of the Arte of Magicke: The Magical Works of Humphrey Gilbert and John Davis (Scarlet Imprint, 2020).

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Talk- Brian Hoggard- Within Walls: The Archaeology of Counter-Witchcraft
27th August 2022, 4pm

In this talk Brian will talk about the evidence of witchcraft beliefs which has been discovered in the fabric of buildings throughout Britain and far beyond.  Objects such as witch-bottles, dried cats, horse skulls, written charms and markings which have been carved onto surfaces are all testimony to these strong the beliefs which were once commonplace.  

Brian has been studying history, archaeology and folk beliefs since his teens. His undergraduate dissertation focused on folk beliefs and witchcraft and, having previously read Ralph Merrifield's Archaeology of Ritual and Magic (1987), he noticed there was a huge amount of work which could be done to further explore the archaeology of witchcraft.  At that point – back in 1999 – his research really escalated into a major project which has culminated in the publication of Magical House Protection: The Archaeology of Counter-Witchcraft (Berghahn 2019).

This talk will take place in the Tea Room, afternoon teas will be available until 3.45pm. For tickets, see events tab.



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The culmination of a photographic project documenting the wide variety of wildflowers to be found in Todmorden during Spring and Summer 2021, accompanied by associated folklore.

Wildflowers of Todmorden
by Holly Elsdon
21st May to 21st June 2022
Downstairs in the Tea Room

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Magical 'protections are clearly visible, but misunderstood: others are concealed within the fabric of the building. All are part of a vibrant body of folk magic in the past.' This talk will offer a 'guide to known examples of magical protection in Calderdale, showing what to look for and what it may mean. Whether you're interested in Calderdale's history and folklore, or renovating an old building, this' talk will be useful! Although the examples are Calderdale based, and you can go and hunt for them afterwards, many of the motifs are to be found across the UK and this talk will be a useful introduction to this area of study. For tickets, see events tab.

The month long exhibition is an introduction to the folklore of Todmorden and surrounding area, with words by John and pictures by John and Holly. Downstairs in the Saker Tea Room.



“A Landmark event in British UFO history”.. not as you might be forgiven for thinking, a rather pompous and opinionated description of the birth of Tod UFO meet. But rather a quote from Jenny Randles excellent book ‘Pennine UFO mystery’, a book which has at its heart an account of P.C. Alan Godfrey's encounter with a supposed alien craft in Todmorden.
The Godfrey event provided me with the inspiration to create a triptych pencil piece. This attempted to encapsulate in graphic form, the anomalous events that occurred before, during and after Godfreys bizarre life changing experience.
The subsequent drawing was exhibited at the Water Street Gallery in Todmorden over the summer of 2016. A steady stream of interest followed, both in the work and in the desire of visitors to find out more about Todmorden UFO heritage.
Well what would you do?… For tickets, see events tab.

Colin's month long exhibition will display a choice selection of his colourful and eye-catching  UFO Meet posters. Upstairs in the Folklore Library.

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