Southowram is a village in Calderdale, West Yorkshire, England that stands on the hill top to the east of Halifax, on the south side of Shibden valley. It is a small Pennine village with outlying regions of Bank Top, Brookfoot and Siddal. Northowram stands on the northern side of the valley and is roughly equidistant from Halifax and Brighouse.
Historically, Southowram was in the ecclesiastical parish of Halifax in the Morley Division of the wapentake of Agbrigg and Morley. It was an independent urban district from 1894 until 1937 when it was abolished and the majority of the area was merged with Brighouse municipal borough and a small area going to Elland Urban District.
The parish of Southowram was recorded on 1 July 1837 as part of the Halifax Registration District.
Parts of the village centre were demolished and rebuilt in the 1970s and 1980s. But many older buildings remain, as do the ancient stocks on Towngate. Old buildings were lost on New Street and were replaced by council housing. More such housing is to be found in the lower part of the village. Southowram retains in the main, however, a mixture of older historic and new housing, council owned and private housing.
A number of old halls and farms which survived until the 1940s and 1950s were lost in subsequent decades.
A National School was built in 1839 and also served as the Sunday school for the church of St Anne in the Grove opposite. The architecture employs Gothic pointed arches but Tudor-style chimneys. In the centre of the front wall are two blocked doorways with round heads. There is also a carved stone plaque, the inscription on which includes "National School".
Law Hill House
In 1837, at the age of 19, Emily Brontë came to teach at the three-storey house on Law Lane which was then an exclusive boarding school. She stayed for only about six months, however, because of the strict lifestyle demanded. She was homesick and in a collection of letters, her sister Charlotte wrote about how Emily had to work from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. each day and was more of a governess than a teacher. Emily wrote poetry while at Law Hill and became fascinated by the story of intrigue and feuding which surrounded the house’s builder, Jack Sharp, and his near neighbours, the Walker family of Walterclough Hall. It is said she reflected the story in the plot of her novel Wuthering Heights and that the central character Heathcliff was based on Sharp himself. A plaque on the wall commemorates Brontë's stay between 1837 and 1838.