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The Works: Progress Halted

I heard the other day that The Works in Sowerby Bridge has closed, with the pub's Facebook page saying on Monday they were closing for the foreseeable future, and referring any enquiries to a Cleckheaton-based insolvency firm.

Only a few weeks ago we celebrated my brother's wedding there, were very well looked after, and there was no indication at all that there were any issues in the background. I had also visited with friends earlier in the year and it had seemed busy enough. When I heard the news I had a look at their Facebook page, they were taking Christmas bookings within the last few days, they had acts booked in the next few weeks for their popular Comedy Club, and even on Sunday they were catering for dog lovers and had posted a picture of Benson, their Pup of the Week.

So to many people, and, no doubt, Benson too, this will all come as a bit of a shock.

The Works has been a key player over the past 15 years or so in changing perceptions and helping Sowerby Bridge become the place in Calderdale to visit for a night out. The place where the new inhabitants of the flats built in the converted mills in the town would go. It had a certain style, great beer, great food, a relaxed atmosphere, all of which was fashioned out of an old joiner's workshop. No longer was Halifax the place to go, Sowerby Bridge with The Works and a growing number of classy eateries was where the fashionistas would head. A far cry from the years when I was growing up in the town!

Sadly, though, fashions change, times change. Other places came to Sowerby Bridge, and no doubt the arrival of Wetherspoons had some impact, as you could eat and drink cheaper, and do all the things you could do at The Works, if you were happy to accept a reduction in quality along with a more boisterous ambience. The nearby Firehouse and Hogshead will have also no doubt have had an effect. And that's not mentioning the revitalisation of Halifax's pubs and bars recently.

Now I don't know exactly what's happened, but if anything in my view it seems that in part The Works hasn't managed to adapt to changing tastes. If you went in after a few months it was the same as last time, and the time before, and the time before that. Everything was fine, dependable, but new places came along with more sparkle.

So, sad news indeed, and I hope it all gets sorted out in a positive way. But once again this just highlights that there is only so much money to go around, and in order to survive in these uncertain times you need to be nimble. And this is a further sad blow for Sowerby Bridge, where the iconic Puzzle Hall Inn, just up the road from the Works, remains shut after closing in January.

The Works opened with the full name The Works' in Progress. Unfortunately, it seems that progress has, for the time being at any rate, been halted....

The Works, Sowerby Bridge

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