Huddersfield Local History Society: Journal 29 (2018) 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

Huddersfield Local History Society




Page 2

HUDDERSFIELD LOCAL HISTORY SOCIETY was formed in 1977. It was established to create a means by which peoples of all levels of experience could share their common interests in the history of Huddersfield and district. We recognise that Huddersfield enjoys a rich historical heritage. It is the home town of prime ministers and Hollywood stars; the birthplace of Rugby League and famous Olympic athletes; it has more buildings than Bath listed for historical or architectural interest; it had the first municipal trams and some of the first council housing; its radical heritage includes the Luddites, suffragettes, pacifists and other campaigners for change.

MEMBERSHIP of the Society runs from 1° September until 31° August and the present subscriptions (2018/19) per year are:

Individual membership £10 Double membership £15

Group membership £15

Double membership consists of two named persons using a single address and receiving one copy of the Society’s Journal. Cheques should be made payable to Huddersfield Local History Society and sent to the Membership Secretary (address inside back cover) or submitted at a Society meeting. Payment by annual Standing Order is encouraged and a form may be downloaded from our website, which also allows online payment.

MEETINGS: The Society organises a full programme of meetings each year and the programme for 2018/19 is published in this Journal (page 6). Our Monday evening meetings commence at 7.30pm. Visitors are welcome at a charge of £2 per meeting.

PUBLICATIONS: The Huddersfield Local History Society Journal is produced on an annual basis, free to members and at a cost of £4.00 to non-members. In addition, the Society publishes books which are listed separately in this Journal (pages 7-8), together with details of prices and how they may be purchased.

Front and Back Cover Photos © Andy Hemingway (Castle Hill at Sunset, Buckstones and Pule Hill); © Dave Pattern (Cloth Hall Tower and Ravensknowle Park with Tolson Museum); © Kirklees Image Archive (Lockwood Viaduct and Huddersfield c. 1960); © Kirklees Museums and Galleries (Florence Lockwood Suffragist Banner c. 1907-1910).

Page 3



The Ukrainian float in Westgate taking part in the Huddersfield Borough Centenary Pageant in 1968 marking 100 years of Huddersfield having its own elected council. Photograph ©Huddersfield Local Studies Library, Kirklees Libraries.

In July 2018, Huddersfield celebrates the 150° anniversary of Incorporation as a municipal borough. The events which are taking place to mark this occasion provide an opportunity to reflect on our town’s rich history and think about its future.

Would you like to submit an article for inclusion in the Journal? The Society welcomes photographs, letters, original articles, diary extracts, and other research items no longer than 3000 words on any aspects of local history.

Please send items for publication to the editor at: The deadline for submission of copy for the 2019/20 Journal, Issue 30, will be Monday, 31 December 2018. A ‘Style Guide’ is available on the HLHS website for members wishing to produce articles and the Society offers help for those less confident in using a computer.

Page 4

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

Published by Huddersfield Local History Society

Printed by Charlesworth Press Flanshaw Way, Wakefield, WF2 9LP, UK

ISSN 2049-8403

© Huddersfield Local History Society 2018

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the Editor.

The content of this publication does not reflect the official opinion of the Huddersfield Local History Society. Responsibility for the information and views expressed in the Huddersfield Local History Society Journal therein lies entirely with the author(s).

Page 5

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

CONTENTS EDITORIAL History Written by the People and for the People Frank 4 NEWS AND EVENTS The Society’s Programme of Events 2018-2019 6 The Society’s 7 Edward Law History 9 The Society’s Website — Huddersfield 150 Page 10 Kirklees Heritage 12 Our Heritage Partnerships 13 DISAPPEAFING CULIOSITIOS 14 ARTICLES Death on the Home Front PAM 16 Homes Fit for Heroes: Victory Avenue CHriStiINE 25 Under Castle Hill: Finding Home from Home in Huddersfield PHIL 34 Marsden Manor — The Metropolitan Connection Peter 44

Chief Constable Ward’s ‘Pleasant Trip’ to Spain: A Tale of Embezzlement, Extradition and the Enforcement of the Law in Victorian Huddersfield David TAylOr 52 Dispersal Bussing in Huddersfield during the 1960s and 1970s: Solving ‘the Problem’ of Immigrant Children

JOC HOPKINSON 59 George Faulkner Armitage: An[Other] Arts and Crafts Designer in Huddersfield David GFiffiths ccc 70

Two Huddersfield Politicians and their Connections with the Wessenden Valley, Marsden

CHiStING 79 Our Local ‘Order of Chivalry’: Huddersfield’s Jubilee Freemen in 1918 ANNE BrOOKe 86 Huddersfield’s Legal and Political Pioneer: Mary E. Sykes (1896 — 1981) Katie BrOOMfPield 94 BOOK REVIEWS The Villas of Edgerton reviewed by Alan Brooke, Poverty is Relative reviewed by Keith Brockhill, Huddersfield in the Great War reviewed by Mark Butterfield.................. 102 OBITUARIES AND DEATH NOTICES 108

Page 6

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

EDITORIAL: History Written by the People and for the People Dear readers,

You are holding a new issue of the Society’s Journal with Florence Lockwood’s I suffragist banner displayed on the back cover. This is a symbolical way of marking the role local women played in the nationwide struggle to win the right to vote, an ambition partially materialised in 1918.

This year’s Journal, the product of a great collective effort, provides a colourful palette of stories organised into three broad themes. As we are marking the centenary of the First World War Armistice, it felt only appropriate to start the collection with the ‘War and Peace’ theme. Though it is a disturbing story, Pam Brooke, the winner of this year’s Edward Law History Prize, presents the war machine in its crude essence: dark, ruthless and painful. Looking at the tragic fate of one Slaithwaite family, she shows how suicide could become one of the responses to the pressures of the life on the Home Front.

Following the war’s conclusion, local authorities were faced with new practical concerns. Drawing on a case study of one Huddersfield Street, Christine Verguson describes Huddersfield Corporation’s efforts to alleviate post-war housing shortage and provide homes for returning soldiers and their families.

Inspired by memorial stones at Edgerton Cemetery and their diverse stories, Phil Wood uncovers the intricate links between seemingly unrelated spaces by reconstructing a narrative of war and migration which could represent the life story of not just one but countless individuals who arrived in Britain in the aftermath of the Second World War.

The next thematic section ‘Huddersfield District and Beyond’ offers a broad selection of histories, some of which have national and even global reach. Peter Whitehead, our new member from New Zealand, investigates an unknown episode from the history of his birthplace, Marsden, when it was in the ownership of the City of London.

Well-known to local readers is Professor David Taylor, an expert on Victorian policing, who explores the attitudes of the late-Victorian era towards the punishment of white- collar criminals. He does this by following an extraordinary journey of Huddersfield’s Chief Constable to the Iberian Peninsula in pursuit of the local fraudster.

Page 7

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

Joe Hopkinson showcases his pioneering research on the dispersal of New Commonwealth children into schools in the Huddersfield area. Revealing the racialised attitudes towards migrants at that time, Joe views this (mal)practice of ‘bussing’ as a highly problematic attempt to integrate the children.

However, the greatest local cause for celebration in 2018 is the 150" anniversary of the Incorporation of the Huddersfield Borough, hence the theme ‘The Makers of Our Town’. In recognition of this milestone authors present life stories of some notable personalities who in various ways shaped local life. Building on his acclaimed research on Edgerton’s architectural landscape in the 19" century, David Griffiths looks at the less well-known work of the interior designer George Faulkner Armitage, who left his signature on several grand houses in the area.

Focusing on the early years of the Borough, Christine Piper writes about James Crosland and Sir Joseph Crosland (both prominent politicians heavily involved with the work of the Corporation) and their curious encounters with the Wessenden Valley.

Anne Brook presents six further individuals who received the Honorary Freedom of the Borough in 1918, an ‘order of local chivalry’ pioneered by Huddersfield and Hull. Charting their greatest achievements, she indicates that the town was no provincial backwater but was linked with the national and international developments of its day.

In celebrating women’s agency in public life, Katie Broomfield profiles the remarkable career and longstanding involvement in local politics of Mary Elaine Sykes, Huddersfield’s first woman solicitor and first woman Mayor.

We constantly keep looking for ways of improving our readers’ experience. Having in mind those who do not live locally or who prefer reading the Journal electronically, we have recently introduced a PDF version which can be downloaded directly from our website. The Society will also be making its back run of older newsletters and journals will be freely available to download so please spread the word about these changes!

The best thing about this publication is its democratic nature recognising the fact that anyone can appreciate it and contribute to its ever-growing record of Huddersfield’s past. The chief objective of the Journal is to help everyone discover the historian within themselves and encourage the widest possible participation in the making of our town’s history so that it becomes a history written by the people and for the people. I sincerely hope that this year’s Journal provides a humble contribution to this goal!

Frank Grombir, Editor

Page 8

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

Huddersfield Local PROGRAMME OF EVENTS, 2018-2019 H History S! Society 24 September 2018 Trevor Ellis

The Standedge Tunnels

29 October 2018 AGM Richard Heath

Colne Bridge Fire


Women’s Suffrage

26 November 2018 Christine Hallett

Nurses of Passchendaele

28 January 2019 Emma King

Holocaust Learning Centre

25 February 2019 Joe Hopkinson

Dispersal Bussing in Huddersfield during the 1960s and 1970s: Solving ‘the Problem’ of Immigrant Children

25 March 2019 Stephen Caunce

You Always Remember Your Co-op Number: The Rise of the People’s Own Shops

29 April 2019 LUDDITE MEMORIAL LECTURE Janette Martin 20 May 2019 Speaker TBC 24 June 2019 EXCURSION Place TBC November 2019 STUDY DAY Place TBC

Landed Estates: Ramsden, Thornhill, Savile


Page 9

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal


As well as our annual Journal, the Society has a range of booklets in print, as follows:

“Yours for Eternity” A Romance of the Great War Edited by John H Rumsby (ISBN 978 9509134 9 0)

£5.00 plus postage and packing

Joseph Brook of Greenhead

Joseph Brook of Greenhead

ee es ‘Father of the Town’

ene al

By David Griffiths (ISBN 978 9509134 8 3)

£6.00 plus postage and packing

Liberty or Death: Radicals, Republicans and Luddites, 1793-1823 Gisery ov Tea By Alan Brooke and Lesley Kipling lee. aera (ISBN 978 9509134 7 6)

£8.00 plus postage and packing

Huddersfield in the 1820s By Edward J Law (ISBN 978 950913 4 5 2)

£6.00 plus postage and packing

Page 10

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

Pioneers or Partisans? Governing Huddersfield, 1820-48 By David Griffiths (ISBN 978 9509134 4 5)

£5.00 plus postage and packing

PRINTERS PAIFITSRA Ne Governing Huddersfield


BUILDER OF Joseph Kaye,

to 1858

Builder of Huddersfield, c. 1779-1858 By Edward J Law (ISBN 9509134 1 3)

£2.50 plus postage and packing

John Benson Pritchett: First Medical Officer of Health for Huddersfield By J B Eagles (ISBN 95091350 5)

£1.50 plus postage and packing




Queen Street Chapel and Mission Huddersfield By Edward Royle (ISBN 9509134 2 1)

£4.00 plus postage and packing

All the above are available from HLHS, 24 Sunnybank Rd, Huddersfield, HD3 3DE, with a cheque payable to Huddersfield Local History Society, or via our website,, with secure on-line payment by PayPal. PLEASE ADD POSTAGE AND PACKING AS FOLLOWS: £1.75 for one item, £2.50

for two items, £3.00 for three or more items.

Look out for the Society’s bookstall, at our meetings and other local events, which also carries a wide

range of local history materials from other publishers.

Page 11

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal


The Edward Law History Prize was set up in 2017 by Huddersfield Local History Society in recognition of our member and prolific local historian, Edward Law, who died in 2013.

The Society is convinced there is a great talent and enthusiasm for the history of the place and its people. This modest competition, open to all ages, and in partnership with the University of Huddersfield, West Yorkshire Branch of the Historical Association, Huddersfield Exposed and Kirklees Libraries, is about tapping into that talent, recognising it and sharing it more widely. Edward Law (1945 - 2013)

We are pleased to announce that the panel of four judges comprising members of the society and our partners has unanimously agreed on this year’s winner, Pam Brooke, whose winning article is published in this Journal (pp. 16 - 24) and on the Society’s website. We very much hope that Pam’s success will encourage others to follow in her footsteps and attract a growing number of entries.

If you would like to enter the 2019 competition, please forward your expression of interest to the Society’s publicity officer at: The closing date for entries is Thursday, 31 January 2019.

The competition is open to anyone who has not previously published any historical research. Unlike last year, there are no age categories. Instead, the Society has decided to award the £150 long-essay prize for submissions of 2500 to 3000 words, and the £50 short-essay prize for submissions of 500-800 words.

Please spread the word about this new initiative and keep an eye on the Society’s website and other publicity material for more details.

Frank Grombir, Editor HUDDERSFIELD 7 LOCAL oq HISTORY iret Libraries.

University of HUDDERSFIELD

Inspiring professionals

Huddersfield Exposed

The Historical Association

The voice for history

Page 12

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal


Huddersfield 150 — Celebrating civic achievement

Huddersfield was granted a Royal Charter as a Municipal Borough on 7 July 1868. Working with a wide range of partners, Huddersfield Local History Society has taken the initiative to arrange a series of commemorative events for the 150th anniversary, from July through to November.

aS NEY \

\" “2 commemoration of the Bubifee of theoooo ~~ Incorporation of the Borough 00000000 6° “Presented to each Schotar in attendance at © thé Schoots of the Isocaf @ducation Huthority.

Town Hall Pe September, eee MAO RR SS HUDDERSFIELD. —— 1918.

Card presented to each school child in commemoration of the Golden Jubilee of the Incorporation, 1918. Image courtesy of Huddersfield Local Studies Library, Kirklees Libraries.

Our own main contribution will be publication of a collection of essays focussing on the first fifty years. We hope this book, Making Up for Lost Time: The Pioneering Years of Huddersfield Corporation, will be available to launch on 7 July — watch this space for further details. The title recalls that, compared with its neighbours, Huddersfield was 20 years late in achieving Borough status — but, within 15 years of inception, was managing markets, water and gas supply, tramways, the police force and fire brigade, some of the country’s earliest Council housing and much more besides.

Also opening on 7 July, at the University of Huddersfield, will be an exhibition on the Borough’s history, developed jointly by the Heritage Quay and the West Yorkshire Archive Service (Kirklees). Centred at Heritage Quay (in the University’s Frederick Schwann Building), the weekend of 7-8 July will also see a ceremony with Mayor of Kirklees, local dignitaries and young people who will have taken part in school-based


Page 13

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

Charter-making and poetry workshops in June, facilitated by CHOL Theatre Co and local poet Rose Condo. Workshops and short talks will also be on offer to the public and families during the weekend.

That weekend, on Sunday 8 July, Discover Huddersfield will also conduct a guided walk around early municipal landmarks and launch a new town trail on the theme. Borough Councils were a step along the way to greater democracy, and in the afternoon a second walk will celebrate the centenary of most women gaining the vote in 1918. This will complement a Vote 100 exhibition at the Tolson Museum, opening on 28 April.

The summer months will also see displays on the incorporation theme in Kirklees libraries.

Looking further ahead, Kirklees Council plan to mark two other key anniversary dates:

e 7 September 1868 saw the first meeting of the new Corporation. In 2018 we hope that date will see free tours of the Town Hall and other activities, as part of this year’s Heritage Open Days festival. e 2 November 1868 saw the first ordinary elections to the Corporation, which will be marked by more events at the Town Hall, including re-enactments involving local schools at Huddersfield Town Hall, with the Mayor and local councillors invited.

The full programme of events is still being developed, so follow our website for updated details. If you would like to contribute an event of your own, or have mementoes of the Corporation to share, please use our contact form and we will put you in touch with the most appropriate partner organisation.


The Huddersfield Exposed website also provides information that may be of interest to anyone researching this topic. This includes: details of the Local Boards (formed from 1859 onwards), transcriptions of newspaper articles about the Incorporation of Huddersfield, chronology of Acts of Parliament (including some transcriptions), Municipal Borough of Huddersfield (1868-1889), County Borough of Huddersfield (1889-1974).

Please keep an eye on our website as we'll be adding more information and resources over the coming weeks and months!

David Griffiths, 20 March 2018


Page 14

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal


Kirklees Heritage Forum is an informal body which aims to list what has been written about the minority ethnic and religious groups which have resided or settled in Kirklees and to encourage further research and writing about their histories. An audit of what has been done so far can be found on the Migrations page on the Society’s website.

Huddersfield Local History Society continues to encourage the objectives of the Forum. The 2017/18 Journal contained articles by Waseem Riaz on the development of the Pakistani community in Heckmondwike and by Razia Parveen on South Asian food and song.

The Discover Huddersfield Guided Walks programme for 2017 also drew attention to the diversity of the Huddersfield community. John Lambe explored places associated with Irish immigrants and a walk entitled ‘Exploring Huddersfield’s Caribbean Heritage’ visited places associated with the Huddersfield’s Caribbean community.

= ~~ s

> ‘ > mn i , - : a > ; ~~ : —_ er 1} e I moar Bi Poe vey ii ‘ — roi ve 366 ri +> Si = , ee Sn ” oo * 4@« ‘ee ‘+e * +e ~ © ©) Ge “we * e ° - 16


‘ ide ee er

2018 marks 70 years since the arrival of the first group of Caribbean migrants on the HMS Empire Windrush who came to fill Britain’s post-war labour shortages. Photo © IWM (FL 9448).

These additions to the record are very encouraging. However, there is still much to be done to identify and preserve the records of the various groups which have made their homes in this area. Anyone interested in supporting the objectives of the Forum please contact Bill Roberts at

Bill Roberts, Kirklees Heritage Forum Coordinator


Page 15

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal


HLHS continues to play an active part in two significant partnerships celebrating local heritage.

Discover Huddersfield published new Building Stones and University Campus trails over the last year, bringing the range of printed town trails to over a dozen. In the pipeline for this year are two more, on civic heritage to mark the Borough’s 150 years and on Lindley, both contributed by HLHS members. The walks brochure and the printed trails are widely’ available across the and_ at

a a I om ot oO. =) I b— a i) =

Meanwhile the joint HLHS/Huddersfield Civic Society initiative some years ago to revitalise Heritage Open Days locally has now spawned the Kirklees Heritage Open Days Committee (which I chair), involving the Holme Valley and Spen Valley civic societies as well as established Huddersfield partners. So popular has the national festival become that it will now extend across two ‘weekends’, September 6-9 and 13- 16. The local brochure should be out, and national website ( open for bookings from about 15 August. Free (but bookable) DH walks for HODs will cover women’s suffrage, historic Almondbury and ‘Exploding Huddersfield’!

The expanded DH walks programme is always in need of volunteers to support the walk leaders, collect money, ensure nobody gets lost, and so forth — and perhaps in due course to lead walks themselves. Anybody interested in helping is welcome to make contact with the volunteer co-ordinator, Maureen Mitchell, via

David Griffiths, HLHS rep to Discover Huddersfield


Page 16

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal


The Kirklees Curiosities website continues to grow. With such a wide reference area I’m sure there is still much more material to keep us busy. I have just added a photograph of the clock tower at Mount Pleasant School, Lockwood. Built in 1875, it is earmarked for demolition in 2018.

We have discovered a lot of famous people relating to the Kirklees area and often there are Curiosities that can be linked to them. Some of the more famous ones include musician Wallace Hartley who was band leader on the Titanic. The house where he lived in Dewsbury has a Blue Plaque. England footballer Stanley Matthews had his football boots made at Goliath Boots, based at Brunswick Mills, Heckmondwike, still in existence. We have discovered famous artists, philanthropists, manufacturers, architects, business people and sports people from the area.

A new addition to our collection of ghost signs advertising Henry Leadbeater Gledhill’s plumbing business (est. 1852) in Heckmondwike. Photo by Linda Smith.

We are always on the lookout for any unusual stories, items, etc. that we can add to our project. You can contact us by email at or by phone 01484 221000 ext. 79753.

Our next Kirklees Curiosities talks take place on Monday 13 August, 2pm at Thornhill Methodist Church, and on Wednesday 5 September, 12.30 at Greenhead Park Community Rooms (in the café building by the tennis courts).

Carol Hardy, Kirklees Curiosities Coordinator


Page 17


Page 18

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal


Pam Brooke

Much has been written about the Military Service Act and the operation of Tribunals however this has mostly focused on the outcome for conscientious objectors and little has been written about those who sought exemption on other One particularly tragic case from the Colne Valley illustrates the wide repercussions that the refusal of one man’s application for exemption had on both his family and the wider community.

On Wednesday 28 November 1916, at Slaithwaite Town Hall, 62-year-old James Shaw, blacksmith and hill farmer appeared before the local Tribunal to request an extension to his son’s Exemption Certificate. Charles, aged 28, he said, was his only son and worked with him in the blacksmith shop and on the farm. Depicting himself to be ‘a poor talker’ James presented his case in a written statement which the military representative described as ‘resembling a sermon’. In response James explained that he was a regular worshipper at Pole Moor Baptist Chapel, Scammonden.?

New Gate Farm cottage as seen today. Photo by the author.

1 Cyril Pearce, Comrades in Conscience: The story of an English community’s opposition to the Great War, 2™4 Edition (Francis Boutle, London: 2014), p. 134 2 Colne Valley Guardian [hereafter CVG], 1 December 1916


Page 19

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

The statement gave a detailed account of the circumstances justifying exemption: his son began to milk aged nine and farmed their 14 acres of land for 23 head of cattle — including a dairy, together with six more acres under the plough for food production. He had learned blacksmithing at the age of ten and worked alongside his father in the smithy. 35 tons of iron had recently been purchased for orders of field gates, an order not possible for a man to complete alone. Anxious that the Tribunal would not think his son a shirker, James declared that ‘every man ought to do his duty today; could his son do war work in Huddersfield?’ To which Capt. Mallalieu replied: ‘No. He is too young. They won’t give any single men badges now.’ Unmoved by James’ plea, the Tribunal withdrew the certificate. ‘I’d rather you hadn’t done so,’ responded James, ‘it is hardly fair to stop a business that has been going for forty years’. ‘When told he could petition the Appeals Tribunal, he replied ‘If not successful, I would like time to sell up’.? Sadly, the business was sold, not by James, but his older brother Joseph, the executor of his estate.

Responsibility for appointing local Tribunals lay with the local authority. In Huddersfield it was the practice to submit all applications first to the Military Representative and his Advisory Committee. The full Tribunals, briefed and prepared by the Military Advisory Committee, dealt with refusals and those cases requiring extra consideration.* In 1916 the majority of applications to Tribunals were for economic or work reasons. ‘Men could be exempt if they were in work seen as essential to the war effort - such as specialist manufacturing, mining, and farming’.° Intended to be impartial, members brought with them the views they had absorbed from the patriotic press, or from friends, who urged them ‘to teach the slackers a lesson.’ Pleas like ‘people must have clogs,’ were countered by the military representative’s view ‘the Army must have men’.®

Powerless to make his voice heard, his life’s work trivialised and his inner-resources inadequate to deal with the Tribunal’s earth-shattering decision, the following morning James Shaw sent his son to Slaithwaite Town Hall for the appeal papers, locked his house door, then, after a desperate struggle, first hanged his wife from the banister rail and then himself. The terrible scene that met Charles upon his return and the effect on his sanity is almost impossible to contemplate. After cutting his parents down, Charles ran to get the assistance of Arnold Jackson who lived on a nearby farm. A policeman fetched his sister Edna from Clough House Mills where she was employed as a weaver.

3 Ibid. 4 Pearce, Comrades in Conscience, p. 161 ° Matt Brosnan quoted in Chris Long, ‘World War One: Military service tribunals and those who did not fight’, BBC News, 9 November 2014; Available [online] at: < 29954113> © Ernest Sackville Turner, Dear Old Blighty (Joseph, London: 1980)


Page 20

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

Farm outbuildings as seen today, New Gate, Slaithwaite. Photo by the author.

The following day’s Colne Valley Guardian’s headline ‘A Terrible Double Tragedy at Slaithwaite’ and graphic account of the incident must have further distressed readers already traumatised by unremitting War Office reports of the death and injury of their loved ones.’ A further Guardian report captures the mood of the people:

We are living in strenuous, nerve-racking times. No sooner are we through mental shock than we are hurled into a greater. Last Thursday noon a thrill of horror went through the Colne Valley when it became known that a double tragedy had been enacted in a lonely homestead adjoining the Slaithwaite moors.

Mr and Mrs Shaw were well known in the district, described by neighbours and acquaintances as a quiet, respectable and unassuming couple — ‘the father being taken up with his blacksmith business next to their cottage in New Gate, the mother attending to the home comforts of the father and ason and daughter’. No reason could be found for their terrible action.®

James and Betty had married on 23 March 1895; she a spinster of 28, he a widower and father aged 40.° James’ first wife Elizabeth had died in May 1894 when their children Edna and Charles were just three and New Gate had been home to James for most of his life, his parents having lived there before him.** Some years

7 CVG, 1 December 1916 8 CVG, 8 December 1916 9 10 Gravestone inscription, Pole Moor Baptist Chapel 111881 UK Census


Page 21

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

earlier he had purchased a new house in Royd Street Hilltop, a more thickly populated part of the township, but their daughter Edna’s poor health caused the family to move away from the noxious smog of mill chimneys and reeking gas works and return to their former home close by their blacksmithing shop on the edge of the moors and

cleaner air.?2 sit in } = : Be fae


New Gate well, adjacent to the farm buildings where the tragedy took place. It is not known if the cryptic inscription relates to these events. Photo by the author.

The Shaw family were staunch chapel goers; James’s brother Joseph had a family pew at Pole Moor Baptist Chapel and it is more than likely that there would have been plans to attend the popular Messiah Service which was held there on Sunday 3 December.*? Instead, the following day, Monday 4 December, James and Betty were buried together in the chapel’s cemetery in the same grave as Elizabeth, James’s first wife. **

‘Behold and see if there be any sorrow. He was cut off out of the land of the living.

But thou didst not leave his soul in hell’.?°

12 CVG, 1 December 1916 13 Andrea Crawshaw and Marjorie Wilkinson, Tabernacle on the Hill, A History of Pole Moor Baptist Chapel Scammonden 1787 — 1987 (Private, 1987); CVG, 8 December 1916 14 James Shaw burial certificate No. 4315 15 G F Handel, The Messiah Oratorio, Part Two pp. 30, 31, 32


Page 22

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

How poignant the words from the Messiah must have seemed to family, friends and neighbours on that freezing, snow-covered December day, muffled up in thick shawls and scarves against the piercing cold winds that sneak year-long through Pole Chapel’s bleak hilltop cemetery; silent in their respect for the deceased. Deacon David Shaw conducted the burial, surprisingly four days before the inquest and ruling of the Coroner.*© At this dark depressing time when need for spiritual guidance was at its greatest the chapel was without a minister, Rev. Raikes Davies having left in October 1915 to support the war effort, and no replacement being found until February 1917 when Rev. Titherington accepted the post.?”

Initially most Baptists had reconciled their conscience to the necessity of But by the end of 1916, hostility to warfare was beginning to replace patriotic fervour; many fathers, sons and husbands had been killed in action, reported missing or wounded. On 9 October 1916, Florence Lockwood reported in her diary ‘80 wounded soldiers in our workhouse again, and ‘the wounded are returning from the front in such numbers it is hard to find places for Many who had not fought endured the same hardships as the soldiers, and for some the suffering had been just as great. There would have been public sympathy for the family.


In the year 1823 it was enacted that the body of a suicide should be buried privately between the hours of nine and twelve at night, with no religious ceremony. In 1882 this law was altered by the Interments (felo de se) Act 1882, where every penalty was removed except ‘that internment could not be solemnised by a burial service, and the body may now be committed to the earth at any time, and with such rites or prayers as those in charge of the funeral think fit or may be able to Before the Suicide Act of 1961, it was a crime to commit suicide, and anyone who attempted and failed could be prosecuted and imprisoned, while the families of those who succeeded could also potentially be prosecuted. Suicide is also forbidden by church doctrine. Up to 2017 at some Anglican churches suicides of sound mind may still not have been buried with full Anglican rites.2? However, Baptists believe the Spirit of Christ leads the church locally and that worshippers should associate together to decide on their teaching.

46 Pole Moor Baptist chapel burial certificate, No. 4315 17 Crawshaw and Wilkinson, Tabernacle on the Hill, p. 44 18 Paul R. Dekar, ‘Twentieth-Century British Baptist Conscientious Objectors,’ Baptist Quarterly, 35:1, 1993, p. 36; Keith W. Clements, ‘Baptists and the Outbreak of the First World War,’ Baptist Quarterly, 26:2, 1975, p. 75; Baptist Times, 25 September 2014 19 West Yorkshire Archives Service (hereafter WYAS), Florence Lockwood Diaries, KC 329 20 The Law Times, Vol. 96, 1893, p. 408 21 The Times, 11 July 2017


Page 23

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

Faith challenged by the Tribunal’s decision, prayers seemingly unheard, there would have seemed no end to James’s pain and it is impossible to comprehend the intolerable struggle that must have taken place in his conscience prior to taking the life of his wife, then his own. As a practising Christian he would have believed the value of life to be sacred, that to usurp God’s right to determine the time of one’s death the most elementary sin. Forty years a blacksmith and farmer with failing health (the inquest revealed that his post mortem had discovered a weak heart) he would have known that to continue labour intensive blacksmithing and farming without the help of his son would be impossible. When told by the Tribunal he could appeal to the Appeals Tribunal in Huddersfield, he had replied that he would like time to sell up if unsuccessful. He must have believed refusal inevitable, the future intolerable. Incapable of practising his trade alone, he would have feared destitution, of becoming a burden on others, he may have felt it his duty to protect his wife from the shame of the workhouse.

Betty’s family lived at Spring Head next door to Joseph and his wife Emily, who were childless.2* Joseph took responsibility for the funerals and acknowledgements and initially Edna and Charles moved in with them. Betty’s death had been brutally executed. At the inquest the doctor said there was considerable deep bruising and abrasions to her skin and that great violence must have been used before she was ‘strung up’ and that she would have suffered a slow and painful death. The conflict of emotions between neighbours, the torn loyalties are inconceivable.

The inquest took place at 5.00pm, Friday 8 December at Upper Slaithwaite Church School.”? Delayed by 45 minutes due to dense fog, it would also have been dark since lighting up time was 4.28pm and all lights down at 4.58pm because of the blackout. It lasted three hours. The jury listened to the long and searching enquiry into the circumstances surrounding the deaths. The unanimous verdict that James had murdered his wife then committed suicide in a temporary fit of insanity took only two or three minutes but was rejected by the Coroner who said there was no evidence as to the state of the man’s mind.** The mind of James at the time of death — the fruit of his action, lives in the conscience of others. Providential perhaps that the church burial had already taken place!

Two months later Charles was sent to Rugeley Camp, Cannock Chase (Staffordshire), to join his new battalion and commence his military training.2? There were two large camps on Cannock Chase: Rugeley and Brocton, both camps could hold up to 40,000 men at one time and trained upwards of 500,000 men. They had all their own

221911 UK Census 23 CVG, 8 December 1916 24 The Law Times, Vol. 96, 1893, p. 408 25 CVG, 5 April 1917


Page 24

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

amenities including a church, post offices and a bakery as well as amenity huts where the troops could buy coffee and cakes or play billiards. There was even a theatre. ‘The soldiers were responsible for the preparation of their own food and for keeping their

living quarters clean’.?°

~~ aor, 7


Es rit ne I Bs —. I oe ea =.‘ eae ¥ oe I «

a , ~ ‘ “6 4 ’ Se a

i :

Cannock Chase Military Hospital. Image courtesy of Trevor Warburton, Friends of Cannock Chase.

Four weeks into his training, Charles was admitted into Brindley Heath military hospital.2” Built in 1916 Brindley Heath served both camps and the returning war wounded. It could accommodate 1,000 soldiers in twelve wards and specialised in war neuroses and other mental health problems.22 New thinking during the First World War shaped and defined mental sickness; the term ‘shellshock’ was given medical credibility by C. S. Myers in The Lancet published in February 1915. Doctors treating Charles would have been aware of the tragic deaths of his father and step mother, his gruesome discovery of their bodies, loss of home and livelihood; they would have understood his mental anguish but were unable to heal him. Two weeks later, whilst still in hospital, he ended his own life by undisclosed means.

Uncle Joseph received a telegram informing him of his nephew’s death and went immediately to the camp where, upon his arrival, he found the inquest to be in progress. The jury returned a verdict of ‘suicide whilst of unsound mind’.”? The Colne Valley Guardian report says: ‘It was thought that the recent distressing tragedy had got on his nerves.’°° Charles’ body was brought back to Slaithwaite; he was interred on

26 Staffordshire County Council, ‘Life in the camps — A soldier’s perspective: Erskine Williams’, Available [online] at: <> 27 CVG, 5 April 1917 28 BBC, ‘World War One at Home - Brindley Heath, Staffordshire: Mental Health Treatments’, Broadcast on 6 November 2014; Available [online] at: <> 22 CVG, 5 April 1917 30 Ibid.


Page 25

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

Wednesday 4 April 1917 in the same grave as his parents and stepmother.** Pole Moor’s new minister, the Rev J. W. Titherington officiated.*? Weather reports for that week tell of abnormal snowfalls and arctic weather conditions that have prevailed since last October, the temperature of 13.1 Fahrenheit (-10 degrees Celsius), was the lowest ever recorded in Slaithwaite.*? On 31 March 1917, Florence Lockwood records in her diary ‘terrible weather, continual snow’. To Charles’s family, friends and neighbours it would have been a horrendous replay of his parent’s funeral ceremony. For Edna, so recently orphaned, the loss of Charles her only sibling, must have seemed like the end of the world. The Guardian’s description of her farmhouse home and smithy as ‘now derelict,’ could perhaps have aptly portrayed her state of mind. Her recent marriage to the farm labourer, Arnold Jackson, the neighbour who Charles had called for assistance on the night of the initial tragedy, would at least have put a roof

over her head and offered some sense of security.

Shaw family headstone with the inclusion of Charles at Pole Moor Baptist Chapel Cemetery. Photo by the author.

Suicide can also have a profound emotional effect not only on family and friends, but on the whole community. This was the fourth recent local tragedy due directly or indirectly to the war.** At the end of 1916 the army were demanding more men due to the disastrous number of casualties on the Somme. In May 1917 Florence Lockwood tells in her diary of Slaithwaite women ‘full of their own tales of death and misery, standing in groups discussing their horrors.’?°

31 Grave stone inscription, Pole Moor Baptist Chapel cemetery 32 CVG, 5 April 1917 33 34 CVG, 8 December 1916 35 Florence Lockwood Diaries, 17 May 1917


Page 26

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

The Army Council calculated that there were still 2,500,000 men of military age in civilian life and demanded 940,000 of them for the coming year’s operations.*° This would have pressurised Tribunals into refusing applications for a second extension, the feeling would have been that the applicant had had adequate time to put his affairs in order. Furthermore, the fact that those refused had the right of appeal to the Appeals Tribunal would have removed any guilt or responsibility for unsound decisions.

The Military Service Tribunals ‘intended as independent judicial bodies composed of ‘fair-minded citizens,’ were more likely to be made up mainly of elderly business men and other local dignitaries with little legal experience, all middle class - the majority of whom were supportive of the war, and possibly with little understanding of the economic needs of farmers and small family businesses dependant on the labour of a husband or son for their family’s survival.

The consequences of the Tribunal’s decision did not end with the war. Fourteen years later, on 8 December 1930, uncle Joseph was found hanging from the staircase of his home in Spring Street, Slaithwaite.*” The war had taken everything from Edna and her family. It had also triggered a chain of events that not only had a disastrous impact on her family, but also affected a whole community. How far were such war related deaths on the home front mirrored across the country? The casualties of the Great War cannot be counted only in the deaths on the Somme and other battlefields.


Pam Brooke BA (Hons) MA, PGCE is retired and lives in Honley. She studied Social History and English Literature at Bretton Hall (1987-90). Her studies of the First World War created an interest in war and conflict which was later reinforced by her work with refugees both in a teaching capacity and as director of a refugee group. She is the winner of the Edward Law History Prize 2018.

36 Gerard J De Groot, Blighty, British Society in the Era of the Great War (Longman, London: 1996) 37 Yorkshire Post, 9 December 1930


Page 27

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal


Christine Verguson

‘One of our greatest and most urgent tasks after the war will be to secure good and healthy homes for all’.7

Frederick Bolton, a 22-year-old motor mechanic, was living together with his wife Mabel in a back-to-back house in Longwood Road in Paddock when he enlisted in the army in January 1915. On the completion of his war service in March 1919, Frederick joined Mabel at a new address — 4 New Street off Quarmby Road.” Although only a short walk away from the couple’s previous home, this was a new house with a bath, WC, gardens to the front and rear, and one of the first houses to be completed after the Armistice by Huddersfield Corporation on its new Royds Hall housing estate. Just a few weeks after Frederick moved into his new home, the County Borough Council, following the advice of the Borough Engineer, decided that this new street would be named Victory Avenue.? By focusing on the first houses to be occupied in Victory Avenue and their occupants, this article aims to provide a brief glimpse of how Huddersfield attempted to deal with its housing crisis during and immediately after the First World War.

Victory Avenue street sign. Photo by the author.

1 University of Huddersfield Archives, George Henry Wood collection, GHW/M/C/001/5402, Ministry of Reconstruction, Reconstruction Problems: 2: Housing in England and Wales, unbound pamphlet. 2 British Army WW1 Service Records 1914-1920 for Frederick Bolton, available [online] at: <> 3 WYAS(K), KMT18/12/2/39/10, County Borough of Huddersfield, Highways Committee Minutes 1918- 1920, 3 April 1919.


Page 28

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

While the War may have ended in November 1918, following the industrial disputes and rent strikes which had occurred across the country during the war, together with events in Russia and Germany, the government feared that demobilisation could lead to civil unrest.4 Announcing a general election on the day after the Armistice, Lloyd George promised ‘habitations fit for the heroes who have won the war’.? It was such fears and promises and the assumption that for the time being at least, only the state, working through local authorities, could tackle the housing problem, which led to the 1919 Housing and Town Planning Act. This Act required councils to survey local housing needs and to put in place plans to meet those needs, building to the new standards recommended by the Tudor Walters Committee in 1917. It has been suggested that for the first time the provision of working class housing was seen to be a social service.°®

Prior to the First World War most of the country’s housing had been provided by private developers but, even before the War, the number of houses being built fell far short of what was needed. The population of Huddersfield rose from 95,047 in 1901 to 107,821 in 1911.’ Owen Balmforth noted that the total number of houses built in the Borough between 1901 and 1911 was 3005 but this includes all types of housing.® Reporting on the housing situation in the Borough in 1913, Huddersfield’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr S. G. Moore, emphasised ‘the insufficiency of low rented houses for the working classes’ resulting in overcrowding and the occupation of 248 cellar dwellings. However, he was also able to point out that, in accordance with the 1909 Housing and Town Planning Act, 38 tenements and six through houses had been built by the Council in Moldgreen and that in addition to a further 22 tenement dwellings in Moldgreen and 36 at Kirkgate, the Council were also considering building another 157 houses including 48 at Royds Hall.”

Huddersfield Corporation was one of the first authorities in the country to provide council housing. Although Liverpool can claim to be the first provider of purpose-built municipal housing in Britain in 1869, Huddersfield was one of the few councils to take advantage of the 1875 Artisans’ and Labourers’ Dwellings Improvement Act.*° By 1882

4 See Mark Swenarton, Homes Fit For Heroes: the Politics and Architecture of Early State Housing in Britain (Heinemann Educational Books, London: 1981), Alison Ravetz, Council Housing and Culture; The History of a Social Experiment (Routledge, Abingdon: 2001). > Swenarton, p. 79. © Ravetz, p. 80. 7 A Vision of Britain through time, Available [online] at <> 8 Owen Balmforth, Jubilee History of the Corporation of Huddersfield 1868-1918 (Alfred Jubb & Son Ltd, Huddersfield: 1918), p. 59. 9S. G. Moore, Annual Report to the Urban Sanitary Authority for the County Borough of Huddersfield for the year 1913 (Alfred Jubb & Son Ltd, Huddersfield: 1913), p. 71. 10 For a recent account of Liverpool’s pioneering, although not always edifying, role in early municipal housing see Bertie Dockerill, ‘Liverpool Corporation and the origins of municipal social housing, 1842- 1890’, Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, 165 (2016), 39-57.


Page 29

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

the Corporation had completed 160 houses at Turnbridge designed by R.S. Dugdale, the Borough Engineer. An article in The British Architect in that year describes the cottages as being ‘built of local stone, and are well finished off in the interior’.*? With rents of 4s 3d per week (inclusive of rates) these houses would have been well beyond the pocket of Huddersfield’s cellar dwellers, but this applied to housing schemes across the country as rents were related to construction and land costs.* And while Edward Bowmaker, a doctor writing in 1895, believed that the houses were built ‘in

the best possible style’, he observed ‘that some of them have been built on the

wretched back-to-back principle’.*?

These may be amongst the first houses built in Victory Avenue. Photo by the author.

In 1907 Dr Moore, noting an increase of the number of tuberculosis cases across the Borough, warned: ‘It would be a pity to provide cheap dwellings at the expense of an increase in tuberculosis. Whatever representations may be made to the contrary, it is beyond question that back-to-back houses cannot have as much ventilation and light

11 “Scud’, ‘Round the Boroughs. No.4. Huddersfield’, The British Architect, 24 March 1882, 135. 12 A 1907 estimate suggested that the County Borough of Huddersfield was receiving a net return on outlay (£28,945) of 3.94 per cent with rents then set between 4s8d and 5s6d per week). Alderman Thompson, Housing Up-to-Date: Companion Volume to the Housing Handbook (National Housing Reform Council, London: 1907, 62. 13 Edward Bowmaker, The Houses of the Working Classes (Methuen, London: 1895), 69.


Page 30

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

as the through houses’.** Moore believed that the shortage of affordable housing leading to multiple-occupancy could have dire consequences for both town and country: ‘A lamentable point in connection with these houses is found in the fact that the families occupying them cannot be said to have any real home life — one of the strong and striking features of the English For Huddersfield Trades and Labour Council, at a time when most people rented their homes, the lack of available affordable housing in the town was a constant concern, reflecting its frustration regarding what Rob Perks has described as the Borough Council’s reluctance ‘to tackle such problems as unemployment and poor housing through municipal intervention’ while Cyril Pearce has suggested that the ‘municipal radicalism’ previously shown by Huddersfield Liberals ‘had run out of steam by the end of the Great War’.?®

In 1912 the Trades Council members thanked R.A. Hopkinson for his ‘well written Housing pamphlet’.’” In May 1913, they sent a delegation to the ‘Town Council’ to explain why they thought it should ‘immediately’ build 1000 new However, in January 1913 Huddersfield Corporation had announced its intention to purchase the 50-acre Royds Wood Estate for £17,000. This would provide a greenfield site for building: ‘It is proposed to erect a number of houses suitable for the working-classes. The tenants will be within a penny tram ride of the middle of the town but will have the advantage of living within a healthy and pleasant locality’. The estate would also provide a site for other civic amenities yet to be determined, while the Hall - the former home of Sir Joseph Crosland — was to be converted into a public library and museum.?°

In May 1913 the Borough Engineer, K. F. Campbell, presented to the Borough Council’s Housing and Town Planning Committee the specifications and estimates for 50 working class houses to be built at Royds Wood along Quarmby Road and Longwood The Housing Committee had been set up in 1911 to carry out the duties of the Corporation in relation to the Housing of The Working Classes Acts 1890-1909 as well

14S. G. Moore, Annual Report to the Urban Sanitary Authority for the County Borough of Huddersfield for the year 1907 (Alfred Jubb & Son Ltd, Huddersfield: 1907), p. 28. 15.$.G. Moore, Annual Report to the Urban Sanitary Authority for the County Borough of Huddersfield for the year 1912 (Daily Chronicle Printing Works, Huddersfield: 1912), p. 73. 46 Robert Perks, ‘The new Liberalism and the challenge of Labour in the West Riding of Yorkshire 1885- 1914 with special reference to Huddersfield’ (Ph.D. thesis, Huddersfield Polytechnic: 1985), p. 594; Pearce, Comrades in Conscience, p. 38 17 WYAS(K), S/HTC/1/4, Huddersfield & District Associated Trades and Industrial Council, Minute Book 1912-1917, 16 October 1912; for a biography of R.A. Hopkinson see Pearce, p. 256. 48 Huddersfield Trades Council, Minute Book 1912-1917, 28 May 1913. 13 Manchester Guardian, 9 January 1913. The estate (named as both Royds Wood and Royds Hall) was sold to the County Borough by T.P. Crosland, Sir Joseph having died in 1904. 20 WYAS(K), KM/18/12/2/44/1, County Borough of Huddersfield, Housing and Town Planning Committee Minute Book, 2 May 1913


Page 31

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

as the 1909 Housing and Town Planning Act. It was chaired by Alderman Carmi Smith, a provisions merchant, described by both Pearce and Perks as an ‘advanced Liberal,’ with Joseph Berry, a Conservative member and architect who had designed housing for Huddersfield Industrial Society, as Deputy Chair.2? Also on the Committee was Alderman W. H. Jessop, a member of the Federation of Building Trades Employers, who frequently attacked what he saw as the Council’s interference in the housing market. But as Owen Balmforth noted, the outbreak of war in August 1914 meant that the Council’s plans to develop its plans for new housing, including that at Royds Hall, had to be

Victory Avenue plans (elevations), May 1917. Image WYAS(K), CBH/A/27

The house building programme at Royds Hall received an additional setback when it was decided to site the Huddersfield War Hospital on the estate.*? The migration of munitions workers into the town, particularly with the takeover of Read Holliday Ltd by British Dyes and its subsequent expansion to meet wartime needs, added to Huddersfield’s acute housing crisis. Concluding a debate in Council in December 1915, when it was stated that British Dyes had built 300 huts to house its workers, the Mayor, Alderman Joseph Blamires, remarked that, ‘the root of all the matter was the war, and they would have to finish the war if they lived in wooden huts or out of In February 1917 the Council complained that some munition firms had been buying up houses and serving notice to existing tenants when ‘munitions firms were the only people who had the power to build houses’.2? Meanwhile the housing situation remained a priority for the Trades Council who organised a number of ‘Special Housing Conferences’ in 1916 as well as making its views known through those Executive Committee members who also served on the Borough Council.

21 Pearce, Comrades in Conscience, p. 260; Perks, ‘The New Liberalism’, p. 171. 22 Balmforth, Jubilee History, p. 76 23 The construction and layout of the hospital is described in Huddersfield Daily Examiner, 4 October 1915; see also Martyn Richardson, ‘Huddersfield War Hospital’, Huddersfield Local History Society Journal, No. 25, pp. 46-49 24 feeds Mercury, 16 December 1915; Blamires’ home, Bradley Lodge, had 11 rooms. 25 Manchester Guardian, 22 February 1917.


Page 32

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

However, in December 1916, the Housing Committee instructed the Town Clerk to apply to the Ministry of Munitions for a licence to build 474 working-class homes across the Borough, 137 of which were to be at Royds Hall, although this number had to be reduced to 72 because of the continued presence of the War Hospital on the site.2° The plans submitted by Campbell in the following April for the ‘new road’ at Royds Wood show that these were to be three-bedroomed houses with a living room downstairs and behind that a scullery with a bath, ‘the position of the bath to be installed as suggested by the Local Government Board’ (LGB).?’

The plans were quickly revised with the WC now opening into the scullery, rather than the yard as previously, perhaps also at the request of the LGB.2? Work was authorised to begin on 12 houses in September 1917 and these appear to have been completed by September 1918. The decision to proceed with the remaining 60 houses was not taken until February 1919, shortly before Frederick Bolton moved into his new Huddersfield’s housing shortage was such that when Royds Hall was no longer needed as a hospital it was returned to the Council; the huts in the grounds, built as wards for the hospital, were converted to house engineering workers while the Hall itself became a Families continued to live in the converted huts well into the 1920s although the Hall became a secondary school in September 1921 (not a library as originally intended).

While the first houses to be built in Victory Avenue did not result from politicians’ promises to provide homes for heroes, some of the street’s earliest residents, like Frederick Bolton, had definitely served in the war. By putting together information in council rate books and electoral registers together with earlier Census returns, the 1939 Register and surviving military records, we can obtain brief glimpses of some of their lives. Frederick had served in France with the Royal Army Service Corps where, within a few months, he had achieved the rank of Company Quarter Master Sergeant. Returning from ‘overseas service’ on 30 December 1918, he was posted to the Huddersfield War Hospital at Royds Hall — his wife Mabel was already living in their new home when Frederick was discharged from service in March 1919.

26 WYAS(K), KM/18/12/2/44/1, County Borough of Huddersfield, Housing and Town Planning Committee Minute Book, 29 December 1916 27 County Borough of Huddersfield, Housing and Town Planning Committee Minute Book, 17 April 1917 28 County Borough of Huddersfield, Borough Architect’s Plans, Workmen’s houses and new road, Royds Wood, 1917 29 WYAS(K), KM/18/12/2/44/1, County Borough of Huddersfield, Housing and Town Planning Committee Minute Book, 28 September 1917, 27 September 1918, 7 February 1919. 39 WYAS(K), KMT18/12/2/71 Huddersfield Royds Hall Hostel Committee 7 November 1919 — 20 December 1920. Initially representatives from David Brown Gears, Karrier Motors, Hopkinsons and Broadbents were co-opted on to this committee and most of the accommodation was allocated by the engineering employers.


Page 33

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal


} ’ P 4 ’ 7 ' yr i ; c ' $ : ' j : mw ; i ; i I D Mer j c GARDY z, ii! + 4 he! i 2 he a0 pet I ee ‘ y : : ! , I * I ' oe i I ; , I i ' : i ’ ; =~ ——_— — — — oe ee el

Victory Avenue plans (ground floor), May 1917. Image WYAS(K), CBH/A/27

Living next door to Frederick was Stringer Wade, who had been discharged from the army in 1917, ‘his service being no longer required’. Twenty years older than Frederick, Stringer had enlisted in the Queen’s Royal Lancers, a Cavalry regiment, in 1891. Originally a weaver, he married in 1895 and by 1901 he was back in Huddersfield working as a bookkeeper. By 1911 Stringer Wade and his wife Mary Ellen were living with their eight children in a four-roomed house in Lockwood. Re-enlisting in 1915, he served as a ‘Rough Rider’ in the Remount Department of the Army Service Corps, breaking in and training horses for military service. During his relatively-short war service one of his daughters, Nora aged 12, died of cerebral meningitis. As the houses were completed, new residents moved in and by the autumn of 1920 Herbert Brearley and his wife Emily Ann were living in number 20. Herbert, a twister-in, had been conscripted into the Labour Corps working as a loader. When he was discharged from military service in August 1919, he was described as having ‘suffered impairments since entry into the Service’ including bunions, defective vision and malaria.

Mention should also be made of Arthur H Dodd whose family were the first to move into number 14. Arthur had lived at Grenoside in Sheffield, working as a coal miner, before joining the Huddersfield Borough Police in February 1912. Serving with the


Page 34

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

Royal Field Artillery between 1915 and 1919, he re-joined the Huddersfield police in March 1919 (the word ‘police’ is noted next to Arthur’s name in the Rate Book, and as a police officer he would have been a Corporation employee).** There is not enough space here to discuss the war service of all those who came to live in Victory Avenue, nor is it always possible accurately to link military records (where these have survived) to names on the electoral register. Where it has been possible to identify Victory Avenue’s earliest residents in the 1911 Census, the returns suggest that, unlike Arthur, they were most likely to have come from Longwood, Lockwood and Lindley and have worked in skilled manual occupations — no one is listed as ‘labourer’.

In May 1918 the Housing Committee had recommended that the first 12 houses in what was to become Victory Avenue were to be let at 10s. a week. When the rent of the next 60 houses was discussed in January 1920 the Housing Committee resolved that the rent be set at 15s. a week subject to the approval of the Housing Commissioner.?* When this proposal was discussed by the full Council, Labour’s Ben Riley commented: ‘They had over 20,000 houses in the borough at less than £12 annual rateable value. The average rents for those houses was 5s per week. Were they, as local authorities, seriously going to ask men - men who had fought for them to pay 15s. - when over 20,000 others were paying 5s. per week?’

As Riley reminded the Council, the Ministry of Health had stipulated that - given the present shortage of labour and materials and assuming that costs would fall - local authorities should estimate the economic rent on the probable cost of building in 1927.7? Whatever the reason, on 9 February a revised rent of 11s was recommended by a Housing sub-committee set up to consider the matter.** But as the electoral registers show, the tenants of the first 20 houses in the road had all moved on by 1927.

Frederick and Mabel Bolton left before autumn 1921. Their neighbour Stringer Wade left Victory Avenue in October 1926 with his two daughters, both weavers, to work in Canada. On his return, a year later, he is described as a ‘cloth examiner’ living in Longwood Road.° Could it possibly have been that the rents were too high, as Ben Riley had claimed?

Whatever the reasons which led people to leave Victory Avenue, the houses continued to be tenanted and are still there although many of them are no longer owned by the municipality. Walk up Victory Avenue today and you will search in vain for numbers 2

31 WYAS(K), West Yorkshire Police Records 1833-1914, Huddersfield Borough Police Constable Record Book No. 1; 32 County Borough of Huddersfield, Housing and Town Planning Committee Minute Book, 9 January 1920 33 Huddersfield Weekly Examiner, 24 January 1920; for a summary of the Ministry’s policy on setting an economic rent, see Swenarton, p. 174. 34 County Borough of Huddersfield, Housing and Town Planning Committee Minute Book, 9 February 1920 35 Passenger Lists available [online] at: <>


Page 35

Photo by the author.

Memorial at Paddock Head.

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

and 4, the houses first occupied by Stringer Wade and Frederick Bolton. But a comparison of the architectural style of the houses with the 1917 house plans suggests that as more houses were added, the houses were renumbered to start from the bottom of the street at Paddock Head. Today, when we look back to the First World War, we tend not so much to think of ‘victory’ but of those who were caught up in the conflict and at Paddock Head there is a simple stone slab commemorating those who gave their lives in both World Wars. Victory Avenue can be seen in the background and perhaps this street, new in 1918, should be seen not so much as representing ‘victory’ but as another step in Huddersfield Corporation’s efforts to provide decent housing for its citizens.

|! am greatly indebted to Cyril Pearce’s exploration of study of Huddersfield’s political and industrial landscape during the First World War Comrades in Conscience (2001) and I would also like to thank Rob, Judith and Rosie at the West Yorkshire Archive Service’s Kirklees office for whom no request is too much trouble.


Having started her career in the Local Studies and Archives department of Huddersfield Central Library, Christine Verguson moved to the BBC in Leeds where she worked as librarian, researcher and journalist before returning to higher education, completing a Ph.D. on the history of the BBC in Yorkshire in 2014. She is currently Huddersfield Local

History Society’s Publicity Officer.


Page 36


Phil Wood

The scene is Valivade, India in early 1948.

A mother is in a state of high anxiety as she tries to gather her children for the start of a long journey.

‘The train’ll be here soon. Where are your cases?”

‘Mother, my case is right here. I’ve been packed and raring to go for a week. I can’t believe the day has finally come. We’re leaving for our new home in Hadderzfild.’

She rolled it around her tongue with relish: ‘Hadderrrzzzfiiild. I love the sound of it. Such a funny name.’

‘We don’t know where we’re going to stay, so stop inventing places.’ ‘But when our cousins got to England they wrote and said this is where they were to be sent. They need girls with nimble fingers to make cloth for the King of England. And

have I not got the finest hands of anyone in this village?’

‘Pah! And your sister, where is she? If we miss this train we won’t get to Bombay in time, and then miss the steamer to England.’

‘She says we should leave without her. She says India’s her home where all her friends are, and that she'll have no friends in England.’

‘We'll see about that!’ said the mother as she dragged a second, yelping adolescent out of the waiting room onto the dusty platform.

1 The reader is advised that this article is a work of historical fiction, assembled from the actual experiences of many individuals, living and dead, drawing upon numerous primary and secondary sources, notably the oral history The Polish Community in Kirklees compiled by the Kirklees Sound Archive in 1988. An experimental method of writing is also employed, interspersing the voices of spectral characters with that of the author. These narratives emerge from the author’s practice of psychogeographical walking in both Huddersfield and many international locations associated with the diasporic experiences of immigrants to the town. A more extensive elucidation is given elsewhere Phil Wood, ‘Selective Amnesia and Spectral Recollection in the Bloodlands’, in Tina Richardson (ed.), Walking Inside Out: Contemporary British Psychogeography (Rowman & Littlefield International, London: 2015). The author’s own voice is in italicised text.


Page 37

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

‘So, one of you is at home in India, and one dreams of England. And where shall I find home?’ she muttered under her breath, as the train rumbled into view.

Huddersfield to Lviv

This might superficially be surmised a familiar tale of Indian migrants, about to take what would become a well-worn path from the subcontinent to Huddersfield over subsequent decades. But this is something else. It is the story of a widow, who buried her husband beside the Caspian Sea in Iran, and her mother in the windswept steppe of Kazakhstan. Who had to leave her father’s frozen corpse beside a rail track in Ukraine and whose brother was worked to death in the Siberian Arctic. A woman who was taken from her childhood home at gunpoint, never to return. A woman who raised her daughters in India but ended her days in the West Riding of Yorkshire.

It is not a singular tale of adventure but one representing the experience of hundreds of thousands of Polish people, including many hundreds of Huddersfield residents, yet one barely known, or talked about, outside the Polish community.

I thought I knew a thing or two about the Poles in Huddersfield. I’d been friends with kids with Polish surnames in my teens. Their dads or grandads had been in the war. I’d seen the grainy footage of the Polish Corps fighting at Monte Cassino and marvelled at Gene Hackman leading the Polish paratroopers’ doomed assault on Arnhem in Hollywood's ‘A Bridge Too Far’. Either that or they’d been in Nazi forced-labour camps and had to be resettled here. End of story, nothing more to be said.

However, this is a partial and one-sided explanation told only from the standpoint of western Europe. No one had ever told me about the eastern perspective, until I stumbled upon it inadvertently.

I had been wandering through Edgerton Cemetery, idly reading inscriptions, when I realised I was in an area with a preponderance of eastern European names. One headstone stopped me in my tracks: ‘In Loving Memory of our Parents Olga [...] who died in 1955, and Joseph [...] who died aged 44 in 1943 in Iran’.

I did a double take. Why would a Polish man have been in such an unexpected part of the world at that time, whilst his wife apparently ended her days in Huddersfield? I

It has been estimated that almost 2,000 Polish people had settled in the Huddersfield area by 1948. Frank Grombir, Huddersfield Polonia, 1948-1968: Workers, Political Emigrés and Devoted Worshippers (Unpublished BA Dissertation, Huddersfield: 2010). It is also estimated that of the 250,000 Poles who came to the UK as a consequence of the Second World War, three quarters had experienced deportation to the Soviet Union. Michelle Winslow, ‘Polish Migration to Britain: War, Exile and Mental Health’, Oral History, 27:1, 1999, pp. 57-64.


Page 38

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

liked to think I had a broad knowledge of the Second World War, but I had no answers, and this lacuna troubled me.

I walked off into town, along the footpath through Highfields, whilst hammering my iPhone for answers to the conundrum. I was directed to a website: the Kresy-Siberia Virtual Museum. In short order it told me that between 1939 and 1941 the Red Army had occupied eastern Poland, known as the Kresy (Borderlands), and in four ruthlessly executed sweeps had forcibly deported about 1.4 million people (of whom about two thirds were Polish) accused of being ‘class enemies’ of the Soviet Union.? Most never saw home again.

Turning to walk down Fitzwilliam Street I took a breather to assimilate what I was reading. I scanned the horizon, with Huddersfield nestling beneath its Castle Hill, before heading on. I stood outside Our Lady of Czestochowa Polish Church as if seeking answers to what had become of these people. Maybe I should just walk in and ask in indignation, why had I not been told before now about this odyssean saga that was unfolding before me?

Lost in thought, I was aroused by the clang and squeal of rolling stock from Huddersfield train station. I looked up and there, sure enough, was a station with a wooded slope in the distance, rising to a hilltop fortification, but it wasn’t Huddersfield. I could read a sign: Lwow Dworzec Podzamcze.* I recognised this place from a business trip I’d recently made to a city now known as Lviv in what is now western Ukraine. As is my wont, I’d taken time out to explore, off the beaten track and without a map, and stumbled into a dense, historic residential district in the shadow of the Vysokyy Zamok hill. Somehow, I seemed to be back there.

But this wasn’t right. The shop signs weren’t in Ukrainian Cyrillic but in Roman script, in Polish. The station forecourt and the surrounding marshalling yards were thronged with people. It was a massive crowd, but it seemed unnaturally quiet, indeed cowed. As my eyes accustomed to the gloom it looked as if they were all boarding cattle trucks, under duress.

Lwow to Siberia Olga had been half expecting it. After all the NKVD had already taken Joseph and their

son Jarostaw on the 10" of February, to God knows where. Nevertheless, when the rifle butt hit the door on that April morning in 1940, it was no less shocking: ‘You’re

3 Tadeusz Piotrowski, Poland's holocaust: ethnic strife, collaboration with occupying forces and genocide in the Second Republic, 1918-1947 (McFarland, London: 1998) 4 Which translates as Lwow Podzamcze Station. > Also known as Lemberg (German), Lemberik (Yiddish) and Lvov (Russian).


Page 39

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

under arrest for crimes against the people. You’re going away to a farm to learn how to be good Soviet citizens. You’ve got one hour to pack a bag. One bag per person!’

They lived in Podzamcze, a fairly down-at-heel neighbourhood where Poles, Jews and Ukrainians rubbed together, along with three kids and Olga’s parents.

That night the neighbours peered through half-open doors to see what the commotion was. Kindly Mrs Finkelstein squeezed some small items of jewellery into the hands of Kazia and Jadzia as they passed. lhor, the Ukrainian lad from the end of the corridor, tried to speak but was hauled back inside the door. Grandma was weeping: never see you again Leopolis, my City of Lions’. Grandad wheezed down the steps, having not recovered from a winter bout of pneumonia.

They were herded onto cattle trucks with no windows or seats and only a hole in the floor as a toilet. For a few hours the girls tried to peer through the cracks to work out where they were heading. After they crossed what had been the Polish border with the Soviet Union they gave up, and Olga beckoned them to help Grandad, who was struggling with the cold. Two days later Grandad died. Olga was allowed to drape him in a sheet and leave his body at one of the infrequent halts, but no amount of pleading would persuade the guards to let her bury him.

After almost two weeks the train doors were flung open and they emerged emaciated and blinking into the sunlight and they were welcomed to their new home. Kostanay Oblast - a blank, bleached savannah in the Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan where they would pioneer the creation of a new collective farm from scratch.

Two months earlier Joseph and Jarostaw had been taken in similar, if rather more brutal, circumstances. As a former soldier and army reservist Joseph was a priority choice for deportation and his son was swept along in the slipstream. However, when their train stopped after a 3000-mile journey to Krasnoyarsk they were herded onto a river boat and a further 1000 miles north beyond the Arctic Circle to the gruesome forced labour camp of Norilsk.

Month upon month of misery ensued. Then during late August 1941, rumours started to circulate around the Gulag system that the Poles were to be freed. Far to the west, Hitler had trashed the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact that had first enabled him and Stalin to dismember Poland and had invaded the Soviet Union. Stalin had declared that Poles were no longer class enemies but rather a fraternal fighting force to help repel the invaders. Word had it that Poles scattered over the length of Siberia were free to down tools, pick up rifles and form an army. They were to make their way by any means necessary to Buzuluk and thence to Kyrgyzstan where they would be transformed from a ragged band of waifs into a fighting force.


Page 40

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

Polish prisoners of war and prisoners in the USSR, The organization and evacuation of the Polish armed forces, and places of deportation of civilians

d :

is i


Cee Pepe


“qi I


at — =



Routes taken by soldiers & civilians of the Second Polish Corps. Image courtesy of Kresy Siberia Museum.

The news was hard for Joseph to assimilate as he was still coping with the grief of losing Jarostaw in an accident at the nickel mine, brought on by sheer exhaustion. Back in Kazakhstan, Olga and the girls had also faced trauma with the death, from a broken heart said Kazia, of Grandma. But rumours had reached them too that families should try and join up with General Anders’ incipient Central Asian army. Actually, a rag-tag band of starving civilians was the last thing Anders needed, but by this time the news had spread, and a mass convergence of tattered, starving wraiths had reached an unstoppable momentum.

lt was around this time that the Polish authorities first began to suspect that something appalling had befallen the cream of the Polish officer class at the hands of the Soviets as no such soldiers were showing up.° So whilst they were now allies, there were deep misgivings that the Polish Corps should fight alongside the Red Army. Winston Churchill offered to take the Polish forces into the British sphere of influence and equip them to fight alongside the Eighth Army in North Africa, and they were ordered to make their way to Iran via the Caspian Sea. A flotilla of boats and rusty hulks was assembled in Petrozavodsk in the Turkmen SSR and a total of 79,000 armed men and

© It subsequently emerged that 22,000 Polish officers and officials had been executed in the Katyn forest and elsewhere.


Page 41

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

women boarded them. They were joined by a further 37,000 non-combatants. Less than one in ten of the people who had originally been deported.’

Sick and starving Poles embarking at Krasnovodsk in 1942. Image courtesy of Kresy Family.

Against all the odds in the melee that was Petrozavodsk — yet something which was repeated with many families - Joseph was reunited with Olga and the girls. Their joy was unconfined, albeit it that they had very little strength left with which to express it. On the choppy sea crossing, between bouts of sickness, Joseph spoke of little else than heading off with General Anders for final military training in Palestine, before getting to grips with the Axis forces. Yet it was clear for all to see that he was in bad shape. As the Iranian coast hove into view people began to weep and on docking in the small port of Pahlevi, many almost tumbled off their boats and fell to the ground, kissing the earth — like Israelites delivered from Babylon.

Siberia to India

From Pahlevi the soldiers were taken off to Palestine whilst the civilians were to go to tented refugee camps in Tehran where many of them would stay for much of 1943.8

7 Norman Davies, Trail of Hope: The Anders Army, An Odyssey Across Three Continents (Osprey Publishing, Oxford: 2015) 8 There is a terrible irony of history here for it was in Tehran where Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin would hold the first of their summits to decide the shape of Europe after the presumed defeat of Germany. The meeting resolved to hand the Kresy to the permanent jurisdiction of the Soviet Union, thus guaranteeing the very thing that Anders’ Army believed it was fighting to prevent.


Page 42

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

Sadly however, Joseph would not even have the chance to join that army. He was rejected for conscription after failing the basic health test, but then fell into a typhus- induced coma from which he would never recover. He passed away on the 30" May and Olga and the girls were on their own.

Whilst in mourning for father, Kazia had also felt an inexplicable desire to fondle the treasured brooch she had been given by Mrs Finkelstein on the night of the deportation. Only long afterwards did she discover that on 1 June 1943 Mrs Finkelstein and her family had been swept up in the Nazi’s final liquidation of the Lwéw ghetto and taken by cattle truck from Podzamcze station for instant despatch at Betzec extermination camp.

Towards the end of 1943 the Shah of Iran was becoming uneasy with the many Polish encampments on his territory and Churchill was asked to move them on, at which the fate of the Polish civilians became the responsibility of Britain’s far flung colonies.

Ultimately, about 22,000 Polish women, children and elders were dispatched to British eastern African territories between Kenya and South Africa. Smaller numbers went off to Australia and New Zealand.” But Olga, Kazia and Jadzia were allocated to India. Following protracted negotiations between the Government of India with Soviet authorities and the Polish Government in Exile, land on which to build homes was identified in Valivade, near Kolhapur in Maharastra It was hardly luxurious — the official opening ceremony had to be postponed after an outbreak of diphtheria and many of the barrack huts were infested by termites — but after their three-year ordeal it was home for almost five thousand refugees.

Valivade remained home for Olga and the girls for four years. They had two rooms and a small kitchen and within a week of arriving Olga had planted flower beds around the hut. Before long a sophisticated network of schools was established and both girls were also very active in the Polish Scout movement and a dramatic group.

It would seem the rest of the time was spent writing and receiving letters, as by the end of 1944 the camp’s Post Office was handling up to 18,000 items per month. In this way Kazia learned that Lwow had been recaptured from the Nazis by the Red Army in July 1944.

9 A small group was even accommodated by the Government of Mexico. They eventually travelled to Britain in 1948 on the famous Empire Windrush sailing, that launched West Indian immigration to the UK (See: 10 Jan Siedlecki, ‘Valivade: the main Polish refugee camp’, In: Teresa Glazer, Jan Siedlecki, Danka Pniewska, Wiesia Kleszko, Joanna Chmielowska (eds.), Second World War Story. Poles in India 1942-1948 (Association of Poles in India, Milverton: 2009), pp. 173-182.


Page 43

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

India to Huddersfield

Valivade camp was finally emptied and closed in March 1948. Before this, Olga and the girls had already caught their steamship to Liverpool. From there they were taken briefly to the Polish Resettlement Camp at Cannon Hall, Cawthorne, before being settled in Nissen huts at East Moor Park near York, awaiting the hoped-for jobs in a Huddersfield mill.

Religious procession, Cannon Hall Polish Camp, late 1940s. Photo © Tony Sosna.

The train from York turned into the Colne Valley. The narrowing dale, full of chimneys, came as a shock after the broad vistas of the Vale of York. Whilst the girls could now barely contain their excitement, Olga remained tense and withdrawn. As they stepped through the ticket hall into the square beyond, the girls squealed: ‘Look Mama at the hills and there’s a castle too’. Kazia repeated it in English for emphasis.

‘Yes, young ladies’, interjected a fellow passenger, ‘this is Huddersfield, beneath its Castle Hill’.

‘Mamal’ He said ‘Beneath’ — Pod, ‘the Castle’ —- Zamcze. Mama, we’re home!’ ‘Pah! You girls romanticise everything.’

‘No Mama look, straight ahead, on top of that building. The Lion. This may never be Lwow, but it will be our Leopolis. Grandma willed it.’


Page 44

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal Olga exhaled deeply and allowed herself a smile. ‘You might just be right.’

As I stood on the frigid knoll, dubbed Golgotha, above the poisoned tundra of Norilsk and surveyed the sepulchres raised to the memory of Polish, Ukrainian and Baltic deportees who never left this place, I was able to reflect that some of them had. I knew too that a few had even managed to find a new life in (and bring new life to) places like Huddersfield.

So too, when I visit modern day Lviv and see ghost signs and palimpsests in Polish, Yiddish, Hebrew and German in a city that is now stridently - and forgetfully — mono- cultural Ukrainian, I reflect upon my own town. Huddersfield was quite a homogenous place in 1939 but now seems comfortable in its multi-ethnic skin, as if it somehow took on some of the mantle of cosmopolitan Lwow and places like it.

It reminds me too that right now, in 2018, many people are still being forced from their homes and obliged to take epic journeys in search of sanctuary, and some of them find it in Huddersfield. History teaches that there is nothing new under the sun, but hopefully also reminds us there is a fine line between those who need and those who can give hospitality and either, or both, fates may befall any of us.


Phil Wood is an urban therapist and psychogeographer with a degree in history. He works internationally with the Council of Europe and other agencies as an advisor on migration, but remains a resident of Huddersfield, his birthplace. He is the author of The Intercultural City (Routledge, London: 2008).


Page 45


Page 46

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal


Peter Whitehead

No doubt readers will be familiar with the village of Marsden, which lies at the head of the Colne Valley, seven miles south west of Huddersfield. Nowadays Marsden is a quiet place with a good proportion of its inhabitants commuting to work in nearby towns and cities; a place of recreation with the surrounding hills and moorland, a National Trust property known as the Marsden Moor Estate, greatly enjoyed by ramblers and nature lovers. Like much of the district, during the industrial age Marsden was a mill town. Its population swelled to 6000 by the turn of the last century and it boasted one of the largest mills in the district, Crowthers at Bank Bottom, where a thousand looms worked night and day.

But it is earlier times that are the subject of this article. The village owes its existence to the manor which bore the same name. The earliest inhabitants of the district came to take up farm tenancies on manor land, and over the centuries their numbers steadily increased and, as time went by, an infrastructure evolved to supply their needs that became the nucleus of the village.

Barwick in Elmet @

Leeds @

@ Heptonstall

Kippax @

Castleford Pe Pontefract @

® Todmorden

Halifax e Sowerby e >

® Huddersfield


[>] Wakefield Manor

I : j Honour of Pontefract miles

Map of West Yorkshire showing the land holdings of the Warrennes (grey) and the de Laceys (white), allocated to them after the Norman conquest. The Warrennes consolidated their land into the vast manor of Halifax but the de Laceys divided their holdings into numerous manors, administered from Ponterfract. Over time, many of these manors were passed on to retainers, or were sold off.


Page 47

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

Given its importance to the history of the district, the exploration of the manor’s history has not received a great deal of attention. The earliest of the three major published histories of the area, The History of the Colne Valley has a chapter on the manor, but it is mostly taken up with detail of the last family to own the property, the Radcliffes.* Although Ye Chapell of Marsden is primarily concerned with the history of Marsden church, there is also a surprising amount of detail about the manor history including, in appendices, useful translations from Latin of a number of the important documents relating to the The best known book on the local history of the village, Bygone Marsden, is extremely thin on detail of the manor, and what is there appears to have been gleaned from the two previous publications.°

The first written reference to a manor at Marsden is in a set of accounts prepared for Edward Il in 1322, but the manor’s history goes back further than that, to shortly after the Norman conquest when one of William I’s warlords, Ilbert de Lacey, was gifted vast tracts of land in west Yorkshire ‘for services rendered’.* The land was quickly divided up into parcels, usually called manors, many of which were, in turn, gifted to valued retainers (in return for sworn allegiance). The two manors either side of Marsden, Slaithwaite and Quick (Saddleworth), were passed on in this way, but Marsden was retained, probably because of its use in early times as a hunting ground by the de Laceys. By the 12th century cattle were being grazed in the area and tenant farmers began to take up land, although administration was initially from the nearby manor of Almondbury, which also remained in de Lacey hands.

The succession line of the de Laceys died out in the early 14th century, and their possessions in west Yorkshire, which were known collectively as the Honour of Pontefract, passed into the hands of the Earl of Lancaster through marriage. This was the time of the great struggle for the English throne between the houses of York and Lancaster. History tells us that the house of Lancaster prevailed, and Henry VII ascended the throne in 1485. From that time, the Honour of Pontefract passed into the ownership of the Crown through the Duchy of Lancaster, which remains to this day the vehicle for administering the reigning Monarch’s private possessions.

Over time, all the usable land on the valley floors and hillsides was occupied by ever increasing numbers of tenant farmers. The collective rental for all the manor farms in Marsden was fixed by statute in 1480 at £32 per annum, following negotiations between the tenants and the Lord at that time, King Edward IV.°? Not long after, in

1D. F. E. Sykes, The History of the Colne Valley (F. Walker, Slaithwaite: 1906). 2 A. R. Barrett, Some Records of Ye Chapell of Marsden (Coates & Bairstow, Huddersfield: 1910). 3 Lewis Buckley Whitehead, Bygone Marsden (Percy Brothers Ltd., Manchester: 1942). * The National Archives [hereafter TNA], SC 6/1145/21. See also accounts for 1327 TNA, SC 6/1085/16 & 17. ° TNA, DL 42/11 folio 70. Translation to be found in appendix A of Ye Chapel of Marsden by AR Barrett, published 1910.


Page 48

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

1499, the tenants were again in negotiations with their Lord, by now Henry VII, to secure Copyhold leases for their farms.° Copyhold leases are perpetual and could, with permission from the Lord, be gifted, sold and mortgaged. In return for the granting of Copyhold, each tenant was obliged to pay a ‘heriot’ upon their death or the disposal of the tenancy.’ Originally this was set at ‘their best cow’ but later a monetary equivalent was used. New entrants to a tenancy were required to pay an entry ‘fine’, which was one year’s rent.

0 40 Scholes @ @ Barwick l } j Soa ries) e Leeds @ Kippax Rothwell@ ® Allerton Knottingle ® Roundhay % @ PONTEFRACT ® Cridling ® Ackworh ® Campsal © Marsden @ South Elmsall

Map showing the fourteen manors remaining in the hands of the Honour of Pontefract at the time it was sold by the Crown (Duchy of Lancaster) to the City of London.

Apart from one brief period, Marsden manor remained amongst the land holdings of the house of Lancaster for over 300 years. For the last 150 years or so of that time, it had also been a Crown possession. Then, in 1628, the ownership of Marsden manor was transferred to the City of London.

The explanation for this apparently unusual event is somewhat complex. When the Stewarts took over the throne of England with the accession of James I in 1603, they faced severe problems in financing the government of the country. The Crown’s ability to raise revenue had been progressively eroded by the gradual replacement of despotic rule with the growth of democracy, a process that had been underway since Magna Carta. Parliament had gained effective control of most of the purse strings and held the right to impose taxes, and yet the Crown still had to finance large parts of the

© TNA, DL 42/21 folio 71d, Translation to be found in appendix B of Ye Chapel of Marsden by AR Barrett, published 1910. For further background on Copyhold, and other manorial practices, visit the Cumbriam Manorial Records see: <>


Page 49

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

national economy. Elizabeth I solved the problem by borrowing overseas and charming the parliament into voting her money. The Stuarts fell out with the parliament (disastrously so in the case of Charles 1) and ran up substantial debts to finance, amongst other things, ineffective military campaigns in Europe and a large royal court.

In 1617, James I’s Privy Council borrowed £100,000 from the merchants and guilds of London with the City fathers acting as intermediary. The loan was for one year at 10% interest and, although it was funded privately, repayment was guaranteed by the City. Much of the principal and interest on this loan had yet to be repaid when Charles I sought a further loan of £60,000 shortly after he came to the throne in 1625. This money was raised from 119 contributors with the deficiency being made up by the City. Much of this remained unpaid when Charles obtain a further loan of £120,000 in 1627-8 with the result that the royal debt to the City had risen to almost £350,000, a vast sum of money for the time, and one that the Crown would have difficulty repaying without the ability to tax the population.

The problem was resolved by an agreement reached between the Crown and the Common Council of London in 1628. This agreement, known as the ‘Royal Contract’, had the City of London assuming responsibility for the outstanding debt and repaying the lenders, in exchange for the grant of sufficient lands from the Crown estate. These lands, almost all the land in England under Crown ownership, were known as the ‘Royal Contract estates’ and the intention was that, having acquired title to them, the City would sell off the estates in order to repay the loans’.

Included amongst the Royal Contract estates was the whole of the Honour of Pontefract, which by that time had dwindled to fourteen manors. Marsden was amongst them, but Almondbury had been sold to the Ramsden family (who already owned Huddersfield manor) two years earlier.

The value of each Royal Contract estate was calculated by multiplying it’s annual income value by 28, considered an adequate rate of return at that time. In the case of the manor of Marsden, the annual rent was stated as £32 1s. and thus the purchase price was calculated at £897 8s.

Having acquired vast estates of land in every corner of England, the first thing the City undertook was a survey of their new assets to ascertain their value and so set a sale price. The Common Council was anxious to sell on the properties as quickly as possible in order to repay the loans before further interest accrued as they were not interested in being landowners. To this end, two people were appointed to make ‘observations upon the 14 Mannors within the Honor of Pontefract in the Countie of Yorkshire taken

8 For further reading on the Royal Contract estates, see R. Ashton, The Crown and the Money Market, 1603-1640 (Oxford University Press, 1960).


Page 50

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

upon a short viewe thereof in September 1628’.°

Portrait of Nicolas Rainton who conducted the Survey of Marsden manor in 1628. He was elected Lord Mayor of London in 1632 and was knighted in 1633. Courtesy of the Enfield Museum.

The two people charged with this task were Nicholas Rainton, Alderman (later to be Mayor) of London and Arnold Child, a lawyer of Greys Inn. Their Survey of Marsden manor is both colourful and evocative and illustrates admirably how foreign it must have been for two gentlemen from the Metropolis, with all its sophistication, to view the wild and desolate countryside of the Pennines, and to observe how the residents of Marsden manor lived lives so totally different from their own. Their initial reaction upon arriving in the manor evoked the following passage:

? London Metropolitan Archives [hereafter LMA], CLA/044/03/06/016. 48

Page 51

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

The town (which I call the place where the chapel is located) lies low and under great hills and Moorish mountains from which many streams descend (being caused by rain and springs) to make two small rivers which join together near the chapel and run with great force and violence like the Cataracts of the Nile. At the bottom of these rivers are to be seen nothing but great boulders, some of them a wagon load apiece.

Their description of the working lives of the tenants was no less dramatic, but also provided a very rare insight into just how difficult life must have been in such an isolated location, where the only access at that time was by packhorse.

The hills above them are vast, stony, Moorish and barren. The grounds about them are enclosed into small fields on the valley sides on each side of the rivers. And these enclosures are made more fertile by applying burnt limestone which has to be brought from as far as Pontefract and Knottingley about 20 miles away and yet the ground is so cold and backward that only grass, oats and peas can be grown. These people have a hard life and yet many of them are very wealthy. They live as it were within themselves and constantly enclose and improve land out of the rude mountains above them.

But the Surveyors did not lose sight of the reason for their visit, to establish a likely sale value for the manor. They concluded that the enclosed land was worth ‘about a noble (1/3 of a pound) per acre per annum’ and estimated there were 7 or eight hundred acres enclosed. They presided over a Manorial Court and questioned the tenants extensively on all matters relating to their landholdings, without making a lot of progress - ‘These are more subtle people than ignorant and are very fearful of losing their customary rights’. The principal right in question being that of Copyhold tenancies, a right which the tenants guarded fiercely.

Following their visit to the manor, Rainton and Child repaired to Pontefract and checked the Court Rolls held there to verify the accuracy of what they had been told in Marsden, they ‘took extracts from the Court Rolls for every reign since that time and found them to be uncertain on the matter’, apparently leaving the door open for further investigation of the tenants’ claim. All manorial records for the Honour were held in Pontefract Castle and unfortunately, they were destroyed in 1649 when the castle, a Royalist stronghold, finally succumbed to the Commonwealth forces at the end of the Civil War and was subsequently dismantled. The earliest surviving Court Rolls for Marsden manor date from 1628 to 1632, early in the period of ownership by


Page 52

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

the City of London.*®

Following the Commissioners’ return to London and reporting their findings, further investigations were carried out into the right of Copyhold of the tenants of Marsden manor and the rents, fines and hariots that were due, clearly with the intention of establishing a value for the property. A document has survived in the London Metropolitan Archives that can only be described as a briefing paper.** The document is undated and not signed apart from the capital R at the bottom of the first page. The document summarises the 1499 grant of Copyhold by Henry VII and then moves on to deal with the farming out of the manor to Edward Jones in 1591 and the subsequent litigation.*?

A summary of the Indenture of lease to Edward Jones is given and also a decree dated 1 February 1593 stating that ‘the information and suite against the tenants of Marsden touch their copyhold land and an Indenture of lease made under the seal of the court, of all the demesne land and meadows in Marsden to Edward Jones should be cancelled’.*? Further decrees of the court in 1619 and 1621 “discharge the tenants from paying such arbitrated fines and order given to the steward (of Pontefract) to assess such token fines upon descent and alienation as they formerly used’.

This must have sent a clear signal to the London City fathers that the rents, fines and hariots paid by the Copyhold tenants of Marsden manor had been well documented, immutable and tested in court. There was little room left for flexibility in the sale valuation of the manor.

Within two years of the Royal Contract being signed, most of the Royal estates had been sold on, usually at an advantageous price. For instance, the manor of Leeds, also part of the Honour of Pontefract, was sold in January of 1629 for £2710 8s. 10d. The City had paid £1517 16s. 11 1/2d. for it nine months earlier. Not so Marsden manor, it was amongst the last of the Crown estates to be disposed of. With no spare land and the income from rents fixed and indisputably low, the City had difficulty in selling the manor at a profit and it was not until 1654 that they finally disposed of it at a considerable loss. The manor of Marsden was sold to a canny Yorkshireman for a mere £292, thus it had finally passed into private hands.“

101MA, CLA/044/01/143. Note, these are listed as ‘unfit for consultation’ as they are in poor condition. 11 LMA, CLA/044/01/142. 12 Although references to it are to be found in the TNA (DL 4/34/39) and the LMA (CLA/044/01/142), the only known complete original copy of this document is in the possession of St Bartholomew’s Church, Marsden and is lodged with the church’s archives at WYAS Wakefield (WDP143). It is reproduced in full in Ye Chapell of Marsden Appendix C. 13 TNA, DL 5/20. CLA/044/01/196 178c and 178f, item 162.


Page 53

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

The new owner of the manor, Edward Firth, who hailed from Sowerby, did not survive long after purchasing the manor from the City of London. He died around 1660, but the manor was passed down through three generations of his descendants before three sisters, Mary, Elizabeth, and Rosamund Greenwood, who resided _ in Northampton, sold the manor to William Radcliffe in 1724 for £495. This was the third and last time that the manor was sold. Successive generations of Radcliffes retained the manor until the beginning of the twentieth century, when the Copyhold leases began to be progressively converted to freehold, a process that was completed by 1922. The remaining landholding in the manor, 6000 acres of moorland, was gifted to the National Trust in 1955 in lieu of death duties and now forms the Marsden Moor Estate.

So, for much of its long history, the manor of Marsden, was the property of some of the most powerful people in the kingdom before passing into private ownership, a transfer that was facilitated by the City of London. It is noteworthy that none of these owners, the Lords of the manor, ever resided in Marsden and indeed the vast majority of them probably never set foot in the village.


Peter Whitehead was born and raised in Marsden, he moved to New Zealand over 50 years ago and still resides there. He is an engineer by profession. Upon retirement he indulged a latent interest in genealogy which, upon discovering about his family ties with Marsden stretching back many generations, lead to an exploration of the local history, and of Marsden manor. He may be contacted on


Page 54

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal


David Taylor

On 4 June 1880, the Huddersfield Chronicle published an irate letter from ratepayer in which he complained, with a sarcastic reference to ‘a pleasant trip for him’, about the prolonged and unexplained absence in Spain of the town’s chief constable, John Ward. The explanation for his absence, on one level, was straightforward: he was pursuing a criminal. On another, it was both complex and intriguing. The story starts with two seemingly unrelated events separated by three years. The first took place in July 1887 when the staunch churchman and Conservative local politician, Alderman W H Aston died suddenly from apoplexy. This news reportedly ‘took many by surprise’ as Aston had seemed to be in good health even on the morning of his demise. Equally surprising was the revelation, some six months later, that, on his death, Aston had unsecured liabilities of some £25,000." The second event took place in the summer of 1880 when an Englishman by the name of James Vaughan, a cattle exporter, asked a firm of bankers, Joved & Co., of Valladolid, Spain to present a Bank of England £100 note.’ This sparked a series of events, culminating in the trial of a Huddersfield stock broker, Joseph Bentley, which throws interesting light on financial malpractices in the town, the laws relating to embezzlement and extradition in the late nineteenth century, as well as explaining why Chief Constable Ward had spent so long (56 days) away from Huddersfield on the continent.

The events of summer 1880 have their immediate origins in the spring of that year. On 17 March Joseph Bentley, a share and stock broker of Estate Buildings, Huddersfield was declared bankrupt with outstanding debts of some £7,000. He faced claims of misappropriation of trust monies and forgery as well as offences against the bankruptcy laws. A warrant for his arrest was in the hands of Chief Constable Ward by the evening but Bentley had already fled the town. On the evening of the 16°" of March, he had walked along the canal bank to Mirfield, where he took a train to Manchester via Cooper Bridge and Wakefield, thereby avoiding Huddersfield station where he feared the police would be on the look-out for him. In Manchester, he obtained £438 1s 6d from the brokers Messrs Fielder & Abercromby, with whom he had an account, before making his way to London, where he intended to collect ‘a considerable sum’ from another firm of brokers, Messrs Pye, Vaughan & Co., who were

1 Huddersfield Chronicle [hereafter HC], 5 July 1877 and 27 February 1878 2 HC, 28 June 1880


Page 55

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

members of the London Stock Exchange. Both firms had been informed that Bentley had absconded but the information only arrived in time to thwart him in London.

Nonetheless, Bentley — now bereft of his whiskers and moustache and travelling under the name of James Vaughan — was able to leave the country with money and a substantial quantity of jewellery. The precise details of his journey are unclear but he made his way Dover and took the ferry to Calais late on the 17 March. Travelling through France to Spain, he met a Dutchman by the name of Mulder, who acted as his interpreter before the two men went into partnership in the business of cattle exportation in Vigo, where they had taken a small farm. For a month, his whereabouts were unknown but in late April Bentley/Vaughan made the mistake of presenting the £100 note in Valladolid, some 450 kilometres inland from Vigo. The Bank of England recognised the number of the note and telegraphed Ward, informing him of events.?

Ward could now act but he was faced with two sets of problems. The first related to the responsibility for taking legal action against Bentley. The Treasury had issued instructions for the prosecution of the bankrupt Bentley and there were discussions with the Home Secretary and the Public Prosecutor, who had been requested to meet the costs of extradition. Both refused and in the end the creditors undertook to bear the expenses. The second related to the apprehension and extradition of Bentley. Great Britain had a recently-concluded an extradition treaty ‘for the mutual surrender of fugitive criminals’ with Spain (though Bentley erroneously thought otherwise) but not with Portugal, where Bentley had briefly moved.* The second article of this treaty contained a list of extraditable offences, including crimes against bankruptcy law. The third article of the treaty made clear that ‘a person surrendered shall not be tried for any crime or offence committed in the other country before the extradition other than the crime for which his [sic] surrender has been granted.’

Finally, the elaborate procedure to be followed was detailed in the fourth article. The first stage required the British diplomatic representative to send the arrest warrant (and other relevant material) to the Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs. From him the documents had to be sent to the Minister for Grace and Justice, who would issue a Royal Order if and when he was satisfied there was reason for extradition. Then, by virtue of that Royal Order, the Minister of the Interior would take the ‘fitting measures’ for the arrest and deportation of the fugitive criminal. Such ‘fitting measures’, though this was not specified in the treaty, involved co-operation between central government and provincial officials. On 2 May 1880, the British ambassador in Madrid

3 HC, 28 June 1880 4 Bentley appears to have travelled quite extensively with one letter to his brother being posted in Pesth Hungary.


Page 56

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

(the Hon. Sackville West) was requested to inform the Spanish authorities that a demand for Bentley’s extradition was being made.

Chief Constable Ward, acting on behalf of Bentley’s creditors, left Huddersfield three days later and made his way from Liverpool to Vigo, only to find that Bentley had left for an undisclosed destination. His frustration was increased by the lack of action by both British consular staff and Spanish magistrates. Although convinced that Bentley would return to Valladolid, Ward set off for Oporto (Portugal), a two-day journey in itself, before returning via Madrid, where he pleaded with the British Ambassador for help in expediting the extradition of Bentley. Ward’s persistence brought its rewards. Bentley returned to his hotel, the Fonda del Siglo, where he was duly arrested on 13 May — reports of which were received in Huddersfield six days later.> Ward had expected to return to England within a few days, but his optimism was ill-founded.

Despite having obtained Bentley’s money and jewellery, held by Mulder ina local bank, nothing further happened. After two more weeks, he went to Madrid to urge the British authorities to act and, even then, it was not until 16 June that the necessary paperwork was completed in Madrid. Unfortunately for Ward, the civil governor of Valladolid refused to hand over his prisoner until the requisite papers had been forwarded to him. A further flurry of telegrams had little effect but finally, Ward was given permission to leave with his prisoner. The actions (or rather inactions) of the Spanish authorities did not bring out the best in the English press. Frustration with bureaucratic delay degenerated into accusations about Spanish respect for law. ‘Spain has not yet emerged from its lawless instincts,’ opined the Huddersfield Chronicle, continuing with the assertion that ‘a portion of Spanish society looks back with regret at the halcyon days when forgers, embezzlers and cheats came to their shores and there spent without dread of arrest the proceeds of swindles and frauds.’®

Ward’s journey home was not without its legal and logistical problems. Even though there was an extradition treaty with France, French governments did not recognise extradition treaties between other countries. Thus, the overland route was not an option as Bentley was being extradited from Spain to Britain and should he enter a third country he would be a free man until a further claim for extradition had been approved. A sea journey was the only option. To effect this, the two men travelled the 300 kilometres to Bilbao, arriving just in time to board a steamer to Cardiff. Arriving in Wales at 5.45 a.m. they caught the 6.05 a.m. train to Gloucester from whence they took another train to Birmingham, which arrived on the Friday night. Unable to get to Huddersfield that day, Ward and Bentley stayed overnight in Birmingham and caught

° Huddersfield Examiner [hereafter HE], 19 May 1880. A detailed account of the arrest and fulsome praise for Ward’s ‘foresight, vigilance, tact, perseverance and industry’ was given in HE, 28 June 1880. See also Leeds Mercury, [hereafter LM] 22 May 1880. © HC, 26 June 1880


Page 57

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

the first express to Huddersfield, arriving at 11.15 a.m. on Saturday 26 June, that is over 50 days since Ward had left the town. Fifteen minutes later Bentley was behind bars in a cell in the borough police office, over three months since he had fled Huddersfield.

With Bentley safely in custody in Huddersfield, Ward was able to proceed to trial but even this was less straightforward than might be imagined. Although there were several charges against Bentley, including forgery and misappropriation of funds, legal action was constrained by the terms of the 1870 Extradition Act which was Unambiguous in requiring the prisoner to be tried only for the offences specified in the extradition order. Under this act, Bentley was in law a temporary citizen of Spain and if further charges were to be brought against him he would be entitled to return to Spain. The upshot was that Bentley only faced charges against the bankruptcy laws. Bentley’s return and the news of his impending appearance at the magistrates’ court on Monday 28 June aroused considerable interest but appetites had already been whetted by an examination relating to Bentley’s bankruptcy that had taken place in the county court some two weeks earlier. Such was the sensitivity of this hearing — ‘statements might be made effecting disastrously the reputation and interests of several people in Huddersfield’ — that a request was made to hold the examination in private.’ It was refused and a close friend of Bentley, George Dyson, a stationer’s assistant was questioned at length.

Details of Bentley’s calculating behaviour on the day before his bankruptcy were shocking enough; but more so were the revelations about his misappropriation of funds. In a series of complex financial manoeuvres, money, ostensibly borrowed for money clubs, such as the Cherry Tree Money Club and the Second Thursday Commercial Inn Money Club, was used for speculative purposes. Allegations were made that money had been speculated in the Erie railway company and the South Yorkshire Aerated Water Company.® Joseph Morton, the son of the late Eli Morton, a major shareholder in the latter company told the court that ‘some arrangement was made for my father to get money from Joseph Bentley,’ adding, ‘where it came from I do not know but it seems [to have] come from the Cherry Tree Club loan notes.’? Subsequent evidence made clear that Bentley had used his position as secretary to raise money for the Aerated water company by borrowing ‘the sum of £3000 on Cherry Tree loan notes’ without the knowledge of other club officials and those who had deposited money with it.*°

7LM, 14 June 1880. 8 The South Yorkshire Aerated Water Company was doubly fraudulent, being prosecuted on several occasions by the town’s inspector of weights and measures. 9 LM, 10 July 1880 and HE, 12 July 1880. Bentley was also secretary of the Boot and Shoe Money Club. 10 HE, 23 July 1880.


Page 58

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

When Bentley appeared ‘the Court House in Princess-street and the avenues there were crowded with persons of various classes of society’, such was the notoriety of the man and the The complexity of the prosecution case meant that the trial was twice adjourned. Finally, largely to ensure that Bentley could be tried at the forthcoming assizes, it was agreed that he would only face charges under section 12 of the 1869 Debtors’ Act. The act is best known for the abolition of imprisonment for debt, but the second part of the act dealt at length with the punishment of fraudulent debtors. Specifically, section 12 was concerned with bankrupts who absconded with property to the value of £20 or more. Anyone doing so was deemed to be guilty of felony with a maximum sentence of two years’ imprisonment, with or without hard labour.?? Much of the evidence was not new as details of Bentley’s elaborate plans to abscond and of the scale of his liabilities (£15-17,000) had been known for several weeks but there were still revelations to come. The complex financial web that Bentley had been able to construct, because he was seen to be an honourable man, was exposed and the prosecution highlighted examples of (alleged) fraud and forgery, which, strictly speaking were not part of the specific charge, limited as it was to the terms of the extradition warrant.

Further, in letters Bentley had written to his brother, George, shortly after his arrest in Spain, and which were read out in court, he lamented his ‘horrible position,’ admitting that he ‘had known for the past four or five years it must come out’ and was astonished that he had ‘kept it going so long.’ It was his explanation of his downfall that was most shocking. He claimed that ‘my complete ruin has been brought about by the late William H Aston, a well-known local businessman and town councillor, who kept moneys belonging to the clubs and lent from me to the extent of over £7,000 [making it] utterly impossible to redeem myself with this burden upon me.’ He concluded, dramatically, ‘no doubt he [Aston] poisoned himself partly on this

He then proceeded to detail how Aston ‘robbed the club to such an extent that I dare not confess it at the time.’ Bentley claimed that he had written to Aston, threatening ‘to put myself in the hands of Messrs Learoyd, Learoyd and Morrison [solicitors]’ unless he made ‘some arrangement either entering a club [sic] for what he had

11 HC, 29 June 1880. Bentley’s subsequent appearances saw a packed court and crowds in the surrounding streets. 12 An Act for the Abolition of Imprisonment for Debt, for the punishment of fraudulent debtors, and for other purposes, 32 & 33 Victoria c.61. Section 12 made the following provision: If any person who is adjudged a bankrupt quits England and takes with him, or attempts to make preparation for quitting England, and for taking with him any part of his property to the amount of twenty pounds or upwards, which ought by law to be divided amongst his creditors he shall (unless the jury is satisfied that he had no intent to defraud) be guilty of felony, punishable with imprisonment for a time not exceeding two years with or without hard labour. 13 HC, 24 July 1880. See also HE, 22 & 23 July 1880.


Page 59

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

misappropriated or make some other way to get it.’ He concluded that this threat ‘caused his [Aston’s] end by poison or other ways and it threw me [Bentley] into the present Bentley was charged with ‘quitting England and [taking] with him property to the value of £20 and upwards, which he ought by law to have divided between his creditors.’ His appeal for bail was refused and he was committed to appear at the forthcoming West Riding assizes to be held in the town hall at Leeds.

Bentley duly stood trial in the summer of 1880, by which time the facts of the case were very well known. However, the trial is of interest for other reasons. Bentley had initially pleaded not guilty to the charges but on the day of his trial he changed his plea to one of guilty. No reason was given for this change of heart. Section 12 of the act contained a defence — no intent to defraud — but this would have been difficult to sustain given actions between absconding and arrest. Presumably this was the reason for the decision to plead guilty. Bentley’s defence counsel, Mr Lawrence Gane, made a powerful plea for leniency, claiming that ‘the case looks more serious than it really is’ and emphasising that his client ‘has made a clean breast of all his transactions and has rendered every assistance in his powers.’ So much so that a letter of his ‘has been the means of the recovery of very large sums of money for the creditors.’*

Indeed, given the actions of other people (not least Aston) with whom he had been mixed up, Bentley was, in Gane’s contention, at least, ‘more sinned against than sinning.’ This argument was supported by Anthony Huddlestone, the trustee under the prisoner’s bankruptcy, who agreed that Bentley had offered ‘all the assistance in his power’ in unravelling the ‘very complicated’ transactions. He also said that Bentley was ‘always a very highly respected gentleman.’ In contrast, the prosecution counsel, Mr Waddy Q.C., stressed the seriousness of the case — ‘it is difficult to imagine any commercial offence which this man has not been guilty of’ — and drew attention to Bentley’s repeated practice of fraud and forgery. He also emphasised Bentley’s careful preparation to flee the country, the arrangements he had made for his wife and children to join him in Spain before going to America and his less-than-altruistic and belated (i.e. post-arrest) willingness to co-operate. He also cast doubt on Bentley’s motives in seeking to recoup the defrauded money. In particular, he highlighted a belated repayment by an unknown figure, probably Benson, whom he described as “some person who appears to have been confederating with him [Bentley]’ and who,

14 HC, 24 July 1880. Bentley also claimed that Aston’s clerk, WH Dyson knew of what was happening ‘and it killed him also’ and that George Dyson (the son of W H Dyson) and a friend of Bentley ‘had some knowledge as he came once or twice for money to me.’ HE, 23 July 1880. Ever willing to share responsibility, Bentley also accused Joseph Benson of leading him ‘into difficulty in a similar way.’ Benson was also committed to the assizes on a charge of fraud but at the trial the judge ordered the jury to return a verdict of not guilty. HC, 24 July & 14 August 1880, LM, 18 August 1880 & 12 February 1881 and Leeds Intelligencer, 24 July 1880. 15 HC, 2 August 1880


Page 60

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

‘under pressure of circumstances has offered an amount, I may call it “smart money” which will to a certain extent diminish the amount of loss to the

The judge, Mr. Beazely Q.C., was equally unimpressed with Gane’s argument. He conceded that Bentley had once been ‘a stock broker of good standing’ but was clear that his ‘[good] character had been completely forfeited by the prosecution.’ He was also highly sceptical about the motives behind Bentley’s recent actions. Having wrongly believed he was safe in Spain, it was only the force of circumstance that led to his more helpful manner. Further, Bentley was ‘induced to render assistance [and] it was not altogether voluntary’ and concluded that nothing he had heard ‘exonerates you [Bentley] from the punishment the court ought to give He then proceeded to sentence him to 12 calendar months’ imprisonment, half of the maximum sentence, albeit with hard labour.

Although publicly humiliated and his professional reputation in tatters, Bentley — like many Victorian white-collar criminals — got off relatively lightly in terms of a custodial sentence. In part this was due to the provision of the act but, in part, it was the result of the decision of the trial judge, who decided not to impose the maximum sentence. Not for the first (nor last) time, a judge determined that public shame was a heavier, and more appropriate penalty for a gentleman and man of business. The Bentley case was not a cause celebre that attracted nationwide coverage. Nonetheless, it threw light on the often-sordid underbelly of late-Victorian capitalism, the complexities of extradition law and the dominant attitudes towards the punishment of gentlemanly, white-collar criminals.*®


David Taylor is Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Huddersfield and has written extensively on crime and policing in Victorian Britain. More recently, he has written on various aspects of local history.

16 HE, 2 August 1880 17 HC, 2 August 1880 18 The classic study is George Robb, White-collar Crime in Modern England: Financial Fraud and Business Morality, 1845-1929 (CUP, Cambridge: 1992) but see also Sarah Wilson, The Origins of Modern Financial Crime: Historical Foundations and Current Problems in Britain (Routledge, London: 2014) and Sarah Wilson, ‘History, Narrative and Attacking Chronocentrism in Understanding Financial Crime: The Significance of Micro-history’ in Anne-Marie Kilday & David Nash (eds.), Law, Crime & Deviance Since 1700: Micro-studies in the History of Crime (Bloomsbury, London: 2017).


Page 61

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal


Joe Hopkinson

Huddersfield in 1966 became one of the eleven Local Education Authorities (LEAs) in Britain to utilise dispersal bussing.* This was a policy recommended by the Department of Education and Science (DES) which saw newcomers from Commonwealth nations taken from inner-city schools, where they constituted a third or more of the pupils, to those in more rural areas. Bussing emerged during the post-war period when ‘coloured immigrants’, as they were known, began arriving in large numbers. It was ostensibly intended to help immigrant children to integrate and improve their language skills. To a degree it was a panicked first response to mass migration during the mid-1960s; however, the policy was discriminatory and indicative of negative racialized attitudes towards immigrants.

The special bus used to transport immigrant children to schools outside their local area, 1960s. Image taken from Joe’s award-winning documentary available on YouTube.’

t Huddersfield Education Committee Minutes, 1965-1966, Minute 80 2 Joe Hopkinson, Dispersing the Problem: Immigrant Children in Huddersfield during the 1960s and 1970s, YouTube, A documentary made for an MA degree in History at Huddersfield University in 2017, Available [online] at: < Pv=dcebaT MspUk&t=707s>


Page 62

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

People came to Britain during the collapse of the Empire because they wanted to escape the ensuing economic, and social chaos. However, the government and private companies also encouraged migration due to the needs of manufacturing industries, and the emerging National Health Service. There was no shortage of candidates because the British Nationality Act 1948 had declared the hundreds of millions in the Commonwealth to be British citizens.2 Nonetheless, these citizens were not well- received by the public, or the government. The first Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1962 limited their further entry, and effectively began dismantling the extension of British citizenship to the Commonwealth.‘ In spite of this, the act arguably succeeded in creating the thing it sought to avoid: a multi-ethnic Britain.? Throughout the discussion and eventual implementation of the act people raced to beat the ban and bring over their families. This meant that LEAs were suddenly faced with large numbers of children who were likely to have little experience of education, and in the case of those from the Indian subcontinent, little knowledge of the English language.

In 1963, the London Borough of Southall began experimenting with dispersing their predominantly Indian Sikh pupils.° Following the ‘success’ of this the DES recommended dispersal bussing in a circular to all LEAs in 1965, and subsequently at least eleven other authorities utilised the policy. The practice did however come under criticism. In 1976 the Commission for Racial Equality successfully prosecuted Ealing Council in court over its usage, and bussing died out in the early 1980s. In Huddersfield, it was phased out from 1972 onwards,’ and was no longer in use by 1975.® The authority replaced the policy with approaches such as withdrawal classes where immigrants attended regular lessons, but were withdrawn once a day to be taught English.? Other methods were also introduced such as private tutors, summer schools, and the opening of English language training units in most schools.*° Thereafter, only a small number of children used transport to attend a school for language training.

Prior to the Second World War there were only a handful of Commonwealth citizens in Huddersfield. A 1958 survey of immigrant children in Huddersfield’s schools found

3 Wendy Webster, ‘The Empire Comes Home: Commonwealth Migration to Britain’, in Andrew Thompson (ed.) Britain’s Experience of Empire in the Twentieth Century (OUP, Oxford: 2012), p. 124 4 Erica Consterdine, ‘Community Versus Commonwealth: Reappraising the 1971 Immigration Act’, Immigrants and Minorities, 35:1, 2017, pp. 4-5 > lan R. G. Spencer, British Immigration Policy Since 1939: The Making of Multi-Racial Britain, (Routledge, London: 1997), pp. 130-134 © David Kirp, ‘The Vagaries of Discrimination: Busing, Policy and Law in Britain’, The School Review, 87:3, 1979, p. 272 ’ Huddersfield Daily Examiner [hereafter HDE], 9 June 1972 8 Huddersfield Weekly Examiner [hereafter HWE], 17 May 1975 9 Ibid. 10 Ibid.


Page 63

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

thirty-two; there were nineteen Indians, one Pakistani and twelve Europeans.** By 1961 this had changed dramatically as around 3000 Commonwealth immigrants had arrived in the town; in 1964 there were 7000, and by 1967 — the year after bussing was introduced in Huddersfield — the number had risen to 12,000.'* Of these, 1400 attended school.?? Although no exact figure has been discovered it seems likely that around 200 were bussed to school in Huddersfield each day.‘* Commonwealth immigrants often initially resided in terraced housing in the Springwood district.*° This meant that when immigrant children began arriving in larger numbers in the early 1960s they generally attended a handful of the town’s schools, such as Spring Grove Primary and Royds Hall Secondary. In 1961 fifty-one of Spring Grove Primary’s children were ‘coloured’, according to the Huddersfield Weekly Examiner.*®

New children arrived sporadically over the next few years with occasional large increases, such as in 1964 when the school gained sixty-four new pupils in the first three months of the school year.*’ These irregular increases were dealt with by turning Spring Grove and Royds Hall into reception centres for immigrant children. New arrivals were directed immediately to these schools, regardless of where they lived, so that they could receive a medical assessment and have their language skills In 1968, the number of immigrant pupils in Huddersfield rose to 2000, and the education authority was expecting an increase of 500 per year ‘for the next six years or These large numbers of children arriving irregularly, especially non-English speakers, were hard to properly accommodate at first, and it seems like the authorities had a minor panic about what to do with them.

Commonwealth immigrants were initially concentrated in certain housing areas for a variety of reasons. Notably, the first housing discrimination case taken to court by the Race Relations Board was against a Huddersfield builder who refused to sell a house on a new estate to an immigrant family. When Mr Mahesh Upadhyaya telephoned George H. Haigh and Co. Ltd in 1969 to make a purchase he was apparently told, would not jeopardise our business by selling a house to The main reasons were however more economic or related to the migration process. Immigrants were usually

11 Trevor Burgin & Patricia Edson, Spring Grove: The Education of Immigrant Children (OUP, London: 1967), p. 28 12 Eric Butterworth & John Goodall, in West Yorkshire; Social Conditions and the Lives of Pakistanis, Indians and West Indians (Institute of Race Relations, London: 1967), p. 44 13.G. H. Grattan-Guinness, ‘Huddersfield’, in John Power, Immigrants in School: A Survey of Administrative Policies (Councils and Education Press, London: 1967), p. 43. 44 Huddersfield Education Committee Minutes, 1965-1966, Minute 80 15 HWE, 23 October 1961 16 HWE, 10 June 1961 17 Burgin and Edson, Spring Grove, p. 14 18 Huddersfield Education Committee Minutes, 1965-1966, Minute 80 19 Huddersfield Education Committee Minutes, 1967-1968, Minute 286 20 HWE, 21 June 1969


Page 64

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

helped to move to Britain through ties of marriage, family, business, tribe or friendship, and they tended to want to live near each other. Mill owners also reinforced this by providing immigrant employees with work vouchers to bring over their family and acquaintances.7?

Immigrant children in the classroom, 1960s. Image taken from Joe’s documentary available on YouTube.

Additionally, many immigrants struggled to access quality housing because they were denied well-paying jobs. For example, a Welfare Officer at Brook Motors of Huddersfield stated in 1967 that ‘[personal preference of the management] will prevent coloured girls from being employed in admin...whatever their qualifications’ .22 Another factor was the phenomenon known as ‘White Flight’. A Huddersfield Community Relations Officer described this in 1973 stating that that where Black and Asian people move in, ‘other people are moving out’.2? When asked about this by the BBC in 1969 a Huddersfield estate agent posited that this was because ‘the smell of the cooking is somewhat objectionable’, and ‘you can’t talk over the garden wall to

Mrs Brown’.”* To diminish the negative effects of ‘White Flight’ on profit margins

21 Roger Ballard, ‘The South Asian Presence in Britain and its Transnational Connections’, in Bhikhu Parekh, Gurharpal Singh and Steven Vertovec (eds.) Culture and Economy in the Indian Diaspora (Routledge, London: 2002), p. 2 22 The Duncan Scott Archive, Interview notes: SCT/1/2 23 HWE, 31 March 1973 24 Panorama, ‘Michael Charlton Reports on the Racial Problem in Huddersfield,’ BBC One, 1 Dec 1969


Page 65

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

immigrants were likely prevented from buying in certain areas, but the extent of this practice is not known.

While the DES allocated funding to LEAs, the authorities, and individual head teachers within them, had a great deal of autonomy during this era. Bussing was never imposed on council areas; it was only recommended that immigrant children should be dispersed from schools where they made up more than a third of pupils.2? The DES gave funding for transporting immigrant children,*° and money to hire extra teaching staff.2” However, prior to this Huddersfield’s authority had already decided upon a twenty per cent limitation on immigrant children in each school, and had begun controlling their entry into schools through reception centres.”°

According to both Trevor Burgin, the Headmaster of Spring Grove between 1958 and 1967, and Kenneth Greenwood, his Deputy from 1964 until 1967, bussing was locally generated.”? In 1966, there was a dramatic increase in South Asian students entering the school, and Greenwood was in charge whilst Burgin was on a research trip to the United States. There was apparently not enough space or teachers to educate the newcomers which led the Deputy Education Officer for Huddersfield, G. H. Grattan- Guinness, to demand to a solution. Greenwood initially suggested that they rebuild a run-down section of the school buildings, but Grattan-Guinness rejected this due to the expense. Greenwood then consulted the heads of the English and Special English departments at Spring Grove. Together they developed a plan to continue using their school as a reception centre for new arrivals, providing a crash course in English, and then bussing groups of fifteen students to schools with spare classrooms. Greenwood thought the idea costly and was dubious about recommending it.

However, Grattan-Guinness approved of the idea and the authority subsequently implemented it.2° Due to his position on the education committee Grattan-Guinness was certainly aware of the DES circular to all LEAs in 1965 that recommended dispersal; he likely accepted Greenwood’s proposal because he knew that extra funding for bussing could be acquired, whereas refurbishing a building would probably have to be covered by the existing budget. Grattan-Guinness argued that the numbers of immigrant children had become a ‘deluge, which if it was not to swamp that school [Spring Grove Primary], had to be diverted to many Huddersfield therefore

2° Dennis Dean, ‘The “liberal hour”? The Wilson Government, Race Relations, Immigrant Youth and Education, 1965-8’, in David Crook and Gary McCulloch (eds.), History, Politics and Policy-Making in Education: A Festschrift presented to Richard Aldrich (\Institute of Education, London: 2007), p. 115 76 Huddersfield Education Committee Minutes, 1968-1969, Minute 113 27 Derek Gillard, ‘Education in England: A Brief History’, Education in England: The History of our Schools, Available [online] at: <> 28 Huddersfield Education Committee Minutes, 1964-1965, Minute 344; See also HDE 22 June 1964 29 Interviews with Trevor Burgin, 7 & 9 March 2016, Kenneth Greenwood 2 May 2017 conducted by author 30 Huddersfield Education Committee Minutes, 1965-1966, Minute 80 31 Grattan-Guinness, ‘Huddersfield’, p. 42


Page 66

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

chose to utilise bussing because educators within the authority recommended it, and the government provided funding for it.?2

Grattan-Guinness gave moral justification for his decision in a survey of administrative policies regarding immigrant children that was published in the late 1960s:

These people differ from the natives of these islands, not merely in their outward appearance through the colour of their skins, the shape of their features and the mode of dress: nor are the problems of language — Asiatic tongues or pseudo-English patois — great as they are, the main difficulties to be faced: it is their whole ways of life, their customs and their cultures, that somehow must be merged with ours (and ours with theirs?) if successful multi-racial living is ultimately to be achieved...In the interests of all colours, customs and cultures, as even a dispersal as can be devised seems imperative, and all the Authority’s plans are to this end.?3

It is worth noting that he argues for ‘successful multi-racial living’ and seems to have realised that immigrants would not be the only groups that had to adapt. However, Grattan-Guinness’s statements on ‘dispersing immigrant pupils among our own’, evidences his ‘us and them’ attitude towards immigrants. In reaction to ‘the controversy that seems to have arisen over proposals to disperse immigrant pupils’, Grattan-Guinness described bussing as ‘sheer common sense’, and rhetorically asked, ‘Idjo we want ghettoes of dark-skinned families?’.** Arguably, his statements are indicative of wider fears amongst the white community at that time towards Black and Asian people. In the words of Enoch Gay, a Grenadian man who was bussed in Huddersfield during the 1960s, ‘I guess they were frightened, because they were thinking there’s too many Black people congregating in one school’.*° Grattan- Guinness was undoubtedly reacting as best he could to a new and challenging situation. However, from his statements, it seems that a contradictory and racialized logic motivated the individual who approved the usage of bussing in Huddersfield.

In general, white British people during the 1960s and 1970s were likely to understand immigrants through racial stereotypes. In their review of research from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s David Gillborn and Caroline Gipps concluded that even teachers who professed a commitment to equality were affected by negative racialized stereotypes

32 Dean, ‘The “liberal hour”’?, p. 115 33 Grattan-Guinness, ‘Huddersfield’, p. 43 34 Ibid. 35 Interview with Enoch Gay, 23 May 2016, conducted by author.


Page 67

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

of minority ethnic pupils.*° Part of the overall problem, as Sally Tomlinson argues, is that people during the 1960s and 1970s were still strongly affected by ‘racial beliefs deriving from 19th century imperial expansion and Social Darwinism [which] helped create a popular consciousness in all social classes that the white British had economic, moral and intellectual superiority over arrivals from colonial countries’.*” Consequently, the government’s official stance on immigrants during the 1960s was that they should assimilate into British society.22 The above-mentioned Huddersfield estate agent exemplified this attitude in 1969 stating that ‘the not to teach the Yorkshireman Pakistani culture, but to teach the Pakistani Yorkshire culture’.*? At a national and local level British culture was viewed as superior, which strongly implies that immigrant cultures were viewed as inferior.

The belief that immigrants were inferior is evident in the decision to use bussing in Huddersfield. ‘Asiatic’ children were bussed to improve their English, but the intention was also to introduce them ‘to England and English ways of life’.“° However, ‘West Indian’ children were bussed in a separate programme which saw them spread widely across the town’s schools. The education committee justified this by arguing that ‘the problems presented by [West Indian] pupils refer chiefly to educational retardation’ and ‘that their admission to schools should be so controlled that no school receives more than a small avoid excessive difficulties with the remedial work of This, and the fact that only Black and Asian children were ever bussed in Huddersfield demonstrates the racial nature of the policy.

The intellectual capabilities of different ‘races’ of people was still commonly debated during this period. For example, eminent psychologist Arthur Jensen argued in 1973 that white children were adept at both rote and conceptual learning whereas Black children could only excel in the former.*” Furthermore, Tomlinson notes that ‘[t]o be an “immigrant” was considered to be a disadvantage in itself, to be compensated for, and some practitioners came to regard the special linguistic or cultural needs of minority children as equivalent to a “handicap”’.** These beliefs directly affected the educational experiences of people who were bussed in Huddersfield. Raj Samra was

3° David Gillborn and Caroline Gipps, Recent Research on the Achievement of Ethnic Minority Pupils (H. M. Stationery Office, London: 1996), cited in David Matheson, An Introduction to the Study of Education, 3 edition (Routledge, London: 2008), p. 112 37 Sally Tomlinson, Race and Education: Policy and Politics in Britain (Open University Press, Maidenhead: 2008), p. 23 38 Ken Jones, Education in Britain: 1944 to the Present, 2" edition (Polity Press, Cambridge: 2016), p. 38 33 Panorama, BBC One, 1 December 1969 40 Huddersfield Education Committee Minutes, 1965-1966, Minute 80 41 Ibid. 42 Arthur R. Jensen, Educational Differences (Methuen & Co Ltd., London: 1973). 43 Sally Tomlinson, ‘Minority Groups in English Conurbations’, in Phillip Williams (ed.) Special Education in Minority Communities (Open University Press, Stratford: 1984), p. 19


Page 68

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

bussed to Cowlersley Primary School in the late 1960s and felt that his class were ‘not really pushed’.“* Moreover, seeing his children’s education makes him feel that he was treated as if he was in nursery throughout his time being bussed to primary school. Raj, who is a qualified architect, also states that he was kept in a ‘class for retards’ during secondary school.*° Others had similar experiences. Enoch Gay described being ‘automatically put in the dunce class’ when he first arrived at Royds Hall despite having received a good education in Grenada. Although he had risen to a higher set at Royds Hall Enoch was again placed in the bottom class when he was bussed to Rawthorpe.*°

j ‘ Hh we

a a, a _

A lone black girl in the classroom at Mount Pleasant School, Huddersfield, 1960s. Image taken from Joe’s documentary available on YouTube.

Bussing was discriminatory in a variety of ways. It denied parents the right to choose where their child was educated.*” More importantly, it forced a longer school day upon immigrant children. Jo Radcliffe was born in Huddersfield to Caribbean migrants, but was still bussed; her journey took around an hour and a half each way.” Bussing for Asian children meant that they were educated in separate classes whereas Black pupils were purposely spread out ‘so that no school receives too high a proportion of any age-group or, in total, of all ages of West Indian children’.*? Both methods had the

44 Interview with Raj Samra conducted by the author on 20 July 2016 45 Interview with Raj Samra conducted by the author on 29 March 2016 46 Interview with Enoch Gay conducted by author on 23 May 2016 47 David L. Kirp, ‘The Vagaries of Discrimination: Busing, Policy and Law in Britain’, The School Review, 87:3, 1979, p. 275 48 Interviews with Jo Radcliffe conducted by author on 7 June and 2 July 2016 “9 Huddersfield Education Committee Minutes, 1965-1966, Minute 80


Page 69

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

potential for alienating the children. Raj Samra argued that his experience of school ‘was completely segregated... whereas [white children] would walk home together, which I think is quite critical to forming friendships...we were just dropped in, dropped out, and left quite isolated’.°° Jo stated that:

‘Bussing did make things a bit difficult because obviously you formulate relationships because you know the children at those schools your friends at home. So, it was quite isolating I of my sort of everlasting memories is me sitting in the school playground alone every play time, every lunch time, for years’.>? Bussing made parental involvement and after-school activities harder. Bussing meant that children were unlikely to attend secondary school with their primary school friends, alienated them from their peers, and left them vulnerable to bullying. One white pupil of Oakes Primary in Lindley during the 1960s described how along with his friends he pelted those disembarking ‘the Paki bus’ with sticks and stones, and ice balls in winter. He recalled no lessons with those children and stated that they did not mix at play time. The man reflected that it was no wonder the white children saw immigrant pupils as separate when they stood in their own bus

Huddersfield’s education authority presented itself, and was perceived by others, as progressive in its treatment of immigrant children despite using bussing. Academics have commented on the exceptional nature of the town, and this view was shared by certain local immigrants.°? This was largely due to the work of Trevor Burgin and his staff.°* As Michael Charlton states in the 1969 BBC Panorama film on ‘Racial Problems in Huddersfield’, ‘the push towards integration came largely at the urging of a man [Burgin] whose initiative has put Huddersfield ahead of many other towns’.°° Burgin was the Headmaster at Spring Grove Primary who oversaw the development of an impressive Special English department in the early 1960s, and from 1967 until his retirement he was Huddersfield’s, and then Kirklees’, Educational Organiser for Immigrants and Remedial Education [author’s emphasis].°° He was an early important figure in multicultural education in Britain helping to form the National Association for Multiracial Education, and working with those who shaped Britain’s educational policies. At a conference in 1968 Burgin stated that ‘there is already a multi-racial atmosphere in Huddersfield’s schools...these children will grow up to accept each

°° Interview with Raj Samra conducted by the author on 20 July 2016 >! Interview with Jo Radcliffe conducted by the author on 7 June 2016 and 2 July °2 Interviews with Anonymous conducted by the author on18 August 2017 °3 Julia G. McNeal, ‘Education’, in Simon Abbott (ed.) The Prevention of Racial Discrimination in Britain, (OUP, London: 1971), p. 133 >4* HWE 19 October 1968, p. 8 °° Panorama, BBC One 1 December 1969 °° In Burgin’s words, ‘they put the remedial bit in because of the West Indian children’


Page 70

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

other as citizens of a multi-racial Huddersfield of the future’.°’ In 1969 he however justified bussing to the BBC by stating that ‘the load and extra strain [of educating immigrants] must be born fairly by all schools’.°? Burgin was evidently more progressive than most, but his emphasis upon this indicates that discussions on immigrants in education then primarily dealt with ‘the problems’ they were seen to create.

In conclusion, although the people behind bussing in Huddersfield saw themselves as benevolent it is a problematic aspect of the town’s recent history. The concentration of immigrants in low income housing areas and certain schools was in some measure caused by white prejudice. Although educating the first generation of children from the Commonwealth was a daunting challenge, bussing indicates that the administrators of Huddersfield LEA, and those in at least ten others across the country put white people’s interests first. When asked about bussing in later life Trevor Burgin defended the policy but also noted that he ‘wasn’t on the receiving end’.°? He did not initiate bussing, but Burgin saw it as part of his experiments to create a more harmonious racial future. Like his colleagues Burgin arguably supported bussing with good intentions, but this does not negate the discriminatory aspects of the policy. Huddersfield’s LEA preferred to bus immigrant children away instead of extending existing schools or building new ones. An attempt was made to frame bussing as being in the best interest of all despite it disadvantaging immigrant pupils and revealing how they were understood through racial stereotypes.


Joe Hopkinson is a first-year Ph.D. candidate in History at The University of Huddersfield. His project examines the experiences and histories of the first generations of Commonwealth pupils in the industrial North of England. He is the winner of the Royal History Society Postgraduate History Prize 2018. The author may be contacted at:

°7 HWE, 19 October 1968 °8 Panorama, BBC One, 1 December 1969 °° Interviews with Trevor Burgin conducted by the author on 7 and 9 March 2016


Page 71


Page 72

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal


David Griffiths

At the end of the 19" century, several members of Huddersfield’s business elite turned to a leading architect and interior designer from the Manchester area to design or remodel their homes. His father was a nonconformist Lancashire cotton mill owner, but the son pursued a career in the arts rather than joining the business. He was steeped in the ethos of the Arts & Crafts movement championed by William Morris, with its emphases on truth to materials, local architectural traditions and the importance of handicraft. It was difficult for him, as for Morris, to bring these ideals within the economic reach of working people, not just wealthy middle-class clients. But one of his pupils was a designer of Letchworth Garden City, which was instrumental in projecting the Arts & Crafts ethos into 20" century mass housing.

All of which could open an article about Edgar Wood (1860-1935), the architect from Middleton (near Rochdale) noted locally for Banney Royd on Halifax Rd, Lindley Clock Tower, nearby Briarcourt, the Clergy House at Almondbury and several other Huddersfield houses. The subject of this article, however, is another man to whom the description also applies — George Faulkner Armitage.

Armitage was born half a generation before Wood, in 1849, in Longsight, south Manchester.” He was the fifth son (among 13 children all told) of William Armitage, whose firm — Armitage & Rigby from 1860 — owned large mills in Warrington and in Ancoats, the city’s prime cotton district. The Armitages were Liberal in politics and Congregationalist in religion — a combination which would prove potent in Huddersfield as in Manchester politics. In 1854, when the future architect was aged five, the family moved to Altrincham, nine miles southwest of Manchester, and it was there that Faulkner Armitage — he preferred Faulkner to George - remained until his death in 1937.

Unlike Edgar Wood, he had no formal architectural training, nor perhaps any in furniture design, for which he became best known. Instead he had a practical training in craft workshops and factories in several European countries, including two years’ study of woodcarving (a hobby from a young age and his favourite art form). An early

! In writing this article, I have relied heavily on the publications cited above by Allwood, Binfield and Fitzpatrick. Gill Fitzpatrick and Clyde Binfield have been generous with further information, references and comments, and saved me from several factual errors; any that remain are of course my responsibility. * Biographical details are largely taken from Clyde Binfield, So Down to Prayers: Studies in English Non- Conformity, 1780-1920 (London: 1977); Gill Fitzpatrick, ‘Portrait of a Studio: George Faulkner Armitage and his Apprentices’, Decorative Arts Society Journal, 2007; and further information from Fitzpatrick.


Page 73

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

work, in 1873, was the pulpit of a Warrington Congregational Chapel, where two brothers were officers of the building committee, and by 1878 he was in partnership in Altrincham with his brother J Fred Armitage and cousin, John Rigby. The Armitage- Rigby link, already established in his father’s business, was further strengthened in 1879 by Faulkner’s marriage to John Rigby’s sister Annie.

The Altrincham workshops, with their own smithy, were extensive and reminiscent of those of Morris & Co at Merton Abbey in Surrey, albeit on a smaller scale:

A surviving watercolour of the works shows women spinning and weaving, and men woodworking. A tapestry hangs on the wall, open windows overlook a cottage garden, and a black cat sits on the workbench. Pleasant surroundings; dignity in labour; traditional crafts working in unison to create a perfectly co-ordinated interior — the spirit was pure Arts and Crafts, yet in many ways the finished produce was quintessentially late Victorian.°

That last qualification is important and is amplified below.

In the 1880s Armitage and his partners began to market their work via the major trade exhibitions of the day. In 1882 they displayed a ‘sitting room of quaint character ‘at the Manchester Fine Art & Industrial Exhibition, where their stand was adjacent to that of Morris & Co. Armitage and Morris may have met at this point, and Armitage later became Manchester agent for ‘The Firm’, as Morris & Co was often known. Armitage also exhibited at the Manchester Royal Jubilee Exhibition of 1887 — showing a model artisan’s cottage — and at the great Paris Exhibition of 1889. Marking the centenary of the French Revolution, this featured the newly-erected Eiffel Tower as its centrepiece. Clyde Binfield relates that his Council Chamber there

..Was awarded a gold medal for its strength and skill. It was certainly a judicious mixture of Jacobean mansion and Victorian mayor’s parlour, a precise evocation of the political realities of English society meeting the frolics of modern engineering with the roast beef of old England.*

Before this, however, in 1883, Armitage exhibited at the Huddersfield Fine Art & Industrial Exhibition, which opened the new Technical School and Mechanics’ Institute, now the University’s Ramsden Building on Queensgate. Here he exhibited a library described thus in the catalogue:

Library Furniture and Decorations, consisting of Mantel and Dressoir, Mosaic Hearth and Brussels Cabinet for Books, Bookcase, with Curtains

3 Rosamond Allwood, ‘George Faulkner Armitage, 1849-1937’, Furniture History, 23, 1987 4 Binfield, p. 176


Page 74

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

Embroidered by the Macclesfield Embroidery School, Writing, Reading and Occasional Tables, Chairs and Corner Couch, Window Curtains worked by the Macclesfield Embroidery School.°

It was hailed in the Huddersfield Examiner as ‘a testimony to the thorough artistic taste of Mr Armitage ‘while the Huddersfield Chronicle enthused that Armitage:

..combines a thorough knowledge of the principles of decoration with the designing and construction of furniture, so that a house may be in perfect harmony throughout, producing a whole fitted for the leisure and social purposes of any well-to-do citizen of taste. °

The Billiard Room at Willow Bank. Image courtesy of Chris Moore.

In Huddersfield a good many such citizens were to be found in the maturing suburbs of Edgerton and Birkby, where Armitage would soon find commissions: as Binfield put it, ‘[H]is chief work lay in furnishing the bedrooms, bathrooms, billiard rooms and drawing-rooms of the Forsytes of provincial England’.’

° Catalogue of the 1883 Fine Art & Industrial Exhibition, Huddersfield University Archives, FAIE/3/4/C. Also, in the collection are photographs of the Exhibition presented by local photographer J E Shaw, including one which is almost certainly of the Armitage library. © HDE, 7 August 1883; HC, 11 November 1883 ’ Binfield, p. 176 72

Page 75

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

One of Edgerton’s more spectacular houses was (and is) Willow Bank, Halifax Rd, today well-concealed by trees except for its crenellated Gothic tower. This had been built in 1855 for wool merchant Thomas Hirst, who had married Jane Sykes of the leading Lindley industrial clan; her family probably paid for the house. Thomas, who died in 1881, was a connoisseur of the arts, whose sizeable collection of Victorian paintings was auctioned after his widow’s death five years later. Inheriting the house their son, also Thomas, had the house ‘expensively fitted and decorated’ by Armitage.® In view of the Sykes connection, had it been 10 years later Hirst might well have looked to Edgar Wood for his makeover — Wood’s mother was a Lindley Sykes and much of his local work was commissioned by Jane’s brother James Nield Sykes - but Wood’s career had barely begun in the mid-1880s. Unfortunately, it is not known whether Armitage’s interiors survive at Willow Bank today.

His next known local commission was for a much more substantial piece of work — a major extension to Stoneleigh, Bryan Road, Edgerton. This, like Willow Bank one of the grandest of the Edgerton houses, was built in 1860 for cigar-maker Edward Beaumont and by the 1880s was home to Henry Martin, the major worsted manufacturer of Wellington Mills, Oakes. Armitage’s extension of 1889/90 was in a Tudor-cum-Flemish Gothic style sympathetic to the original house, if somewhat less flamboyant. The ground floor was entirely occupied by an immense billiard saloon and ballroom, where coats of arms of 24 Yorkshire towns in the plaster frieze, stained glass panels behind the seats and a pierced gilded ceiling made this ‘an interior of more than ordinary quality’.? Nor were its delights entirely decorative. The British Architect went on to wax lyrical about the billiard table with its automatic electric markers - Armitage was interested in the use of electricity from a very early date - while the functional effectiveness of the doorway was celebrated thus in another trade journal:

The comfort of an arrangement of this kind, which, with the curtains drawn, would, in the keenest winter, prevent the opening and closing of the door minimising the comfort of the room by the constant admission of draughts of cold air, can hardly be over-estimated, while its appearance adds vastly to the beauty of the apartment.?°

Above this great room were three new bedrooms. Parts of the original house were refurnished at the same time by another leading Arts & Crafts firm, Marsh, Jones & Cribb of Leeds (who also displayed a room at the 1883 Exhibition), and some of their sumptuous furnishings survive. But of the Armitage extension, nothing remains — it

® HC, 24 August 1895 9 British Architect, 20 February 1891 10 Cabinet Maker and Art Furnisher, March 1898. I am grateful to Gill Fitzpatrick for these references.


Page 76

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

had been lost by 1949, when the Corporation bought Stoneleigh for use as a residential home, and on its footprint today are undistinguished modern apartments.”?

rl = ee


a a Pe ee ees be a

oe a ee ere AN TYRE, oe

or i

+ a Se oa.

The billiard room entrance at Stoneleigh. Source: Cabinet Maker & Art Furnisher, 1898.

Close to Stoneleigh, in Birkby Road, stood Rose Hill. A Georgian house of around 1800, this would be remodelled and extended in 1909, for Joe Lumb of Folly Hall Mills, by Edgar Wood and his partner James Sellers. In 1893 James Edward Willans moved to Rose Hill from Ashleigh (Halifax Rd) and commissioned furnishings from Armitage. These were modest — wardrobes, bookcases, an overmantel and pantry fittings — and described by Clyde Binfield as solid, handsome, sturdy and well done.’* But Willans was a quintessential Armitage client: a wool merchant; a Congregationalist who founded Milton Church, next door to the Ramsden Building and now part of the University; and a leading Liberal, whose nephew was future prime minister Herbert

11 It can however be viewed on the Historic England Archive 12 Rosamond Allwood, Clyde Binfield and Gill Fitzpatrick all had the opportunity in the 1970s to view a Book of Plans of Armitage’s work from 1892-7, then still held by a successor Manchester business but since lost. A list of, this work is appended to Allwood’s 1987 article, cited above.


Page 77

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

Asquith.?? He was also a major public figure, serving for example as President of the Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of Education. When he was made a Freeman of the Borough in 1918, schoolchildren were given a half holiday, ‘that they might in after years be interested in public service’ and in 1924, aged 82, he was saluted by the Examiner as ‘the Grand Old Man of Huddersfield.‘ (As it happens, Armitage served as Mayor of his home town during the First World War and was saluted on his death in 1937 as ‘the Grand Old Man of Altrincham’ !).

Also, on Willans’ CV was his chairmanship of the Corporation’s Library & Art Gallery committee from its belated establishment in 1898. He presided over the partial opening of the library and gallery at Somerset Buildings in February — the full opening was in April — and was reported to have ‘worked indefatigably in support of the scheme’. The adaptation of the building, first erected in 1880 by the Ramsden estate as offices, was undertaken by local architect Willie Cooper, but the decorations ‘have been carried out in subdued tones, under the direction of Mr G F Armitage, of Altrincham’, described by Willans as his friend.** In the same year Armitage was also responsible for work to fit out a new Liberal Club in the former Huddersfield Club premises in Westgate — perhaps Willans had a hand in this commission too.

There had, by then, been at least one further domestic commission, and perhaps more. In 1895 Joseph Henry Kaye (later Sir Joseph) had work by Armitage undertaken at Hazelgrove, Edgerton Rd. Kaye like Martin was a major worsted manufacturer (Kaye & Stewart of Lockwood) and a businessman of national standing with railway and bank directorships; he founded the war hospital at Royds Hall and was knighted in 1923, shortly before his death. Hazelgrove was the larger of a pair of semi-detached houses adjacent to Clayton Fields, built around 1850 to resemble a large mansion, home from 1936 to Waverley School and now divided into a dozen apartments. Armitage supplied room plans, furniture, hearths and fireplaces and obtained extensive glazing (perhaps for a billiard room, now lost) from Shrigley & Hunt, a notable Lancaster-based stained glass maker.’?

By about 1900 Kaye had moved on to Norwood, in the angle of Halifax Rd and Birkby Rd, bringing in a London country house architect, John Hatchard Smith, to create a much grander baronial mansion from a villa itself less than 10 years old. This had been built for Lindley manufacturer Arthur E Walker. The Armitage Book of Plans for 1892-

13 Moreover, Faulkner’s brother Samuel Rigby Armitage had Asquith’s first wife as a sister-in-law: there was a densely inter-married network of these leading Liberal and Congregationalist families, closely explored by Binfield. 14 HC, 15 February 1898 15 I am grateful to Gill Fitzpatrick for information about the glazing, not included in Allwood’s list of Armitage’s own work.


Page 78

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

7 includes mantels, cabinets, couch and fireplace elevations for one A E Walker, so Kaye may have found work by his Hazelgrove designer in the pre-existing Norwood.

Another possible Edgerton client is Henry Haigh, a woollen merchant who lived at Oak Lea, Regent Rd (then Leonard Place) from 1869 until his death in 1911. This is a pleasant double-fronted Italianate villa designed by John Kirk in 1869. In the Book of Plans, one H Haigh appears as client for a cabinet, bookcase, dressing table, wash- stand and fireplace elevation. Like Walker, however, Haigh is too common a local surname for a confident attribution.

As well as introducing his work to potential clients, the 1883 Huddersfield Exhibition formed or perhaps strengthened a relationship between Armitage and another local figure very much involved in the Arts & Crafts movement. This was George Thomson of Woodhouse Mills. He was a devotee of the art critic and social philosopher, John Ruskin (1819-1900), who had a profound influence on William Morris and other Arts & Crafts practitioners, and a champion of the co-operative movement. In 1886 Thomson converted his inherited family business at Woodhouse, William Thomson & Co, to a co-partnership, with worker share ownership and participation in management; in 1887 he invited Morris to speak in Huddersfield; and both Morris and Ruskin were reportedly his guests at Woodhouse Hall (where North Huddersfield Trust School, formerly Fartown High, stands

Before any of this, however, Thomson had loaned his own volumes of Ruskin to furnish Armitage’s 1883 Exhibition library.*” By the late 1880s the affairs of the Sheffield-based Guild of St George - established by Ruskin in 1871 to promote his ideals - ‘were managed largely by George Thomson, a Huddersfield mill owner, and by George Baker of Bewdley’.'® This involved the purchase of a large Georgian house at Meersbrook, which was fitted out by Armitage as the Ruskin Museum (the collections are now at Sheffield’s Millennium Galleries). It was saluted by the Sheffield Independent as ‘such a museum for our artisans as they have not yet dreamt of; not dazzling nor overwhelming, but comfortable, useful, and... beautiful the interior a working man’s Bodleian library’.1? There could hardly be a better expression of the social and

46 For Thomson and Woodhouse, see Philip Ahier, ‘Woodhouse Hall’, in ‘Huddersfield and its Manors’, Cuttings Books (B900), Huddersfield Local Studies Library; Gordon & Enid Minter, Discovering Old Huddersfield, Part 3 (Huddersfield: 1998), pp. 37-40; and Alan Brooke, ‘William Morris in Huddersfield’, Available [online] at: <>; Letters from Morris, Ruskin and the celebrated Arts & Crafts architect C. F. A. Voysey can be found in Thomson’s papers at WYAS(K), DD/GT. 17 There is a note from Armitage to Thomson in the University Archives. 18 After Ruskin’s death in 1900, Baker was President of the Guild from 1900-10 and Thomson from 1910- 20. Baker was a Quaker blacking manufacturer, and sometime Lord Mayor of Birmingham, who gave Ruskin land at Bewdley, Worcestershire, now occupied by a Ruskin-inspired rural centre for the arts and environment. 19 Sheffield Independent, 20 February 1891, cited in Binfield, p. 274


Page 79

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

aesthetic ideals of the Arts & Crafts movement, honouring Ruskin and echoing Morris’s famous injunction to ‘have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful’.

Light fitting at Bramall Hall, Stockport. Photo by the author.

Thomson and Armitage evidently remained in contact, because in 1895 Armitage produced a specification for the cleaning and redecoration of the principal rooms at Woodhouse Hall, echoing in its modest way the description of his work at Meersbrook:

The work is to be of a thoroughly good character and all the materials of the best quality, but to be carried out in a simple manner without any unnecessary outlay.7°

And as a final twist to this part of the tale, in 1917 Thomson ‘down-sized’ from Woodhouse Hall to Oak Lea in Edgerton, the late Henry Haigh’s home. To pile conjecture onto speculation, if this ‘H Haigh’ was Armitage’s client, perhaps Thomson was attracted by his friend’s interior fittings?

How, then, to conclude this game of consequences? If I began by drawing out the parallels between Edgar Wood and Faulkner Armitage, it is important also to note the differences. Wood was a highly innovative artist whose 30-year architectural career

0 Thomson papers, WYAS(K), DD/GT/2 7/

Page 80

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

proceeded rapidly from Arts & Crafts work in Lancashire and Yorkshire vernacular idioms, through the Art Nouveau of Lindley Clock Tower, to anticipations of Art Deco and inter-war flat-roofed modernism before their time (the latter seen locally at the Unitarian Sunday School of 1912 at Lydgate, New Mill.) Like his great contemporary Charles Rennie Mackintosh, he was celebrated at least as much in advanced European circles as at home. In the official list description of Rose Hill, his and Sellers’ Art Nouveau interiors there are placed alongside Joseph Hoffman’s Palais Stoclet in Brussels, and Alfred Loos’ Karntner Bar in Vienna, celebrated in every account of Art Nouveau and its passage into modernism.

Armitage, 11 years older than Wood, was a talented designer but one who, unlike Wood, produced essentially similar work throughout his career. This was ‘an elaborate Northern arts and crafts’ for wealthy middle-class clients, and those ‘rich clients had exerted their compromise. William Morris had turned into Jacobean’.”* But if Wood was the more creative artist, it could be argued that Armitage, through his links with Thomson and the Guild of St George, was closer to the social and moral philosophy of the Arts & Crafts movement. When they each retired, in the 1910s, Armitage turned to a life of civic usefulness in Altrincham, with a growing interest in ‘social housing’, while Wood emigrated to the Italian Riviera to return to his first love, not architecture but painting - just as Mackintosh ended his days painting in the south of France.

Nonetheless the contrast should not be over-stated. Armitage too painted as a hobby, while Wood became secretary of the Northern Art Workers Guild when it was established in 1896. Its leading lights included Barry Parker and Raymond Unwin, who went on to project Arts & Crafts ideals into 20 century mass housing through their work at Letchworth Garden City, New Earswick (York) and Wythenshawe (Manchester). Parker was a pupil of Armitage’s, and he was joined at Letchworth by Cecil Hignet, a pupil of Wood’s. Both Wood and Armitage, through their pupils and their influence, helped project Morris’s social and aesthetic ambitions for the wider population into the 20" century.


David Griffiths is treasurer of Huddersfield Local History Society and a founder of the Edgar Wood Heritage Group (Yorkshire). His most recent book, The Villas of Edgerton (reviewed on pp. 102-103), was published by Huddersfield Civic Society in 2017. It includes the houses considered here and many more.

21 The first quote is from Mervyn Miller, speaking on Parker & Unwin to Manchester Victorian Society, 26 May 2014; the second from Binfield, p. 178.


Page 81

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal


Christine Piper

This article illuminates how the lives of two Huddersfield politicians and mill owners became associated with the Wessenden Valley, due to chance events. I grew up knowing about my two Victorian relatives’ involvement in politics in Huddersfield, and about the Wessenden Valley at Marsden, from listening to stories recounted by family members. One story which, as a child, captured my imagination and I particularly liked was the story about James Crosland (1832-1913) and the construction of the Butterley Reservoir, one of the four reservoirs in the Wessenden Valley. James was the person who cut the first sod to mark the start of its construction. I probably liked this story for two reasons. Firstly, because ‘sod’ was a word we would not have been allowed to use as children and secondly, the large, eye catching, silver spade I had seen, hanging ina case at a relative’s house, which he had reportedly used to cut this sod. The second family connection with the Wessenden Valley involves Sir Joseph Crosland (1826 - 1904) who I discovered had died suddenly while staying at Wessenden Lodge.

HMudider sfie te bd ; __ Waterworks.


f ee eet heGO i


Po x ar.

‘a me ee VOIRS

D ae SEAVICE I (7 vk


FES QO ee es ‘ bc: n_ SS ee is OF ms ce a oe fl pkgf i “i ts" 1395 i fa ny RE Moses, 7 *% Ler ot a : 1 Ao ae jm fe wine PATON Boo _ a OO Re 4 4 SO Eire en BO Nee ee my Y Pr - : - a 2 cr » ae os : 3 a oe rie \ ba Pe ne iy sh ee a MS a 4 7A = an SOP BY TBH ae is i i rors Eh ore 4 Wy’ me) =, Z a) a 3 ee = A a ae _ : = q , ‘ t

The map of Huddersfield Corporation Waterworks, 1890. Dark grey: Borough boundary; light grey: out districts supplied. Illustration courtesy of Huddersfield Local Studies Library, Kirklees Libraries.

The history of the Wessenden Reservoirs is intrinsically linked to the development of the textile industry in the Colne Valley. My two Huddersfield relatives, who are the


Page 82

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

focus of this article, were involved in the textile manufacturing, and therefore it could be argued they were both likely to have had a vested interest in ensuring an adequate water supply for the mills. There were numerous mills in Marsden itself, of which Bank Bottom Mill was a major employer and produced a high quality worsted cloth.? However, with the increasing demand for a reliable and constant water supply for all the mills in the Colne Valley, it was decided that four reservoirs should be constructed in the Wessenden Valley between 1836 and 1906.7

James Crosland’s connection with Butterley Reservoir

James Crosland was a woollen manufacturer who owned Paddock Mill in Paddock, Huddersfield. By 1861 he employed 80 hands and by 1871 he had bought some land and built a house called Royds Mount on Luck Lane in Marsh which clearly demonstrated his prosperity.? In 1871, James’ family comprised his wife Ann, and their children, James (6), Samuel (5) and Kate (4) who would become my great grandmother, and Frank (3).

James Crosland lived at a very significant time in the history of Huddersfield and became a councillor in 1868 when Huddersfield was incorporated as a borough. James was one of many men whose names are recorded on the large wooden plaques hanging in the Huddersfield Town Hall. He represented the Marsh Ward, where he also lived, from 1868 until 1874. It was while he was an alderman that he cut the first sod on the Butterley Reservoir on 27 August 1891. The events of the ceremony and the dinner at the Town Hall that evening, were covered in great detail in an article in the Huddersfield

At that time James Crosland was not only an alderman but also the Deputy Chairman of the Waterworks Committee. His involvement with the Waterworks Committee was not surprising as he was a mill owner and therefore had a personal interest in the activities of the said Committee. The privilege of cutting the first ‘sod’ should have fallen to the chairman, Alderman Wright Mellor, but he was taken ill and so the task was given to James, a chance event which secured him a prominent place in my family history. The ceremonial spade used to cut the first sod has a blade made of silver with an ebony handle. The spade is elaborately engraved and bears the following

1 Author unknown, ‘Yorkshire Colne Valley Now’, Issue 1, (undated) pp. 6-15 2 The reservoirs were constructed in the following order: The Wessenden Reservoir (sometimes referred to as Wessenden Old Reservoir) constructed following the Wessenden Act of 1836; The Wessenden Head Reservoir (1877-1881), constructed following the Huddersfield Waterworks and Improvement Act of 1876; The Butterley Reservoir (1891-1902) constructed following the Huddersfield Corporation Waterworks Act of 1890; The Blakeley Reservoir (1896-1903) construction included in the Wessenden Waterworks Act of 1871, but work delayed several times hence construction starting in 1896. T.W Woodhead, History of the Huddersfield Water Supplies (Tolson Museum, Huddersfield: 1939), pp. 75 — 77. 31861 & 1871 UK Census. * Huddersfield Examiner 28 August 1891.


Page 83

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

inscription: ‘Huddersfield Corporation Waterworks, presented by the Corporation of Huddersfield to Alderman James Crosland: On Thursday the 27" August 1891, on the occasion of his cutting the first sod of Butterley Reservoir’. Also inscribed were the names of the Mayor, Godfrey Sykes; the Town Clerk, Henry Barber; and Wright Mellor the Chairman of the Waterworks Committee.

4 A SY; tae cena oe

nasa) ad = Pak © § ls)

ay tt mn wi, a we TAN ee ot TO Nah sk rn? 5 A a s = ax Aig

7 ss ¢ Sy = Rall?) aren) io’ He he ea Ce

ar I



a I was i" he ea

SS) RE at oi

ae nas

ow" rd

James and Ann Crosland, 1908. Photo in the The ceremonial spade used in ownership of the author. 1891. Photo by the author.

Royds Mount, the family home in Paddock, was sold to Amelia Clough in 1878 but the family continued to live in the house until 1897. During this time the family business was experiencing financial difficulties, one of the likely reasons being the fire in 1888 which caused a great deal of damage and leading to a financial loss of between £10,000 and £12,000, only some of which was covered by insurance. James retired as an alderman on the 8 April 1897 after being involved in public life in Huddersfield for 24 years. Soon after this he was declared bankrupt which was followed by the closure of the Paddock Mill in 1899. Along with his sons, James later established himself as a coal merchant living in the Lascelles Hall area of Huddersfield.°

> 1901 UK Census 81

Page 84

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

On a walk up the Wesssenden Valley in 2016, I was interested to see the repairs being done to the spillway of the Butterley Reservoir and the machines and the cranes being used to carry out the work. The current use of such machinery is to be expected but it was a striking contrast to a photograph I have seen of the © original construction of the water spill and dam wall construction started in the 1890s. At that time the men were working with what appear to be very rudimentary tools. In the photograph it also appears that a woman, child and dog were permitted into the trench to view the construction.°®

ere as Puddle Trench, Butterley Reservoir, 1891-2. Source: Woodhead, History of the Huddersfield Water Supplies

(1939). The Butterley Reservoir was

designed by civil engineers Thomas and Charles Hawksley and built between 1891 and 1906.’ This and the other reservoirs are all beautifully constructed in finished stone, even though they are up on moorland. One particularly ornate water management feature forms the structure of the spillway, and a feature of cascading steps. When the repairs to the spillway were first proposed there was public concern that the repairs would spoil the Victorian grandeur of the spillway. However, since the spillway is unique, and Grade 2 listed, the current improvements essentially have to be completed without impacting on the look of the dam and spillway.

Sir Joseph Crosland’s death at Wessenden Lodge

The second of my family connections with the Wessenden Valley is through Joseph Crosland (1826-1904), who was a relative of James’s and was his nearest neighbour living at Royds Hall, Luck Lane, Paddock. Joseph built Royds Hall in 1866 and lived there until his death in 1904. Joseph was the third son of George Crosland of Crosland Lodge, and had started work in the family textile business as a young man. Latterly, Joseph owned Crosland Moor Mill, Huddersfield, which was adjacent to his childhood home

© Woodhead, History of the Huddersfield Water Supplies, p. 80 7 Save Butterley Spillway. The Historical Background and Industrial context of Butterley Spillway. Available [online] at <>


Page 85

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

of Crosland Lodge, Crosland Moor and was a member of the Huddersfield Chamber of Commerce and was elected to the Council in 1888.8 He was also a banker and involved with the Huddersfield Bank; he was elected as a Director of the Bank in 1866 and Chairman from 1876-1897, when it amalgamated with the London City and Midland Bank.?

As well as business interests, Joseph was also active in public life; in 1863 he was at a meeting where the decision was taken to adopt the Local Government Act and Joseph was one of eight men who were subsequently elected to form the Lockwood Local Board. From 1869 to 1872 he sat on the Borough council. He believed in a good education for all, especially in technical education, he was involved with the establishment of the Mechanics’ Institute, and the elementary School Board. Joseph was a Justice of the Peace and sat on the bench for the Huddersfield Borough Police Court.*° His wide-ranging activities also included philanthropy for he supported the Huddersfield Infirmary and was reported as having given a donation of £1000, which must have been significant amount of money in the late 1890s.** His philanthropy extended to supporting the restoration of the clock at All Saints Church, Joseph’s various contributions to public life in Huddersfield was acknowledged when he was given a knighthood by Queen Victoria in 1889, in her 70° Birthday Honours List.*?

Sir Joseph in ceremonial dress when he was knighted in 1889. This image was given to me several years ago by Lynn Free who sadly died last year.

After being knighted, Sir Joseph stood for Parliament several times in 1885, 1886, and 1892 before being elected on 4°" February 1893 when he was elected to represent Huddersfield.** The 1893 by-election was called following the death in India, of the

8 HWE, 3 September 1904 ° Scott & Pike (eds.), West Riding of Yorkshire at the Opening of the 20th Century 10 HWE, 21 January 1899 11 HWE, 3 September 1904 12 HDE, 31 October 1878 13 London Gazette, 24 May 1889 44 More information at: <>


Page 86

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

sitting member Mr William Summer (Liberal). Sir Joseph won his seat with a very small majority of 35 votes, beating Joseph Woodhead who obtained 7033 votes, and in doing so became the first Conservative MP to represent Huddersfield in Parliament [his brother T.P. Crosland had been a Liberal MP].*° The fact that Sir Joseph was elected appeared to cause a great deal of local interest as there was a song written to commemorate him being returned to Parliament. The song was called the ‘Knight of Royds Wood’ with the words being adapted from an old English melody by J. Glover and the music arranged by E.A. Lodge. Sir Joseph’s time as an MP was relatively short and on 13 July 1895, he lost his seat at the General Election. This was an historic election as there was a Labour candidate for the first time, which split the votes three ways. Another Conservative MP was not returned to Parliament by Huddersfield (West) until 1979, when Geoffrey Dickens was elected. Sir Joseph was made an Honorary Freeman of Huddersfield on 28 October 1898, and his name is recorded with other Freemen on a large wooden plaque in the Huddersfield Town Hall. The same day Sir Joseph was given the freedom of Huddersfield, as Joseph Woodhead, J.P. and they were the 5 and 6 men to be honoured in this way. Consequently, due to his connections with Huddersfield, his death and funeral were of some public interest.

Sir Joseph was likely to be well connected through his many business and public interests. One such connection appears to be with Sir Joseph Percival Pickford Radcliffe (1824-1908) who leased the shooting rights on the moors in the Wessenden Valley. The grouse shooting, however, conflicted at times with farmers wishing to graze cows or sheep in the Sir Joseph was staying at Wessenden Shooting Lodge in 1904 when he was taken ill and after a short illness died there on the 22 August 1904, aged 77 years.*’ There was a funeral procession from Sir Joseph’s home, Royds Wood in Paddock, to Huddersfield Cemetery. His obituary carrying the headline ‘Imposing funeral for Sir Joseph Crosland’, described how the town acknowledged his death with flags hung at half-mast on numerous public buildings and the police providing a guard of honour; but also information about his personal household as amongst the chief mourners, listed after the family members, was Mr Arthur Coy who was for 20 years Sir Joseph’s domestic and personal Also mentioned were the keepers and servants at Wessenden Lodge, who were amongst the many people who laid a wreath on this grave.

Since Joseph had no children of his own his house was eventually sold to the Huddersfield Corporation in 1913 for approximately £17,000. During the First World War it was used as a Military Hospital with rows of huts being erected in the grounds

15 Philip Ahier, Studies in Local Topography V: Gledholt Hall (Advertiser Press Ltd., Huddersfield: 1935) 16 Marsden History Group, ‘Conflict on the Moors’, Available [online] at: <> 17 HWE, 3 September 1904 18 Yorkshire Post, 3 September 1904; HWE, 3 September 1904


Page 87

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

to house convalescing service men. In September 1921, the building became Royds Hall Secondary School, the first co-educational school in Huddersfield with 69 boys and girls.1? One pane of glass bearing the Crosland crest remains in the School and is a small, but tangible reminder of the man and what he achieved during his life.

= -

Md ‘ =r , e

ir : om Saw « ee » ts ‘ = oS a" :

a =] re in) —-+ a it a y Zz TU =

— oP.


Royds Hall, Paddoock in 1900. Photo courtesy of Kirklees Image Archive


Christine Piper has been interested in Family History Research from a young age. She

loves to spend time in the library seeking out information about her family members and meeting interesting and helpful people there.

19 Huddersfield Daily Examiner, 22 December 2011 85

Page 88

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal


Anne Brooke

On 18 September 1918, the Council met in special session in the Town Hall to mark the Golden Jubilee of the town’s incorporation by admitting six men to the Freedom of the Borough." The idea of giving towns and cities the ability to create Honorary Freemen was pioneered by Hull and Huddersfield and given legislative authority in the Honorary Freedom of Boroughs Act of 1885. At least that is what Sir Albert Rollit, Huddersfield’s most senior living Freeman, told the Town Hall audience that Wednesday.

However, the reality was rather less obviously part of Huddersfield’s history. In fact, it had been Hull’s Council, prompted by Rollit, its Lord Mayor at the time, which wanted to make such an award, technically illegal under electoral law. Initially, Hull put a private bill to parliament. However, it was felt that, if the proposal was to be acceptable at all, then it should be applicable across the country, not just in Hull. A more general bill was then drafted and piloted through both houses by sympathetic MPs and Lords of whom the most prominent was the Marquess of Ripon, Hull’s High Steward - he became Hull’s (and the country’s) first Freeman after the bill became law!

Huddersfield’s rather tenuous connection with the process was that the Marquess had been the town’s MP before he succeeded to the title and had associated Huddersfield with Hull in his first soeech on the subject in the Lords. Nevertheless, it made a good story for such an important occasion, and Rollit was demonstrating his obvious affection for the home town of his grandfather, Joseph Kaye, who, as he reminded the audience, had ‘built much of [Huddersfield]’.?

Prior to 1918, the Council had elected a total of 12 Freemen, but never more than two at the same time. It had also restricted the honour to men with strong links with the town, rather than as a means of flattering visiting dignitaries. The selection so far had

For the full report of the meeting see Huddersfield Examiner, 21 September 1918. It is also reprinted in full in Owen Balmforth, Jubilee History of the Corporation of Huddersfield, 1868-1918 (Alfred Jubb & Son, Huddersfield: 1918), pp. 125-139. Quotations, and other details not otherwise attributed, are taken from that account. Additional biographical material, including the photographs has come from Leonard Biddulph (ed.) Yorkshire Who’s Who (Westminster Publishing Company, London: 1912); Robert B. Perks, The New Liberalism and the Challenge of Labour in the West Riding of Yorkshire 1885-1914 with Special Reference to Huddersfield (Unpublished Doctoral Thesis, Huddersfield Polytechnic: 1985); W. H. Scott, and W. T. Pike (eds.), West Riding of Yorkshire at the Opening of the 20th Century: Contemporary Biographies (W.T. Pike & Co., Brighton: 1902); Who’s Who & Who Was Who (Oxford University Press, Oxford: 2017) 2 Rollit had been admitted to the Freedom of the Borough of Huddersfield on 28 August 1894, at the same time as Henry Frederick Beaumont. The borough’s first Freeman was Wright Mellor in 1889. 3 Edward J Law, Joseph Kaye, Builder of Huddersfield, c. 1779 to 1858 (Huddersfield Local History Society, Huddersfield: 2015).


Page 89

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

ranged from the donor of Beaumont Park, Henry Frederick Beaumont, to a Congregational minister, Robert Bruce, and from a mill owner, James Nield Sykes, to two Boer War volunteer army officers, Majors Charles Brook and Harold Wilson.*

lle Zhe VS a << an nt TELS Bad i yy ‘Abe Ay, WARY) LY os Ww


ir le SSS

eee ee


wd by

Casket used in connection with Freedom of the Borough ceremony in 1918. Photo courtesy of Huddersfield Local Studies Library, Kirklees Libraries.

Three of the six nominees chosen in 1918 were current members of the Council, and the other three were former members; four of the six had served as Mayor. The youngest was 61 and the eldest 77. Politically, they were a group of three Liberals, one former Liberal Unionist, and two Conservatives, with those proposing and seconding the nominees being six Liberal, four Conservative, and two Labour councillors, reflecting the balance of party groupings in the 1918 Council. However, apart from one brief reference in the nomination speeches to the cross-party respect for one nominee, party affiliations were not mentioned, as was the custom of the day. You might conclude that long service, longevity, and party loyalty had been the primary criteria for selection but, even allowing for the conventions of the occasion, the nomination speeches indicated very clearly the important contributions each had made to the life of the town.

The first nomination was of Alderman Jessop, Mayor since 1916, and, as its longest serving member, ‘Father of the Council’, having joined it in 1882, and being elected an

4 A full list of the Freemen admitted from 1889 to 1973, when the Borough was merged into Kirklees, is in preparation for Huddersfield Exposed at <>. They are all men. The author is grateful to the staff of the Huddersfield Local Studies Library for sourcing their images.


Page 90

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

alderman in 1892. William Henry Jessop (1841-1921) was a building contractor and quarry owner, and probably had almost as much right to claim to have built the town as Kaye, albeit for a later generation. Leaving school, aged 9, for a job in the warehouse of a mill, he had later gone to work for his uncle, who was a builder. He was a committed and active Anglican but was also a close friend of the parish priest of St Patrick’s Roman Catholic church. His support for the armed forces had begun with his early membership of the Volunteer Rifles and had continued with his involvement in the creation of the Boer War memorial, and his membership of the First World War Military Service Tribunal.

Jessop was also a prominent Freemason. In 1918, that movement had not yet gone underground, its doings being reported in the press in the same way as any other national or local organisation, along with new appointments to its senior posts. He had been Mayor of the borough in 1897-99, the first Conservative to hold that office, and his re-election to the post in 1916, in the depths of war, reflected his reputation as a safe pair of hands. The seconder of his nomination, a chartered accountant, referred to the conduct of the Mayor’s business affairs as being carried out without the right hand always knowing what the left was doing! Aside from his political and business activities, the nomination speeches made clear that he was well known in the town for many personal acts of kindness and charity.

William Henry Jessop (1841-1921) John Arthur Brooke (1844-1920)

The background of the other Conservative nominee contrasted sharply with Jessop’s. John Arthur Brooke (1844-1920), educated at Repton and Oriel College, Oxford, was the fourth of five brothers, two of whom had already been granted the Freedom of


Page 91

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

the Borough.° Although the Ramsdens were the lords of the manor of Huddersfield, recent generations had played little personal part in the town’s affairs. That gap had been filled by the Brookes, very substantial textile manufacturers based at Armitage Bridge, an industrial village with some of the characteristics of a manorial estate.

The family’s importance in representing the Conservative Anglican establishment in the Huddersfield area was recognised by the creation of a baronetcy for the eldest brother, Thomas, in 1899. After his only son predeceased him, and Thomas himself died, a second baronetcy was to be created for John Arthur, a year after the town’s Jubilee. As well as financing and controlling the local Conservative Association, the family also dominated the local branches of a number of charities such as the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, and the Church of England Temperance Society, as well as providing generous support for the Volunteer Battalion.

During his service as a councillor, and later as an alderman, John Arthur had done his share of the less glamorous tasks, such as chairman and deputy chairman of the Waterworks Committee, but his main enthusiasm was for the improvement of the educational provision in the borough, particularly technical and higher education. At the time of the Jubilee he had served 33 consecutive years as a governor of the Technical College. In his acceptance speech, John Arthur made a passionate case for a considerable expansion of the College to capitalise on Huddersfield’s existing strengths in the textile, chemical, and engineering disciplines, as well as to ensure that, when the war was over, their young men could return to better opportunities for themselves and their children.

Benjamin Broadbent (1850-1925) had been the only Liberal Unionist on the Council®, before retiring in 1913. He had been a pupil at Huddersfield College, going on to Queen’s College, Oxford, and was inclined towards a career as a Wesleyan Methodist minister of religion when illness forced his return to take a leading role in the family firm at Parkwood Mills, Longwood. He joined the Council in 1886 and was elected Mayor for 1904-06. It was during his two years in that office that he acquired the nickname ‘baby Broadbent’.

The borough had been one of the pioneers in experimenting with ways to reduce infant mortality and improve maternal welfare, using both incentives and penalties to

° Thomas (1830-1908) in 1906, and William (1834-1920), in 1913. The third brother, Joshua Ingram (1836- 1906), was Archdeacon of Halifax, and the fifth, Charles Edward (1847-1911) was a Canon of Southwark Cathedral. Thomas had died in 1908 but William, aged 84, was on the platform in the Town Hall, and made a short speech looking forward to the town’s centenary, but acknowledging that he would not, perhaps, live to see it! © Between 1886 and 1912, when they merged with the Conservatives, the Liberal Unionists were former Liberals who opposed Irish Home Rule.


Page 92

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

ensure more births were reported immediately to the Health department so that mother and baby could be seen by a doctor, and their continuing welfare followed up by voluntary health visitors. Broadbent had had a long-standing interest in the issues affecting the town’s health but took the opportunity of his new status to promise that every child born in his home area of Longwood during his term as Mayor would receive a gold sovereign on reaching its first birthday.

Benjamin Broadbent (1850-1925) Ernest Woodhead (1857-1944)

His efforts were not only local. Articles in The Times and elsewhere helped bring the issues of infant mortality to a national and international audience, leading to his election as an honorary member of the American Child Welfare Organisation, a Fellowship of King’s College, London, appointment as a CBE, and royal interest in his work.’

The first of the three Liberals nominated was Alderman Woodhead, the youngest of the new Freemen. Ernest Woodhead (1857-1944), like John Arthur Brooke, was also following a family member into the Freedom. His father, Joseph (1824-1913), had been admitted as a Freeman in 1898. The Woodheads were Huddersfield’s press barons, having established the Examiner newspaper as a voice of local Liberalism in 1851. It had a Conservative rival, the Chronicle, established in 1850, but the latter had never achieved the success of the Examiner, and had folded in 1916.

7 Robert Broadbent, The Broadbents of Longwood, c. 1796-c. 1930 (Chipstead: 1976); Available [online] at: <*Broadbent+1976>


Page 93

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

Ernest had taken over from his father as editor in 1885, and, at the time of the Jubilee, two of his brothers were involved in the business; his sister, Catherine Mary, had also worked in the family business before her marriage and developed the use of new technologies there. Joseph had been a combative man, vocally opposed to legislative restrictions on entrepreneurial businessmen in areas such as the employment of children, and to the growth of trades unionism.

During Ernest’s period of office as editor, the public face of both the newspaper and the family had softened considerably. In his acceptance speech, Ernest referred to the ethical issues involved in being both a councillor and a newspaper editor, the confidential nature of some of the business of the former role having placed restraints on what he wrote about as the latter. A Congregationalist married to a wife from the Quaker tradition, he also had his lighter side, writing a number of operettas and performing in a range of musical events often for charity.®

George Thomson (1842-1921), the next nominee, regarded himself as a ‘practical socialist’, and was from the radical strand of Huddersfield Liberalism. A friend of John Ruskin and, from 1910, Master of Ruskin’s Guild of St George, he was a very prominent advocate of profit-sharing in business. He took over the running of the family firm of William Thomson & Sons Ltd at Woodhouse Mills in the early 1880s, and a few years later, in 1886, re-shaped it into a cooperative venture with an elected board of directors, workers as shareholders, and a sickness and pension scheme. Later, piece work was abolished, and a maximum working day of eight hours with no overtime introduced, along with an annual holiday entitlement.

He was firmly opposed to the socialist model of class conflict as a means of improving the lot of the working classes but was also critical of the paternalistic and autocratic control of enterprises such as that of Sir Titus Salt. Locally he had the support of the Huddersfield Trades Council, of prominent trade union leaders such as Alan Gee and Ben Turner, and of the Yorkshire Factory Times. Representatives of the local Labour movement and trade unions sat on the company’s board.

The firm had an international reputation for the quality of its cloth and became very profitable. Thomson gave evidence to the Royal Commission on Labour in 1891 and was President of the Huddersfield Chamber of Commerce from 1892 to 1895. When he died, in 1921, he left a notably small estate compared to those of most of his fellow Huddersfield mill owners, but he had no heir to succeed him at the firm and the company soon reverted to a more traditional financial and managerial structure.”

8 Pamela Cooksey, Public Lives: The Family of Joseph Woodhead (Huddersfield Local History Society, Huddersfield: 1999) ° Robert B Perks, ‘Real Profit-Sharing: William Thomson & Sons of Huddersfield, 1886-1925’, Business History, 24:2, 1982, pp 156-174


Page 94

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

George Thomson (1842-1921) James Edward Willans (1842-1926)

The final Liberal nominated was James Edward Willans (1842-1926). His father had been one of the founders of the Huddersfield College, as a means of providing a modern and Nonconformist education for the local elite, as an alternative to the Anglican King James Grammar School. His son was educated at the College, followed by periods in Dusseldorf and at the University in Geneva. The Willans family had extensive links within Liberal and Congregational circles, though, in 1918, their most immediate claim to fame was that the former Prime Minister, Herbert Henry Asquith, was James Edward’s nephew and had also been a pupil at Huddersfield College’®. The family firm, William Willans & Co, were woollen merchants.

In addition to his business interests, and involvement with such local bodies as the Huddersfield and Upper Agbrigg Savings Bank, James Edward served the Council on committees of the Technical College, the School Board, the Library and Art Gallery, as well as representing the Borough on the Council of the University of Leeds, which conferred on him an honorary LLD. He had also chaired the Council’s own Finance Committee. Around the time of his 80°" birthday, presentations were made to him by Huddersfield school teachers, amongst others, in recognition of his educational work for the Council, stretching back to 1880.

10 Albeit very briefly, transferring to Fulneck School, and then to the City of London School. Asquith’s father had died when he was young, and he and his siblings were taken under the wing of their Willans grandfather and uncles. Clyde Binfield, ‘Asquith: The Formation of a Prime Minister’, Journal of the United Reformed Church History Society, 2:7, 1981, pp. 204-242.


Page 95

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

The six new Freemen demonstrated that Huddersfield was no provincial backwater, but one linked in to the national and international scene. The choices also demonstrated the importance attached to the development of the area’s education, health, and economy, and to an awareness of the interactions between those concerns. It was also evident that the two major political power blocks, Conservatives and Liberals, were capable of both encompassing and honouring men from a wide range of backgrounds with very different views of the political choices required for the future.

The Town Hall ceremony was taking place when the country was still at war. An indication of this was the use of oak used for the caskets containing the scrolls presented to each Freeman rather than the more expensive and scarcer materials of earlier presentations. The elderly men being honoured might also have expected to have handed over local leadership to a younger generation by now, but that generation was doing its duty in a different sohere. Nevertheless, these elections to the Borough Freedom were important. As Rollit put it “sovereigns could confer stars and favours, the People alone, through their representatives in Council, could elect and bestow such Freedoms, as an Order of that Chivalry, which, in the present age, consisted in the performance of public and private duty.’


Anne Brook is Huddersfield born but resident in Bradford. She took early retirement to celebrate the millennium, following a career in various parts of higher education, and completed a Ph.D. on Huddersfield’s commemoration of the Great War at the University of Leeds in 2009. The author may contacted at:


Page 96

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal


Katie Broomfield

Asked about her memories of Huddersfield in 1968, Mary Elaine Sykes replied, ‘This town has given me a great deal. I have made my career here and I have enjoyed repaying the town for its kindness by my public work’.1 Mary was not only Huddersfield’s first woman solicitor but also the town’s first woman alderman and Mayor. This article celebrates Mary’s achievements and her connections with Huddersfield to mark the centenary of the passing of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 which enabled women like her to enter the legal profession for the first time.

Mary Elaine Sykes elected the first woman Mayor of Huddersfield in 1945. Photo courtesy of Huddersfield Local Studies Library, Kirklees Libraries.

1 HDE, 22 February 1968 94

Page 97

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

The Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act removed the existing legal barriers to women, including married women, working as lawyers. It meant that in England and Wales women wishing to become solicitors could apply to the Law Society without fear of rejection based solely on the ground of their sex. Earlier attempts had been made by many women but to no avail. The Law Society resolutely refused to admit women or to allow them to sit the final examination, without which they could not qualify as solicitors. In 1913 a decision by the Law Society to refuse an application by Gwyneth Bebb to sit the final examination was upheld by the Court of Appeal which decided that for the purposes of the Solicitors Act 1843 a woman was not even a person! ‘In point of intelligence and education and competency’ the Court of Appeal acknowledged that Gwyneth was ‘probably, far better’ than many male candidates but, because she was a woman, in 1913 she could not be admitted to the Law Society.’

This decision was made the year before Mary Sykes entered Royal Holloway College, aged ‘18 and 2/12’, on 8 October 1914.? Royal Holloway College was a pioneering women’s college founded by Thomas Holloway in 1883, and opened by Queen Victoria in 1886, with the aim of offering ‘the best education suitable for Women of the Middle and Upper Middle Classes.’* As the only daughter of James Sykes, a partner in his own firm of solicitors in Huddersfield, Mary, who had been privately educated as a boarder at Brentwood School in Southport, would have fitted in well at Royal Holloway College.

In fact, she appears to have thrived both academically and socially. She participated in numerous extra-curricular activities including swimming, rowing and hockey and sat on the Students’ Representative Council. She was also able to indulge her love of poetry as Secretary of the Browning Discussion Society, graduating with second class honours in English in 1917. She retained her passion for literature and poetry all her life, becoming a founder member of the Huddersfield Thespians and the Secretary of a local book club where her taste in literature was described as ‘high-brow left’.° Rather fittingly, given her success in the male-dominated fields of law and politics, her favourite quotation was from Shakespeare’s As You Like It: ‘Think though I am caparisoned like a man I have a doublet and hose in my disposition?’

Somewhat surprisingly, given her subsequent achievements, Mary later recalled that she left Royal Holloway College ‘without any very clear idea about a career’.° However, as it was later dispassionately reported, ‘circumstance connected with the Great War

2 Bebb v Law Society [1914] 1 Ch. 286 p.294 3 Royal Holloway, University of London, Archive (subsequently RHUL), Royal Holloway College papers, RHC/10/1, Register of Students “RHUL, Royal Holloway College papers, RHC/1/1/2 Deed of Foundation of Royal Holloway College > HWE, 10 November 1945 © Huddersfield Citizen Special Edition, July 1938


Page 98

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

and the passing of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act, 1919, enabled her to become one of the first women

Mary certainly never appears to have been involved in any efforts to open the legal profession to women. However, when her elder brother, Eric Turner Sykes, a Second Lieutenant in the Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment was killed (reported missing in action in France on 3 May 1917), it appears that she and her father agreed that it would fall to her to continue the legal profession of the family.® At the time her younger brother, Phillip James Sykes, was training to be an engineer, although he subsequently qualified as a barrister. In 1918, Mary enrolled to study law at Leeds University, joining two other women, Doris Evans Pickering and Frances Grace Lupton.

Enrolling at Leeds University towards the end of the First World War Mary joined a student population with an ‘unusual age spread’ including ‘those who came at about 16, and those in middle twenties - education held up by war service’.? Additionally, unlike Royal Holloway College, Leeds University was mixed-sex and, despite women having been admitted to Leeds University since its foundation by Royal Charter in 1904, women were a minority. Throughout her life Mary faced prejudice as a woman. Attitudes to women students at this time were often far from complimentary, as the reminiscences of one of her male classmates reveal: ‘in those days most of the women conformed to the now outdated mode of “blue stocking” type. They dressed in a dowdy manner; they mostly were bespectacled and very serious — and few took any pains to make themselves look attractive.’?? One can only wonder at the pains taken by the male students to make themselves attractive!

Of course, when Mary joined Leeds University before the passing of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act, it was not possible for her to qualify as a solicitor. This would perhaps explain why the women students took their studies so seriously, seeking to prove themselves capable in a way not required of their male classmates. It is striking, at a time when it was not necessary to have a law degree to become a solicitor, that all four of the women who sat the Law Society’s final examination in 1922 had attended university, although not all of them could claim the title BA or LL.B.

Remarkably, unlike at Royal Holloway College and Leeds University, women who completed a course of study at Oxford and Cambridge were not actually awarded degrees until 1920 and 1948 respectively. At Leeds Mary studied contract, commercial and criminal law, bankruptcy, conveyancing & equity, Roman law and jurisprudence. This may have helped her become ‘a much better lawyer’ as one of her classmates

7 Ibid. 8 For more information go to <> 9 Leeds University Special Collections, LUA/PER/082 Joshua Samuel Walsh 10 Ibid.


Page 99

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

recalled of his own experience. Having studied law at Leeds University Mary obtained her LL.B from the University of London in 1920."*

Towards the end of the war, given the ‘immense contribution’ made by women to the war effort, it was clear that attitudes both within and outside the profession to the admission of women lawyers were beginning to In March 1919, the Law Society had held a special, urgent meeting to consider the position of women within the solicitors’ profession and voted by 50 votes to 33 that women should be allowed to join. Reflecting attitudes of the wider public to the question of women lawyers, the 33 who voted against the motion were derided in the press as When the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act was passed later that year Mary was immediately articled to her father in his firm Armitage, Hinchcliffe and Sykes.

In a personal tragedy for Mary, following so soon after the death of her elder brother, Mary’s father died in 1921. This was before she qualified and Mary completed her articles (what would now be called a training contract) with another partner in her father’s firm, A. E. Y. Trestrail. She represented her first client in court in 1922 and, as she later recalled, although nervous was encouraged by the fact that she won.

As a consequence of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act women were permitted to sit the Law Society’s final examination for the first time in November 1922. At just 25 years old, Mary was the youngest of the four women who sat the examination, passing with honours. As Mary later recalled, this provides evidence that she had ‘made a habit of passing examinations’.* She was admitted as a solicitor in February 1923 and for the next seven years worked for her father’s old firm. In 1930, in a display of what her tutors at Royal Holloway College described as her ‘rather independent manner,’ Mary established her own firm, Mary E Sykes & Co, in Huddersfield’s Britannia Buildings. * She continued to represent her clients in court including, on one occasion in 1954, a fellow solicitor, George Hutchinson, who reciprocated the favour when they were both charged with, and pleaded guilty to, parking offences. In an exchange which reduced the court to laughter. When the bench fined Miss Sykes 4s. the Chairman (Mr Oliver Rogers) asked her: ‘Can you pay now?’ She replied amid laughter: ‘I think I can borrow it from my solicitor’.*®

11 fhid. 12 For more information on the background to the passing of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act see < 1919/> 13 Daily Express, 20 March 1919 14 HWE, 10 November 1945 15 RHUL, Royal Holloway College papers, RHC/10/1 Student Records 46 Yorkshire Evening Post, 27 January 1954


Page 100

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

Despite this brush with the law Mary was herself appointed a magistrate the following year and her name continued to appear in the Law Society’s Law List until 1968.

The longevity of Mary’s career as a successful solicitor belies the difficulties women wishing to pursue a career in the law continued to face. As Professor Pat Thane has discovered, between 1922 and 1952 only 382 women qualified as solicitors in the whole of England and Wales.?” In Huddersfield too, law continued to be considered a male profession. At the Annual Dinner of the Huddersfield Law Society in 1960 a member of the local judiciary, Judge Kernan, described the solicitor’s profession in Huddersfield as ‘a strong, vigorous profession with the highest standards of integrity — men able to advise their clients and fight their battles in court [emphasis added]’ notwithstanding that Mary had been appointed the first woman President of the Huddersfield Law Society in 1951.78

Mary did not consider herself a feminist but she did believe strongly in the benefits of education for women and did what she could to increase the number of women entering the legal profession. She took on a number of women as articled clerks who subsequently qualified as solicitors, including her managing clerk Dora Atkinson. Revealing her strength of character, while acknowledging that she had faced prejudice as Huddersfield’s first woman solicitor, she said that she ‘never let it trouble her’ and magnanimously conceded, ‘My professional brethren have always been very nice to me.’ Within the local community more generally Mary was similarly well respected. Numerous local newspaper reports, many of which are available in the Huddersfield Local Studies Library, reveal pride in Huddersfield’s first woman solicitor:

‘That Huddersfield should have had a representative among the pioneer Portias might be taken as another example of the enterprising spirit which we like to think is characteristic of the town — it is also a tribute to the quality of Huddersfield’s only woman solicitor and only (and first) woman alderman’.7° Mary’s political career began inauspiciously in 1933 when she stood, unsuccessfully, in the Huddersfield West Central Ward council by-election. However, continuing her series of firsts, in 1938 she was appointed as the first woman Alderman of the Huddersfield Borough Council. Her appointment was made by agreement between all three political parties, demonstrating her dedication to public office and the respect

17 Pat Thane, ‘Women and the Professions in Early Twentieth Century Britain’ in First Women Lawyers in Great Britain and the Empire Record, Volume 1, June 2016, p.16 18 HDE, 16 March 1960 19 HDE, 30 June 1949 20 Unattributed, undated newspaper report in collection at Huddersfield Local Studies Library


Page 101

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

she commanded. In 1945, just as the Second World War came to an end, Mary was elected the first woman Mayor of Huddersfield.

Having been raised in a Congregationalist, Liberal household she subsequently became a ‘socialist by firm conviction of opinion.’”* She was first elected as a Labour candidate to the Huddersfield Borough Council in 1935. Although not the first woman to be elected to the council, she was at that time the only woman elected to sit on the council and, as the Huddersfield Citizen (the magazine of the Huddersfield Labour Party

of which she was a board member) reported, ‘In view of the prejudice that still exists 122

against a woman candidate, her victory was all the more meritorious.

Mary Sykes as the only woman elected to Huddersfield Town Council in 1938. Photograph courtesy of University of Huddersfield Archives and the Huddersfield Daily Examiner.

Mary was noted to be a ‘polished and witty speaker’ which is evident from the reports of the committee meetings she attended and speeches she made are often peppered with laughter.”? While ‘deeply sensible of the very great honour bestowed on her’ as the first woman Mayor of Huddersfield, in her maiden speech she expressed a desire to speak to her fellow aldermen ‘man to

21 Huddersfield Citizen Special Edition, July 1938 22 Huddersfield Citizen, November 1935 23 HWE, 10 November 1945 24 HWE, 10 November 1945


Page 102

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

Echoing her tutors at Royal Holloway College, Mary’s fellow Alderman Arthur Gardiner commented that ‘Alderman Mary Sykes had a mind of her own and said what she thought’.2? She was also unafraid to act and, although never boastful, was ambitious in her desire to help other people. In her maiden speech as Mayor, Mary said:

I am most profoundly sensible of my limitations for the position with which you have honoured me. I shall do my very best to be worthy. I hope I may contribute something to the present and help to lay the foundations of a future in which the world’s great age begins anew and the golden years return.”°

In a further demonstration of her commitment to supporting women, when Mary was elected Mayor she appointed her cousin’s teenage daughter, Helen Robinson, as Mayoress. Throughout her political career she was a fierce champion for the rights of women, children and the elderly sitting on various committees including those for Maternity and Child Welfare and Housing. She was Deputy Chairman of the Education Committee and between 1944 and 1946 and 1948 and 1950 was a Governor of the Huddersfield Technical College. Owing to ill-health Mary retired from the Town Council in 1949 but not before she had served as President of both the Huddersfield Borough Labour Party and the Huddersfield East Parliamentary Committee.


Mayoress Mary Browne receiving a cheque for charity from local children (I-r: Godfrey Levy, Christine Wimpenny, Sandra Levy & Margaret McNulty). Photograph courtesy of the Huddersfield Daily Examiner.

25 Ibid. 26 Ibid.


Page 103

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

Reflecting on her year as Mayor, Mary claimed to have ‘got the most interest and enjoyment finding out “what went on backstage.”’*’ The highlight of her year was, however, the dinner given in her honour by the women’s groups of which she was a member. Unsurprisingly, Mary’s championing of women’s rights extended into her private life and she was variously a founder-member, president and secretary of four notable women’s organisations: the Women’s Luncheon Club; the Business and Professional Women’s Club; the Huddersfield Association of University Women; and the Huddersfield Soroptimist Club.

Mary lived most of her life in Huddersfield and during the Second World War, she designed and built, together with her friend, the naturalist, Phyllis Kelway, a small- holding in Almondbury, where she enjoyed attending to her hens and geese. Mary continued to live here after Phyllis’ death in 1945 and also after her marriage in 1953 to Richard Harry Browne, whom she met when he stood for election to the Town Council alongside her in 1935. When he was appointed Mayor of Huddersfield in 1958 it was reported that Mary had achieved another first by becoming the first former Mayor Mayoress, thus rounding off 25 years of public service to Huddersfield. Given all she achieved it is unsurprising that Mary described her life as ‘one long rush’.7®


Katie Broomfield is reading for a PhD in history at Royal Holloway, University of London, researching the first women lawyers. This article is partly based upon research she conducted for an exhibition she created Celebrating the Centenary of Women Lawyers. The exhibition is supported by a website at Anyone with any questions for Katie or who has any information about Mary Sykes can contact her at or can follow her on Twitter @KRBroomfield.

*7 HDE, 30 June 1949 28 Ibid.


Page 104

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal


The Villas of Edgerton: home to Huddersfield’s Victorian elite. By David Griffiths. Huddersfield Civic Society, Huddersfield: 2017. 168 Pages. £12.95

Alan Brooke

It is perhaps trite and clichéd to talk of ‘architectural gems’ in area_ like Huddersfield which has so many buildings that qualify for the accolade. However, we certainly have a gem of a book in The Villas of Edgerton. Like a gem it is multi-faceted. One facet is the beautiful presentation of the

book itself, which, besides Andrew = Tia Toe tn , ee Zi ” a q I / — M7 I Caveney’s original photos of buildings He FA contains others from the archives, depicting ian Bt both houses and their occupants, along with © str os

full colour maps and plans which are

Cover image © Huddersfield Civic Society 2017.

themselves often works of art. The book also aims to be a guidebook and gazetteer of dwellings. The Perambulation is guided by an interesting narrative packed with useful historical details both of the houses themselves and some of their occupants. In some cases, the reader almost begins to feel the long-gone residents remain as a living presence.

In fact, the book transcends both facets, that of historical account and guide book, and provides a fascinating analysis of the landscape archaeology of a developing settlement pattern of this corner of Huddersfield in the 19°" century. Similarly, the topography of the area is described with the help of old maps in such a way that even someone unfamiliar with the area should be able to imagine their way around it in comfort. Consequently, a well-rounded picture of the changing land use and built environment of the area from the 1840s into the 20" century emerges.

There are sections both on the architects, where these are known, and on those who commissioned them, including prominent mill owners, manufacturers, merchants and

The full version of Alan’s review is available at < edgerton-book-review/>


Page 105

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

even the small colony of wool merchants of German origin. Not only is the basis of their economic influence recorded, but also their political and cultural activities. And here we have another facet of the book. It continues and further fleshes out the work that David Griffiths has done on the emergence of Huddersfield’s bourgeoisie.? A significant proportion of this class, such as the formerly landed Armitages of Milnsbridge, or the nouveau rich Martins of Lindley, came to reside in Edgerton, where their mansions and villas represented the material expression of their wealth and status — as well as their cultured taste, or, in some cases, lack of it.

Implicit in this account is the fact that the buildings of Edgerton grew from the wealth created by textile workers and other workers in the expanding engineering, chemical and other related industries of the town. Lack of evidence is often a problem here, since it is only in the event of some horrible accident, or the misfortune of appearing in court, that the events of manual workers’ lives were recorded in this period. This also holds true of the domestic workers, without whom the villas could not have functioned, and who before the First World War formed one of, if not the biggest occupational group.

Of course, the houses form the centrepiece of the book. Some are indeed the architectural gems of cliché. Indeed, it could be said that the book depicts a whole necklace of such gems coiled among the woods and hidden ravines of Edgerton. Others are of less merit, especially those who have suffered later additions and sometimes create a disharmonious pastiche of styles and structures. Nonetheless, the delight of Edgerton is the vast diversity of styles and structural features and the idiosyncrasy this reflects. In most cases we don’t know whether this germinated in the mind of the architect or the homeowner, or what inspired them. Similarly, with the decoration, exemplified by the intriguing bas reliefs at Ellerslie.

This book is a great contribution to the history of Huddersfield. It provides an ideal model for further research into the dwellings of Huddersfield’s ruling elite. Hopefully the houses of New North Road, Trinity Street and Marsh and the remaining ‘millowners’ houses, scattered throughout the valleys around the town, will be as artfully recorded in words and pictures and made the subject of such a fascinating literary perambulation.

2 David Griffiths. ‘Huddersfield in Turbulent Times, 1815-1850: Who ruled and how?’, Northern History, 52:1, 2015, pp. 101-124; David Griffiths, Joseph Brook of Greenhead: ‘Father of the Town’ (Huddersfield Local History Society, Huddersfield: 2013)


Page 106

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

Poverty is relative. The story of Sir John William Ramsden 1831-1914 and Sir John Frecheville Ramsden 1877-1958. By Meriel Buxton. Woodperry Books, Smeeton Westerby: 2017. 380 Pages. £23 hardback.?

Keith Brockhill

The 29" September 1920 is one of the most significant = dates in the story of Huddersfield. As the 6,000 or so POVE acres of the Ramsden family’s estate made their long- IS RELATIVE awaited transfer to municipal ownership, for the ‘bargain price’ of £1,300,000, nearly 400 years of By Ramsden influence in the town came to an end. That is howe Va

a familiar story that has been well told in numerous other local

While opinions about the role of such landed estates and the influence of their owners in an increasingly democratic society have inevitably varied according to

as MERIEL BUXTON political beliefs, the symbiotic relationship between this

developing town and its principal landowner cannot be Cover image © Woodperry Books. denied. Even a cursory glance at the town’s street names, a veritable gazetteer of Ramsden connections, suggests a special connection, whilst Discover Huddersfield’s recent Ramsden Heritage Trail highlights some of the more significant surviving sites associated with ‘the family that shaped Huddersfield’.

What this book sets out to do, with considerable thoroughness, is to untwine some of that story and present the members of the Ramsden Family as they have rarely been seen before, both as individuals and as owners of a considerable business empire that was to reach far beyond Huddersfield and Yorkshire.

As such, it must be said from the beginning, that this is a family history rather than an academic study. Inspired by Andrew Feilden, grandson of the last owner of the Huddersfield estate, Sir John Frecheville, and written by the wife of a second cousin, its tone, as suggested by the ironic title, is one of critical affection, not only for the two principal characters (referred to throughout by their nicknames of Jack and Chops

Book available from Meriel Buxton, Springfield Farm, Smeaton Westerby, Leicestershire LE8 OQW. * Clifford Stephenson, The Ramsdens and their estate in Huddersfield, the town that bought itself: the story of a 400 years’ dynasty and of the purchase of their lands and property by the People (County Borough of Huddersfield, Huddersfield: 1972)


Page 107

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

respectively) but their wives, parents and heirs. Particularly interesting here are the portraits of Jack’s capable mother Isabella, guardian in his minority; the intellectually gifted, though sadly neglected wife Guendolen and their eccentric daughter, Mymee (Hermione Charlotte) a Fabian socialist and Spiritualist.

That this doesn’t make for a cloying hagiography is a tribute to the author, who can balance Sir John William’s apparent appearance as ‘a dislikeable person, arrogant, rude, self-centred and socially disengaged’, with his hard work, business acumen and determination to do what was expected of him as a landowner, M.P and patriarch of the extended family. Never at home in Huddersfield, his residences spread from London through Bulstrode Park in Buckinghamshire and Byram Park to Ardverickie in the Scottish Highlands. Chosen as this book’s cover picture, Ardverickie was his delight, a most personal project, ‘bewitching a delightful castle in the air’ and a favoured home of the Family to this day.

Of all the investments that he made, possibly the most unexpected revelations are the 50,000 acres of sugar and rubber plantations in Malaya, acquired to save his brother- in-law from bankruptcy. Together with later family purchases of more than 100,000 acres in Kenya, they were to play a large part in the lives of Chops and his sons, John and Sir Geoffrey William Pennington-Ramsden (Bobby).

Together with his wife, Joan Buxton, he had built his own big house, Kipipiri in Kenya, where they could invest the sales money from Huddersfield and Byram, visit frequently and live the ‘Happy Valley’ lifestyle of the white settlers in a land of ‘adventure and opportunity’. It wasn’t to last. Unlike the centuries old Muncaster Castle that Chops inherited on behalf of his second son, Bobby, Kenya, with its ‘cultural chasm’ between the settlers and the local people was moving inexorably, and violently, towards independence. In Malaya also, where Chops’ eldest son, John St Maur, had been murdered in 1948, the estates had to be liquidated. So, with property sales now a constant part of his life and in rapidly failing health, a beleaguered Chops wrote his farewell letter to Joan, anticipating his demise by just 10 days, and passed away at Ardverickie, the property whose future he had been able to secure, on 6 October 1958.

Studiously researched and professionally written, Poverty is relative places the Ramsdens at the centre of their world, rather than Huddersfield’s. Intertwined though they are, the stories of Huddersfield and the Ramsdens have, inevitably, been seen from the town’s perspective. Now, with this handsome volume, it is possible to redress some of the balance, and answer the question (with apologies to Kipling) ‘what do you know of Ramsden who only Huddersfield know?’


Page 108

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

Huddersfield in the Great War. By Vivien Teasdale. Barnsley, Pen & Sword Military: 2014. 160 Pages. £9.99 Paperback. £5.99 ePub.

Mark Butterfield*

The centenary of the First World War resulted ina resurgence of historical reappraisals that shift

focus from the fighting troops in the trenches to


the impact of the war upon the home front. Pen &

Sword have published over 100 titles in its Your HUDDERSFIELD

Towns and Cities in the Great War series having CREAT WAR

commissioned local authors to produce concise,

popular histories from Aberdeen to Plymouth. Teasdale's history is an excellent primer for newcomers, providing a concise and engaging summary of the First World War and the wide- ranging impact that this devastating conflict

wrought upon the residents of Huddersfield. Local 2 VIVIEN TEASDALE

histories such as this are a valuable gateway for ps Cover image © Pen & Sword, 2014. engaging those unfamiliar with the subject, and

this overview is accessible and easily digestible.

There are some minor issues with Teasdale's history, which could easily be rectified. Teasdale follows the progress of the War in a rough chronology and divides the book into thematic chapters with subheadings to separate the diverse content into manageable sections. This approach is intended to allow new readers to navigate through the broad spectrum of themes easily, however the subheadings do not appear on the contents page, and the thematic index is peculiarly unhelpful. Furthermore, these sub-sections occasionally have ambiguous titles or would be better placed in altogether different chapters.

Teasdale’s target audience is clearly Huddersfield residents, and as Pen & Sword have produced an individually tailored local history for the majority of the major towns and cities of Britain, this is hardly surprising. However, there is no contextual introduction or preface to this volume to briefly outline the history of Huddersfield, which would

+ Mark Butterfield is a 2017 Heritage Consortium Ph.D. researcher based at Leeds Beckett University. His research focuses upon veterans and trauma in the West Riding of Yorkshire throughout the interwar years. Mark can be contacted by email at mark.butterfield7612@gmail.com_or on Twitter @MarkB7612


Page 109

Huddersfield Local History Society Journal

be valuable for non-Huddersfield residents and to those with little prior knowledge of the history of the town in which they live. Additionally, the appended ‘Timeline for the War' only includes events such as the Archduke's assassination, the famous battles and the Armistice, whereas a timeline which included Huddersfield specific content would be more appropriate.

All of these aforementioned criticisms are minor grievances, as Teasdale has successfully managed to reconcile local, national and global events, balancing a range of disparate topics into a coherent and entertaining history which places Huddersfield and its residents at the heart of the narrative. This is no mean feat, given the extensive scope of the book which explores a great number of themes in just 160 illustrated pages. There is one notable omission from Teasdale’s history, a discussion of newspaper censorship, which is surprising given that two local newspapers are the main sources. However, with such a wide-ranging scope Teasdale’s history could never be comprehensive in so few pages.

Overall, the volume is well-researched and rich with local accounts. Given Teasdale’s background in textile history, the fourth chapter on employment is one of the strongest, covering Huddersfield’s mill heritage, the employment of women in previously male-dominated roles and the transformation of the textile industry into a vital producer of uniforms. The Colne Valley was described as ‘The Valley of Khaki,’ as Huddersfield produced over 300 miles of cloth per week for British, French, Belgian and Russian uniforms.” Local steelworks were also modified to produce armaments or military equipment and chemical factories began producing explosives. The war industries generated large profits, and Huddersfield’s charitable contributions were noteworthy both financially and through voluntarism, as Teasdale’s excellent third chapter outlines.

Due to limitations of space, Huddersfield in the Great War raises as many questions as it answers, and unfortunately the layout of the text is not conducive to retrieving information. Therefore, for research purposes, Brian Heywood’s collaboratively produced history, Huddersfield in World War I, is a more complete publication which also includes the testimony of Huddersfield men fighting at the front. Teasdale’s concise local history will hopefully inspire readers to undertake their own research, which is surely the commendable aim of publications of this nature.

* The Times, 28 January 1915 107

Page 110


Remembering our Departed Members

JOHN (J C) BROOK, long-standing HLHS member died in December 2016, aged 94. For most of his life, except for National Service in the RAF, John lived and worked in Huddersfield and was educated locally. He was an engineer by trade and was Managing Director of Hanson Dale & Co. until its closure in the 1970s. He then took up local history, undertaking pioneering research on the first residents of Edgerton. In 1979 he deposited the resulting typescript in Huddersfield Local Studies Library, where it has provided an indispensable starting point for more recent work on the subject.

WALTER CLIVE CRANSTON died in July 2017, aged 92. After leaving school, Clive worked as a Messenger at the Midland Bank in Huddersfield until 1942 when he joined the Royal Navy as a Signalman. He served in the Royal Navy on HMS Chinkara, in the far east, based in Cochin, southern India. After being de-mobbed Clive returned to the Bank where he stayed until his retirement. He was an avid genealogist and an expert on military history.

KARL STEEL joined the Society in Aug 2015. He died peacefully at his home in Netherton on 1 October 2017.

ROGER ATKIN passed away in October 2017, aged 79.

MIKE HARDCASTLE, our valued member and an active family history enthusiast, died on 24 November 2017, after a long illness. He was perhaps most well-known for his long-term research of the Edgerton cemetery. The database he produced, using burial records, memorial inscriptions and photographs, together with self-devised plans, has been a vital source of information for families tracing their deceased relatives and local historians alike.

BETTY EAGLES, a long-standing member of the HLHS passed away in March 2018, aged 91 years. Betty hosted Committee meetings in the Society’s early days when her husband Dr Eagles was Chairman. We gratefully acknowledge Betty’s energetic contribution to the work of our Society.



Page 111




Chair: CYRIL PEARCE Tel: 01484 655970


Hon. Secretary: HILARY HAIGH Tel: 01924 279477


Publicity Officer: CHRISTINE VERGUSON Tel: 01484 321628


Membership Secretary: VAL DAVIES

21 Glebe Street, Marsh, Huddersfield HD1 4NP; Tel: 01484 315772



Vice-Chair: BRIAN HAIGH Tel: 01484 430666


Hon. Treasurer: DAVID GRIFFITHS Tel: 01484 540309


Journal Editor: FRANK GROMBIR Tel: 07812 925546


COMMITTEE MEMBERS Maureen Mitchell, Bill Roberts, Dave Pattern, Steve Challenger,

Janette Martin

The Society appreciates that not all members are computer users and will continue

to send full information about members’ events by post. The Society now circulates a

regular e-newsletter by email which includes up-to-date information and details of

events which may be of interest to members. If you would like to receive these email

communications, please email your request to the Membership Secretary. Anybody

joining the mailing list may leave at any time. You can also engage with the Society

and get to know about our events and activities on Twitter by following

@HuddsLocalHist and turning on Notifications.

Page 112


id priate

ISSN 2049-8403 Price £4.00

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