The River Calder, the Calder & Hebble Navigation and to an extent the railway system were strong influences on the town’s development. Whilst the surrounding towns of Bradford, Huddersfield and Halifax had their specialisations within the wool industry, Brighouse was a wool carpet manufacturing centre and a focus of silk spinning. Heavy engineering played its part in the town’s history with Brighouse a centre of industrial valve manufacture. Most of this industry together with flour milling has gone. Today Brighouse employment is in light industry, distribution and the services sector, for all of which it is ideally positioned at Junction 25 on the M62 motorway. There are direct rail services from London Kings Cross, Manchester Victoria, Leeds, Bradford Interchange, Halifax and Huddersfield with connections from these stations to further afield.
The population of around 32,000 is culturally aware. The town has a number of fine buildings including the Smith Art Gallery, St Martin’s Parish Church and Brighouse Town Hall (no longer an administrative centre), and a fine canal basin. Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band is famed throughout the UK and the Yorkshire Co-operative Band is also located locally, as are several Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Societies. Other local towns have similar organizations, including the renowned Huddersfield and Halifax Choral Societies.
Facilities and organisations for participatory and spectator sports are well established in the town. There are a number of local football leagues, two golf courses, municipal tennis courts, a municipal swimming pool and gymnasium (opened in late 2010) and there are numerous local privately owned gym facilities available within easy reach.
There is a broad range of shopping in the town centre including Tesco, Sainsburys, Wilkinsons and a number of locally owned specialist shops. The town is well served with restaurants, ranging from traditional English to Italian, Greek, Chinese and Asian cuisine.
The community is populated by a wide social cross-section of all ages. Unlike Huddersfield with its Afro-Caribbean community and Halifax and Bradford with significant Asian populations, Brighouse has only a small immigrant population.
Brighouse is a good place to be and if you cannot find what you want in Brighouse the regional centre of Leeds is readily accessible by car, bus or train.