Railway Wonder: Development of a Town, Part One (1984) by Stanley Chadwick

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Stanley Chadwick


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Stanley Chadwick



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All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, elec- tronic, mechanical, photocopying recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner.


Stanley Chadwick, 5 Gramfield Road, Crosland Moor, Huddersfield.

First Published 1984

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Page ee 2 I Feet!’ . 3 Il 5 Il First Trains... 2... 10 IV Architectural 17 V_ Town Planning 22 VI Showpiece 28 List of Dates... 2.2... 30 Opening of 30 ILLUSTRATIONS Reproduction of London engraving of Huddersfield Railway Station, Front Cover Top Centenary Celebration Huddersfield Railway Station, Fe, Front Cover Bottom The original wooden Denby Dale Viaduct, 1849............... Inside Front Marsden entrances to Standedge Railway and Canal Tunnels. ...... Inside back

Left to Right — Up Single South (Nelson, 1871), Down South Single (Nicholsqn, 1849), Double-line (L. and N.W., 1894) and Canal Tunnel (1811). (Photo. 1949)

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THIS is the first time Huddersfield Railway Station, the lay out of Saint George’s Square, and hotel, Lion Arcade and two warehouses have been featured in one work. For the centenary in 1949 of the Huddersfield and Manchester Railway and Standedge Tunnel I published ‘‘All Stations To Manchester!’’ Research over the past thirty years has made it possible to offer the complete story of a remarkable tri- ple enterprise by railway directors, estate trustees and townspeople.

Impartiality has been the aim and it is hoped this has been achieved. Railway enthusiasts, the number of whom increase with the years, should welcome this ad- dition to their library. Others more concerned with the development of an industrial and commercial provincial town should not be disappointed.

Care has been taken in checking dates and architects responisble for the several buildings. Huddersfield Station has always been a favourite for wild guesses over architect, builder and date of opening. Now there is no excuse for further error.

I hope support for this new work will prove sufficient for a further volume to complete Huddersfield’s railway story.

Huddersfield, July, 1983 STANLEY CHADWICK

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I - “Cold Feet!”’

When in 1599 the Crown granted William Ramsden, of Longley, his heirs and assigns, the Manor of Huddersfield, in the West Riding of the County of York, for a ‘con- sideration’ of £965 Os. Qd., it comprised 2,857 acres, with an annual value of £23 10s. 9d. From an insignificant moorland village at the foot of the Pennines, the district developed into an important manufacturing and industrial town. Hud- dersfield woollen textile cloth, engineering and aniline dyes gained world-wide recogni- tion, while its musical and_ sporting achievements were no less celebrated.

The charter of Elizabeth I included the important privilege of holding fairs and markets, which Sir John Ramsden, the first baronet, persuaded Charles II to confirm as the right to hold ‘one market on Tuesday in every week for ever’. The third baronet con- structed the town’s first waterworks.

Each market day the small clothiers brought the pieces they had woven in their cottages during the past week to the town for sale. The sight of bales of cloth and wool displayed on the flat gravestones and walls of the Parish Church Yard in Kirkgate gave offence alike to the Lord of the Manor and the relatives of those buried there. The former consequently erected a one-storied Cloth Hall in 1766. This better accom- modation for sellers and buyers soon proved insufficient, being enlarged in 1780 by Sir John’s eldest son.

The first George Inn was opened in the Market Place for those who wished to re- main overnight in the town. It also was rebuilt during 1787, being three storeys high, with extensive stabling and coach houses. The requirements of the trading community were thus fully catered for in their respective functions by the Cloth Hall and the George Inn.

A most important factor in promoting trade was the construction of a canal 3% miles long, from the River Calder at Bridge to the King’s Mill at Aspley. This was the idea of the fourth baronet while still a minor, which met with the approval of his Trustees, Dame Margaret Ramsden and

Thomas Ramsden. An Act of Parliament was obtained and received the Royal Assent on March 9,1774.

The preamble of this Act states that the canal ‘will be of particular advantage to the inhabitants of the said town (Huddersfield) and parts adjacent, and of publick utility’. A toll of 1s. 6d. per ton on all goods carried through the canal was payable to the Lord of the Manor.

On the Lancashire side of the Pennines an Act was passed in 1792 for making a canal from Manchester to Ashton-under- Lyne. It was then realised that if a com- munication could be formed between this canal and Sir John Ramsden’s Canal at Huddersfield, it would provide a direct means of conveyance between the east and west coasts.

The Huddersfield Canal Company was formed in 1794, and four years later the portion between its junction with the canal at Aspley and Marsden was opened. A similar length of canal was completed bet- ween Ashton-under-Lyne and the west end of the projected tunnel under the Standedge.

The cutting of this tunnel was lengthy and expensive albeit a stupendous under- taking. It was finally completed, and on April 4, 1811, the first official journey took place by a party numbering about 500 on yachts, and with other vessels laden with manufactured goods. To the Stirring strains of ‘Rule, Britannia’ played by a band of music and cheers of at least 10,000 spec- tators, the whole flotilla slowly disappeared into ‘the backbone of England’. Now Hud- dersfield was no longer isolated from the rest of the country, and for the next forty years the through waterway was one of the busiest in the country.

The invention of the shearing frame and replacement of the hand loom brought in- creased production. While the town had an extensive service of coaches and mails to all important towns, accidents and delays con- siderably hampered the development of trade. The Stockton and _ Darlington Railway, the first in this country, had been

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opened in 1825. The Liverpool and Man- chester Railway five years later finally established the supremacy of the steam locomotive.

While the Ramsdens did their best to promote the development of the town, they looked askance at any proposal likely to diminish the revenue from their canal. Sir John Ramsden (1755-1839) actually decided against a main railway line through the town from Leeds to Manchester. This no doubt accounted for the fact that he took no part in the first attempt to construct a railway from the town down the valleys of the Colne and Calder, and thereby open communication with London and the south- west parts of the kingdom.

It was on October 17, 1835, that a public meeting took place at the George Inn, presided over by John Brooke, of Armitage Bridge, for establishing the ‘Huddersfield and Leeds Railway Company’. The volume of traffic between the two towns made ‘the desirableness of a railway communication in respect of the economy and expedition to be obtained by it’. The safety and advan- tages as a permanent investment of capital, while the favourable nature of the levels (which had been accurately taken), render the eligibility as ‘unquestionable’.

The consulting engineer was George Stephenson, and the engineer Frederick Swanwick. The line was to commence in a field at the bottom of Quay Street, rented by David Gladstone from Sir John Ramsden, Bart., on the east side of the latter’s canal. From here it would pass through several townships and terminate at Hunslet Lane, Leeds. Three branch lines were con- templated, one of these to terminate in the garden of Daniel Hall and Joseph Wainhouse, at the junction of Castlegate, Kirkgate and King Street.

The capital of the company was £350,000, in shares of £100 each, with a deposit of £2 per share. All were fully taken up in just over a week, and afterwards changed hands in the town at £3, being a premium of fifty per cent on the amount of the £2 deposit. In the words of a contem- porary: ‘There can be no doubt of the

undertaking realising a handsome profit to the proprietors, besides affording great and important facilities to the commerce of the district’. The sixteen-man committee in- cluded Joseph Armitage, John Brooke, George Crosland, John Nowell, Thomas Starkey, John Whitacre and William Willans.

Parliamentary plans and sections were deposited just before Christmas, 1835. With everything set for active progress dur- ing the approaching session, the surprising announcement was made on the following February 13 that at a private meeting of shareholders held at the George Inn, a deci- sion had been taken to relinquish the pro- ject. This was on account from apprehen- sion of Opposition in Parliament from the Manchester and Leeds Railway Company.

In consequence of this abandonment the Huddersfield and Leeds Company received from the M. and L. 750 shares at par. They were allotted among the iocal company’s shareholders at a premium of £4 per share, which was then the market price, in order to defray the expenses of preparing to go to Parliament. After discharging all claims against them the Hud- dersfield and Leeds Company had a surplus of 11s. 6d. per share to return to those of its shareholders who took the shares of the Manchester and Leeds Company.

There is no doubt that the shareholders of the first railway company formed in Hud- dersfield made a good financial bargain as a result of their withdrawal, but it left the town without direct railway Communication with the rest of the country. The whole sixty miles of the Manchester and Leeds Railway (known after July 9, 1847, as the Lan- cashire and Yorkshire Railway) was opened on Monday, March 1, 1841. Huddersfield was brought within four miles of the new Cooper's Bridge Station, actually opened some while before. Elam’s Omnibuses met the trains and conveyed first and second class passengers and their merchandise free of charge to the town. By this arrangement the journey from Huddersfield to Leeds took one hour and a half.

However, Huddersfield people during 1842 did memoralise the Manchester and Leeds Railway to make a branch line to their

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town, but met with a sharp rebuff. The company’s general manager attended a meeting, and a stormy scene followed his remark that the Huddersfield traffic was ‘not worth stopping an engine for’. Less than a year later the directors changed their minds, with a certain Mr. Alexander actually engag- ed in making surveys for a line from Cooper's Bridge.

The abandonment of the first Hud- dersfield railway project is difficult to com-

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‘“The Huddersfield branch would pass through a narrow valley, through a perfect beehive of industry, from one end to the other’’, the chairman informed the shareholders at a special meeting of the Manchester and Leeds Railway Company in Manchester on December 28, 1843. He continued: ‘It seemed as if they were invited at the earliest possible period to complete a communication between their main line and these populous places’. To which the meeting responded with a vociferous ‘Hear, hear’.

Huddersfield people were not so en- thusiastic when told what was in store for them. The intended branch was to consist of a single line of rails, and followed a route to Bridge very similar to the aban- doned 1835 scheme. There was to be the same terminus in Quay Street, then pro- ceeding directly behind the Peacock Inn and Whitacre Mills, and round by Colne Bridge to a junction with the existing Cooper’s Bridge line. The gradients and curves were considered good, and the expenses of works and stations estimated at £36,000 to £38,000; land and general expenses put at~£22,000 to £24,000; the whole pro- bably costing £60,000.

A meeting of local gentlemen, mer- chants, magistrates and others took place at the offices of Messrs. Fenton and Jones, solicitors, on January 17, 1844. A very in- teresting discussion took place on what line of railway Communication between Hud- dersfield and other large and important

prehend, for its launching was most pro- pitious. There is no evidence of any undue Ramsden influence, but under all the cir- cumstances it proved a blessing. If the line had been constructed as planned it would not have been to the best advantage of the townspeople. Indeed, they would have found themselves dumped in a hole from which no escape was possible, either to the west - Manchester - or the south - Sheffield.

Best and Shortest

towns and districts would be most advan- tageous, and most conducive to the general prosperity and welfare of the town and neighbourhood. It was agreed to call a public meeting to ascertain the views of the inhabitants on this important question.

This meeting was held in the Court of Requests, Queen Street, the room being full. There was a unanimous feeling of disapproval of the course now being taken by the M. and L. Company. After years of neglect and gratuitous insult of the town, a more beneficial line was required. It was stated that the trustees of Sir John William Ramsden were anxious to know the feeling of the people. All the landowners on the proposed line were opposed to it, together with the trustees of the Birstall Road.

The projected line was designed at such a low level that no other railway could join it. Now that the M. and L. had discovered the need for a branch said one speaker, all they intend is to ‘run us into a hole and keep us there’. It was also alleged that they would never have done anything but for the fact that the Sheffield and Man- chester Company had talked about making a line. In effect the M. and L. were promp- ted ‘by motives of self-aggrandisement and the spirit of monopoly’. A resolution was passed rejecting the proposed branch line as not being ‘the most advantageous com- munication for Huddersfield and_ its neighbourhood’.

Three months later the townspeople were still ‘as strenously opposed as ever to

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the proposal’, and entertained the most

confident expectations of defeating the in-.

truders. The Ramsden Trustees not only decided to oppose the proposal but in- timated their intention of having their own railway from Bridge, thereby pro- tecting their own interests. Whatever the outcome of the differences between the local people and the railway company, their canal could be affected, and they intended to take the only action possible under the circumstances.

The announcement eagerly awaited by the whole town came on Saturday, April 20, 1844, with an invitation to subscribe for shares in ‘The Huddersfield and Man- chester Railway and Canal Company’. Ac- tually the project had its origin with several gentlemen connected with the Sheffield and Manchester Railway having combined with the Huddersfield Canal Company to work at the same time the canal and the railway. The engineer estimated that there would be a saving of £70,000 in the formation of a tunnel, and completion in two years’ less time than otherwise in making use of the Standedge canal tunnel. A direct rail link on this route had long been required to serve the vast number of mills and factories.

The railway was to be twenty-one miles and thirty-eight chains in length. From the southern terminus with the line from Ashton to Stockport, the traveller would be enabled to get to Manchester and Birmingham, or connect themselves with Liverpool. The Standedge tunnel would only be a single line, but a clause gave the Board of Trade power to require an electric telegraph to be put through to ensure safety. Upon leaving Marsden the line would continue down the valley to Huddersfield and therefrom to Cooper's Bridge and junction with the Man- chester and Leeds.

Sir John Ramsden’s Canal would also become the property of the company at the time specified in the agreement of pur- chase, viz., at the expiration of one year from the date of the Royal Assent to the Company's Act. This volte-face by the Ramsden Trustees was due to the advice of George Loch, who had accepted the ap- pointment as their agent and manager after

visiting Huddersfield and submitting a report on the future administration of the estate. The excessive price offered by the new Company for the shares of the Huddersfield Canal Company no doubt had an important influence on the Ramsden Trustees to dispose of their canal and participate in the bonanza.

The Huddersfield and Manchester and Canal Company had a capital of £600,000, in 20,000 shares of £30 each, with a deposit of £1 10s. per share. A provisional committee of sixteen con- sisted of Joseph Walker, of Lascelles Hall, as chairman, and also Joseph Armitage, Milnsbridge House; William Leigh Brook, Meltham Hall; Thomas Firth, Toothill; and two M.P.s in the persons of William Aldam, Jun., member for Leeds, and John Parker, London. The engineer was Joseph Locke. Public confidence in the company was shown in the rush for shares, upwards of 23,000 being applied for, some 3,000 in excess of the required number.

When the railway mania hit the country for a second time between the years 1844-48, Huddersfield was regarded by the various speculators as a rich ‘plum’. However, the plans of two projected lines were received with satisfaction, viz., Leeds, Dewsbury and Manchester Junction Railway, and Huddersfield and Sheffield Junction Railway. The former was for a line ten miles in length, commencing at Leeds and with a tunnel at Morley. A terminus was intended at a point on the Manchester and Leeds Railway about half a mile west of Dewsbury Station, or possibly nearer to Mir- field according to circumstances.

A paragraph in the prospectus stated: ‘The two great towns of Leeds and Hud- dersfield, which with their dependent villages, comprise the chief seat of the woollen manufacture in the North of England, seem hitherto to have been regard- ed as if of subordinate importance in respect of railway communication’. The WHuda- dersfield and Sheffield Junction proposed to construct a branch from the town to Penistone, which was hailed as ‘the Gateway to the South’.

‘Great satisfaction’ was expressed in Huddersfield when as a result of the defeat

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in the House of Commons Select Committee of their proposed Ledgard Bridge branch line to Bradford, the Manchester and Leeds Company withdrew their BIll for a branch line to Huddersfield. The battle, however, had only just begun, for two other com- panies sinultaneously announced their in- tention of constructing lines to the town.

The Leeds and West Riding Junction Railway actually proposed two branches from Bridge, the terminus of the passenger line being in the Swan Inn Yard, Kirkgate, at a depth of twenty-six feet. It would cross the grounds of the Collegiate School at Clare Hill, in a cutting seventeen feet deep, utterly destroying the valuable spring water of Bradley Spout. Once again Turnbridge was selected for the goods sta- tion. It appeared that the M. and L. Com- pany were interested in this proposal to the extent of one half of the capital and directors of the new company;

The proposed line to Penistone follow- ed the route of the old ‘Hope’ coach, the on- ly means of communiction betwen Halifax, Huddersfield and London. The prospectus did not specify the precise line, and in con- sequence a ‘battle of the valleys’ resulted. To pass down the Kirkburton valley would cost less money, for the Holmfirth valley would consist almost of cuttings, viaducts and tunnels. A final decision was reached on November 10, 1844, with the Com- pany’s notice of the Holmfirth valley, with a branch at Brockholes to Holmfirth.

The several railway schemes were con- sidered at a meeting in the Court House on October 28, 1844, which lasted from eleven o'clock in the forenoon to three in the afternoon. Chairman John Sutcliffe allowed all present ‘a true, fair and full opportunity’ of expressing their opinions. John Brooke, an important woollen manufacturer of Ar- mitage Bridge, said that the question before the meeting was ‘one of life and death to the manufacturing prosperity of Huddersfield and neighbourhood’. The only railway com- munication they possessed was “a little wooden shed’ of a neighbouring railway, and very incommodious omnibuses from that place - Bridge.

Joshua Hobson was one of the best known men in Huddersfield and a pioneer in

the cause of a free Press with his ‘The Voice of the West Riding’, for which he suffered Imprisonment for violation of the Newspaper Stamp Duty. He became publisher of ‘The Northern Star’ at Leeds, the extraordinary successful newspaper of Feargus O’Connor, leader of the Chartist movement. Although residing in Leeds, Hobson did not sever his association with his native town and three months before the railway meeting had presented a com- prehensive report outlining proposals for future government by a Municipal Corpora- tion.

Hobson demanded the same railway facilities for Huddersfield as other towns. He referred to the ‘disgraceful and infamous conduct’ of the M. and L. Company towards the working classes, who were actually their best customers. He alleged that frequently pigS were put in ‘carriages’ along with passengers, and that they were so filled with corn there was scarcely standing room for the humans! Others also strongly con- demned this self-styled ‘public spirited com- pany’ and cheered the caustic comments. Eight resolutions were passed and the newspaper report extended to five columns of small type.

The next Huddersfield meeting to con- sider the various railway schemes embraced ‘the entire wealth, influence and respec- tability of the town’. Again emphasis was on the necessity of direct communication from coast to coast. Surprise and indigna- tion was expressed on March 29, 1845, when the Board of Trade reported adversely on the Huddersfield and Manchester Railway and Canal Bill, but favourable towards the proposals of the West Riding Junction Railway. Why, it was asked, should the town be given up to the tender mercies of the old enemy, the M. and L., even if under a new guise?

No explanation was forthcoming for this unexpected decision. Subsequently during cross-examination before the Select Committee of the House. of Commons, the engineer of the West Riding Junction admit- ted that the main facts on which the favourable decision had been made had been given by himself. In two specified cases he had got ‘most woefully elongated’!

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This no doubt accounted for the Board of Trade’s rejection on the grounds of alleged expensiveness of construction and insuffi- ciency of traffic.

The agreement with the Ramsden Trustees for the sale of their canal to the Huddersfield and Manchester Company was completed on April 3, 1845. The cost amounted to £45,284 13s. 4d., with possession from July 22, 1848. It was also decided to make a branch line to Delph, and an increase in capital would be necessary. For the present shareholders were told that despite the setback the vigorous prosecution of their Bill would be continued before Parliament.

The Select Committee stage of the three railway Bills directly affecting Hud- dersfield opened in the House of Comm- mons on April 21, 1845. The scene previous to twelve o'clock is best described by a contemporary writer:

‘The House of Commons was literally besieged by a crowd of persons. A mass of witnesses, engineers, clerks, Parliamentary agents, shareholders, directors, solicitors and counsel blocked up the lobbies, stair- cases and cloisters, through which it was nearly impossible to effect the least pro- gress, and which, however tardy, could on- ly be made by the sacrifice of great time, strength and patience. As soon as the doors were opened, the rooms were crammed almost to suffocation by persons who seem- ed to prefer immolation to the loss of a single word from the chairman’s lips, until the day advanced, and the heat became ex- cessive, and their curiosity or intend Satiated’.

The chairman of Committee B for the West Yorkshire district of railways was Patrick Stewart, member for Renfrewshire (county, West Scotland), and More O’Fer- rall (Kildare), E. Rice (Dover), T. N. Red- dington, (Dundalk) and J. Trotter (Surrey West). The witnesses for the Huddersfield and Manchester Bill were J. Sutcliffe, wool merchant; Joseph Brook, wool merchant; W. Leigh Brook, cotton spinner, Meltham; and E. Whitworth, omnibus proprietor.

From the evidence of the last-named it was found that the buses from Cooper's Bridge to Huddersfield were now making

thirteen journeys a day, and carrying up- wards of 2,000 passengers a week. During 1844 the passengers totalled 110,692, with receipts of £50-£60 a week. Alfred S. Jee, assistant engineer, supplied the Com- mittee with estimates of the undertaking, which he placed at £630,000. Of this sum £147,240 was the cost of the Standedge Tunnel (£28 per yard), with two other tun- nels at £48,835 and stations £33,000.

At the fifth day’s sitting (Friday, April 25) the chairman announced that the Com- mittee had decided the preamble of the Huddersfield and Manchester Bill proved. When the news reached Huddersfield by the first Omnibus from Cooper's Bridge on the Saturday morning, the church bells were rung and a band of music paraded the Streets until nightfall. This victory was the culmination of a week of good tidings for the town. Earlier the Huddersfield and Sheffield Junction Railway Bill and a new Waterworks Bill had been approved by respective Committees.

first blow has been struck against the grasping monopoly of the Manchester and Leeds Company’’, wrote ‘The Railway Times’. Subsequently the preamble of the Leeds and West Riding Bill was proved, but the West Yorkshire Bill was negatived. After passing through all its stages in the Com- mons, the Leeds and West Riding Bill came to grief in the House of Lords on June 27. It was estimated that the costs of the contest reached £100,000. The Huddersfield and Manchester Railway and Canal Bill received the Royal Assent on July 21, 1845. The Huddersfield and Sheffield Junction Bill reached the Statute Book a little earlier -June 30.

The determination of the people of Huddersfield as represented by the directors of the local company, to obtain the best possible railway communication with the rest of the country, played an important part in the Parliamentary campaign. It was most unusual for a Bill rejected by the Board of Trade to receive sanction of the legislature to the entire line projected.

Without the efforts of one man it Is doubtful whether the measure would have passed. Mr. P. M. Stewart, M.P., not con- tent with his arduous duties as chairman of

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the Committee, left London at a period of the year when the weather was inclement and his own health not good. He came to Huddersfield incognito and spared neither time nor expense to acquire the requisite in- formation with which to combat the men- dacious reports against the scheme in the Commons.

The son of Sir M. N. Stewart, Bart., he was born in 1/795 and entered politics at an early age. Mr. Stewart first represented Lancaster from 1831 to 1837, and his native county of Renfrewshire from 1841 until his death on October 30, 1846, aged only forty-eight years. He was a Liberal in politics, an ardent Free Trader, and a warm advocate of the Free Church movement in Scotland.

It was stated there was no more active and respected man in the House of Com- mons, and persons of all ranks in life and of every shade of political opinion deplored his loss. Only a few months before his death, Mr. Stewart was elected chairman of the Peninsular and Oriental Steamship Com- pany, of which he had been a director for some years. He was also a director of several other companies and institutions. When news of the sad event reached Hud- dersfield it was received with deep sorrow. A feeling was expressed that the town and neighbourhood ought to show its gratitude for his great labours in connection with the local railway. The erection of a column or Statue in the Market Place was suggested, and several gentlemen intimated their desire to contribute to such a memorial.

The first general meeting of the Hud- dersfield and Manchester Railway and Canal Company on August 18 was well attended. William Aldam, Jun., M.P., was now chair- man, and what the contemporary account described as ‘rather a_ singular cir- cumstance’, was the presence of a lady pro- prietor (shareholder). It was stated that as soon as possible the directors would pro- ceed to purchase the land required for the railway. The sum of £800 a year was allot- ted to the directors to apportion as they think fit. The prospects were very favourable. The contract for the several works on the first section from Cooper’s Bridge was let at the Ramsden’s Arms Inn, Huddersfield, on September 22.

Financial arrangements were approved at an extraordinary general meeting in Oc- tober. Holders of 5,552 shares in the Hud- dersfield Canal Navigation had elected to commute the same for railway shares. With the canal shares exchanged for 7,677 shares of £30 each in the railway, the holders received a bonus of £5 per share. Incidentally, the shares had a low market value of £7 or £8. Those who decided to be paid off at the rate of £25 a share made it necessary to create 573 shares to raise sufficient capital for this to be undertaken. The chairman observed that ‘the bargain was a Capital one for the Canal proprietors’. No less asum than £180,885 was paid for the Canal undertaking. Sir J. W. Ramsden’s land, with some warehouses, was fixed at £16,560, and 1,552 new shares were re- quired. The shares created for the two canals added together made a total of 7,077. Of the original 21,000 shares of the H. and M. Company, 17,812 had already been allotted. The new shares were appor- tioned to the existing holders in the propor- tion of one share for every four of the old ones. As the result of these transactions the capital of the railway company was augmented by £230,300, to a total figure of £860,300. With their own railway secure the local inhabitants looked askance at tne numerous schemes advertised for the town late in 1845. Special newspaper supplements had to be published for the prospectuses of the Keighley, Halifax and Huddersfield (via Elland); Manchester and Great Grimsby Direct (via Barnsley and Doncaster); and the Leeds, Huddersfield, Sheffield and South Staffordshire. All were described as ‘Direct lines’. At the Guildhall on December 10 the number of projected schemes were ‘viewed with alarm’, but few of them were ever in- corporated in a Parliamentary Bill. Huddersfield got the railway it wanted at a high level, and capable of making con- nections with the rest of the country. This success not only provided rail access but made possible the first development of the town ‘in the country’ beyond the confines of the old Market Place. While the bonds had been broken, obstacles remained of a for- midable character, which would require an even greater effort on the part of the townspeople.

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Three lines of railway were simultaneously under construction in Hud- dersfield during the years 1845-47, with the final branch not being completed until the middle of 1850. The short line from Cooper’s Bridge brought the first railway train to the town and presented few engineering difficulties, although the Hua- dersfield viaduct of originally forty-seven ar- ches has never been given the praise which it merits. This.is probably due to all the ar- ches being filled in and the crowded and derelict surroundings. Actually it is ‘one of the noblest structures of its kind in the coun- try’. The section from Huddersfield Station proceeding through the Colne Valley to Marsden - 7 miles - in one continuous rise, the gradients being 1 in 105. The tunnel through Standedge, the Pennine ridge bet- ween Marsden and Diggle, overshadowed all the other works, and still remains a triumph of engineering skill.

Standedge - ‘the backbone of England’ - was first tunnelled by the Huddersfield Canal Company, and this waterway is the longest and most elevated in the country. It took seventeen years to complete, being opened on April 4, 1811. The first railway tunnel, now called the ‘Down South’, is 3 miles 62 yards long, and parallel with the canal tunnel and within a distance of 50 feet throughout. The double-line tunnel opened in 1894 was bored between the first railway tunnel and the canal tunnel. The distinction of being the longest railway tunnel in the country was lost when the Severn tunnel was completed in 1886.

The third and last rail line to connect Huddersfield with Penistone and the rest of the country took just two months short of five years to complete. While the two great viaducts of Lockwood and Denby Dale were formidable undertakings, it was the exorbi- tant claims for land and attendant legal dif- ficulties over Paddock viaduct which delayed completion by over a year. For the public opening on July 1, 1850, a special excursion took place to Chatsworth House and Park, Derbyshire, the seat of the Duke

First Trains


of Devonshire. An inscribed stone placed in the pier of the arch which crosses Woodhead Road (Taylor Hill end) is the only one of its kind to be found on the three Hud- dersfield railway undertakings.

Paradoxically the Penistone line was the first to be formally commenced. The Right Hon. Lord Wharncliffe, Lord President of Her Privy Council, cut the first sod at Penistone on August 29, 1845. Afterwards a banquet took place in the Church Schoolroom, presided over by Joseph Armitage, chairman of the com- pany, with C. H. Jones, of Huddersfield, vice-chairman.

Six weeks afterwards it was the turn of Huddersfield to inaugurate the construction of the branch to Cooper's Bridge. The ceremony Of lifting the first sod took place in Dawson's Field, Cinderfield Dyke, near Whitaker Bridge, about two and a quarter miles from the town centre, on Friday, Oc- tober 10. In the presence of about fifty per- sons, including the Agent of the Ramsden Estate, William Leigh Brook, of Meltham Hall, broke the turf with a new Steel spade, and afterwards made a neat speech. He also gave £10 to be expended upon refreshments for the labourers.

The entire proceedings were ot a formal character, it being intended that the public ceremony and festivities should take place upon the occasion of laying the foundation stone of the Huddersfield Station. The erec- tion of this noble edifice will be recounted in the next chapter. To prevent confusion, the construction of the three lengths of railway will also be described separately, but it should be remembered the events took place over the same period of time.

A labourer named Silverwood, who had only commenced work four days before, was the first casualty of the Bridge line. On November 15 he sustained a severe fracture of the leg by a large quantity of earth falling upon him. This section was fortunately free from serious accidents, and only one man lost his life. About twenty workmen had a most providential escape while excavating for the foundations of the

Page 15

piers of the Huddersfield viaduct. They were all buried by a tremendous fall of earth but rescued alive.

While the contractors proceeded in a vigorous manner with their work, the direc- tors faced fresh problems of finance and threats to their independence. A stormy meeting took place on February 28, 1846, over amalgamation with the Sheffield and Manchester Company. After upwards of four hours when the vote was taken, and a majority appearing against the scheme, a scrutiny was demanded. This occupied nearly three hours and confirmed the rejec- tion.

However, on June 1, 1846, the Man- chester and Leeds Railway persuaded the Huddersfield and Sheffield Junction (Penistone line) to agree upon amalgama- tion. Parliamentary sanction was obtained on August 27, and a dinner to celebrate the fusion took place at the George Inn. Thus the company later to become the Lan- cashire and Yorkshire finally got a foothold in the town which it had for years treated most shabbily. Three weeks before the opening of the first railway to Huddersfield, the local company did join forces with the London and North Western Railway. At first the terms of amalgamation were received with ‘extreme coldness’ by _ the shareholders. With the Leeds, Dewsbury and Manchester also deciding to become part of the L. and N. W., the way was open for a direct line of railway between Leeds and Manchester.

The anticipated opening of the Bridge line on May 1, 1847, had to be postponed on account of a strike by masons. They asked for an advance of 6d. per day wages. Good workmen had hitherto been paid at the rate of five shillings for a day’s labour of ten hours. ‘The illiberal and unwarrantable demand’ on the part of the men was strongly opposed by the contrac- tors. The Huddersfield viaduct was left standing with four of its arches yet to turn in the masonry. The severity of the winter of 1846-47 previously brought the work to a Standstill. Fortunately the differences ap- peared to have been quickly settled.

As a preliminary to the directors’ open- ing, at noon on Friday, July 23, 1847, a


truck furnished with seats and drawn by one of the horses, went down the line and was expected to have been brought back by the engine, but this did not take place. Captain Simmons, the Government Inspector, had previously given a very favourable opinion of the works, especially the beauty of workmanship and quality of materials. The construction of the single line occupied one year and ten months.

Saturday, July 24, 1847, was a proud day in the history of Huddersfield. At nine o'clock in the morning the first engine and tender named ‘The Aldam’ steamed into the town. It was named after the chairman of the company, and described as being ‘very hansome and powerful’. With its tender crowded with directors the engine started on its journey to Cooper's Bridge, taking just twelve minutes. Afterwards it returned with a splendid first class carriage, and con- tinued to run to and from Cooper’s Bridge throughout the whole day, carrying great numbers of people - ‘curious’ is the term us- ed by one writer - free of charge.

The official opening ceremony took place on Monday, August 2, amidst scenes of great enthusiasm and splendour. The north wing of the Station was sufficiently completed for it to be used. The line was boarded off to prevent pressure from the crowd or accidents occurring, with a body of police present to preserve order. A beautiful triumphal arch was erected over the railway, and encircled in flowers and evergreens, while on the summit of each pedestal were placed tri-coloured flags, with blue middle, white borders and red corners. Each formed squares, emblematical that the works were constructed in squareness and solidity.

On different portions of the Station and Station Yard, Union Jacks were hoisted on lofty poles, and also red and _ white streamers with the insignia ‘Huddersfield and Manchester Railway’. The bells of the Parish Church rang their melodious peal, and the streets were bedecked with flags.

The Station platform densely crowded with fashionable ladies and gentlemen, and an immense concourse of people assembled in the Station Yard. The time fixed for departure was eleven o'clock,

Page 16

but there was some delay and the train of twelve carriages did not arrive until a quarter to twelve, being greeted with loud and pro- longed cheers. Two open carriages with seats were placed at the rear and occupied with two military bands of music. With its ‘passengers’ of directors, shareholders and their families, at five minutes past noon the train passed through the triumphal arch, driven by Mr. Roche, manager of the engine department.

Upon arriving at the Cooper’s Bridge junction, Joseph Brooke, deputy-chairman, christened the two engines ‘The Aldam’ and ‘Huddersfield’ by dashing on them a bottle of champagne. He delivered a splendid aa- dress and congratulated the engineers and contractors on the manner in which the works had been executed up to the present. Three hearty cheers were given for the suc- cess of the undertaking. The train returned to Huddersfield with the band playing ‘God Save The Queen’. A heavy downpour of rain did not appear to have damped the en- thusiasm of the people, but further rain caused the cancellation of free trips after the second one had returned.

The directors and engineers partook of a sumptuous dinner at the George Inn. Displayed in the dining room was a beautifully finished model of the immense bridge over the Bradford and Huddersfield Turnpike Road, and hanging on the wall a highly finished geometrical drawing, 4 ft. 6 in. by 2 ft. 6 in., executed by Josephus J. Roebuck, who was responsible for the whole of the oblique bridges of the viaduct.

At two it was the turn of the almost 600 workmen to sit down to a din- ner of ‘roast and boiled’. Three rows of tables extended along the entire front of the north side of the Station. It was an amazing sight as well as pitiable to see these poor fellows dining in the midst of torrents of rain. The weather became fine in the even- ing and the people were able to resume their celebrations, which they did in the most ‘convivial and harmonious manner possible’.

The bringing of the railway to Hud- dersfield was regarded as the commence- ment of a new era. Few towns of its wealth, population and commercial importance had


suffered so much loss and inconvenience as it has done from the want of efficient railway accommodation. At last many of the vex- atious delays would be eradicated. The whole public was anxiously awaiting the time when the second phase of railroad to Manchester would be completed.

Operations commenced on re-opening and widening of the Standedge shafts dur- ing October, 1845, but excavating did not begin until November 1 the following year. The work force included 36 miners, 100 labourers, and 140 other workmen, conti- nuing for eighteen hours each day. Thomas Nicholson, who had been a sub-contractor for the Woodhead tunnel, was awarded the contract. He began life as a labourer and worked on the first railway ever made - the Stockton and Darlington. At the height of the operations on the Huddersfield and Manchester Railway Mr. Nicholson employed 1,953 men.

The length of the first Standedge tunnel - ‘Down South’ - is 3 miles 62 yards, and exceeds the original Woodhead tunnel by 40 yards. The level of the water in the canal tunnel is ten feet below the rail tunnel, and the canal thus acts as a drain to the railway. Some 300 yards of the tunnel had to be worked out of a solid mass of basaltic rock, wherein not the slightest fissure could be discovered. This section was left without wall or sustaining arch. The depth from the highest point of the hill immediately above is 652 feet. So straight is the bore that it can be distinctly seen through on a clear day. The road is dead level and in fact is the only portion of the line which can claim this distinction.

Several steam engines were used to draw the debris up the five shafts, and forty canal boats conveyed the excavated material through driftways connecting the two tunnels. For blasting purposes 102 tons of gunpowder were consumed at a

— cost of £5,131; gun cotton (then a new in-

vention) cost £29 (168 lbs.); and fuses a further £698. Illumination was by candles, of which 150,798 lbs. were burnt, costing £3,618. To run the engines and keep the men warm, 8,733 tons of coal were re- quired. Lime for building purposes amounted to 2,535 tons.

Page 17

The complete cost of the first Standedge railway tunnel amounted to £201,608 12s. 3'%d., this figure including £30,605 for making the approaches.

Nine fatal accidents occurred during the three and a half years of its construction. The miners employed were paid at the rate of four shillings and ninepence a day, but towards the end of their work they suffered a reduction of a shilling a day. Mr. Nicholson had a slight dispute with the railway company about the extra work in- volved in his contract, and he afterwards stated that building the Standedge tunnel had actually made him financially poorer. Divine Service took place for the last time in the Huddersfield Primitive Methodist Chapel on Sunday, May 17, 1846. The building, chapel houses and extensive schoolroom in Spring Place, were required by the railway company, the Huddersfield tunnel passing directly under the premises. Joyfully the children sang their anniversary hymns and collected £8. The H. and M. paid £2,700 for the property, and after- wards re-sold the old materials to the original owners for £300. Until the erection of a new chapel and schoolroom in Nor- thumberland Street the ‘Primitives’ worship- ped in the Guildhall. Other properties on the line of the tun- nel was a wooden erection called the ‘Cir- cus Royal’ near Hell Square, also Temple’. The former had stag- ed a variety of attractions from a wonderful machine for ‘Shaving By Steam’, to a ‘Bap- tismal Service’ for factory children, inducted by the Rev. J. R. Stephens, a personal friend of Richard Oastler. The Crown Inn was also demolished and re-erected on its present site at the top of Westgate, while the licence of the Druids’ Arms was transferred to other premises. The Huddersfield tunnel immediately on leaving the Station, had the first stone of the mason’s work laid by Mr. Roebuck, the Huddersfield viaduct engineer, on March 1 1847. ‘Success to the undertaking’ was drunk with beer at the mouth of the tunnel. Although only 800 yards in length, it is in a diagonal direction and having a sharp curve of 35 chains radius. It necessitated the removal of 55,464 cubic yards-of earth and rock.


The Huddersfield and Manchester line was complete in itself, but difficulty was created by the junction of the Penistone line. Originally it was to have been made in the Huddersfield tunnel. However, the directors of the H. and M. considered this exceeding- ly dangerous and objectionable, and con- vened a meeting at Wakefield of both com- panies concerned. Engineer Alfred S. Jee is credited with the idea of an open cutting at Spring Wood, although there had also been a suggestion that the line should go round underneath Spring Wood Hall ‘in open daylight’ and enter the town in that way.

After hearing the reasons advanced in favour of an open cutting at Spring Wood, the Manchester and Leeds (later Lancashire and Yorkshire) gave their approval. It was hoped to obtain legislative sanction in a Bill then before Parliament, but this proved un- successful. Consequently negotiations had to be conducted privately with the owners of the land, and £7,000 ‘compensation’ alone paid to one person. The entire cost of the junction amounted to more than £20,000. The open cutting is formed for about 142 yards, with excavation to a depth of 80 feet. The spoil was conveyed to a large fish pond in the grounds of Milnsbridge House, the seat of Joseph Armitage, which was be- ing filled up. This work was facilitated by means of large wooden funnels formed of planks and fixed in the shafts, into which the rubbish was shovelled from the tippling wagons into others inside the tunnel. The formation of the Huddersfield tun- nel resulted in several errors being made. At one point two portions worked from the face of different shafts were ten feet six inches out of the way of meeting each other. The engineer in charge alleged that the ‘pegs’ at the bottom of No. 3 shaft had been tampered with several times. He further stated there had been no less than twelve successive inspectors of works, all acting differently and not one of them knowing all that had been done and to be done. To these alleged facts was added another significant one. The men engaged in the tunnel operations declared that ‘this error is a judgment of Providence on both the direc- tors and engineers for reducing their wages’!

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While admiration was expressed at the co-operation of capital and skill for the railway works, there was some concern that the companies were not giving enough at- tention to the physical or moral condition of the vast army of ‘navvies’ who toiled with their hands and sweated with their brow. The letting of the contracts placed these men entirely at the mercy of the numerous ‘gangers’, with their ‘tickets’ or disguised truck system. ‘Discount’ of aS much as twopence in the shilling was stopped from payments made at public houses ‘for the good of the house’. Often these ‘randy tickets’ were only convertible into drink. The question was asked if the directors were cognizant of this reprehensible practice by the inspectors in their employ. Foliowing the trouble over the Hud- dersfield tunnel, rumours were quickly flying around about ‘a great portion of the works on this line had been constructed twice over’. The charges were answered and ex- planations given. It was true that the arch of a bridge over a deviation in Hillhouse Lane required to be taken down and rebuilt, due entirely to the contractors themselves, who despite repeated warnings of the engineer, removed the centring before the mortar with which the arch was built was set. The arch bulged, and although not in danger of fall- ing, its appearance was most unsightly.

The rail defects of the Huddersfield Sta- tion will be considered later, and here we are only concerned with the rails and sleepers to Heaton Lodge Junction. The line had to be taken up and fresh sleepers Substituted. The necessity for this step was on account of the contractors engaged fail- ing to put down a sleeper measuring ten in- ches by five in width and thickness. Actual- ly they used a sleeper only nine inches by four and a half. The directors resolved that the undersized sleepers should be replaced by sleepers of the correct dimensions, at the expense.

At the point where the line crosses Pad- dock Road leading to Longwood and Golcar, a skew bridge had been erected. Although the foundations were in solid rock, the arch had been made so light that it was not able to sustain its own weight, and had to be taken down and rebuilt. Some of these pro- blems could have been avoided if the direc-


tors had not appointed two. resident engineers, with conflicting authority. The condition should have been impartially in- sisted on that none of the plans of the con- sulting engineer should be departed from or altered, without due consultation with him. During October, 1848, A. S. Jee, hitherto only consulting engineer, was appointed Superintendent for the whole operations, and further mishaps were avoided.

Two conspiracy and riots occurred over the ‘tommy shops’ and ‘subbing’ to some of the labourers during April, 1849, at the Warren House Inn, Milnsbridge. Twenty- nine men appeared before the magistrates at the Huddersfield Guildhall, charged with fighting, smashing doors and windows, and throwing stones. The proceedings extend- ed from nine o'clock in the morning until nearly five in the afternoon. Twelve of the prisoners were committed to York Castle for trial at the next Assizes. After being refresh- ed with bread and cheese and ale, they were sent to York by the evening train. The resultant sentences were two men _ im- prisoned twelve months at hard labour, five for three months, and seven two months.

The formal opening of the Leeds and Dewsbury Railway by a trip to Dewsbury, took place on Monday, July 31, 1848. It was 10% miles in length with five stations. The public opening was on Monday, September 18, and Huddersfield passengers were now able to travel direct to Leeds. A monster trip to York of Huddersfield and district dissenting Sabbath Schools teachers and scholars consisted of two trains of forty-nine and fifty-one carriages. A shocking accident took place at York when a nine-year-old orphan boy sitting on the top of the outside rail of a third class carriage fell to the ground and was run over. His right arm was crushed to pieces and had to be amputated at the hospital.

The first arch of the Milnsbridge viaduct was keyed-in on July 3, 1847, and the last on November 24. This viaduct is 249 yards in length and has twenty semi-circular arches of thirty feet span with five feet piers. The highest arch is 75 feet span from the bottom of the valley to the level of the rail, and the whole is built on a curve of 60 chains radius. About 7OO people assembl-

Page 19

ed for the official ceremony, and once again rain marred the proceedings. Four local inns provided dinners for the principals and railway employees.

Next along the line is Golcar Brook viaduct of four arches of 30 feet span- length 61 yards. Another half mile brings the Crimbles viaduct, described as ‘the most noble one on the line’. It is 233 yards long and consists of 19 arches of 30 feet span, the height being 60 feet. Slaithwaite viaduct, another quarter mile distance, has 14 arches of 30 feet span (length 182 yards and height 75 feet).

Emerging from the tunnel at Diggle the descent is made to Stalybridge, first by several cuttings to Saddleworth, and then over a viaduct of twenty arches. Some 118,967 cubic yards of earth had to be removed and quicksand added to the many difficulties. Beyond Mossley is the Scout tunnel - 220 yards in length and 60 feet below the surface. Another mile and a half and Stalybridge tunnel is reached (660 yards long and 101 feet below the surface); At the end of the Stalybridge viaduct over the streets of the town - 198 yards, 7 ar- ches and 3 skew arches - the junction is formed with the Sheffield and Manchester, Ashton Branch.

The total number of bridges (1849) was //; viaducts 6; and tunnels 5. The line of rails was double throughout except at the Standedge, where only a single line was laid. Land was acquired to make a second tunnel ‘as soon as it is deemed expedient to do so’. The second Standedge tunnel - ‘Up South’ - was not opened until twenty-one years afterwards - February 12, 1871. The general character of the railway at the time of its inauguration was described as ‘heavy’ the gradients being steep, with the line mainly composed of sharp curves, the ruling Curve being one of 40 chains radius.

At last, just two months short of four years, the 18% miles of railway from Hud- dersfield to Stalybridge was completed. As a kind of preliminary opening, on Saturday, June 16, 1849, officials, engineers and contractors, together with a large party of ladies and gentlemen enjoyed a trip of in- spection. The train consisted of three first class carriages, two second class and a lug-


gage van. The engine was purposely driven at a slow pace by Mr. Roche to give everyone a full opportunity of viewing the line. On the return journey the train was stopped within about a mile of Standedge tunnel, the company alighting and walking to an adjoining field in which light refreshments were available. After half an hour's enjoyment a return was made to Huddersfield, arriving shortly after four o'clock.

The directors’ opening took place on Friday, July 13. No fewer than 1,100 tickets were issued, but many persons were left disappointed. The first train of twenty- nine carriges, drawn by two engines, left Huddersfield Station at eleven o'clock, amid the loud huzzas of a large crowd of spec- tators. A third engine went behind for a considerable distance to aid in getting the large assemblage up the steep incline. Many people were gathered on the bridges and embankments, with Union Jacks flying on lofty poles from several bridges. The passage through Standedge tunnel was made in exactly nine minutes completely in darkness. From Stalybridge the train passed over the Ashton Branch of the Sheffield and Manchester into London Road Station, Man- chester, the parallel line of the L. and N. W. Company not being ready for traffic. The special train only remained for a few minutes at London Road, and as it was leaving the second excursion train of twenty-two carriages passed on its way to Manchester. Diggle was again the scene of a ‘bun fight’ in a sloping field adjoining the track. In true picnic style the entire party at- tacked with zest the sandwiches, buns and biscuits, together with liquids from wine to porter. The bracing air of the hills and the scent of the heather had its due effect on the ap- petites of the visitors. The sight when all were fully engaged on the eatables was most pleasing and gratifying. After half an hour the second train party arrived to repeat the gastronomic feats of their departed friends. The directors’ dinner at the George Inn, Huddersfield, crowned the day’s festivities. It was attended by William Aldam, Jun., and Joseph Brook, the latter now having been elected a director of the L. and N. W.

Page 20

The new Huddersfield to Manchester line was opened for passenger traffic on Wednesday, August 1. Throughout the day nearly all the trains were behind time, in consequence of the large influx of parties anxious to obtain a ride on the first day of the opening. A slight accident at the Marsden end of the Standedge tunnel was caused by a stone in the self-acting points preventing them from closing and forced the engine of a train to slip off the line.

On Sunday, August 12, the annual feasts of Slaithwaite, Golcar and Longwood made these stations very ‘throng’ (busy), and the last train proved totally inadequate to carry all its passengers. Coats were slit up the back, parasols broken, and bonnets and hats crushed. The men swore, the women screamed, and altogether there was such a hubbub as Is rarely witnessed even at a country feast.

The rail journey of 42% miles between the three great towns of Leeds, Hud- dersfield and Manchester, was announced to be completed by express trains in an hour and three-quarters. The same distance by ordinary trains took two hours and a quarter. Third class fare from Huddersfield to Man- chester was 2s. /d., but from Manchester to Huddersfield it cost 1'’-. extra, with seven trains in each direction on weekdays and three on Sundays.

The Huddersfield to Penistone Railway, as previously noted, was Opened on July 1, 1850, together with the Holmfirth branch line at Brockholes. Lockwood viaduct, the piece de resistance of the undertaking, was built by John Hawkshaw, M.Inst.C.E., and consists of 36 arches (34 semi-circular ar- ches, each of 30 feet span, and two oblique arches). Its length is 476 yards in a straight line across the valley from Dungeon Wood to Taylor Hill, at a cost of £33,000.


The original Denby Dale viaduct was built of wood, and had a unique ‘birdcage’ appearance. Twenty-seven of the forty perpendicular supports were blown down by a gale, but it was completed in 1849. Mytholmbridge viaduct, on the Holmfirth branch, was similar in construction but much smaller - 206 yards. Part of it was also blown down by wind. Both viaducts were later condemned and subsequently replaced by stone erections.

The Paddock viaduct has four openings Spanned by iron trellis work of a peculiar design, and one opening by girders, with a span of 77 feet. Throughout the whole length of thirteen and a half miles the Penistone line has 4 viaducts, 6 tunnels, 20 embankments, 20 cuttings, and (1850) 30 bridges. The total cost has never been ascertained, but it was probably the most expensive for so short a length of railway in the country. Unfortunately the loss of life was greater than on the other local lines. The Penistone Railway has been under threat of closing for several years, and following a public inquiry in 1983 was given a reprieve of twelve months.

The final Huddersfield railway of the in- itial years was a Short branch from a point near Bradley Station to a point near Brighouse. It was opened on New Year's Day, Thursday, January, 1, 1852, and pro- vided a shorter route from Huddersfield to Halifax than the circuitous one via Mirfield. It was made by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Company.

The inauguration of three lines of railway were great occasions for Hud- dersfield people, each being royally celebrated. The ‘iron highway and the steam-winged horse’ at last opened the way for the development and progress of the town.

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IV -

‘It's not like a Railway Station’ is the usual comment of a person viewing Hud- dersfield Railway Station for the first time. Although the miscellaneous collection of parked vehicles on the forecourt destroys the full impressiveness of the Corinthian Greek Temple centre portico and colon- nades joining smaller porticos in each wing of the 410 feet frontage, it still retains a great sense of beauty and dignity. In no other town or city in the country is such a gem of architecture now surpassed or equalled.

In the early days of railways the building of stations and tunnel entrances was a gran- diose affair, with the London and Birm- ingham Railway Company the pioneer from its formation in 1830. King’s Cross was Originally fixed for the London terminus, but the landlords obtained rejection of the plan, and in 1835 the directors purchased a large acreage to the north of Euston Grove.

The company decided that the station Should reflect the importance of the first trunk line to link the capital with the pro- vinces. The erection of a 7O feet high Doric Arch, supported on four columns, linked to flanking lodges by ornamental gates, was looked upon as symbolic of the magnitude and enterprise not only of the gateway to the north but a new world. Philip Hard- wick’s classical masterpiece served no useful purpose, and even at the time of the Great 1851 Exhibition was described as ‘gigantic and very absurd’. The cost amounted to £30,000.

The £160 million electrification and modernisation scheme of London Midland Region British Railways embarked in 1961 made the reconstruction of stations essen- tial. A new Euston Station was planned and undertaken despite what ‘The Times’ called ‘the clamour’ over demolition of the Doric Arch and the Great Hall. After they were smashed to pieces, Huddersfield became the premier architectural Railway Station in the country.

A second ‘gateway’ was provided at Curzon Street, Birmingham, with an lonic portico more in the form of a Roman trium- phal arch, between 1838 and 1842. The


Architectural Masterpiece

Station proved to be badly sited and New Street Station was built in 1854 as the ter- minus of London and Birmingham Railway. British Rail demolished the Curzon Street passenger hall in 1971, but the lonic Arch has been preserved.

The people of Huddersfield consistently rejected any proposed railway line which did not enter the town ata high level, and allow- ing for connections with other parts of the country. As the town did not extend beyond the confines of the old Market Place, the on- ly possible entry and station was the thirty acres of marshy ground at the rear of the George Inn, stables and a bowling green, part being known as Tumbling Field.

This would necessitate removal of the three-storied building and the making of an access road to the railway station, with possibly a new George Hotel in close prox- imity. The soil was composed largely of clay, with Messrs. Roberts brick factory in production, a small reservoir and a timber yard. There was a footpath to Spout Fields, with fourteen cottages known as Schofield’s Buildings, the latter being pur- chased by James Brook, joiner, of Buxton Road. The local Roman Catholics were the first to erect a building - St. Patrick’s Church - on a portion of the land near New North Road during 1832, not far from the new In- firmary.

Joseph Brook, affectionately known as ‘the father of Huddersfield’, and deputy- chairman of the Huddersfield and Man- chester Railway and Canal Company, was the originator of the plan for a station of notable proportions. He was a partner with three of his brothers in the firm of Jonas Brook and Brothers, manufacturers of sew-: ing cotton, at Meltham Mills. Mr. Brook was also one of the founders of the Huadersfield Banking Company, a governor and founder of the old Dispensary and afterwards the In- firmary, and a Waterworks Commissioner from the implementation of the 1827 Act.

The architects selected were J. P. Prit- chett and Son, of York. James Pigott Prit- chett was a Welshman, born at St. Petrox, Pembrokeshire, on October 14, 1789. He practised as an architect in London in

Page 22

1812, but the following year moved to York, and soon had what almost amounted to a monopoly of architectural work in the county. He was not unknown in Hua- dersfield, having been responsible for rebuilding the Parish Church, Ramsden Street Independent Chapel and the Hua- dersfield College in New North Road.

The masonry contract for the station was given to Joseph Kaye, a local builder, for £11,060. Mr. Kaye claimed to have erected more than one-half of the dwelling- houses in the town, independently of the public buildings. The latter included Trinity, St. Paul’s, Paddock, Lindley, Golcar, Lin- thwaite and South Crosland Churches, also Queen Street and Ramsden Street Chapels, ~the Infirmary, the Guildhall and Roman Catholic Church. He was the owner of four large mills at Engine Bridge (Folly Hall).

This industrious individual was never in bed after five o'clock in the morning. Although scarcely able to do more than write his name, he possessed a strong mind and a clear head. When it was suggested his name and date should be inscribed on the front of the station, he replied that ‘the work itself would be the best record of the builder's name’. He was given a public funeral when he died aged seventy-eight years on March 18, 1858, after only a short illness.

The classic style of railway architecture is given full treatment in the liberal planned Corinthian design of Huddersfield Station. The Grecian temple centre portico pediment is Supported by eight fluted columns 68 feet high and corresponding pilasters. The two wings, which also have minor porticos of four columns, are each connected with the centre with a colonnade of eight columns. The thirty-two columns rest on square pedestals, and in all there are five colon- nades. The length of the frontage is 410 feet, and the breadth, including the plat- form, was 84 feet, the whole being covered by an iron roof 680 feet long.

The original layout of the railway itself consisted of a platform road and a through line, with a ‘scissors crossing’ between them in the centre of the station, to enable trains in either direction to draw up at the platform. There was only one platform until


the station enlargement during 1883-86.

While the central columns display truth of proportion, the size of the main portico quite overpowers the subordinate portions of the edifice. There was early criticism that, despite its massive proportions, no covered space had been provided under which to set-down or take-up passengers. Naturally the architectural details of the building invited questions from shareholders regarding the cost. The architect’s answer was that the difference between a station giving them every accommodation but devoid of ornament, and the present one, was only £1,200. The cost of the whole building was less than £19,000.

It is interesting to note that the design of the station bears a remarkable resemblance to the unexecuted scheme for the Piazza del Popolo, Rome, prepared by Thomas Harrison (1744-1829) in 1773. Pritchett may possibly have seen this plan, and drawn inspiration from it for his Hud- dersfield masterpiece.

Sunderland’s Monkwearmouth Station, now closed to passenger traffic, has a facade similar to, but smaller than that of Huddersfield. It is in Neo-Greek style, with a tetra-style unfluted lonic giant portico and pediment, with Doric columns in antis and recessed outer wings with arched windows separated with pilasters. The architect was Thomas Moore, of Bishopwearmouth.

Following the take-over of the Hud- dersfield and Sheffield Junction Railway by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, and the Huddersfield and Manchester Railway amalgamation with the London and North Western Railway, the Huddersfield Station- was jointly owned by the L. and N. W. and the L. and Y. Companies until their amalgamation in 1922. Each wing was consequently built in duplicate, having booking offices in the respective minor por- ticos, waiting rooms and parcels offices. The coat of arms of the L. and Y. was carv- ed in stone over the west portico, while similarly the heraldic device of the Hud- dersfield and Manchester is on the north portico, and depicts Huddersfield on the left, Manchester on the right, with Standedge tunnel entrance in the centre and a pair of clasped hands immediately below.

Page 23

Mr. Pritchett prepared a splendid model of the station three feet four inches in length, which was placed on view at the shop of a New Street bookseller. A contem- porary view of the station from a London engraving Is reproduced.

The work of levelling the ground was commenced on December, 13, 1845, and by the following May the site had been rais- ed nearly to the intended level. The various tradesmen’s estimates for the work of erec- tion were advertised on May 26, 1846, in- cluding the execution of capitals for the thirty-two Corinthian columns and_ thirty pilasters. Tenders had to be received before 10. a.m. on June 1.

Friday, October 9, 1846, was selected for laying the foundation stone. The occa- sion was celebrated by the townspeople as a general public holiday, and the Parish Church bells were rung from an early hour. A procession of an imposing character was marshalled and arranged by Adjutant Johnson, of Halifax, in the George Inn Yard, about one o'clock, and departed under a complete array of umbrellas.

Headed by the Constable on horseback and the Huddersfield Old Brass Band, it con- sisted of contractors, firemen, gentlemen of the town three abreast, magistrates, the vicar and clergy of the district, architect and officials with the trowel, Troup Band of the 2nd West York Yeomany, shareholders and directors, W. Aldam, Jun., M.P., the Right Hon. Earl Fitzwilliam and the borough member, W. R. C. Stansfield. Upwards of One hundred Freemasons attended in their rich and becoming regalia.

It continued to rain incessantly as the procession proceeded down Kirkgate, along Cross Church Street and Queen Street, up Ramsden Street, and New Street, Westgate, and thence to the station ground by Booth’s Court ‘into a field behind Westgate’. Arriving at the site the proces- sion Opened out right and left so as to form two columns, down which Earl Fitzwilliam, W. R. C. Stansfield and directors moved, followed by the Freemasons, to take up their positions. Notwithstanding the rain an im- mense concourse of spectators assembled to watch the ceremony.


A deep excavation had been prepared for the massive stone which was to form the corner stone of the front principal entrance. It - the stone - weighed nearly six tons, and had been obtained from one of the quarries of Joseph Armitage, of Milnsbridge House. Stones of this size are seldom used in the construction of public buildings. A gallery had been erected on the ground at one end of the site and occupied by ladies.

A bottle containing a copy of ‘The Leeds Mercury’ of the previous Saturday, other documents and various coins of the realm, was deposited by the noble Earl in a cavity of the stone. It was then filled with cement using a very elegant and costly silver inscribed trowel presented to Earl Fitz- william, and covered with a neat engraved brass plate, the text being as follows:-

This Foundation Stone of the Hud- dersfield Station of the Huddersfield and Manchester Railway and Canal Company, built under the direction of the Board of Directors, was laid by The Right Honourable The Earl of Fitz- william, This 9th day of October, A.D. 1846, in the Tenth Year of the Reign of Her Majesty Queen Victoria. J. P. Pritchett and Son, Architects. Joseph Kaye, Builder. The names of the ten Directors, Secretary, and Alfred S. Gee, Engineers, also appeared on the plate.

In drenching rain His Lordship said: ‘| hope it is securely done, and that it will re- main for ever’. Under the direction of Joseph Kaye the huge block was lowered into its final resting place. Standing upon the stone, Earl Fitzwilliam struck it several smart blows with a mallet. He then said: ‘Well, gentlemen, I can only say that I hope the work of which this is the beginning will realise the expectations of those who Originated it; and that it will be as permanent a source of prosperity to the town and neighbourhood, as the solidity of the struc- ture which is about to be raised up makes it desirable it should be’. Three cheers were then given.

The mystic ceremony of laying the stone according to the custom of the Freemasons followed. The Rev. Dr. Senior, vicar of Batley, and the Grand Master of the

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Freemasons of the Province of West Yorkshire, offered up the usual dedication prayer of the Order. He then called upon the Senior and Junior Grand Wardens of the Order to advance and prove that the stone had been properly adjusted, and he pro- nounced it to be perfectly level. Dr. Senior then scattered upon the foundation stone from silver vessels borne by different of- ficers of the Order, a quantity of corn, the emblem of plenty; poured wine, the emblem of cheerfulness; and oil, the emblem of joy. Three further cheers and a prayer by the vicar of Huddersfield, the Rev. J. Bateman, concluded this part of the proceedings. Throughout the whole ceremonies the pressure by the crowd was considerable, but only one handrail was broken. Still rain- ing, the procession re-formed and proceed- ed to the Philosophical Hall for a public din- ner served by Mr. T. J. Wigney, mine host of the George Inn.

The room had _ been tastefully decorated with evergreens and chaice flowers, which hung in festoons on the walls. William Aldam, Jun., M.P., occupied the chair, and tables were laid for about 360 persons, the tickets having cost /s. 6d. each. The model of the station was displayed on a cross table immediately before the chairman.

Earl Fitzwilliam in response to the toast of his health, expressed the wish that the commerce of the town would derive ‘great means of extension’ from the structure of which he had that day laid the first stone. He contrasted the beauty of Huddersfield fabrics with the building about to be erected, and hoped it would rival the ar- chitécture of the model before them, which in his opinion reflected much credit upon the architect, by the taste and excellence of whose hand it had been designed. ‘I trust,’ he continued, ‘that the solidity and magnitude of that great stone which I have had the satisfaction of hammering to its place - (laughter) - would be the emblem of the solid prosperity of the town of Hud- dersfield’. Before resuming his seat, Earl Fitzwilliam declared the great satisfaction he had experienced in coming amongst them, and of thus which began with the town tn very early life.

renewing an acquaintance.


Charles William Wentworth Fitzwilliam, born in London on May 4, 1/786, was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge. As Viscount Milton he represented the County of York in the House of Commons in five successive Parliaments from 1807 to 1831. He was returned for the County of Northampton in 1831 and 1832, and con- tinued to represent until his elevation to the peerage upon the death of his father on February 8, 1832. The third Earl Fitz- william was a man of chivalrous honour, high moral courage, perfect independence and disinterestedness altogether beyond that of statesmen or public men in general. In the outset of his political career he was opposed to Parliamentary reform, but subsequently became an ardent advocate of that measure, and also an early supporter of repeal of the Corn Laws. The Earl died on October 4, 1857, from a disease which had its origin by remaining too long sea bathing.

John Charles Ramsden, M.P., eldest son of Sir John Ramsden, the fourth baronet, died on December 29, 1836. His five-year-old son and grandson of Sir John, became heir apparent to the title and lands, including the town of Huddersfield. ‘Old Sir John’, the name by which he was known, died on July 15, 1839, and the estate was managed by trustees until the coming of age of the young - fifth - baronet.

His mother, the Hon. Mrs. Isabella Ramsden, acted as both guardian and a trustee, while her brother-in-law, Earl Fitz- william, was one of the other trustees. Earl Fitzwilliam took his duties seriously and gave careful attention to the demands of the Huddersfield tenantry for local im- provements. This explains why he was chosen to lay the foundation stone of the railway station. In view of the weather con- ditions it is no surprise to find him writing: ‘A horrid day and altogether a fatiguing af- At the same time he regarded the ceremony as ‘‘most satisfactory’’, adding ‘there were real crowds nothwithstanding the rain’. A note may be inserted here about William Aldam, Jun., Chairman of the Hud- dersfield and Manchester Railway Com- pany. Mr. Aldam was a young barrister of the Inner Temple and a native of Leeds. When Edward Baines decided to retire from

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Parliamentary life, Leeds Liberals brought out Mr. Aldam and Joseph Hume, the veteran reformer, at the 1841 July General Election. William Beckett (Tory) and Mr. Aldam were both elected. The latter does not appear to have been satisfactory to all his supporters while at Westminster, and did not receive the nomination at the 1847 Leeds Election.

Some 170 men in the employ of Joseph Kaye, consisting of masons and delvers, were treated by the directors to a dinner in the afternoon of the stone laying. A number of joiners received a similar feast. It was rather ironic that the Waterworks Commissioners had just restricted the supp- ly of water to the local inhabitants to one day a week, namely Friday! This was a great inconvenience, with the fear of putrid water very real. Large consumers of water, along with brewers and innkeepers, were having to convey the precious liquid from the springs in the country surrounding the town. Typhus fever and cholera still con- tinued to prevail.

The shareholders were told on February 27, 1847, that work on the Huddersfield Station was ‘‘proceeding very satisfac- tory’’. Unfortunately when in the following July amalgamation took place with the Lon- don and North Western Company, work on the station practically ceased. The new Owners considered the building far too large and wanted to cut it down. A director nam- ed Booth visited the town and insisted the pillars should not be placed in position. Ina very ungentlemanly manner he suggested that they be taken by cart to Greenhead, and placed before the door of the owner!

Actually some of the pillars were left ly- ing for months in the open space, with other material dumped in the cellars. Builder Joseph Kaye had already spent about £4,000, but declared that if the station was built only half the size he would still have the Same money for the work. However, the in- fluence of the local directors proved too strong for Mr. Booth, and the station was completed as originally designed. By September, 1848, the central portion was so far advanced as to be ready for roofing with slates.


One unforseen consequence of the L. and N.W. amalgamation was that the sta- tion turntable had to be replaced by a bigger model to accommodate the six-wheeled carriages of the newcomer. Although the rails were constructed according to the Parliamentary deposited plans, they were discovered to be on an incline. This portion of the line had therefore to be altered to allow the carriages to stand on the rails without the brakes being applied. The level at the low end of the station was raised and reconstructed.

In consequence of the three lines being completed and opened at different dates, there was no. official station opening ceremony. Work was again at a standstill during the first three months of 1850, but during April orders were received to ex- pedite its completion. The central part was equipped as refreshment rooms under the management of Mr. and Mrs. George Moore, late of Woodhead Station, and pro- vided with gas cooking appliances. Without the tedium of kindling a fire ‘‘visitors could have a goose and a large number of other joints cooked in an incredibly short time’’. The upper floors contained the general of- fices and directors’ rooms of the two com- panies.

The original plans did not provide for a clock in the centre pediment. Mr. R. Heslop, a local watchmaker and jeweller, supplied a handsome clock, and it was plac- ed in position during the week ending Oc- tober 19, 1850, ‘‘which graces and relieves the appearance of the whole’’. By this date the Lancashire and Yorkshire Com- pany had removed from the L. and N. W. end to their own premises at the western end, which completed the erection of the station after four years. William Pad- more was appointed the first station master, a position he held for fifteen years before leaving for a similar office at Crewe in 1862.

Many and varied have been the descriptions of the design of the Hud- dersfield Railway Station facade. An ac- count written at the moment of completion is of historic interest. ‘‘It will assuredly be one of the finest stations in the country. Built of our fine-faced clean-looking blocks

Page 26

of ashlar stone, with its bold porticos, fluted columns, richly ornamented capitals and cornices, it will be by far the most splendid public building in the town’’.

Unlike Euston’s Doric Arch, which was purely symbolic and hidden in back streets, Huddersfield Railway Station occupied a

VU -

It has been recounted in Chapter One how the Ramsden Estate Trustees obtained an Act of Parliament in 1774 to construct a short canal from Cooper's Bridge to the King’s Mill at Aspley. By a coincidence a Se- cond body of Trustees had to make an im- portant decision concerning a new method of transportation - railways - early in their career. They first favoured having their own branch line, but the formation of the Hud- dersfield and Manchester Railway and Canal Company in 1845 brought a drastic change in the local position.

The chief concern of the Trustees was how best to protect their own interests in the canal. Their agent having died early in May, 1844, they approached George Loch, a skilled lawyer, of Worsley Old Hall, near Manchester, for advice. He was invited to visit Huddersfield and make inquiries, and report on the future management. After receiving the report the Trustees offered Mr. Loch the post of agent, which he subse- quently accepted.

The new agent did not favour the Trustees constructing their own railway, and conceived a bold plan for the town of Huddersfield.- Its purpose was threefold, and initially consisted of the sale of land to the railway company for the line through their estate and making a station. The old George Inn effectively confined the town to the Market Place, but its removal would open the locked-up land behind, with ac- cess to the railway station - ‘‘a good posi- tion’’ - and development of ‘‘very valuable building land’’. Finally, the Sir John Ramsden Canal could be sold to the railway company for a cash payment. All three ob- jects were eventually achieved, with the


commanding site - truly a gateway to the country. The public-spirited action of the directors in giving their station such a magnificent facade would, it was an- ticipated, induce the Ramsden Estate trustees to display a similar gesture in laying out the ground in front.

Town Planning Battle

Ramsden Trustees substantially improving their financial standing.

An earlier projected scheme for exten- ding the town had proposed demolition of the ‘George’ and the old ungainly houses between the inn and the west end of the Parish Church. A new inn was to be erected on the site, with the open space named ‘St. Peter’s Square’. The laying of the founda- tion stone of the railway station and opening of the line to Bridge, was quickly followed in 1848 by the inauguration of the Huddersfield Improvement Commissioners, the first local government authority for the town, albeit with very restricted powers.

Mr. Loch, however, had first to con- vince the Hon. Mrs. Ramsden that the George Inn was the barrier to the develop- ment of the estate. In a letter dated January 15, 1849, he stated that at present there was ‘‘no good or even respectable ap- proach to the Station, nor has the Company taken powers to procure one’’. The main Street could be carried forwards from the Market Place with removal of the old inn, at once affording a proper approach to the Sta- tion and, most important, giving access to the building land behind it. In his (Loch) opi- nion the existing house was ‘‘very inconve- nient, badly situated, is daily losing custom, and its outbuildings almost in a ruinous con- diton’’. Instead of spending money on repairs, the sensible course would be to build a new hotel adjacent to the Station, replete with all conveniences for visitors to the town, at an estimated cost of £6,000. He received the necessary consent to pro- ceed with his proposals.

The new town “‘in the country’’ first took shape on Wednesday, January 31,

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1849, with the fixing by the surveyor of the levels of a new thoroughfate from the Market Place northwards, through the George Inn and stabling to the railway sta- tion and past the Brick Factory. The staking out of the ground for a new hotel was also undertaken the same day by William B. Wallen, F.R.S. A reservoir occupied the site and a timber yard faced the main frontage. Mr. Loch suggested three names for the new street, and finally ‘‘John William Street’’ was chosen in honour of the Lord of the Manor.

In his will the fourth baronet left a sum of £20,000 for the ‘‘improvement of the town’’. The legal adviser of the estate plac- ed a different interpretation on the purpose for which this money was to be devoted, to that of the leading citizens. No power was given to apply the money in any particular manner, it being a general grant for improv- ing the estates of the new owner, Sir John William Ramsden, grandson of the legatee. The Trustees’ view of ‘‘improvement of the town"’ was the new George Hotel on which they expended over £10,000.

Huddersfield had no locally printed newspaper in 1849, but the weekly ‘‘Leeds Mercury’’ had its own correspondent, and many local events were reported. Joshua Hobson, late ‘‘Northern Star’’ and Leeds Town Council, upon return to his native home, became the first clerk to the Board of Works Huddersfield Improvement Commis- sioners. He continued his association with the ‘‘Mercury’’, apparently without the con- sent of the Commissioners.

In its issue of May 26, 1849, the ‘‘Mercury’’ contained a news feature entitl- ed ‘‘Street Improvements’’, probably writ- ten by Hobson. By this time the basement of the new George Hotel had been built, and the writer commented on some of its pro- spective features for the convenience and comfort of passengers and_ travellers. Everything, it would appear, ‘‘bids fair for the large neighbouring blocks of ground be- ing speedily filled up with excellent erec- tions, combining architectural taste with commercial and individual use and com- fort’’.

Some doubt apparently existed in the mind of the writer, for he sounded a note of


warning. ‘‘Nothing can interfere to prevent this’’, he observes, ‘‘unless it should be an unwise policy on the part of the trustees for the young owner of the Huddersfield estate. If they should, from the circumstance that applications for building sites have literally flowed in upon them, be induced to ‘put on the screw’, and try to exact a tremendously heavy chief rent, the effect will be a com- plete bar to enterprise, and a prevention for a long time to come of a most important public improvement’’.

Rumour has it that as much as three shillings per yard annual ground rent is to be asked for some portions of the new ground, besides the expense of a lease every twenty years, and a fine every twenty years to the extent at least of one year’s rent. Such a demand as this would be suicidal, warned the correspondent, and called for a con- tradiction from the proper parties to prevent deep and lasting injury both to the estate and the town.

There was much speculation among the townspeople of the way the’’New Town’’ would be laid out by the Ramsden Trustees. Their intentions were com- municated by Joshua Hobson in a ‘‘Leeds Mercury’’ series of articles just before Christmas, 1849, which shocked and outraged public feeling. The one redeeming feature was that the plan had been submit- ted presumably for discussion and criticism before implementation.

The first article was largely concerned with the sanitary conditions in large towns, while the second outlined the principles of sound construction. In the third article of December 15 the plan for the ‘‘New Town’"’ was disclosed in detail. Instead of a bold and imaginative plan every inch of space was intended for leasehold buildings, without any provision for back streets and not even a better class of buildings. Unbelievably, only sixteen yards of the splendid station facade would be open to view. There was no square or open space, and intending train passengers - or visitors to. the town - would have to proceed across ‘Muncaster Street’ to the central portico. Fronting the George Hotel was a block of buildings - Lot 6! In all there was a total of twenty-four building plots comprising an of

Page 28

34,850 square yards. Muncaster Street, which left Railway Street opposite the sta- tion central portico, crossed John William Street, dividing into two plots the site upon which the Lion Arcade was subsequently erected, and continuing in like manner to a junction with Byram Street. This street was Originally named for the low side of the Parish Church - the present Lord Street. Between Northumberland Street and Brook Street was Loch Street. The whole of the old buildings in Kirkgate and Westgate were retained, although it was only necessary to purchase some half-score leases of small plots to get rid of all this worthless rubbish and make a fresh start. There was no street along the top side of the churchyard, but Swan Street was to run from Kirkgate to St. Peter’s Street, and Kirk Moor Street from the latter to Brook Street. Like Euston’s Doric Arch, Huddersfield’s Corinthian sta- tion facade would be surrounded by mean streets. The feared ‘‘unwise policy’’ would indeed be given effect.

By far the worst defect of the plan was the retention of the old principles of con- struction. Houses back to back; plots of ground twenty-two yards wide, set out for two rows of shops and dwellings, with the shops fronting to a main street. In no por- tion of this newly planned town is there a single back street or private outlet provided for the dwellings to be erected. All the refuse, even the worst description of filth, will have to be brought out of the houses in- to the open public streets. The greatest er- ror is the attempt to make the ‘New Town’ tie in with the old one.

The Trustees were reminded that with almost all the ground in their ownership they had the power to secure a proper arrange- ment of wide streets. The ‘‘hiding’’ from view of the building regarded as ‘‘an orna- ment and an object of just - railway station - was declared ‘‘criminal’’. The Huddersfield estate had an annual rental of from £60,000 to £70,000, in addition to which £20,000 had been left for improve- ment purposes. ‘‘Surely,’’ it was asked, Fitzwilliam, as a trustee, will not have his name associated with such gross depar- tures from proper arrangement as the plan


At the monthly meeting of the Improve- ment Commissioners following publication of the plan, Mr. William Moore raised the question of the Board taking action. After a short discussion the subject was referred to the Paving and Drainage Committee for detailed examination. Later this committee instructed local-born James Armytage, the Commissioners’ Surveyor, to embody their suggestions for improvements in another plan. This, together with ‘a statement of reasons’, was placed before the full Board on April 5, 1850, and adopted, the chair- man and three members being appointed a deputation to confer with the agent of the trustees.

The outstanding feature of Mr. Ar- mytage’s plan was the provision of an open Space in front of the railway station and George Hotel. It was sufficiently large to allow a portion to be planted, and to have a fountain in the centre. The greater part of the station facade would be open to view, and with other splendid buildings this layout would be certain to produce, Huddersfield would have the finest central square of any town in the kingdom. The plan also provid- I ed for an extension of the Market Place from the entrance to John William Street to ap- proximately St. Peter’s Street.

George Loch regarded the Commis- sioners’ plan as an attempt to take the management of the estate out of the hands of the proprietor. He complained to Mrs. Ramsden of what he called ‘‘Mr. Hobson's but assured her that if handled ‘firmly and decidedly, though with perfect civility’’, when he received the Commis- sioners’ deputation, the situation could be retrieved. Enclosed with his letter was a modification of the trustees original plan circumstances had made necessary’’. He invited her to write ‘‘Ap- proved’’ with signature and date, to which she acceded.

It was obvious that the trustees had not been indifferent or inattentive to the stric- tures. made over their original intentions. They had deferred to the strong expression of public opinion and removed some of the most prominent objections. Now the ground in front of the new George Hotel was dedicated to the public as an open space for

Page 29

ever; John William Street was increased in width from 60 feet to 66 feet; and Byram Street made on the top side of the Parish Church with Lord Street on the low side. Two proposed main streets between the churchyard and the Brick Factory were abandoned and back streets substituted.

While the Improvement Commissioners were relieved over the modifications, they still could not look upon it as the ‘‘settled determination’’ of Earl Fitzwilliam and his co-trustees. They expressed regret that he had not ‘‘taken a higher view with regard to the duties of property’’. However, Mr. Loch was adamant against any proposition that the estate should purchase property to widen streets, and suggested that the Com- missioners themselves should undertake any improvements. Unfortunately the Board possessed no such powers.

Why the trustees submitted such a disastrous plan will never be known. It had always been claimed that the Ramsdens never undertook anything unless it benefit- ted their estate, and it certainly appeared that they were now determined to extract the last farthing in ground rents from the new area. All the evidence, however, is that the people were so stunned by the enormity of the proposals that they only desired to see them replaced. Joshua Hobson, who previously had been involved in proposals for the future management of both Hud- dersfield and Leeds, viewed the situation as an opportunity not to be missed, and must be given the chief credit for the rejection of the obnoxious plan. Through the columns of ‘The Leeds Mercury’ he directed local at- tention on the “‘gross folly and blunders’’ of the unlucky trustees, and succeeded in br- inging about their defeat. The inscription on his monument in the Huddersfield Cemetery proclaims him to have been ‘‘A bold and faithful journalist and useful public servant’’, and it is an apt tribute.

The first building for the new Square being the George Hotel, it was only natural that the open space itself should become ‘Saint George’s Square’. The Ramsden Trustees entered important contracts for the formation of proper sewers, and by the mid- dle of 1851 a good proportion of the new streets were flagged and paved. ‘‘Massive and costly erections’’ in these streets were


daily arising out of the hands of the builders. The Improvement Commissioners even made a temporary footpath from the old Market Place to the new hotel.

The George Hotel welcomed its first guests on Wednesday, August 27, 1851, with Mr. Thomas Jennings Wigney continu- ing aS mine host. The design of the ‘stately pile’ is classical Renaissance. The only stone carving depicts Saint George slaying the dragon, and Is to be found on a circular stone forming part of a first-floor balcony in John William Street. Architect William Wallen was also responsible for the design of the Huddersfield Collegiate School (now Albany Hall); St. Luke’s Church, Milnsbridge (closed); and former St. Paul’s Church, Chapel of Ease, Aspley. Joseph Kaye was the builder, and the hotel covers an area of 1,805 square yards, the principal Square frontage being 100 feet in length.

The old George in the Market Place was sold by auction on September 2, 1851. Its removal together with adjacent buildings took place during the middle of the month, when a direct street connection was established with the Square for the first time. The inn building was later re-erected in St. Peter’s Street for a warehouse and is now used as offices. There is a record of the Ramsden Rent Dinners taking place at the new hotel on April 7 and 8, 1852.

Hustings and polling booths were erected in Saint George’s Square for the General Election of 1852. They were plac- ed in front of the principal entrance to the Railway Station and facing the Square. On the morning of Wednesday, July 7, the retiring member for the borough W. R. C. Stansfield, and his opponent, William Willans, were both nominated and _ after- wards addressed the assembled crowd and answered questions. Polling took place at the five polling booths from eight to four o’clock on Thursday, the official declaration being made on Friday morning. With open voting, the state of the poll was available at hourly intervals, with Mr. Stansfield being re-elected by a majority of thirty-five votes. He was unseated as a result of bribery committed by his agents. The by-election took place on April 20-25, 1853, with the return of Viscount Goderich. The contest of

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1857 is notorious On account of Hud- dersfield’s shameful rejection of Richard Cobden, the great Liberal Free Trader. The victor, a wealthy Halifax manufacturer, ad- dressed the immense crowd at the end of the polling from a window of the George Hotel.

The exact date of the occupation of the second building at the south-west angle of the Square is not known, but the first half- year’s ground rent of £21 1S. was paid in November, 1852. John, William and Henry Shaw, were partners in a local long- established firm of woollen cloth manufac- turers and merchants. Their town warehouse in Temple Street, at the top of Westgate, had been demolished to make way for the railway tunnel. The general elevational treatment of the new Square building is Italianate with an ashlar facade and rusticated quoins. The ground floor storey is colonnaded with thirteen three- quarter fluted columns of the Greek lonic Order, supporting an undecorated en- tablature. Nothing is known of the architect or the builder. Shaw’s warehouse at elec- tion times was a centre of Liberal Party ac- tivity until the passing of the Ballot Act, after which hustings were no longer erected in the Square.

Two years were taken erecting the third Square building the Lion Arcade. It was Stated at the opening that ‘‘it has risen like an exhalation of morning dew, diaphanous and dazzling, the chef-d’oeuvre of our town’’ The original Seely seven tons Coade artificial stone lion got its nose bruised in be- ing hauled to its elevated position on the roof over the main entrance. The same hand that designed the railway station - J. P. Pritchett - was responsible for its erection on the 2,130 square yards island site.

The building was planned as the town warehouse and counting house of Messrs. Oldfield, Allan and Company, woollen cloth merchants and manufacturers, of Lockwood Mills. In response to the public- Spirited action of the railway company direc- tors, Mr. Samuel Oldfield decided that he, too, would flank the Square with a building of architectural merit, and selected an Italianate design. The main entrance gave direct access to a graceful and picturesque


Staircase leading to a sparkling fountain, promenade and conservatories. To the right and left of the entrance were shops of various kinds. The entire roof consisted of more than 6,000 feet of glass, while 120 gas jets were affixed around the cornice.

The band of the 2nd West York Yeomanry, attired in glittering regimentals, played at the opening of the Lion Arcade on Monday, January 23, 1854, and the town had the appearance of a fete day. The lion and every part of the building’s exterior was decorated with evergreens and flags, and it was estimated that upwards of seven thou- sand people packed the Arcade and shops at the opening.

This was the age before limited liability companies, and in just over a year Samuel Oldfield was made a bankrupt, and all his personal property had to be realised. The Lion Arcade was sold by auction and pur- chased by Mr. Oldfield for £9,500 on behalf of his father, William Oldfield. The in- terior of the former Arcade now comprises offices, with shops on the ground floor fac- ing the Square and two side streets. Only a poor response to the public offer of shares saved the building after the first European War from becoming a super cinema and cafe.

War was declared against Russia by England and France on March 28, 1854. The Fall of Sebastopol after a siege of eleven months was made the occasion of public demonstrations and _ rejoicings. On September 21, 1855, some hundreds of Paddock youths paraded the streets of Hud- dersfield carrying flags, banners, torches and firing guns and explosive crackers. Two well-stuffed effigies of the Emperor of Holy Russia and his commander-in-chief, Prince Gortschakoff, together with the Empress, were set alight in the centre of the Square.

The proclamation of peace was made in Saint George’s Square by Mr. Thornton, the sheriff's officer, mounted on horseback, on May 6, 1856. The victory celebrations took place on Thursday, May 29, the day being a public holiday. A procession of local celebrities and representatives, together with 22,000 children, paraded the streets. Upon returning to the Square Mr. James Battye conducted a mass concert, with a

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choir assembled on a large platform. It was estimated that 50,000 people were present in and around the Square on this great occa- sion.

The Improvement Commissioners decided to have a permanent reminder in the town of the late war. They asked the borough member for a trophy from the Crimea, and the Secretary of War sent two ‘very handsome’ Russian cannon captured at Sebastopol. They arrived in the town without carriages and were stored at the Zetland Street depot. In due course a large square stone platform was built in front of the Station, and the two guns after being ‘gagged’ by wooden plugs were placed upon this platform. They pointed in the direction of the warehouse then being erected for Mr. George Crosland - Britannia Buildings. On the revised plan a plot on the south side of the proposed Square was marked ‘for ulterior designs’’. Actually the Trustees had reserved this land for a building which would give ‘‘an air of com- pleteness to the whole design’’. Mr. Charles Pritchett prepared a beautiful sketch of an assembly hall, police, magistrates’ and other public rooms covering the 8,052 square feet site at an estimated cost of £11,000. Subsequently London architect Mr. (afterwards Sir) William Tite, reported that he found it ‘‘too irregular in shape’’ and of too confined an area to provide the ac- commodation required. A joint committee rejected alternative sites for a Town Hall, and nothing further was done until on March 25, 1858, George Crosland, woollen manufacturer, was granted a sixty years’ lease for a town warehouse. Mr. Crosland was a self-educated and self-made man, who from the most humble beginning raised himself in worldly position to build large mills at Crosland Moor and Lockwood. William Cocking (1817-74) was the local architect who designed the magnifi- cent erection subsequently called ‘’Britan- nia Buildings’’. It is in the Italian style, Originally ornamented all round on the ground floor storey by large carved heads in stone. In the centre near the top is a carved bas-relief of the Royal arms, surmounted by a collossal figure of Britannia with guardian llon, in Coade artificial stone. Abraham


Graham was the builder at a cost of over £12,000. The ‘‘rearing supper’’ for the workmen took place at the old Cherry Tree Inn on July 15, 1858, with the warehouse ready for occupation early the following year. It was shared by two other firms in ad- dition to George Crosland and Sons.

During May, 1902, the Huddersfield Equitable Permanent Benefit Building Socie- ty occupied a corner of Britannia Buildings in St. Peter’s Street. After a disastrous fire at Crosland Moor Mills early in 1915, it was decided not to rebuild. Huddersfield Building Society in 1924 purchased the whole of the Saint George’s Square building, and after structural alterations Opened a large ground floor banking hall with central entrance from the Square. Throughout the whole of the last war the building was the best protected in the coun- try, with a high bank of sandbags covering the ground floor windows on all four sides. The distance between Britannia Buildings and the George Hotel is 176 feet, including pavements.

Three persons were killed and eleven injured in a collision at Spring Wood cutting on the afternoon of June 17, 1858. Five laden runaway trucks from Honley Station crashed into two carriages of a train from Huddersfield to Manchester. At the inquest a verdict was returned of manslaughter against some person or persons unknown.

Trouble arose over the cabs plying for hire on the forecourt of the Huddersfield Railway Station, the L. and N. W. Company claiming that the proprietors were trespass- ing on their land. When first opened the company erected large granite boundary posts and rails, but they were later removed at the request of Sir J. W. Ramsden. It was stated that the open space in front of the Station was private property and had never been dedicated for use by the public. The magistrates dismissed the first case brought

before them on August 11, 1857, whereupon the second case was withdrawn. The cab proprietors having

continued to set the railway company at de- fiance, in January, 1858, a sheriff's court was held at the George Hotel for asessing the damages from these trespasses.

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It was shown that the railway company possessed about 6,000 square yards of land in front of the Station, for which they had paid £3,000, and it was on this land that the defendants had trespassed. Mr. Floyd in addressing the jury for the defen- dants in mitigation of damages, contended that a half-farthing would be completely suf- ficient. Upon returning after retirement the jury found the damage to be one shilling. In a second case a verdict for the same amount was agreed to be taken. The ques- tion of the right of the railway company to the ground in front of the Station was thus settled.

When Saint George’s Square was com- pleted with its fine main buildings it was

VI -

The energetic efforts made to provide Huddersfield with an imposing architectural railway station unfortunately took no ac- count of the internal arrangements for the convenience and safety of intending passengers, and expeditious handling of goods traffic. No doubt the inadequacy of the station had been known for some time before the startling revelations made in the ‘“Huddersfield Chronicle’’ of August 29, 1857.

The writer in all probability was our good friend Joshua Hobson, who in 1855 occupied the editorial chair of the first week- ly newspaper printed and published in the town. The particular feature bears the stamp of his vigorous style of informed writing, the facts being expertly presented with a clarity which leaves no cause for doubt. Instead of a building second to none in beauty and convenience, all the town had got was an ornamental station without a single decent amenity.

There was, however, no disputing the truth of the criticism, and indeed no one came forward to challenge the mass of in- congruities to be found at the station. ‘’The only consolation which we have,’’ declared the writer, ‘‘is that by thoroughly altering the arrangements of all its parts, in fact gut- ting and rebuilding the interior, it is possible


stated that it would be difficult to find in any commercial town in the country such a fine architectural display. In the opinion of many good judges the absence of unity in the buildings is an excellence rather than a defect to be deprecated. All have their separate characteristics carried out with skill and dignity, the whole combining in a splen- did introduction to the town. This first ex- ample of town planning has been a distinct success, and remains a fine memorial to the determination of a past generation of Hud- dersfield people to grace their noble railway station by the dedication of a public open space of equal pretensions, in place of the built-up area planned for them by the Ramsden Trustees.

Showpiece Chaos

to make it in most respects satisfactory, convenient and useful’’. The inadaptations of the various portions of the building for which it was designed is hard to com- prehend.

The central portico entrance and vestibule to which it gives access, was so placed in relation to other parts of the building as to be of no earthly use. The doors, like those of the Temple of Janus in times of peace, were so permanently closed that they formed a timber continuation of the wall. Even if the grand entrance had been used it would only give a more direct approach to the pork pie shops and drinkeries of the refreshment rooms.

The ambulatories of the colonnades on each side of the centre portico commence nowhere and terminate in nothing. Indeed, the only object for which they appear to have been constructed, and which they serve most effectively, is to exclude air and light from the windows within their range. At each end the petty porticos are adapted as booking offices for the joint owners of the Station.

Criticism is made of the particular style of column employed throughout the building. This necessitated the use of Square pedestals, and the inter-columnier

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Spaces in these minor porticos are so nar- row that in times of crowding the shins of passengers are brought in rude contact with the sharp angles of the pedestrals. Despite the employment of numerous columns and five colonnades, there is no covered space under which to set-down or take-up passengers. ‘‘It occasionally rains in Hud- dersfield’’, comments the writer, adding ponderous grandeur of railway works is no indication of their serviceable applica- tion’. Mention is made of the peculiar and hideous iron fence longitudinally dividing the 220 yards long platform. ‘‘There is no uglier contrivance in the whole kingdom’’ was the verdict. Complaints over the book- ing offices is directed to the difficulty of ob- taining tickets on account of the large semi- circular enclosures in front of the issuing windows. Although the ordinary waiting rooms are large compartments, they are in- convenient and poorly furnished. Passengers, however, cannot complain of lack of ventilation, for from whatever quarter the wind may blow they are sub- jected to continued draughts. The simple erection of partitions would obviate the nuisance.

The sanitary arrangements at the sta- tion “‘are a positive disgrace to the entire management’’, the provision for ‘‘gentlemen’’ being the worst ever ex- perienced by the writer. Here there is no ventilation or light, and the ‘‘conveniences’’ are nauseous. Where constant cleanliness is indispensable, they are left in a filthy state of neglect. In short, the whole of the book- ing offices, waiting rooms and toilets are a disgrace to the railway companies.

It is Suggested that the lamps on the platform should be protected by shields, and that a reasonable number of lamps be provided for the approaches to the station. Last, but not least, an ‘‘Amazon’’, if one can be found powerful enough, should be

enlisted, and armed with mop, brush and broom, instructed to make war upon spiders, assail filth, and rescue the whole building from the dominion of dirt.

The danger to passengers was due to the position of the only passenger platform. During 1849 the Lancashire and Yorkshire Company erected a commodious goods warehouse near to New North Road, on the western side of the main lines, the passenger platform lying east of the two sidings. Shunting and the arrival and depar- ture of goods trains take place all day, and the imminent risk run both by passengers and servants of the Companies increase as extra trains use the station.

The solution of the problem was the provision of a down platform on the west side of the lines at the station, the present platform being used as an up-platform only. This would necessarily involve removal of the goods warehouse and sidings to another situation. The railway companies have already purchased about thirty acres of land at a cost of £60,000 for this purpose. With a down platform on the west side of the sta- tion it would be possible to make the main entrance available for its proper purpose -the entrance and exit of passengers. The station will then be made for the accom- modation and safety of passengers, and not one for their bewilderment and danger.

The anomalies of the Huddersfield Sta- tion having been brought to public notice, the methods to be employed to obtain their removal were to prove long and laborious. Part Two of this work will take up the story from where we leave it, and also the history down the years to the present time. It was considered proper to conclude with a brief look at the existing conditions at the station after only a few years of being operational. This in no wise detracts from its architec- tural merits or being the jewel in the town’s Saint George’s Square.



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1835 1836 1840 1841 1844




1849 1850 1851 1852

1854 1856 1858


1847 1849 1850


Oct. Feb. Oct. Mar.


Sept. Apl.

Aug. Oct. Aug.

Oct. July

Dec. Mar. Aug. July Nov.

Jan. May Mar. July Aug.

Aug. July July July Jan.

29 10 27

15 18 2/ 7-9

23 29 20 15 29


Formation of Huddersfield and Leeds Railway Company. Abandonment of Huddersfield and Leeds Railway Company. Cooper’s Bridge Station opened. Manchester and Leeds Railway opened throughout. Formation of the Huddersfield and Manchester Railway and Canal Company. Formation of Huddersfield and Sheffield Junction Railway Company. Ramsden Trustees sold their Canal to the Huddersfield and Manchester Railway and Canal Company. First sod cut of Huddersfield and Penistone Railway. First sod cut of Huddersfield and Manchester Railway. Amalgamation of Huddersfield and Sheffield Junction Railway with Manchester and Leeds Railway (latter from July 9, 1847, known as Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway).

Laying of foundation stone of Huddersfield Railway Station. Amalgamation of Huddersfield and Manchester Railway with Lon- don and North Western Railway Company. Description published of Ramsden Trustees’ plan for ‘New Town’. Ramsden Trustees’ revised plan. George Hotel opened in Saint George’s Square. Hustings and polling booths erected in Square for General Election. First year’s ground rent paid for Messrs. J., W. and H. Shaw’s warehouse building. Lion Arcade opened. Local victory celebrations Crimea War procession and concert. Two captured Russian cannon placed in front of Railway Station. ‘Rearing Supper’ for Britannia Buildings warehouse. Criticism of Huddersfield Railway Station.


Huddersfield to Bridge (Heaton Lodge Junction). Huddersfield to Manchester. Huddersfield to Penistone. Holmfirth Branch (from Brockholes). Branch line from Bradley to point near Brighouse.


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The Author

It is perhaps only to be expected that as editor of a Huddersfield directory Stanley Chadwick should feature many of the public buildings and institutions in his writings. A keen interest in the living theatre resulted in a diamond jubilee history of the Theatre Royal and famous Wareing international repertory seasons. This was followed by the story of the old Empire and Hippodrome music halls and rise of the local cinema.

Mr. Chadwick is the author of three biographies, viz. Richard Oastler, the fac- tory children’s labour reformer; Joshua Hobson, pioneer of a Free Press; and Albert Victor Grayson, first English Socialist M.P. He was the founder editor of ‘‘Rugby League Review’’, and has written fourteen works on this popular Northern sport.

A native of Huddersfield, the writer of ‘‘Railway Wonder’’ has travelled overseas, including two tours of the Soviet Union and a look at the United States and Canada. He plans to continue his researches and journeys, with ‘‘relaxation”’ at the opera and playhouse.

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