May 6, 2021

‘Pornographic’ literature left in an English village’s free book exchange causes controversy


Cornholme is a small village in West Yorkshire, England, with a population of 1,694, where generally not very much happens. But this week it has hit headlines in the UK for … ahem … obscenity.

The village has set up a community library box,  allowing local villagers to borrow and add books at will. Unfortunately, one prankster decided to pop some racy erotica into the free library for all to see. This did not go down well with one anonymous resident in particular, who saw the need to attach an angry note to the shelving, reading:

Whoever is placing the copys of pornographic literature in here, stop! Cornholme is a God-fearing Christian village.

If this filth is taking to your liking may we suggest that you move to the cesspit that is Hebden Bridge.

Resident Liz Thorpe, who decorated the book box, told the BBC that the books were “run-of-the-mill” paperbacks, saying:

“I thought it was quite offensive… I think people’s perception of what is pornographic can vary enormously.

I don’t know why, if they found something they deemed inappropriate, they didn’t just take it away. There’s no need to put that notice on there.”

The editor of The Yorkshire Post, James Mitchinson, shared an email he received on Twitter which claimed the books left were in fact lesbian literature, therefore adding a darker side to the whole debacle, suggesting tones of homophobia.

Whatever the kind of “porn” the books contained, #teamhebdenbridge started appearing on Twitter, with comments including “Dunno about you lot but I’m off to Hebden Bridge” and “I used to live in Cornholme. It was fucking boring.”
Neighbouring town Hedben Bridge is around three times the size of Cornholme and known for its vibrant art scene and independent shops. Unwilling to sit back and take the “God fearing” citizen’s slander, Hebden Bridge stuck back by posting their own note on their village co-op  noticeboard, reading:

Whoever is placing religious material in our community revolutionary, drug cultivation, devil worshipping, naturalist, pornography and knitting library, stop!

Hebden Bridge is a good free thinking town.

If this filth is to your liking may we suggest you move to the god bothering up tight holier than thou village of Cornholme.

Hebden Bridge councillor Josh Fenton-Glynn even went so far as to praise the perpetrator on Twitter, saying:

I’d like to thank the people of Cornholme for help with our marketing campaign. Please check out our local independent shops. If the Cess gets too much we have a soap shop! Cornholmes also lovely, what it lacks in Cess it makes up for in nice pubs.

This local saga has certainly entertained and struck a chord in the UK, with some commenting on Twitter that Cornholme has never fully “recovered” from being reclassified as being in Yorkshire instead of Lancashire in 1888. Here comes the War of the Roses—part two. It’s one for the history books.


Nikki Griffiths is the managing director of Melville House UK.