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Steptoe's Yard Celebrates Jak Hall's Gold Roof Championship Win

Jak Hall

A Yorkshire mill worker’s cottage transformed

When a young couple bought a Yorkshire wreck to do up and sell, the last thing they expected was to make it their family home.

When illustrator Talya Baldwin moved from London to the West Yorkshire market town of Hebden Bridge with her husband Mark Rochester, he told her it would be for just three months. No longer able to afford life in the capital, his idea was to leave Shoreditch, do up a run-down property, sell it, and pick up where they left off in the capital by using any profit to put down a deposit. But they fell in love with the vibrant town and, nine years on, they’re still there – now with their children Noah, six, and Joe, two.

Still, it took Baldwin a while to warm to northern life. “I’ve lived in Israel and Malaysia, but moving here was a bigger culture shock,” she says. “The food is different, the weather is different, the humour is different. But now I love it.”

Originally from nearby Burnley, Rochester had more of an affinity with the area. “I’m comfortable with mill chimneys, terrace houses and dry stonewalls. I love being surrounded by woods and hills – and the fact that, within two minutes’ walk, you can be lost.”

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