Huddersfield Local History Society: Journal 1 (1990) by various

The following is the OCR text of a book and will likely contain conversion errors. This page is designed to be indexed by search engines. Click on a page number to view the book in your web browser.

Please note that the text is not in the Public Domain and should not be reproduced further without the express permission of the copyright holder or their estate.

Page 1



aan rl 1 7 12049 ire

CCha cg I I


Page 3

EIGHTY YEARS REMEMBERED 1906-1986. Clifford Stephenson.

In this second extract from his unpublished memoirs, Mr Stephenson recalls the bustling street life of Huddersfield in the early 1920s, and savours the pleasures of shopping at the local Co-op. Once very numerous, but now reduced to a shadow of their former selves, 1t is not easy to remember the Co-ops as the force they once were. In 1910, the year of its fublilee, the Huddersfield Society alone had a network of 23 branches Plus the department store in Buxton koad, while the Surrounding villages and suburbs boasted more than 30 Societies of their own. All of them, whether a one-branch Society or major chain, had that special relationship with their owner-customers that gave a special flavour to shopping at "“t'co-op"

THE STREET SCENE. seventy years ago streets were much livelier places than they are today. People walked in them instead of speeding quickly by in a car. The large child population used them as play-grounds, there were no motor cars and therefore no risk to the children. They were noisy too, the noise of Children playing -the street was often their only playground- of horses hooves and iron shod cart wheels on the stone setts of the road surface, and of the shouts of numerous street traders crying their wares. There were the regulars; every day the milkman with his horse pulling the two wheeled ‘milk A large metal churn at the back of the float had a tap near its bottom from which the milkman refilled the portable open- topped can which he carried to the door of his customer; there he ladled out by the half pint (locally a ‘gill') or pint measuring ladle with a crook handle, the quantity of milk required, into his customer's jug. The ‘milk jug', holding a pint or a quart, was one of a ‘set of jugs' which every self respecting housewife had in her cupboard -the ubiquitous milk bottle seems to have replaced then.

In summer the jug of milk was covered by a circle of fine mesh net, held in place by the weight of beads sewn round its edge, to keep out the ever present flies. Flies were both a real nuisance and a cause of disease. Swatting them with a purpose made ‘fly-swatter' or a folded Examiner was frequently resorted to; there were always some which the revolting sticky fly-paper hanging from the gas bracket, failed to catch. No one questioned the purity of the milk which usually had been produced by the milkman on his local farm. Pasturisation was something for the future. In the large churn was a long rod with a perforated plate attached to its bottom end, which good milkmen plunged up and down at frequent intervals to ensure even distribution of the cream in the milk -otherwise the end of the round got most of the cream which had Stayed at the top.

Competition for customers was keen, and as many as four milkmen would have customers in one short street, an inefficient and costly form of distribution which was rationalised during the War by allocation of groups of customers to one milkman; an arrangement not always popular with customers as some milk was better than others. There was concern in Stainecross Avenue when we were allocated to a supplier whose milk was good but his hygiene suspect, but there was nothing we could -do about it, and I am still alive.

Several times a week one or other of the local greengrocers came round with his flat cart, shouting his arrival. The local housewives gathered


Page 4

round choosing the vegetables and when in funds, the fruit, they wanted to buy. In our area, there were no ‘butchers-carts', though these are still seen in some country districts.

The ‘pot-man' made a weekly visit with his horse and cart, on which there were not only ‘pots' -the then usual name for what we now call crockery- but a range of pans and other utensils, and household requisites such as brushes. Always he had a supply of ‘scouring’ stones (commonly known as "Donkey stones" -the brand name stamped on the most popular kind); the soft brown or white stone, used to outline the edges of stone steps, ‘flags', and window sills; a practice very common locally until fairly modern times. A housewife's reputation as a good housekeeper was dependent on the cleanliness of her steps and flags and her neat application of the white or brown edging. To have “mucky flags" was the hall mark of the sloven and “her flags are mucky" the ultimate condemnation.

Two other commodities always carried by the pot man were paraffin and wash liquor. Wash liquor was the whitener added to the wash-day water in the days before Daz and the like. The last of the ‘pot men' eventually owned a good crockery shop and became a Councillor.

Of more interest to little boys was the large canvas sack in which he put the 'rags' -old clothes and material- for which he gave balloons in exchange.

Another street vendor was the ‘fish-man'. One I remember started with his stock in large baskets carried in the crooks of his arms, he progressed to a small two wheeled cart that he pushed, and finally prospered enough to substitute donkey power for his own foot power.

The postman was seen frequently as there were at least three, sometimes four deliveries a day, though the quantity of postal items received by families was small compared with today, when we are inundated by publicity and sales literature, football pool lists to many homes, and sundry other types of mail. The postman did his round -still known as his “walk"- on foot -not as now, when he uses a van, which in our case he actually brings down the short drive to the very door. The policeman was frequently to be seen walking even the residential streets -truly a community policeman. Little boys, even though innocent of wrong doing, were scared of “the Bobby“. “I'll tell the bobby" was a potent threat.

At a time when every house had only a coal burning fire another of the regular traders was the coal-man. He came with a horse drawn waggon laden with 1 cwt sacks of coal. Receiving an order, he backed himself against the edge of his waggon, seized the at the top corner of a sack and hoisted it on to his back, a back covered by a stiff leather back-apron. With a heave and a deft twist of his shoulders, the sack was dumped, mouth downwards, on the top of the chute to the customer's “coal oil" as the coal place was known. Canny housewifes demanded, and honest coal men volunteered, that each empty sack be stacked for counting as proof of quantity to be paid for. It was not unknown -though hard to prove- that ‘short measure' was delivered by dishonest coal men who ‘couldn't count’. I

The coal in sacks, called ‘nuts', was usually of poorer quality but Cheaper. These were however more suitable for bagging. The ‘best' coal, at Lockwood known as ‘best Wallsend', was dearer and in much bigger lumps known as ‘cobs'. I once weighed a cob, it was 65 lbs. These, sold by the ton, were delivered in a two wheel coal-cart, the box top of


Page 5

which was so nicely balanced that, released by a catch, it tipped back and shot its load, usually on the ‘flags' or across the causeway in front of the customer's house. No one seemed to object to the inconvenience caused to passers by. Following the cart was a somewhat disreputable man carrying a large semispherical wicker basket and a shovel; for a shilling he was willing to lift and carry the ton of coal from the tipped heap and shovel it down the coal chute and sweep up afterwards. It was a hard earned shilling. More often, if there was a man in the household, the pile of coal stayed until his return from work, and then he did the hard work, but saved the shilling.

There were other less regular visitors. Beggars calling door to door, sometimes pathetically offering bootlaces or other trivial items ostensively for sale, though commonly it was “no thank you but take this", this being a half-penny or a penny. One old lady dressed in black with a bonnet and a beaded cape, walked slowly up the back streets - never the front, mournfully singing a doleful dirge, one I remember began "You'll never miss your mother till she's gone, till she's gone". Children would be sent out with a penny to give her -and to encourage her to move on.

Occasionally there were visits from Mormon missionaries, usually young men. Frightening stories -completely untrue I'm sure- were told, accusing them of abducting young girls for the white slave traffic.

More welcome were the German bands, three or four musicians playing lively music as they stopped from time to time to give a brief performance. When the War came, it was widely rumoured that these musicians had been German spies. There was little enough to spy at Lockwood anyway -so it was very unlikely to be true.

There were numerous casual and irregular interval traders and sellers of goods and services; all crying their wares. The scissor and knife grinder with his treadle operated grind-stone which could be upended on to its wheel to transport it. “Tubs to mend" was the cry of a man carrying iron hoops over his shoulders which he fitted on the ‘peggy' tubs needing repair; and then the man who shouted “props -props ~-props" carrying a bundie of eight foot long square wooden poles with a notch at one end to fit the clothes line they were designed to “prop up". The small stock he could carry, sold at a very low price, must have produced a very poor living -‘hard earned‘.

Occasionally there came the ‘Salt man' with his pony and cart on which were stacked blocks of salt about eighteen inches long by eight inches square. This was an economical way to buy salt, though it involved laborious crushing on the white wood table, with a rolling pin. In damp weather the salt stuck together, free running Cerebos was a long time in the future. I

On Friday nights, the ‘Oat cake man‘ made his weekly round -(I wonder what he did during the rest of the week?) From his bulk stock in a carrying basket he counted out the customer's order on to his left fore- arm. The cake was soft and limp, as delivered.

Very occasionally we were visited by a hurdy-gurdy man, with a monkey in a red waistcoat perched on the top of his organ, on which he churned out popular tunes by turning a handle.

Page 6

Just once 1 remember a foreign iooking Man with a dancing bear on 4 Chain -a poor dispiritec looking animal- I don't think it had much aance in it.

More regularly came the rag and bone man, he was prepared to buy for coppers, junk of any kind, but principally rags. I doubt that from an area where a modest Sunday joint was the main weekly meat purchase he would be offered many bones.

The most welcome visitor for us children was the summer (only) ice-cream cart pushed always by an Italian whose name -some of the same names can still be seen, but now on motor vehicles- was emblazoned on the side of the cart. Fearsome stories were told of the unhygienic conditions under which the delicacy was produced, but true or not, there was never ice- cream like it.

t' CO-OP When I was seven or eight years oid I was thought to be sufficiently responsible to go to ‘the shop' (the Co-op) for occasional items required by my Grandmother. What a strange and wonderful place it seemed. The grocery department, my usual venue, huge, cavernous, mysterious and rather frightening to a small boy; though by modern Superstore standards small, it was indeed big -by comparison, two or three times as big- as other village shops.

Entered by a central door, all along the right hand side there was a counter for dry goods; opposite, down the left hand side -the butter Side- another long counter stacked with butter cheese lard and bacon. The hand operated bacon slicer, then a new invention, fascinated me as the gleaming circular blade sliced the chosen roll of bacon -“smoked or plain missus?" “not so fat?" "thick or thin?"

But the butter was most impressive. Co-ops were proud of the quality of the ‘best butter' they sold, it was known as ‘Kiel' butter, originating I] suppose from the area around the Kiel canal which still sends us butter now known as ‘Danish’. It came in kegs -smali lightweight tubs which were opened out to allow the contents to be up-ended onto a large porcelain plate on the counter. This two foot high golden mass, the assistant sliced horizontally by a wire into four inch thick layers, out of which were cut wedges of butter (like cutting a round cake), of the quantity each customer required. Often the sides of the counter lump were scored by grooves made by the thumb nails of customers who gouged out a sample to taste, perhaps remarking “a bit salty this week George". And why shouldn't they take these samples? It was their shop wasn't it? They were shareholders as well as members.

There was rather less excitement at the other counter. The high spots were the two pipes coming down the wall behind the counter, one for dark treacle (for parkin and treacle toffee), the other for ‘light'. The end of each pipe had a slide to stop the flow; dexterity and experience were needed to judge the exact moment to cut off the stream into the customer's jug or jar beneath, neither giving short measure nor spilling over. I always hoped for the latter excitement, but it never happened.

The other piece of wizardry excercised by the assistants was the making of the conical paper bags used for currants, raisins etc. Taking a foot square of blue paper (always blue), rolling it diagonally into a cone, with a twist and a twirl at the bottom -in seconds he had made a serviceable bag. Filled with its contents, another deft finger movement


Page 7

folded and tucked the open top and, hey presto, there was as neat and firm a package as anyone could want.

But the one counter feature, which marked the difference between the co- op and other shops, was the check pad. This long narrow pad was made up of alternate leaves of perforated and plain tinted paper. The perforations divided the leaf into twenty or so sections about two inches wide and an inch high, on which was a space for a number and room for a £.s.d. cash entry, and initials. These were called 'checks'. Under the perforated sheet was inserted a carbon sheet over the duplicate Sheet below, and under that again a zinc plate to give a firm base for the writing on the top sheet. When a sheet was used up the carbon paper and zinc plate had to be transferred to the next two sheets. Somehow it always seemed to be my luck to follow the customer taking the last check On a sheet, and for me to wait whilst this manoeuvre took place.

The co-op system revolved round these checks. When a transaction was complete -the amount, sometimes of a counterful of items- added up with lightening speed, without pencil or paper -and of course without today's ubiquitous calculator, it was entered on the next available check with a Simultaneous demand by the assistant “number please" or sometimes, if he were feeling a bit grumpy, just The number required was the membership number of the customer, which identified the customer for the purpose of calculating the ‘dividend' always referred to as the ‘Divi'.

It is a good of the vivid memories of childhood referred to in my opening, that nearly seventy years since 1 last used them, ny Grandma's number 347, my Aunt Lily's number 14245, and my Mother's number 15387, still trip readily off my tongue. What is my telephone number? 26025 -or is it 26052 -I'm not sure.

The co-op (co-operative) movement, an English invention of the mid nineteenth century, of supreme social importance, is usually stated to have originated in Rochdale. There is, however, a claim -not without some credence- that an earlier Society was founded at Meltham Mills near Huddersfield. Tradition says that in this small village a group of men clubbed together to buy a sack of flour at sack (wholesale) price. They distributed the flour amongst themselves at a proportionate per pound price (but still wholesale), thus saving and pocketing the retailer's profit margin. This is the principle on which today's enormous Co- operative movement was built.

As the activities and range of products expanded, and co-op shops were established, it was found to be more administratively convenient to sell the goods at ordinary shop prices, accumulating the profit made by buying in bulk, to the year end. The profit was then distributed to members in proportion to the value of their year's purchases, ascertained by adding up the amounts on all the ‘checks' made out for each customer, and identified by their membership number. It was a simple system, easy to understand and capable of verification by members who kept their ‘checks’.

The great day in the co-op calendar was the pay-out of the ‘divi', usually fixed in the Spring before Whitsuntide, and, at least in one case, specifically just before the date of the ‘Anniversary' at the local chapel. Traditionally the Anniversary was the occasion for the first wearing of ‘new clothes'. New frocks, hats and coats for the girls, new suits and hats or caps for the men and boys. It is no exaggeration to say that without that timely pay-out of the co-op divi,

-5 -

Page 8

many households would not have been able to buy their ‘new clothes' -the hallmark of respectability.

At first, nearly every village had its own co-op, controlled by an elected Committee and run by an employee-manager. The amount of prorit earned, and therefore of the dividend available for distribution amongst the members, depended on the efficiency of the manager and his skili as a buyer. The ambition of every Committee was to declare the biggest possible 'divi', and there was great competition between co-ops in this respect. It was said that some co-ops achieved more profit and therefore a bigger by putting a copper or two extra on their prices. This was probably true and if so, not a bad thing for members, who received back the involuntarily paid extra coppers, saved up for them, in their ‘divi’. In some cases housewives ignored their local co-op and shopped at a more distant co-op where the ‘divi' was a copper or two extra in the pound.

I remember old Mrs Garside, (perhaps not quite as old as she appeared to my childish eyes) struggling up steep Hanson Lane at Lockwood, humping the traditional carpet bag full of groceries in one hand and a ‘flour poke’ of two stones of flour in the other -which she had trailed ali the way from Close Hill- passing Lockwood co-op on the way -all for the sake of the bigger ‘two and ten' (14p) divi paid by Close Hill Co-op when Lockwood paid only ‘two and eight' (13p).

As the Co-operative movement expanded into an enormous national organization, societies ‘(individual co-ops) joined to set up manufacturing organizations to make their own co-op products, using brand names such as Wheatsheaf, Minerva, Pelaw and Crumpsall. Though always good quality products, they were not always quite as good as the best independent makes, but loyal members bought them as a matter of principle, though the less fervent disciples supported independent brands. # * * * *


The first mention of tobacco is in an account of Hawkins' second voyage, in relation to the natives of Florida in 1565. By 1573 it was being smoked in pipes, and by the end of the century the habit was well established’; in 1598 a German commentator wrote ‘The English are constantly smoking tobacco, they have pipes on purpose made of ciay.' Clay is an excellent medium for pipe making and the use of clay pipes has survived from the 16th century to the present day, though now the smoking of clay pipes is more an eccentricity than the norm, when no expense is spared on the purchase of meerschaum, fine briar or high technology pipes which have a life expectancy way beyond that of the common clay.

With the long history which the clay tobacco pipe has it is little surprise that, despite its lowly position and its almost disposable nature, it should receive the attention of serious historians and archaeologists. Initially it was looked on mainly as a dating aid in archaeology: the origin and development of the pipe were studied to establish the dates of changes and innovations to assist in dating historical sites. However, the subject is now studied in its own right.

The first licensing of tobacco retailing was introduced in 1632. Localiy there is a document* of that date which reports that the places best


Page 9

Suited for the retail sale of tobacco in the Hundred of Agbrigg were Wakefield, Almondbury and Huddersfield. The Constable and Deputy Bailiff of Almondbury recommended to the Justices of the Peace that two mercers, Rene Trippier and John Kay, and an oildrawer, Francis Horne, should be permitted to retail tobacco in that township ‘for that they have usually and formerly sold the same'. At Huddersfield another mercer, John Stacey was recommended ‘for our whole township because there is so little tobacco used in our town. There is two besides Stasye that have used to sell some little quantity but they say to us they will quite give it over'. Almondbury was at the time the more important township, but it sounds rather from the document that the consumption of tobacco at Huddersfield was abnormally low.

It is probable at that date that the Huddersfield district could not support a clay pipe maker and that they had to be imported into the town from the larger centres of population. There were clay pipe makers in the Wakefield area in the first half of the 17th century and later that century at Halifax. The first evidence of local manufacture comes in the nineteenth century when Huddersfield saw a rapid growth in population. Parson & White's directory of 1830 records two pipe makers in Huddersfield, John Buckley of Ramsden Street and John Tindall of Castlegate. The former probably came to the town from Halifax, which had long been a centre of clay pipe manufacture, where a John Buckley was in that trade in 1822. He is noted again at Huddersfield in 1834 but no longer appears in directories from 1837.

John Tindall, born c.1795, came to Huddersfield from Beverley where he is noted as a pipe maker in 1820 and 1823. He was in Huddersfield by October 1825 when he was presented at Almondbury Manorial Court in October 1825 and ordered to cease the nuisance caused by the ‘pestilential smoke’ issuing from his pipe manufactory.* His works continued at Castlegate down to the 1850's. We can only guess at Tindall's reasons for coming to Huddersfield, but it is probable that he Saw an opportunity as many other craftsmen and tradesmen did in the first quarter of the nineteenth century of establishing a business, rather than buying into one, in a fast expanding town. He was twice married and had a large family. When he died in 1853 he was a man of property with nine cottages in Leeds Road; his will* mentions another eight in Hawk Street which had been built for one of his daughters. His business of tobacco pipe manufacturer was left to his wife for the maintenance of his children and was probably carried on by his son James who was noted as a pipemaker in 1857 and in the 1860s.

The first licences for this district show that tobacco selling was ancillary to the shopkeeper's main trade. At Wakefield, one of the three local towns where licences for the retailing of tobacco were granted in 1632, two tobacconists have been noted in 1719 and 1720. We have no Similar evidence for Huddersfield, and it may be that retailing of tobacco continued as an ancillary to other trades down to the end of the eighteenth century. The principal grocer in the town in the 1790's was John Downing whose name is still remembered through the halfpenny tokens which he issued in 1792 and 1793. He died in the latter year and a detailed inventory taken at the time shows that he carried a stock of tobacco of nearly 9 cwt: there were six or seven types, but the great bulk consisted of shag tobacco ‘over 2 cwt) and fine shag tobacco (480 lbs), which were valued at 1/ild and 2/- per 1b respectively. &

If the stock of tobacco seems enormous by today's standard we must remember that at that date there was no tobacco wholesaler in the town to be called on at an hours notice, all supplies had to come by road or


Page 10

canal. Indeed it may be that John Downing was acting as a for other smali shopkeepers.

The earliest known tobacconist in the area was a John Wilkinson of Lindley who died in 1788 and whose will and tombstone both describe him as a tobacconist, unfortunately there is no evidence of the nature or extent of his trade. In Holden's triennial directory of 1805-7 Thomas Depledge is recorded as a grocer, tea dealer and tobacconist whilst Robert Bellwood is listed as a tobacco manufacturer. Bellwood was one of a handfull of local people who issued monetary notes, the Tolson Museum have an example of a five shilling note which he issued in 1800.

Probably one of the earliest tobacco wholesalers in Huddersfield was Joseph Beaumont who first appeared in local directories in 1814 as a tobacconist. The firm became cigar and tobacco manufacturers and by the middie of the century had some 60 employees. At a later date they claimed that the business had been established in 1778, no evidence has been seen to support this, but it is possible that they had their origins in another town for Joseph was born c.1790 in Halifax.

Also among the stock of John Downing were 6 gross of ‘tipt pipes' at 6/- per gross: pipes were said to be tipped if the end of the stem had been treated so that ones lips did not stick to the porous clay. The inventory which lists £47.5.0 ‘in cash' also notes £#1.10.0 ‘in halfpence’, which probably relates to his stock of tokens; a shopkeeper would not normally have carried 720 halfpennies!

It would seem that we have now gone full circle, Huddersfield is again without a tobacconist and the sale of cigarettes and tobacco is combined with the confectionery and newspaper trade.

SOURCES 1 Adrian Oswald The Archaeology & Bconomitc History of English Clay Tobacco Pipes. West Yorkshire Archives Service, Kirklees, DD/RA/29. Ibid, DD/R/M/11. Borthwick Institute, York, August 1853, Pontefract. Ibid, August 1793, Pontefract. * + + *

Ol & GW WY

AID HEARD SEEN AND HEARD This year's annual excursion took the form of two short visits, to Slaithwaite and Armitage Bridge, in order to see a couple of buildings that, despite their apparently unremarkable appearance hold a great deal of interest for the local historian.

The first of these visits took us in the well trodden footsteps of humerous other visitors, to a house in Slaithwaite that has become something of a local "celebrity" recently. Tucked away amongst the serried terraces of Hill Top stands the rather quaintly named Aneas Bothomley's House. Exactly how long it has stood at Hill Top Fold isn't known, but the property was already long established when Aneas took up his inheritance in 1682 and began the rebuilding which was to earn hima place in local history. The family was comparatively wealthy and Aneas, a woolstapler, was able to rebuild the housebody and “shoppe" as a two storey house in place of the single storey cruck-frame home of his ancestors. He was also able to provide a home for the local curate, the diarist Robert Meeke, for some twentyfive years, and thereby providing


Page 11

the link that was to preserve his house for future generations. For it was aS a result of reading this diary that Mr and Mrs Beaumont, then living in Kent, but researching their family tree in Slaithwaite, visited the house and eventually decided to purchase it.

The last Bothomiey had died in 1780 and the old house, subsequently divided into five cottages, had failen into such decay that by 1963 the Colne Valley U.D.C. was prepared to issue a slum clearance order. But fate, in the snape of the intervened and in 19/72 the Dartmouth Estate willingly solid its crumbling liability and the long, painstaking restoration began.

Visiting the house as it is today, largely restored to its 1700 appearance, though with twentieth century comforts discreetly added, one Cannot but be impressed, and a little awed, by the dedicated work that has been carried out by its enthusiastic owners over the last two decades. Now officially recognised with a grade 2 listing, one can only hope that the future is secured for this valuable piece of Colne Valley history.

In June the Society moved across to the Holme Valley, to Armitage Bridge, in order to sample the novel experience of visiting a brand new Church that is actually 142 years old. This paradoxicai situation is, of course, the direct result of an arson attack on the 27th February 1987 which destroyed the roof and interior of St Paul's Church and left it a Charred shell. Such destruction could easily have been the last straw for a church that had been threatened with closure only a decade earlier. Back then, in 1976, the Examiner reported on the “empty pews threat to church", as attendances declined. But by the late 1980s the wae very different and rebuilding was tackied with such enthusiasm that by April this year, St Paul's was again open for services. : -Q-

Page 12

Externally, not much seems to have changed since the original building was designed by the prolific ecclesiastical architect, Robert D Chantrell and funded by the mill owning Brooke family. But internally, the local architect and builders have created a bright modern church that replaces sombre Victorian formality with cheerfull informality and Striking modern craftsmanship. At, it might be said, a very striking cost, for the Rev. Jackson and his team have had to provide half a million pounds for the rebuilding, just about one hundred times the cost of the original construction in 1848.

SEE SHES FORTHCOMING EVENT The Christmas dinner at Woodsome Hall has become the social highlight of our winter season and this year's event will be held on Monday 10th December. This dinner will be purely a Society event with no formal after dinner speaker.

FOR THE BOOKSHELF SEES EES This year saw the fiftieth anniversary of the present Huddersfield Library building and the occasion was duly marked by the launch of a quartet of iocal history publications by Kirklees Cultural services.

The atmosphere of the town of fifty years ago is graphically recalled in @ re-issue of Noel Spencer's Scrap Book of Huddersfield, a series of black and white sketches originally published in two volumes in 1945 and 1947. Spencer, who was the Head of Huddersfield Technical College's school of Art from 1934-1946, observed in his introduction to the first volume that, while the town “cannot be called beautiful --- it contains much that is of interest to the artist". And not just the artist, for he hoped that “the public may wish to possess a few records, chosen quite at random, of a town that is changing year by year and whose change will be hastened by the coming of peace". In this prophecy he was to be proved all too correct, but, for the modest price £13.95p, the public can still possess some of these images of the town as he saw it.

Bridging the gap between Spencer's days and our own is In Living Memory; A Brief History of Huddersfield Since 1940, an illustrated and annotated list of significant dates during the half century. Ranging from the important and memorable, to the poignant (Alderman Halstead became the first Mayor to die in office after falling down the Town Hall steps in 1943) and the forgetable (traffic wardens first appeared in July 1966), its twelve pages make for fascinating browsing.

Maps are an increasingly popular source for local historians and Kirklees have produced a useful new folio Huddersfield: A Map Collection 1634 to 1980 (£15.95p folio, maps £2.50p sepia or £3 coloured). This isn't a straight re-issue of the folio published in 1971, its seven plates inciude some new prints as well as old favourites such as the 1634 Almondbury and 1826 "Goose Pudding" maps.

Collections of “bygone" photographs have become such a staple part of local history publishing, that a year hardly seems compiete without at least one new dose of visual nostalgia hitting the bookshops. This year is no exception, but the current offering, Huddersfield: Snapshots in Time, compiied by our own Secretary, is unusual in that its photographs


Page 13

are all of such recent date, c.1940-1990. However, by showing the changes that have occured in such a short period, this book does vividly illustrate the point that what today seems familiar and commonplace will soon be tomorrow's local history.

Current preoccupations with the “poll tax" and the role and functions of government give a particular relevance to a new study of the formative years of the present system. John Prest's Liberty and Locality: Parliament, Permissive Legislation and Ratepayer's Democracies in the Nineteenth Century (0.U.P. 1990) is a solidly academic, though not as formidable as it sounds, study of the effects of two major Acts as applied to Huddersfield and Isle of Wight. The Acts in question are the Public Health Act of 1848 and the Local Government Act of 1858, but the real fascination lies in the descriptions of the passionate, if parochial, politics of the mid-nineteenth century when localities such as Fartown, Lockwood and Moldgreen fought for survival against Huddersfield, the two Marsdens battled against each other and Newsome seceded from Almondbury. As the author points out “every few hundred yards there really is another locality with its own sense of identity and an earnest desire not to be taken for a ride by its neighbours". Some might say that little has changed since then!

Nine centuries earlier, Honley made its brief appearance in the Domesday Book and a pamphiet by John Avison describes the meagre appearance of Haneleia in Domesday: Honley tn 1086. Described hopefully, as the “first of a series of historical guides to our village" it costs £1.20p from its author.

Returning to more recent times the Local History Library has received a thesis written by one of the Society's former members. Alan J Brooke's Soctal and Political Response to Industrialisation in the Huddersfield Area c.1790 to 1850 covers one of the most important periods in the town's history. The author examines the development of the factory system from its troubled beginnings, when popular unrest made Huddersfield “the metropolis of discontent", through various other forms of radicalism such as the Ten Hour movement and Chartism to the relative Stability of the 1850s when the “culture of the factory" absorbed both workers and employers.

By one of those coincidences that seems too unlikely to be true, the suffragette Dora Marsden was actually born in the village of that name just over a century ago. From humble beginnings she established herself in the world of education before becoming an official of the Pankhurst's Women's Social and Political Union, a position that brought her national prominence and some notoriety. This rapid rise, together with the editorship of her own weekly review made her one of the leading feminists of the day, a role now chronicled in Les Garner's study A Brave and Beautiful Spirit: Dora Marsden 1882-1960. ‘Avebury, 2£28.50p). Much of her career was, inevitably, spent away from this area, but she did accompany the Pankhursts to her home town for the remarkable by- election of 1907, which was described in issue no. 9 of the Mewsletter.

Page 14

EE EEE EEE EEE ; INDEX TO ISSUES 1 to 10 ESSE EEE EEE From this issue the Newsletter becomes the Journal after a life of eight years. The first issue, published in the Autumn of 1983, was largely devoted to Society news, but its editor expressed the hope that members would “look upon it as a medium for the publication of their articles" and other historical research. The results are contained in the following index which members might find both interesting and a possible source of inspiration in their own researches. HUDDERSFIELD LOCAL HISTORY SOCTETY NEWSLETTER. An index of articles published in numbers 1 to 10 (1983 to 1990). ARMY RECRUITMENT. Recruits for the haver cake lads. By J H Rumsby, 2, 1984 BICKERSTETH'S VISITATION. Bishop Bickersteth's visitation at Huddersfield, 1858. By J Addy, 5, 1986. CANALS. Some notes on the Huddersfield Shipping Company and its associates. By E AH Haigh, 1, 1983 DYESTUFES. Read Holliday and Sons. By J F I Whittell, 2, 1988. EYRE, Adam (Diarist). In the steps of Adam Eyre. Report of excursions, 2, 1988. LASCELLES HALL. Lascelles Hall. By K Brockhill, 4, 1985. LUDDITES. Luddites in my life. By L Kipling, 8, 1988. MARKETS. Markets, fairs and tolls in Huddersfield. By E Law, 3, 1985. MARSDEN. Early Marsden mills. By A Brooke, 4, 1985. MARSDEN, Isaac (Methodist preacher). Isaac Marsden. By T Wainwright, 9, 1989. MELLOR, Wright (Freeman). Wright Mellor of Huddersfield. By H W Mellor, 10, 1990. PONTEY, Willian. Villiam Pontey: Huddersfield's 19th century Evelyn. By E Law, 8, 1988. RADCLIFFE, Sir David. Sir David Radcliffe: a great Victorian son of Huddersfield. By E Law, 8, 1988. SKELMANTHORPE. Origins of Skelmanthorpe Board School. By T Wainwright, 3, 1985. SMALLPOX. Smallpox in the Holme Valley 1892/3. By J B Eagles, 6, 1987. STEPHENSON, Clifford. Eighty years remembered 1906-1986, Part 1. By C Stephenson, 10, 1990. SUFFRAGETTES. Never was there such a time: Huddersfield Suffragettes in 1907. By J M Stevens, 9, 1989. _ THORNHILL. Report of excursion, 7, 1988. VENN, Henry. Reverend Henry Venn. By DB Foss, 7, 1988. WOODSOME HALL. Report of excursion, 10, 1990.


Page 16

Editor: Mr. K. Brockhill, 52 Croft Gardens, Birkby, Huddersfield.

Return to the Huddersfield Exposed home page
View the list of other OCR'd books