Halifax’s Bankfield Museum is set to hold a remarkable event featuring a direct descendant of the infamous ‘King’ David Hartley, the leader of the notorious Cragg Vale Coiners. This event coincides with the release of the highly anticipated BBC drama series, The Gallows Pole, which highlights the gripping story of the gang.
On Saturday, June 17th, visitors to Bankfield Museum will have the opportunity to meet Steve Hartley, the great, great, great, great, great-grandson of ‘King’ David Hartley. Steve will be present at the museum to promote the true history of the Cragg Vale Coiners, as well as sign copies of his newly released book. Attendees will also have the chance to engage with Steve and have their questions answered about the intriguing coiners.
Steve’s book, titled The Yorkshire Coiners, will be available for purchase exclusively at Bankfield Museum during the event. The Yorkshire Coiners aims to present the factual account of the coiners, whose gripping narrative serves as the basis for the BBC drama series, The Gallows Pole. The drama, directed by Shane Meadows, was filmed in the scenic Heptonstall region of Calderdale. Benjamin Myers, author of the book of the same name, provided the foundation for this fictionalised portrayal.
During their time, the Coiners gained infamy as a gang of 18th-century counterfeiters. Their illicit activities were so concerning that they were debated in the halls of Parliament, highlighting the severe threat they posed to the nation’s financial stability. High-ranking officials were dispatched from London in a determined effort to apprehend the Coiners, initiating a relentless manhunt.
Visitors to Bankfield Museum will have the opportunity to view a range of original objects associated with the Cragg Vale Coiners. Among the exhibited items are the dies used by the gang to forge counterfeit coins before reintroducing them into circulation. Additionally, Bankfield Museum has curated a temporary display to support the book signing event and the upcoming premiere of The Gallows Pole, shedding light on the authentic tale of the Coiners.
Councillor Jenny Lynn, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Services and Communities, expressed her enthusiasm for hosting the event, stating, “As The Gallows Pole, the latest major production filmed in Calderdale, airs on BBC Two, we’re delighted to be able to host this event at Bankfield Museum, offering people the opportunity to delve deeper into the true story of the Cragg Vale Coiners.”
Lynn added, “The museum will welcome Steven Hartley, a direct descendant of the gang’s leader ‘King’ David Hartley, who will share his extensive research into his family’s history and the infamous Coiners. Visitors will also have the chance to explore the numerous objects related to the Coiners, which are featured as part of Calderdale Museums’ collection.”
The book signing event with Steve Hartley at Bankfield Museum is free to attend and will take place from 1-3 pm on Saturday, June 17th. No advance booking is required, ensuring accessibility for all interested individuals.