Discovering Old Huddersfield: Part Five (2002) by Gordon and Enid Minter

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Gordon and Enid Minter

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Front cover :- Town Hall, Princess Street c.1900 Back cover :- Town Hall, Ramsden Street

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Gordon and Enid Minter

Illustrations by J.R. Beswick


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With love, we dedicate this book to the memory of Jean Haigh Minter 1930 - 1975 and Kenneth Hughes 1931 1975

ISBN 9540128 3 6

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Introduction The Cloth Hall King Street Cross Church Street New The Town Hall South Parade Edge House Cold Hill Skelmanthorpe Riots Beyond Cooper Bridge Poor James Riverside Way


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'Huddersfield owes its prosperity to three great industries: textiles, engi- neering and chemical. They came in that order and the evidence of their existence is prominent in cvery Huddersfield landscape. Nevertheless there is hardly a street or road in the entire town from which green fields

are not visible.'

William B. Stocks 1958

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This is probably the last book in our Discovering Old Huddersfield se- ries and it differs from the others in that there is no lengthy car tour to fol- low. By relaxing our tried and tested format we have been able to explore places that, for one reason or another, would not fit into a tour. But the pur- pose behind this book is just the same as the others: to persuade you, the reader, to go out and see for yourself how the actions, concerns, convictions, needs and even conceits of our forebears - and for that matter of our contem- poraries - have shaped the rural and urban landscape. The first part of the book explores four streets in the town centre: Cloth Hall Street, Cross Church Street, King Street and New Street. When we began, massive changes were afoot in King Street and restoration work had just begun on three of the street's old yards. Our interest in these yards led us to explore others and in recording their history as well as the history of the four streets with their houses, shops, stables, tramways, workshops, manufacturies, pubs, hotels, banks and hundreds of offices we hope we have been able to make clear what a lively and prosperous place the town centre was in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, We should add that, in places, we identify the sites and recount the history of buildings long gone; lack of substance has never stopped us telling an interesting story.

In the first section we also describe, at some length, the intrigue, indig- nation, determination and bitterness behind the building of the Town Hall. It is a fascinating tale of passionate verbal battles fought in the council cham- bers and one, we believe, that has not previously been told in full. The second part of the book takes us out of town to explore places that played a part in the lives of some of the district's past inhabitants: a Civil War hero (or villain if your sympathies lie with Parliament), a dying boy, an outlaw, a riotous inob, groups of disaffected workers and a man who took on the mighty Sir John William Ramsden in the highest courts in the land. Fi- nally, so as not to break away completely from the format of our earlier books, we include a short car tour and an even shorter walk. Directions for both are given in italics in the text. As before, where we come across places we have previously described we refer you to the appropriate books. Thus

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D.O.H.3 No.63 refers to Discovering Old Huddersfield part three number 63. (D.O.L. refers to Discovering Old Lepton).

Few books can be produced without the help of others and we extend our thanks to Richard Van Reil, curator, and Pam Robins of the excellent Pontefract Museum for their kind and courteous reception and the readiness with which they answered our questions and searched out the appropriate books and documents. For similar reasons, thanks are due to E.A.H. Haigh of the University of Huddersfield Library and to the staff of the local studies department at Huddersfield Central Library. We thank Lewis Moorhouse who many years ago, whilst a member of our U.3.A. class, teased out the history of the chimney in the Beast Market. That we have used only a very small part of his work should not detract from his meticulous research. Thankyou also to James T. Broadbent, Chairman of Dunsley Heating, Holmfirth, for his boyhood memories of Carr Pitt. For their expert help in the technicalities of producing this and our other books we once again extend our thanks to Mikc, Cynthia and Richard Beaumont and Susan Cottril at Barden Print and Alison Hughes who has the thankless task of deciphering our script and reproducing it on her magical word-processor. Thanks also to Richard Beswick for his fraternal co-opera- tion, his patience and his pictures. Finally, we thank all those who have bought - and read - our books and for all the kind comments that have come back to us. We hope we have persuaded you that the best way to see into the past is to go out and look for it and then to ask, of a busy street, a country lane, an old house, a bridge, a factory, a yard, a wood, a railway or even a few old stones or a patch of nettles, questions that begin with the words why, when, where, what and who. The answers, when found, are always interesting.


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THE CLOTH HALL We begin our short walking tour of the town centre at the site of the Cloth Hall which stood in Market Street opposite the entrance to Cloth Hall Street. The Cloth Hall undoubtedly contributed to Huddersfield's growth from a small obscure market town to a prosperous and flourishing industrial centre, important enough to be created a Borough by the Reform Act of 1832. Constructed by Sir John Ramsden on agricultural land near the top of the town, the Cloth Hall was built to provide covered accommodation for clothiers from near and far who had previously displayed their cloth for sale on the walls of the Parish Church graveyard. Built, unusually for these parts and those times, of red brick the Cloth Hall was opened as a single storey building in 1768 and enlarged by the addition of a second storey in 1780. The Cloth Hall is described in White's Directory of the West Riding, 1837 as follows: 'The building which is two stories high forms a circle of 880 yards with a diametrical range, one story high, which divides the interior part into two semi-circles. The light is wholly admitted from within there being no windows on the outside by which construction security is afforded against fire and depredation. The hall is subdivided into streets and the stalls are generally filled with cloths lying close together on edge with the bosom up for inspection. Here, in brisk times, an immense quantity of business is done in a few hours. The doors are opened early in the morning of market day, which is Tuesday, and closed at half past noon. They are again opened at three in the afternoon for the removal of cloth etc. Above the door is a handsonte cupola in which a clock and bell tower are placed for regulating the commencing and terminating the business of the day. The hall is attended by about 600 manufacturers and inany others have ware-rooms in various parts of the town. 'The manufactures of Huddersfield are principally wooliens consisting of broad and narrow cloths, serges, kerseyimeres, cords etc. and fancy goods in an endless variety embracing shawls, waistcoating etc. of the most elegant patterns and finest fabrics."

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As early as the 1830s some manufacturers, particularly those engaged in the fancy trade where secrecy of design was essential, were choosing to show their cloth in small private warehouses situated in the streets and yards near to the Cloth Hall. Despite this increasing trend away from the hall the number of domestic clothiers displaying their plain cloths there ensured it held its own until the 1860s and indeed in 1864 the building was again enlarged by the addition of north and south transepts within the courtyard.

Plan of Cloth Hali after 1864 L }

But during that decade changes in production, method and organisation accelerated to such an extent that, only a few years after it was enlarged, the Cloth Hall was seriously under used. In the face of the proliferation of the power loom the domestic clothier with his hand loom could no longer hold his own. Increasing numbers of woollen manufacturers and merchants were choosing to conduct their business at the source of production - many splendid mill offices made their appearance at this time. Others, who wanted a town


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address, found it advantageous to follow the example of the fancy trade and conduct business from private warehouses near to but not part of the Cloth Hall. By 1870, the Cloth Hall had lost its purpose and in 1876, when demand for a covered market was at it height, it was possible to alter the ground floor for use as a general market, a purpose it served for four years until the new market hall opened in King Street. A contemporary description of this short- lived market says *... within had been erected 50 neat looking shops, 48 round the egg-shaped interior contour and 4 in the central avenue. The area was divided into one principal nave with north and south transepts and here there were open stalls for shoe makers, fent dealers and others whilst the four quadrants were devoted to earthenware dealers, oyster stalls, cheap-Jacks and others." Cheap-Jacks were traders who began their sales pitch by offering an article for, say, five shillings and ended by 'letting it go' for live pence. They are with us still! In 1881, after the market had moved on, the ground floor of the Cloth Hall became an Exchange and News Room but by the 1920s there was a growing feeling that such a prime site should no longer be encumbered with what was regarded as an architectually undistinguished, out of date building. The suggestion that the site would be ideal for a new, much needed public library met with great approval and when, in June 1929, the future of the Cloth Hall came before the Council only a small minority of Councillors voted against demolition. By the end of 1930 the site was clear but the hoped- for library was not forthcoming as, by then, it was felt that the financial climate precluded such public expense as would be necessary. Meanwhile, to appease the few but vocal citizens who bemoaned the passing of the historic building, parts of it were re-erected to form a shelter and gateway in Ravensknowle Park (see D.0.H.3 No.62). In 1935, after seeret negotiations, the site was leased to Union Cinemas Ltd. and in 1936 the Ritz (later the A.B.C.) Cinema opened its doors to the public. The Ritz lasted until 1985 when it was replaced by the present buildings. Obviously planners in the 1980s were even less concerned with architectural merit than their predecessors.

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HUDDERSFIELD'S YARDS As late as the middle of the last century Huddersfield had upwards of eighty yards, but today the number that survive is far exceeded by the number that have disappeared. The earliest were the inn yards where there was often a mixture of stabling, hay lofts, cart stores, warehouses, small businesses and, occasionally, residential property. Perhaps the best known of these in their time were the Swan Yard in Kirkgate, now gone, and the Pack Horse Yard, now changed out of all recognition. Around the turn of the 19th century, a time when rapidly expanding industry led to a demand for cheap housing near to the mills and factories within the town, a new type of yard developed, often round the edges of small compact land holdings. Such residential yards had a single entrance, a communal water supply and an inadequate number of privies, sited within the central courtyard, to be shared by all the inhabitants. Almost all the residential yards were situated near the top or the bottom of the town and most have now disappeared. Parallel with the development of residential yards were yards developed for trading purposes. We have already mentioned the break-away from the Cloth Hall by fancy manufacturers who preferred to display their goods in the privacy of their own premises. To this end they hired display rooms in warehouses built, like the houses in residential yards, around a central courtyard. Most of the business yards were located in the then recently developed streets near to the Cloth Hall: Market Street, Cloth Hall Street and New Street. Of the yards that survive some have had their innards torn out, others are dirty, dilapidated and dingy but here and there it is possible to find yards where, whatever their present condition, the building design has survived, virtually unchanged, over the years. One such is the yard to be found at the end of a passage running from the north side of Cloth Hall Street under the sign 'Cloth Hall Chambers'.

LANCASTER'S YARD Walk along the passage to look at the interior of the yard where small upper floor rooms are approached by exterior stone steps and iron balconies. A century and half ago the rooms here were occupied exclusively by fancy manufacturers. The fancy trade occupied a definite geographical area to the south and south east of Huddersfield in Lepton, Kirkhceaton, Kirkburton,

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Dalton and Almondbury. In Williams' Directory of Huddersfield, dated 1845, twenty-two manufacturers had addresses in Tinners' Yard, Cloth Hall Street, of whom nine caine from the Lepton area, five from Kirkheaton and four from Kirkburton. All were described as manufacturers of fancy waistcoating. The others who were from nearer the town, were fancy woollen manufacturers. The yard is not named on the 1851 0.8. map but, as the map shows no other unnamed yard in Cloth Hall Street, we may safely assume that this was Tinners' Yard. The name was not to last. By 1853 it had changed to Lancaster's Yard, presumably because of its proximity to Lancaster's Buildings to which there is a reference in White's Directory as early as 1837. Over the years, the number of textile firms occupying rooms in Lancaster's Yard decreased. In 1868, for example, there were thirteen fancy manufacturers there but a dozen years later, only three. The fancy trade had moved on, perhaps to more spacious premuses, and by 1890 the yard was occupied by a diversity of trademen: an oil merchant, an auctioneer, a chemist. a tea merchant, a cigar merchant, an engraver and a working jeweller. Around 1918, Cloth Hall Chambers were constructed, possibly on the site of Lancaster's Buildings. One of the tenants in the new building was Guy Laycock, plumber and electrician, and for a few years thereafter the yard was called Laycock's Yard. In 1924 there were only four businesses in Laycock's Yard. After that year, although Cloth Hall Chambers continued in vigorous existence, there is no further reference to Laycock's Yard. This could be because the yard ceased to be occupied or, possibly, it had come to be regarded as an integral part of Cloth Hall Chambers. Certainly the address of the few businesses trading in the yard today is Cloth Hall Chambers. It 1s to be hoped that continuing occupation will help preserve this old yard which, more than most, retains its original lay-out - a building design that must date back to the very early days of the fancy trade.

KING'S HEAD YARD Another centre of the fancy trade was to be found in the yard immediately behind the King's Head public house in Cloth Hall Street, opposite Lancaster's Yard. Here, two storey warehouses on both sides of the yard were, like those in Lancaster's Yard, let off in single rooms with exterior steps and iron balconies providing access to the upper level. At the end of this closely confined yard an arched passage led to a more extensive part of the yard

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with exits to Market Street and Hanson's Yard (now Imperial Arcade). In 1853 no fewer than fifty fancy manufacturers, from Lepton, Kirkburton, Kirkheaton and Almondbury, had addresses in King's Head Yard together with eleven woollen merchants and eight woollen manufacturers. By 1900 the public house had closed but the building survived as a woollen warehouse until it was demolished, along with part of the yard, in the carly 1920s. In 1924 the King's Head Buildings and an arcade were erected on the site. The entrance to the King's Head Arcade, a small, glass roofed shopping mail with about a dozen shops, was through a short passage leading from Cloth Hall Street. Like us, our older readers will surely remember some of the shops in the arcade: Netherwood and Dalton - printers, Beacon Bakery, the Parisian Pleating Company, Harold Hallas - pork butcher, L. Chillingworth - radio and musical instrument dealer, Arthur Wilde - tea and coffee dealer, Cliffe's sweets and, at the entrance to the arcade, George Hail's a name still familiar to all who recall the strict days of school uniform. The Cloth Hall branch of the Post Office was also housed in the arcade. The arcade had a short life for in 1960, less than forty years after it was constructed, the shops were demolished. At the same time the ground floor of the King's Head Buildings was refashioned and extended over the site of the arcade. The upper floors of the building remain, externally at least, unchanged. Today, what is left of the King's Head Yard is used as a private car-park and the hustle and bustle of both industry and shopping are but a silent memory. Nevertheless, the yard is worth a visit as an old warehouse, although in a parlous state, survives and the outlines of long gone buildings are preserved in the boundary walls. Access to the yard can be gained by the old entrances from Market Street and Imperial Arcade.

KING STREET To make way for that latest addition to the Huddersfield scene, the Kingsgate Centre (opened March 2002), part of King Street has disappeared and a great deal of old and, it must be admitted, shabby property deinolished whilst in a parallel development three of King Street's historic yards have been preserved. The argument whether it is better to conserve and improve rather than to destroy and replace is a contentious one and has, perhaps, no place here. Rather we will content ourselves with describing the lost scene


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so that some memory of old Huddersfield survives.

\I)Z: Bra gley's Croft

No.1, Brick Buildinga No.2.Siavghier House Tente! #

No.s.Clothiar's Arma f

- Map No.1 Circa 1797 -

Of course it must be admitted that 'old' is an imprecise word. Compared, for example, to the Kirkgate-Westgate thoroughfare, King Street is not particularly old. Only two centuries ago the scene, between the buildings in Kirkgate and the old route called Back Green (later Ramsden Street), was one of the green fields divided by prominent hedgerows with, near to Shore Head, a scattering of properties, orchards and gardens (see mapl above). William Booth, for example, tenanted two crofts, including Long Tenter Croft, and his property included a house and workshop, a tree lined garden - an orchard perhaps - a barn and a row of cottages called Broad Tenter (see mapi No.3). William Bradley, described in the 1797 rentals as an Inholder (sic), owned a cottage and garden, a croft adjoining and the Inn called the Clothiers Arms with a cowhouse, a dungyard, stables and three dwelling houses adjoining (hence Bradley Street see mapl No.4). The sites of both


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Bradley's and Booth's property now lie beneath the new shopping centre. The Clothiers Arms was, perhaps, the first of several inns and beerhouses (including The Dog, The Diana, The Queens Head, The Duke of York, The Globe and The Hope and Anchor) that would make their appearance in the area during the 19th century. So, at the beginning of that century the scene hereabouts was semi-rural, Cross Church Street, Queen Street, Zetland Street, Bradley Street and Venn Street were unthought of and the only intimation of the future King Street was a footway running up the hillside from Shore Head to the slaughtcr-house in New Street (see mapl No.2). Development on the line of the footway must have started during the first decade of the nineteenth century for King Street was accomplished and named by 1826. A map of that year shows a straight, wide street running from Shore Head to New Street and aligning directly with Cloth Hall Street, also recently developed. Looking at its direct course on the map it seems likely that the new thoroughfare was planned to allow an unrestricted view, from the important Shore Head junction, of the Cloth Hall with its cupola and clock tower. In its later years the Cloth Hall was regarded as having little architectural merit but in the days when merchants from many parts of the West Riding flocked through its doors it was regarded, no doubt, as an asset to the town and deemed worthy of the new, straight, handsome approach. Swept away in the new development was the slaughter house in New Street which, had it been allowed to remain, would undoubtedly have been a blot on the landscape (see mapl No.2). New slaughter houses, built on a site in King Street, were soon collectively and correctly known as the Shambles. A map of 1826 describes the Shambles as a new market presumably because there were stalls selling flesh and fish. For a time in the mid nineteenth century people who committed minor misdemeanours were publicly punished in the Shambles for it was here the town's stocks were to be found. During the 1870s there was public agitation for a covered market hall to replace the open air general market held in the Market Place and when, in 1876, Sir John Ramsden sold all his market rights to the Corporation, planning started immediately for just such a market to be built on the site of the Shambles. Work started in 1878 and the new market was opened in March 1880. Although the interior was used as a general market the tradition of selling flesh and fish in the area continued for some time after the market

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hall opened. In the 1880s, for example, no fewer than thirty-one of the market's thirty-nine exterior shops were occupied by butchers and fishmongers: fourteen butchers and one tripe dresser in Shambles Lane, two butchers and two fishmongers in Victoria Street, eleven butchers in Victoria Lane and one butcher in King Street. Over the years, however, the tradition faded and by 1940, although the fishmongers remained, only six of the shops were trading as butchers. A diversity of retailers had moved into the others including a photographic dealer, a jeweller, two hardware dealers, several grocers, two gentlemen's outfitters, two seedsinen, a house furnisher and a dolls' hospital, and, in Shambles Lane, Wilson's, Cowling's, Linden Smith's and Howarth's, all greengrocers and florists, trading from open fronted shops. In 1970 a new market hall was opened on a site between Ramsden Street and Princess Street as a result of which, after only 90 years of trading, the old market hall was demolished. The streets mentioned above still define its approximate position and although one of them runs at a higher level than the original, its name, Shambles Lane, lives on to remind us of a busy and bustling scene older even than the defunct market hall,

PACK HORSE YARD On the north side of King Strect, the Pack Horse Precinct covers much the same area as the older Pack Horse Yard which was attached to and took its name from the Pack Horse Inn in Kirkgate. A public dispensary was established in the yard in 1814. It was staffed by two surgeons, two physicians and an apothecary who treated ambulatory patients on the premises and visited the homes of those too ill to attend. The site of the dispensary lies somewhere beneath the present Argos shop premises. The Pack Horse was one of the town's foremost coaching inns and during the coaching era, in the yard behind the inn, there were coach houses, cart and wagon stores, hay lofts, tack rooms and stabling for a hundred horses. With its noise, bustle and smells the yard cannot have been the most soothing or healthy place for treating the sick. In the days before the country's post was carried on the railways, mail coaches running from Halifax to London, via New Mill, Penistone and Sheffield, called at the Pack Horse daily, the Royal Mail at 8.1 5p.m. and the Royal Hope at 7.1 S5a.m. The fare for the two and half day journey to London was £1. 11s. 6d inside and £1. 1s outside.

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In the 1830s, by which time most of the local main routes had been turnpiked, named coaches were leaving the Pack Horse Inn daily for:

Manchester Accommodation 6.00a.m. Umpire 11.30a.m. Celerity 2.00p.m. Celerity 3.1 5p.m. True Briton 5.00p.m. Leeds Dart 7.00a.m. True Briton 12 noon Umpire 3.45p.m. Wakefield and Hull Eclipse 11.00a.m. Eclipse 3.00p.m.

A daily coach to Buxton ran from the Pack Horse during the summer season. In addition to the coach traffic there was a steady stream of carners' wagons and carts leaving daily and nightly from the Pack Horse Yard for Leeds, Penistone, Sheffield, Halifax, Liverpool, Selby and Hull. As the railway network quickly spread across the country, coaching businesses declined and by the 1860s the Pack Horse Yard was given over to small businesses and shops. In 1867, for example, there were fourteen traders operating in the yard including a wine merchant, two tea merchants, a waste dealer, a woollen manufacturer, a tobacconist, a currier and a fruit and potato merchant. This pattern of occupation continued for the next hundred years with the property in the yard becoming ever more dilapidated and shabby. In 1966 the yard was demolished and replaced by such trappings of modernity as ceramic tiles, plastic, plate glass and bright lights. The Pack Horse Precinct is a far cry from the days when enamelled, slate, marble or iron chimney pieces could be bought for two guineas in the Pack Horse Yard, when Wilham Stones offered a dozen pint bottles of nourishing stout for half-a-crown (12¥%p), when an ounce of special Pack Horse smoking mixture could be obtained for fourpence and a Robin Hood cigar for threepence from R.J. Elliott and Co. and when a nourishing luncheon cost sixpence at Gledhill's Dining Rooms. Some of our readers will have more recent memories of the old cobbled yard, its shops, the popular Pack Horse Tap and the Pack Horse Inn itself


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where an unusually wide choice of beers was available, and we are sure that some, like us, will feel a certain amount of nostalgia for the historic inn and its yard. Sadly, in 1966 the words *sympathetic renovation' had no place in the planners' vocabulary although someone with more sense of history than most ensured that an element of the name was preserved. The Pack Horse Precinct was opened in October 1971 by the Mayor, Alderman Mrs. E. Whitteron. Just under a year later, to the regret of many, demolition of the Pack Horse Hotel began and all that remains today of the historic old inn are two delightful stained glass windows which are on display at the Tolson Museum. N.B. The fruit and potato merchant mentioned above was George Bletcher who traded in the yard for some thirty years. In 1904 Bletcher's Excelsior jam factory was built in the Beast Market. The factory is long gone but its tall brick chimney survives and is in use again, not as a chimney but as a ready-built and convenient communications mast.

TRAMS IN KING STREET Seeing it now as a pedestrian precinct, blocked at the botton end by the massive Kingsgate complex, it is difficult to believe that the rumbling and clanging of horse, steam and electric trams for years resounded along the length of King Street. In 1880, in the planning stage, it was intended that the line to Moldgreen would commence in St. George's Square and run via Northumberland Street, Lord Street and Kirkgate (the present day Oldgate) to Shorehead and thence to the terminus at the Junction Inn. Two years later, the proposed layout was abandoned in favour of a route that left the main line in New Street to reach Shore Head by way of King Street. The tramway service to Moldgreen was inaugurated on the 9th May 1885 using horse drawn trams as, at that time, King Street was considered too steep, narrow and busy for the safe operation of steam trams (see D.O.H.3 No.63). In 1888, when an extension from the Moldgreen line to AlImondbury was laid, the Corporation had a change of heart and decided that steam trams could, after all, safely negotiate King Street. However, unlike the horse drawn cars, the body of which could be turned through 180 degrees, steam trams had to reverse into St. George's Square to enable them to make the return journey. In 1890 the line to Moldgreen was extended along Wakefield Road

to Waterloo. By the time the line was electrified in 1902, new track had been laid


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from the main line in the Market Place along Kirkgate to join the line at Shore Head thus forming a loop with the King Street line. From that time the Moldgreen, Almondbury and Waterloo trams used the King Street line on their outward journeys only and the awkward reversing procedure was avoided. For several years towards the end of the nineteenth century there was fierce debate in the town about the propriety of running a Sunday tramway service. Despite long and loud protests from religious organisations such a service commenced in June 1901 but, to placate the Parish Church congregation, steam trams were not allowed to operate the Kirkgate loop during the hours of worship. With electrification, the cleaner, quieter tramcars were allowed to use the loop but drivers and conductors were required to wear their 'Sunday best' and were allowed to withdraw their labour if Sunday working was against their religious convictions. Electric trams continued to use the King Street route until they were withdrawn in 1933/4. The trolley buses that replaced them were kept away from King Street.

WORMALD'S, GOLDTHORPE'S AND HAMMOND'®'S YARDS As part of the scheme to redevelop and regenerate lower King Street three of the town's old yards are presentiy (April 2001) undergoing sympathetic renovation after years of neglect. The yards, Wormald's, Goldthorpe's and Hammond's had a number of features in common:; they were developed in the first quarter of the nineteenth century, they were mainly but not exclusively residential, their interior buildings faced onto cobbled courtyards, they had similar narrow passage entrances from King Street, each with a cobbled path edged with large flagstones (the former for horses hooves, the latter for cart wheels) and their original names have not survived. The top yard of the three was originally called Edwards' Yard. In 1818, when Huddersfield's first trade directory was published the only person of that name listed in the town was John Edwards trading as a tailor and draper from premises in Kirkgate and New Street. It is possible, of course, that this man may have had an early unrecorded connection with the yard but it is equally possible that the man who gave his name to the yard was its builder or, perhaps, an early resident. The change of name from Edwards' to Wormald's is easier to explain for Wormald can be identified as John Wormald, a saddler, who, in 1867,


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was living and working at No.36, King Street, a property on the top side of the yard's entrance. Presumably the name Edwards' was dropped in favour of Wormald's soon after the latter moved in although the new name was not recorded in the local directories until 1879. By that time a Joseph Edward Hemingway had replaced John Wormald at No.36 but despite Wormald's short tenure his name has identified the yard for over a hundred and thirty years and will presumably continue to do so well into the future. The six houses in the yard were predominantly occupied by private tenants who worked elsewhere but from time to time a few residents set up in business in the yard. One such was the heroically named Francis Drake who in the 1860s was trading at No.2, Wormald's Yard as a maker and repairer of sewing machines. Some twenty years later we find the former sewing machine expert, still in Wormald's Yard, advertising himself as a consultant phrenologist. Very popular in late Victorian times, phrenology was a pseudo-scientific method of discerning a person's mental faculties and personality traits by feeling the bumps and lumps on the outside of his or her head. Mr. Drake offered verbatim examinations with a chart for one and sixpence and a full delineation of character for five shillings. The root word 'phrenetic' meaning frenzied, distracted or mad is, when used of a phrenology practitioner, quite apt. How many of Drake's clients left Wormald's Yard with a totally erronious view of their own personality and potential will never be known but the percentage must be in the region of a hundred! After the First World War, the Christian Spiritualist Mission took rooms at No.1, Wormald's Yard. Spiritualism, a movement born out of mass bereavement, was immensely popular as it professed to offer communication with those on 'the other side'. We can only hope that the relatives of a lost generation found some comfort at the Mission. Next door, on a much more earthly plane, lived the proprietor of the Busy Bee Credit Club whose members were able to purchase goods offered by the club by paying weekly installments. By the mid 1950s the last private tenants had moved out and the houses in Wormald's Yard settled down to their fifty years wait for regeneration. The middle of the three King Street yards took its original name, Laycock's Yard, from James Campey Laycock, a solicitor, whose address is given as King Street in the 1822 directory. The change of name to Goldthorpe's Yard occurred at about the same time as Edwards' Yard changed


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to Wormald's and for several years the old and new names of both yards must have overlapped. There were not many Goldthorpes living in the town in the mid-nineteenth century and none in King Street. Precise identification of the source of the name therefore is impossible but there was a Robert Goldthorpe living in nearby Zetland Street in 1866 who may have had some unspecified connection with the yard at that time. At the back of the yard, the three-storey early nineteenth century houses, overshadowed throughout their existence by the massive Queen Street Mission (now the Lawrence Batley Theatre), continued in private occupation until the 1960s. Until restoration work started in 2001 the flagged floor and drainage channels of a small wash-house and privy block survived on the right hand side of the yard, a reminder of the days when all the residents would have to share an inadequate number of earth or tub closets. On the left hand side of the yard was the back entrance to Dodd's herbalists and chemists, who traded in King Street for nearly a hundred years. They were famous for their ninepenny packets of herbs which were individually mixed and guaranteed to cure all manner of complaints including anaemia, consumption, neuritis, constipation, piles, sciatica, worms, asthma, catarrh, gallstones, female complaints, rheumatism, obesity, vertigo and St Vitus' dance. Over the years, one or two small businesses operated from the yard but perhaps the most notable occupants of premises there was not a business but a society. The mid-nineteenth century saw a dawning of interest, among the middle and educated classes, in science, archaeology, history and natural history and all over the country local societies were formed whose members met to discuss their interests and further their knowledge. One such society, the Huddersfield Naturalists Society, formed in 1847, held their fortnightly meetings in their own rooms in Laycock's Yard. At the meetings, members, who had use of several microscopes, exhibited and commented on natural history specimens. All the members had the right of free access to most of the private woods and parks in the district and in 1884 they were granted permission to establish botanical gardens in the newly opened Beaumont Park. In that same year, the Society left the yard for a higher status venue in the Victoria Hall, Buxton Road. The bottom yard of the three is not recorded in local directories until 1894 probably because, in its early days, part of it was the private garden of the house at the entrance to the yard. Between 1814 and 1840 the occupant of the house was Dr. William Wilks who was senior surgeon at the dispensary


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in Pack Horse Yard, at that time the only public centre for medical attention in Huddersfield. With the population of the town rapidly increasing the dispensary soon became inadequate and by 1820 Dr. Wilks was leading a campaign for a publicly funded infirmary where patients could be properly supervised and receive an adequate diet. In 1824, a subscription list, headed by Dr. Wilks, was opened and only seven years later the Huddersfield Infirmary in New North Road opened its doors. After Dr. Wilks died in 1840, his daughter, who had married Joseph Hammond, a tea dealer, moved into the house with her family and some time after that the yard and former garden, which may have been known as Wilks' Yard, became Hammond's Yard. By 1881 the Hanmonds had moved away or died but their house was occupied by John Dixon, linen draper, who was a descendant of Dr. Wilks. The Dixon family continued to own the property for the next hundred years. In 1894 a small workshop at the rear of the yard was occupied by Fred Bailey, joiner. This was the only business recorded in the interior ol Hammond's Yard in the nineteenth century. By the 1920s Bailey had given way to Jones and Farrand, joiners and funeral directors and today the same premises are occupied by a coffee shop. The large building on the left hand side of the yard, which fronts onto Zetland Street, will be remembered by some of our readers as the premises of Messrs Jackson and Taylor, cigar manufacturers. In the 1890s this building was occupied by the Bee Hive Drapery Company, a name that leads us to speculate whether the business had any connection with the Busy Bee credit club in Wormnald's Yard. Interestingly, in 1958, long after Bee Hive and Busy Bee had left their respective sites, a shop in Zetland Street, opposite the former Bee Hive premises, was called the Buzzy B stores. It would seem that the industrious insect had made some sort of impression in this part of town. When the decision was taken to preserve the three yards in King Street it would have been an easy option to retain their individual configurations but replace their time-honoured premises with modern plastic and plate glass as was done in the historic Pack Horse Yard. Happily, the planners had other ideas and decided to refurbish the yards and their existing buildings with traditional materials: cobbles, slates, wood and iron. Thus the early nineteenth century houses in Wormald's and Goldthorpe's Yards, surely some of the oldest workers' houses in the town centre, have been preserved in


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almost their original state and these, along with the nineteenth century ambience of all three yards, will carry something of the town's past on into its future.

CROSS CHURCH STREET & THE WHITE LON & SUN INN PUBLIC HOUSES Cross Church Street, laid out during the first quarter of the nineteenth century to provide a direct connection between the centuries-old Kirkgate and the newly built King Street, has, on its east side, two public houses the origins of which date back to the earliest days of the thoroughfare. Both houses have, over the years, undergone periods of renovation, alteration and in the case of one of them almost complete rebuilding and their once busy yards are now sadly diminished. The names 'Revolution' and 'Minstrel' are of recent origin and perhaps we should think of former as the White Lion Hotel and the latter as the Sun Inn for these were the names by which they were known for more than a century and a half. During the nineteenth century most hostelries in the town were referred to as public houses or inns but the White Lion was, from its earliest days, described as an hotel, its higher status reflected perhaps in its once imposing facade (see illustration) and the fact that it was, for a time, the tallest building in Cross Church Street. It may well have been its height that resulted in the White Lion being struck by lightning during a spectacular thunderstorm on 13th July 1831. A report of the incident describes how '...the electric fluid melted gas pipes and set


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the gas on fire. It pursued the course of the bell wires which it melted and went out by one of the upper back windows which was shattered and burnt to pieces. A servant and a little boy were knocked down but soon recovered the In 1892, Henry Archer, then the proprietor of the White Lion, was proud to advertise good stabling, well aired beds and a 'free and easy' every evening. Doubtless he was also proud of his handsome building with its nicely proportioned double bay windows and neat ashlar quoins. Should Mr. Archer, in ghostly form, ever decide to return to his old haunt he would be unable to recognise it (or make sense of the new name) for, since his day, the White Lion has been twice altered. At some time, the original front elevation was replaced by a mock Tudor half-timbered facade with a handsome arched entrance embellished with Tudor roses. We have been unable to discover the date of the alterations but the stonework in the doorway is typical of the 1930s. It was probably at the time of this work that the hotel was extended to the rear. For many years during the second half of the twentieth century the ground floor rooms on cither side of the door were used as shops. As a result of much more recent alterations the hotel is whole again, a good deal of plate glass has been introduced and the timbers have been stripped of their black paint. The imposing door has, happily, been retained. The White Lion Yard was originally twice its present length and until the site was cleared for the Kingsgate project some of its old buildings survived, albeit in a dilapidated condition. During the nineteenth century there were three business premises in the yard occupied variously, over the years, by a cotton waste dealer, a wheelwright, a brush manufacturer, a paper bag merchant, a basket maker and a joiner. The bottom end of the yard was occupied by stables and cart stores, the headquarters of a number of carriers whose address was White Lion Yard and who delivered to villages at some distance from the town: Kirkburton, Shelley, Skelmanthorpe, Clayton West, Meltham, Hepworth and New Mill. As there was no entrance at the bottom of the yard the carriers would always have used the narrow passageway into Cross Church Street and here a very small part of the past survives, untouched, in the shape of the wheel stones placed to keep the cart wheels away from the walls on cither side of the entrance.


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SUN INN Next door to the White Lion, the Sun Inn (now the Minstrel) was less imposing than its neighbour and remained so until 1890 when its owners, Messrs Seth Senior & Sons of Highfield Brewery, Shepley, decided to rebuild the inn and extend it to include a wine store, shop, order offices and, in the yard behind, a bottling store. Plans for the new building, designed by W. Cooper of Lord Street, were approved on 10th April 1890 and subsequently the two shops adjomning the inn were pulled down, the plan being to build the shop and office block before tackling the inn. As a safety measure substantial timber shoring was erected to prop up the side of the inn over the passage leading to the yard. At about 2.45a.m. on 15th April 1891, Police Constable Binns, on duty in Cross Church Street, heard a loud crack and saw some plaster falling from the underdrawing of the passage. Binns, described by the Examiner as an intelligent officer, immediately roused the occupants, Mr. MT. Suthers, landlord, his wife and four servants and supervised their exit into the back yard. Immediately after their hasty escape the end of the building collapsed outwards and fell into the basement of the new building on the adjoining site. By the light of day the scene was described as a chaotic spectacle with curtains, pictures, carpets and clothing hanging from the ruin and iron bedsteads, bedding, furniture and floorboards piled in a jumbled heap in the street. The architect and contractor were early on the scene to supervise salvage operations and to make safe the front wall which it was thought might fall at any minute. Because of the prompt actions of P.C. Binns no lives were lost or injuries sustained. Work on the new buildings continued resulting in the impressive facade, still to be seen, with its central turret, twin gables, ornate carvings and stone finials. The gables, whether by accident or design made the new Sun Inn as tall as the White Lion. Identical carvings at the top of the gables represent the rising (or setting) sun. Lower down in each gable is a carved stone roundel, that over the Sun Inn depicting, appropriately enough, a sun in splendour. The other, only recently cleaned, depicts a sovereign of King George IV dated 1829 (see illustration). This was a mystery until we discovered that Seth Senior founded his brewing business with, it is said, a borrowed sovereign at the Sovereign Inn,


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Shepley in 1829. Of the once extensive Sun Inn Yard, only the passage now remains. The gates at the entrance are contemporary with the 1890 rebuilding as are the cast iron wall protectors and wheel stones. Apart from a bottling store the only buildings in the interior of the yard were stable blocks and cart stores which, as we can find no record, after the rebuilding, of outside carriers with a Sun Inn Yard address, were presumably used to house Senior's horses and drays. Messrs Seth Senior & Sons' prices in the 1880s may be of interest:

Mild ale 10d a gallon Light bitter 2s.6d per doz bottles Strong ale 1/4d a gallon Pale Ale 3s.0d. per doz bottles Wines from 1s.6d. a bottle Spirits from 2s.6d. a bottle. NEW STREET

In 1768, as part of the new Huddersfield to Woodhead turnpike, an old footway connecting Kirkgate and the Market Place with Back Green (now Ramsden Street and High Street) was upgraded and given the status of Beyond Back Green the new road continued southwards to cross the Colne at Engine Bridge, lolly Hall. As the town grew this route between the Market Place and the river developed into one of the town's main thoroughfares: New Street, Buxton Road and Chapel Hill. On a map of Huddersfield dated 1778 the section of road between the Market Place and Back Green is called South Street but this name did not survive for very long for by 1800 the descriptive name New Street was well established. In the two decades that followed the opening of the new turnpike, a few buildings made their appearance in the fields on both sides of New Street but, apart from the Brick Buildings, it was to be some time before business and commercial interests took root there. John Hanson, writing in 1878 but describing the town as it was in his youth, circa 1805, paints a semi-rural scene in New Street. He says: 'Between the bottom of High Street and the foot of Cloth Hall Street there were but two shops. In one, Tommy Ludlam, whitesmith and ironmonger, supplied the Huddersfieldians with kettles and pans and in the other Tommy Bradley, saddler, plied his needles and wax thread. These two were near neighbours.' Hanson then provides a description of the land between New Street and the Cloth Hall, given to him by a 'very respectable man' called Thomas Coldwell:


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'I remember when I was a boy we had no cart road from New Street to the Cloth Hall. There was only a footpath through the fields with hedgerows on each side. To get into the footpath we had to go up two or three steps and then stride over a flagstone set on end, called a lipping or a stepping stone. I well remember searching for birds' nests and getting hips and haws in the hedgerows that divided the Returning to his own memories John Hanson describes some buildings on the low side of New Street which had been converted into a cotton factory where, he says, '...the second steam engine in Huddersfield was installed .. Here two women with sticks battered the cotton as it lay on a wickerwork table. The cotton thus opened was afterwards picked by women and He also recalls, '...standing , when a boy, on a butcher's cratch and looking out of the old slaughter house in New Street into the fields below. There behind the building was a large pool of blood and refuse..." There was, he says, no King Street at that time. John Hanson does not describe the scene in Huddersficld as it appeared when he reached manhood but it must have changed considerably. In 1818, for example, two public houses, the Boot and Shoe and the Prince Regent, had opened in New Street and three wool staplers, two merchants and one machine maker had premises there. Two surgeons, Benjamin Bradshaw and John Atkinson had their practices in New Street as did Dr. J.H. Walker, a physician, who also worked at the dispensary in Pack Horse Yard. Martha Ludlam had succeeded Tommy at the whitesmith's shop but Tommy Bradley was still there and their shops had been joined by a number of others including a watch and clock maker, a draper, a music-seller, an ironmonger, a grocer and a liquor merchant. Despite its central position New Street was never to become the location of any of Huddersfield's municipal and public buildings. Estate and local government offices, courts, prison, police & fire stations, theatres and Town Hall were all built elsewhere, presumably because by the time the need or desire arose for such amenities there was no available land in New Street and the businesses there were in full, vigorous and profitable existence. At the end of the nineteenth century, New Street was at the centre of the town's commercial and professional life. In the soot-blackened buildings lining the street all manner of goods were on sale at ground floor level while


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on the upper floors were the offices of solicitors, accountants, merchants, manufacturers, surveyors, auctioneers, share brokers and agents. Important business was transacted at the Yorkshire Bank, the London City & Midland Bank and the Yorkshire Penny Bank and rest and refreshment were on offer at The Boot and Shoe and Imperial Hotels and the Commercial Inn. The customers at these institutions would, of course, be mainly men. Few, if any, 'respectable' women entered public houses in those days so for them, refreshinents were available at Morton's Dining Rooms in the Market Place or at Bradley's coffee rooms in King Street. It would be a busy, bustling and noisy scene at that time when goods were delivered to the shops by a stcady stream of hand or horse drawn carts, when bicycles jostled for position among gigs, phaetons and hansom cabs and when steam trams, on their way to and from Lockwood, Paddock, Berry Brow and Fartown, added their daily dose of pollution and noise. In 1902 the steam trams were succeeded by electric trams and they, in due course, by trolly buses and motor buses. Horse and hand carts were replaced by motorised delivery vans, wagons and lorries and, over the years, an increasing number of private motor cars of necessity used New Street as it was the main route from the town centre towards the Holme and Colne Valleys. The situation improved when the ring road opened in the late 1960s (officially 1973) and the traffic problem was finally solved in 1993 when the street was fully pedestrianised. The new road surface laid at that time consists of coloured bricks forming a complicated pattern, the overall effect of which can only be appreciated from a considerable height!

NEW STREET TODAY Sundays or light summer evenings. when the shoppers have gone home, are the best times to stop and stare at New Street and its buildings.

THE BRICK BUILDINGS A map of Huddersfield, dated 1778, shows a row of shops called New Buildings, fronting onto New Street which, as we have seen, had been laid out as part of the Huddersfield to Woodhead turnpike only ten years previously. Also called the Brick Buildings the shops were built on their prestigious site, near to the Market Place, by the Ramsdens and it is likely


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that the bricks came from the same source as those used in the construction of Sir John Ramsden's Cloth Hall. It would seem that, at that time, brick was regarded as a fashionable and modern alternative to local stone for new high- status buildings. That the Brick Buildings were intended to have a certain cachet is proved by the fact that in the early nineteenth century the annual rent for each property was the then enormous sum of twenty two pounds. One of the shopkeepers in the Brick Buildings at that time was Neddy Walton who made and sold leather breeches. Walton was the town's only constable and John Hanson (see page 19) describes him vividly: 'Whenever his official services were required he was sure to be at hand. Did any fight or disturbance occur, there was the constable, a little consequential man, proud of his authority and brandishing his little staff in his hand'. Neddy Walton's shop is now occupied by the Early Learning Centre (next door to the bank). In 1880 part of the row was swept away to make way for the new premises of the Huddersfield Banking Company in Cloth Hall Street. The rest of the Brick Buildings have survived (see mapl No.1 p.7) surely one of the oldest structures in the town and attractive still although the original bow windows have been replaced by plate-glass and the bricks are hidden behind layers of cement rendering. Later stone buildings in Chancery Lane conceal the rear elevation of the Brick Buildings but spare a few seconds to stand in the side doorway of the Halifax Building Society. From this vantage point it is possible to glimpse, beyond the parapet of the building opposite, just a few of the old handmade bricks, their colour, surprisingly perhaps, undimmed by time and grime. Before leaving the Brick Buildings notice the shop now occupied by Beaumont's Opticians. For several years around the middle of the nineteenth century these premises, No. 2, New Street, housed the town's head Post Office. After leaving Post Office Yard (see D.O.H. 11. No. 53) and prior to moving in here, the Post Office seems to have wandered along New Street. George Crosland's map of 1826, for example, marks it somewhere in the region of the present day Market Avenue and White's Directory of 1837 gives its address as No. 1, New Street (directly across the road from No. 2). During the 1830s, mail coaches departed for London at 11.1 Sa.m. and for Halifax at 3.20p.m. and mail gigs left for Halifax at 10.1 5a.m. and 7.30p .m. The office, which opened at 7.00a.m. in summer and 8.00a.m. in winter, despatched mail twice daily around the town. Foot messengers carrying mail


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for the surrounding villages left the office at 8.00a.m. daily. Letters were charged by distance: from London elevenpence-ha' penny, from Manchester sevenpence, from York, Keighley and Barnsley sixpence, from Leeds fivepence, from Halifax fourpence and from the outlying villages twopence. These not inconsiderable costs were met by the recipient. But far reaching changes in methods of delivery and paying for mail were afoot, changes that resulted in increased business at the Post Office and probably prompted the move into the Brick Buildings in the early 1840s. The railways began to carry mail on the Manchester to Liverpool line in 1830 and, as the railway network rapidly expanded, postal deliveries from all ends of the country could be achieved in hours rather than days. The year 1839 saw the opening of the Manchester and Leeds railway along the Calder Valley and for the next eight years post from all parts of the country arrived at the office at 2.00a.m., 8.00a.m., 12.30p.m., 1.00p.m., and 9.00p.m. brought by mail cart from the nearest station at Cooper Bridge. In 1840, a Warwickshire schoolmaster, Roland Hill, persuaded the Government to introduce the standard penny post whereby the sender prepaid postal delivery charges by means of an adhesive stamp. The innovation was an inmediate and enormous success and was quickly copied by countries all around the world. Now, at last, poor as well as rich could afford to communicate with family and friends from whom they might be separated by work or marriage or war or emigration. Industry and commerce also benefited from cheap postage. Business at post offices everywhere increased dramatically over the next three or four decades, which time saw the introduction of post and pillar boxes, the electric telegraph, the picture postcard and postal orders by which means money could be transferred by post. Locally, efficiency improved further when, in 1847, the railway came into the town thus eliminating the need for a three and a half mile journey by mail cart to and from Cooper Bridge. During these innovative and busy years the postmaster, William Moore, was assisted by just two clerks but the number of letter carriers for town deliveries rose from two in the 1830s to ten in 1857. Shortly after 1857 a new postmaster was appointed and the Post Office moved again. For the next few years part of No. 2, New Street became a lodging house and part was still used by Willian Moore who became a sharebroker after his spell as postmaster ended.


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THE BANK The building on the corner of New Street and Cloth Hall Street, now occupied by the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Company, was constructed in 1973 for the Midiand Bank Ltd. Its modern design contrasted greatly with its predecessor on the site, a highly decorated and ornate building, designed by the local architect Edward Hughes in 1880 for the Huddersfield Banking Company. The old bank's copper onion dome had been a familiar if unusual feature in the town's roofscape for nearly a century and its passing was lamented by many.

THE BOOT AND SHOE The block of buildings between the Market Place and King Street {opposite the Brick Buildings) dates from 1900. Notice the ornamental relief proclaiming the Boot and Shoe Hotel which was built on the site of the original Boot and Shoe Inn dating back to the early nineteenth century. For a time, in the 1860s, William Cowell the landlord of the old Boot and Shoe was also a cab proprietor - no doubt a useful arrangement for any customers who might experience difficulty in walking home. The shop next door to the one-time hotel was, for many years, occupied by Armitage and Sons, seed merchants, who much later branched out from the town centre to run the well known and successful garden centres at Shelley and Birchencliffc. The age of the buildings beyond Cloth Hall Street and King Street is not immediately apparent at ground floor level where the facades of the shops have been redesigned several times over the years. A glance above the shops will, however, reveal a building style with, in places, quoins and corbels dating back to the early years of the nineteenth century, to the time, in fact, when the street was first developed. Here and there of course more modern buildings have been inserted on old sites.

THORNTON'S On the east side of the road, for example, the shop built for Marks and Spencer in 1933 occupies the site of Thornton's Temperance Hotel, a place much frequented by local Radicals, Liberals, Socialists, Nonconformists and even an occasional Tory all of them worthy, and several of them 'characters'. Rich and poor from all over the Huddersfield district - and one or two from


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further afield - came to Thornton's where solicitors, clothiers, cobblers, farmers, merchants, shopkeepers, architects, cabinet makers, tailors, manufacturers, mill workers, cheap jacks and a milk dealer who was always accompanied by his goose mixed freely and easily. Encouraged by the proprietor Joseph Thornton (as great a character as any of them) they played draughts and chess, wrote or recited poetry, debated educational, religious, social and political issues, attended lectures on mathematics, chemistry, history, archaeology and geology, practiced French and German and formed Thornton's Temperance Hotel Literary and Scientific Society. So many and vaned were the subjects discussed that Thornton's soon became known to its devotees as 'The Centre of Light and Knowledge'. During its last twelve years, Thornton's was the headquarters of the Huddersfield and District Temperance League. Outside the hotel in one of the dummy windows the league's advertisement was painted and on another was the representation of a large, open pledge-book with an invitation to every passer-by to sign the pledge. Many did, including those on their way to the Farmer Boy public house just below Thornton's in Lockwood's Yard. For over forty years Joseph Thornton presided over events at Thornton's Temperence Hotel. In 1900 a new proprietor, William Waite, took over. It may be that his talents did not measure up to Thornton's, it may be that the days of debate, self education, passionate politics and resolute temperance were passing; whatever the reason, Thornton's closed on 231d October 1909. On the other side of the road, No.28, New Street (opposite Lockwood's Yard) played a small part in the activities of the Huddersfield Mechanics Institution when, between 1844 and 1850, classes were held in the upper rooms there. It is highly likely that most of Thornton's devotees were supporters of the Institution and its commitment to provide youths and young working men with a free elementary education. Certainly, two of Thornton's early stalwarts, William Marriott and Frank Curzon, played important roles in the Institution, the former as a teacher of chemistry - a little taught subject in the 1850s - and the latter as Secretary between 1854 and 1862. Some ten years after the Institution moved on to larger premises in Queen Street, the Post Office left the Brick Buildings and moved into No.28, New Street. Despite the move there was a general feeling that the new premises did not adequately meet the needs of the thriving trade of the town. Extensive alterations and improvements in 1866 helped the situation until a new purpose built General Post Office opened in Northumberland Street in 1874.


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After the Post Office moved out, No.28 was occupied by Elliott Hallas, mill furnisher, who always advertised his address as 'The Old Post Office, New Street'.

THE YORKSHIRE BANK On the same side of the strect, the Yorkshire Bank, originally the Yorkshire Penny Bank, opened at No.40, New Street around the turn of the nineteenth century. When the present premises were built, in 1926, the new building extended across the entrance to an old yard to incorporate No. 38, New Street. The yard was called Ludlam's Yard and No.38 was the shop formerly occupied by Ludlam and Co. whitesmiths. Thus we are able to place the whereabouts of Tommy Ludlam who 'supplied the Huddersfieldians with kettles and pans' and who was one of the first shopkeepers in New Street. Those like us who are of a 'certain age' will recall the saving scheme operated in schools by the Yorkshire Penny Bank and will remember taking their weekly pennies, threepenny bits or sixpences to school where their teachers diligently marked the amounts on brown bank cards - which must not be lost! When the savings reach one pound, a blue bank book was issued. At a penny a week, allowing for a school year of say forty weeks, it would be some six years before such a magnificent total was achieved.

THE IMPERIAL, HOTEL Further along New Street, on the east side, the large building opposite Imperial Arcade was once the Imperial Hotel which opened in 1845. Long gone is the clegant portico along the front of the building and the pendentive over the central door but, above ground floor level, apart from the artificial stone cladding, the facade has changed little since 1845. In 1886, John James Vickers, who had previously kept Vickers' Hotel and Dining Rooms in Market Walk, became the proprietor and from that tune the hotel was known as Vickers' Imperial Hotel. Vickers catered mainly for 'commercial tio whom he offered every comfort and convenience in the hotel's twenty bedrooms, the dinmg room and the commercial, stock, grill, billiards and smoke rooms. The Vickers family also had a grocer's shop in Market Walk and a confectioner's shop at 50, New Street both of which, no doubt, supplied the hotel. The Imperial Hotel closed on 11th March 1909 and afterwards the premises, called Imperial Chambers, housed about a dozen small businesses


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and offices. The yard behind the hotel, of which only a fraction now remains, originally ran down to Victoria Lane and as late as the 1980s, some seventy years after the hotel closed, the arched entrance to the yard there bore the inscription, 'Footway to the Imperial Hotel '.

THE COMMERCIAL At the corner of New Street and High Street the Commercial public house, sometimes called an inn, sometimes an hotel, has occupied this site since the early nineteenth century and for well over a hundred years the building incorporated a tobacconist's shop. This had a cross corner entrance and shop windows in New Street and High Street, Of course, during the 1970s and 80s tobacco fell from grace and tobacconist's shops became an increasingly rare sight countrywide, When Hobson and Son, the last proprietors here closed, the opportunity was taken to extend the ground floor of the Commercial. So skilful was the rebuilding that, today, the only clue to the one-time presence of the shop is a row of holes where the fascia board was suspended. Opposite the Commercial, the Prudential Building, built in 1899, was designed by Alfred Waterhouse, one of the nineteenth century's foremost architects. Waterhouse designed for the company rather than for any particular site and buildings of similar design, age and origin can be spotted in many towns in England. The use of brick as a building material, after its brief popularity in Huddersfield in the eighteenth century, fell out of favour for the elevations of buildings on prime sites in the town although it was frequently used for rear elevations and the interiors of yards. The Prudential Building, with its use of red brick and terracotta was, therefore, a distinctive structure in early twentieth century Huddersfield.

BERRY 'S, LOCKWOOD'S and GREENWOOD'S YARDS The beginnings of three of New Street's yards can be traced back to the 1770s when Godfrey Berry, George Lockwood and Edward Hawxby became tenants-at-will of just over one rood of land each {see map1 p.7). Their holdings ran side-by-side down the hillside from New Street to where Victoria Lane would be developed in the future. In 1818 we find Lockwood and Hawxby described as wool staplers and Berry as a grocer and maltster. Two of these men, at least, were by this time, men of substance. In 1820, when the first move towards responsible local government in Huddersfield resulted


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in the formation of a Board of Improvement Commissioners, Godfrey Berry and Edward Hawxby became members. Qualification for a seat on the Board was personal wealth of a least one thousand pounds. Godfrey Berry, in time, built a house at the corner of King Street and New Street and the land behind developed into Berry's Yard. The yard, which like its near neighbours had a narrow passage entrance, was never as important or busy as the other two. It had no direct exit into Victoria Lane and housed no more than three businesses at any time. After the site was redeveloped in the 1930s a trace of Berry's Yard survived in the form of an emergency passage exit between Marks and Spencer's and Burton's shops. The entrance which remains in its original position is now closed by a fire door. It is worth recording here that Godfrey Berry was behind an abortive scheme to provide the town centre with water from the Bradley Spout, an everlasting spring located in the area of St. George's Field (later St. George's Square). John Hanson tells the tale: 'His (Berry's) project was as follows:- A large reservoir was to be constructed in the old Market Place into which the Bradley Spout water was to be brought. Then there were to be four pumps, one at each corner of the Market Place, from which people might fetch water. Well, Godfrey and his colleagues set to work with a right good will at the new waterworks. A large hole was dug which might be, I dare say, thirty yards by seven. This they built round and arched over and, when all was ready, they made the astounding discovery that water would not run uphill. The project was thercfore dropped. A considerable amount of money had been spent and nothing accomplished.' When excavations for the public lavatories beneath the Market Place began in 1906, Berry's arched 'hole' was discovered and many theories as to its origin were put forward including Roman remains, medieval cellars and secret passages. When the mundane truth was discovered the reservoir was sealed over and forgotten until the 1960s when it was rediscovered during excavation work connected with the Pack Horse Precinct. Another small sensation ensued and similar theories were propounded - as doubtless they will be again, next time the hole is discovered. Lockwood's Yard, which developed on the parcel of land held by George Lockwood in the 1770s (see map No. 1 p.7), obviously took it name from the original tenant. George Lockwood was still there in 1818 and as late as 1837, Lockwood and Thomas, a firm of woolstaplers, had premises in the yard. Today, apart from an old warehouse at the bottom (which rightly belongs to


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Greenwood's Yard) the yard is rather dull and it is difficult to picture it as the hive of activity it once was. Here, at various times, tea, shipping and woollen merchants, solicitors, surveyors and income tax inspectors had their offices. In its time, perhaps the most popular building in the yard was The Farmer Boy Inn which stood on part of the site now occupied by Marks and Spencer's Jower floor. The inn flourished here for more than fifty years and the name Farmer Boy Yard was a widely used alternative to Lockwood's Yard. The Farmer Boy closed on New Year's Eve 1914, an early casualty perhaps, of recruitment for the Great War. By the mid 1920s professional men and merchants had given way in Lockwood's Yard to tradesmen who included a hatter, a furrier, a cabinet maker and a boot and shoe dealer. Even then, ten years after the inn closed, the name Farmer's Boy Yard (the slight change was mevitable) persisted. Early in the 1930s most of the old buildings in Lockwood's Yard disappeared when the site was cleared to make way for Marks & Spencer's store. As the two yards already mentioned retained the names of the original tenants we might have expected the third to do the same but we have found no mention of a Yard in the records. In the 1818 directory Hawxby and Sutcliffe, woolstaplers, are listed in New Street but a precise address is not given. It is possible, then, that a Hawxby's Yard did exist, unrecorded, on the east side of New Street but it is equally possible that by the time a yard had developed on the line of the original land holding, Hawxby, or the Hawxby firm, had moved. Certainly, in 1848 Henry Hawxby, woolstapler, had premises at No. 8, Hawxby's Court on the other side of New Street. A yard definitely existed on Hawxby's land in 1825 for it is shown but not named on a plan of Huddersfield made in that year. Nearly thirty years later, the ordnance survey map of 1851 shows it nnder the name Greenwood's Yard. It is by no means certain who Greenwood was, but the only man of that name we can find in New Street before 1851 is William Greenwood, surgeon, who, with his wife and six children, is listed in the 1841 census. Until the early years of the last century, the buildings in Greenwood's Yard were occupied mainly by merchants and manufacturers but by the 1920s their warehouses had been converted into shops and the Yard had become a busy pedestrian way linking New Street with Victoria Lane and the market. Perhaps it was this shift from industry to shopping that brought about a change of name as it was around 1930 that Greenwood's Yard became Market Avenue. Readers may remember some of the shops in Market Avenue in the


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1940s: Stylo Shoes, the Manchester Furnishing Company, Middleton's confectioners, the Huddersfield Wallpaper Company, Harry Howarth, fruiterer, Redman's grocers, Butlin's jewellers and, at the entrance to the yard, Dunn's outfitters. Walking down the yard (or avenue) today it would be easy to believe that most of the shops survive from early days, for there is an air of the nineteenth century about them, but the truth is, of course, that they were completely rebuilt in 1994. At the same time a roof was built where no roof existed before. The only original building to survive is the warehouse at the bottom of the yard. The old hoist and taking-in-door have been retained, reminders of the days when this was Joshua Beaumont and Company's woollen warehouse.

HAWKSBY'S COURT, IMPERIAL ARCADE, UNION BANK YARD There are other yards in New Street that are worth exploring. Hawksby's Court, directly opposite the land once tenanted by Edward Hawxby was, as we have seen, the address of Henry Hawxby in the 1840s. The change of spelling from Hawxby to Hawksby occurred in the 1860s presumably after the family's connection with the yard had ceased. In 1887, James Kilburn, ironfounder, had premises in Hawksby's Court and it is tempting to think that he provided the cast iron gates at the entrance not only to guard the premises but also to advertise his work. If the woollen merchants and manufacturers, solicitors, auctioneers and stockbrokers, who over the years, had their warehouses and offices in the yard, could see it today they would be surprised and saddened by its dirty, drab and dingy condition. The once elegant entrance gates are sagging and bent, the buildings in the interior are derelict and boarded up, unlovely piles of rubbish are decaying on the old cobbles and the yard is fit only for the dustbins of which, at the time of writing, there are several. The other two yards on the west side of New Street are in better condition than Hawksby's Court. Imperial Arcade is a busy and popular shopping precinct linking New Street with Market Street. Once there were two separate yards here, Hanson's Yard at the New Street end and the Queen Yard at the Market Street end. The former took its name from Hanson and Co., cabinet makers who occupied premises at the New Street entrance and the latter from the Queen Hotel in Market Street.


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In 1878 J. R. Hopkinson demolished the warehouses in Hanson's Yard, replaced them with eleven smart new shops with offices over, covered the yard with a glass roof and renamed it Imperial Arcade to reflect its change of status. The Imperial Hotel, directly opposite the Arcade, was obviously the source of the new name. Soon after the alterations, the wall separating Imperial Arcade from the Queen Yard was demolished and replaced by a row of cast iron bollards. Because the boundary was thus defined the name Queen Yard persisted until the end of the nineteenth century but inevitably the two yards came to be regarded as one and the name Imperial Arcade prevailed. In the early 1950s the Arcade was re-roofed and re-floored and the buildings put up in 1878 were refurbished. Milliners, jewellers, herbalists, tailors, tobacconists, stationers, booksellers, watchmakers, florists, chemists, photographers and many others have traded in the shops on the ground floor whilst the offices above were occupied by accountants, auditors, solicitors, auctioneers, sharebrokers and merchants. On the right hand side notice the passage entrance into the King's Head Yard which dates back to the time of Hanson's Yard. The bollards that marked the one-time boundary between Imperial Arcade and the Queen Yard have been moved but it is not difficult to work out where they once stood. A close look at the top building on the right hand side which was built beyond the boundary will reveal that it is later in date than its neighbours. On the right hand side of the exit to Market Street the large building was, according to local historian D.F.E. Sykes, originally a mansion belonging to John Brook J.P. The mansion fronted on to Market Strcet and behind was a tree lined garden. In the 1860s the mansion became the Queen Hotel and the gardens the Queen Yard. The hotel played a small part in the development of the town's sporting activities when, in November 1864, a meeting was held there to discuss the formation of the Huddersfield Athletic Club. Cricket and rugby football, as well as athletics were club activities and in 1876 the Athletic Club amalgamated with St. John's Cricket Club at Fartown to form the Huddersfield Cricket and Athletic Club. Thereafter Huddersfield United Cricket Club and Huddersfield Rugby Football Club played at Fartown. Another meeting at the Queen in 1891 led to the formation of the Huddersfield and District Cricket League. For many years the Queen was a popular rendezvous for local


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businessmen who particularly appreciated the hearty three course lunches which, in the 1950s, cost three and eleven (nearly 20p). But other times bring other ways and the Queen Hotel closed in 1972. The name was revived when the Queen's Tavern opened in 1975. Just beyond Imperial Arcade, the Union Bank Yard retains many of its nineteenth century features including the original paved cartway leading through the narrow passage entrance and the old setts and flagged pavements in the interior. The yard took it's name from the Halifax and Huddersfield Union Bank, formed in 1836, which, according to the 1854 O.S. map, occupied the premises on the south side of the yard's entrance. In 1866, the bank moved to No.3 Westgate and, after a series of amalgamations, became a branch of Lloyds Bank, still on the Westgate and Market Place comer. By the 1880s the old woollen warehouses in the yard were occupied by a variety of tradesmen but among the mundane mix of painters, picture framers, plumbers, tailors and butter merchants we found one business worthy of comment. In late Victorian times, long before the terms 'alternative medicine' and 'alternative therapy' had been coined, there was a firm belief, among the credulous at least, that water applied internally or externally to the body would cure almost all known diseases. This craze was catered for in Huddersfield when, in the 1890s, the Askern Spa Hydropathic Company moved into the Union Bank Yard. Their premises arc now occupied by Greaves photographers. The attractive building on the south side of the yard, originally a woollen warehouse, was occupied between 1880 and 1940 by Eh Wadsworth and Sons Ltd., tea, coffee and cocoa merchants. In the mid 1980s the old warehouse was cleaned, renovated and converted to become the Union Bank Bar and Restaurant and it is surely this preservation of a fine old building together with the long term presence of Greaves that has prevented the yard from going the way of Hawksby's Court. The space over the wall at the top of the yard, now used as a private car park was, until the 1960s, occupied by the large Sunday School attached to the High Street Chapel.

BUXTON ROAD Until 1966 the section of New Street beyond the Ramsden Street - High Street junction was called Buxton Road. Buxton was not the iunmediate or obvious destination of the 1768 turnpike which ran through Holmfirth to Woodhead where it joined an earlier turnpike from Barnsley to Stockport.

LJ tw

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Logically then, Holmfirth Road, Woodhead Road or even Stockport Road would have been more likely names so why was Buxton favoured? In the 1790s the Duke of Devonshire started to build in Buxton on a magnificent scale. Pump rooms, opera house, concert halls, spa baths and the like turned what had been a small market town into a prestigious resort. It seems likely then that the name Buxton Road, definitely in use by 1818, replaced an earlier name and was deliberately chosen to advertise the fact that the turnpike linked Huddersfield, albeit indirectly, with the fashionable spa town. As early as the 1820s coaches left the Pack Horse Inn for Buxton every day during the season, taking the fashionable to sample that town's delights, and it was entirely fitting that the route out of Huddersfield was called Buxton Road. This section of the turnpike ran through the Nether Croft Closes, rectangular fields which had been enclosed from one of the town's medieval open fields. Development of the land was slow to follow. John Hanson, describing the area as it was some forty years after the turnpike opened, remembers only two one-decker cottages at the corner of Buxton Road and High Street apart from which, he says, 'all was open fields and hedgerows from the bottom of High Street to the top of Chapel Hill .....The green expanse was unbroken save for hedge-rows and trees and a footpath which ran across the fields to Outcote Bank.' In 1818 just two businesses had premises in Buxton Road. By 1825 they had been joined by several more but all the development was on the east side of the road. It was to be another quarter of a century before the 'green expanse' on the west side was built over. Today, most of the buildings in Buxton Road date from a massive redevelopment scheme of the mid 1960s. Only the impressive building, once the central branch of the Huddersfield Co-operative Society, remains from earlier times (see D.O.H.1i1 No.90). It was also in the 1960s that the ring road was constructed across the line of the turnpike severing Buxton Road and Chapel Hill. Later, the south end of Buxton Road was blocked and the two hundred years old route of the turnpike out of the centre of town ceased to exist. Before we leave Buxton Road, readers might like to be reminded of two of its well known establishments, one a shop the other a cinema. McKitrick Bros. (known to tradesmen as Mucky Tricks) were ironmongers and hardware dealers who supplied the town with such necessities as dolly tubs, possers, mangles, clothes posts, fire buckets, fire backs, tin baths, tin tacks, nails, screws, oil lamps, paraffin lamps, candles


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and all manner of tools most of which were displayed chaotically in their windows and on the railings and pavement outside. Several men of our acquaintance remember McKitrick's with enthusiasm and all have a dreamy look in their eyes when asked to describe it! The shop was at the south end of Buxton Road on the site presently occupied by the post office. At the other end of the street, underneath the premises of Primark, lies the site of the Picturedrome. In 1896 the proprietors of Rowley's Empire in Northumberland Street (see D.O.H.1ii Nos.6 & 7) introduced a truly remarkable innovation when they replaced one of their variety turns with an 'animated cinematograph'. It was reported that the front rows of the audience fled for their lives when they saw a railway engine coming towards them at full speed. Other theatres soon followed Rowley's lead and the popularity and growing availability of moving pictures prompted Mr. Henty Kaye to present film shows at the Victoria Temperence Hall. His successful venture was soon followed by the opening of the town's first cinema, the Picturedrome, in a converted woollen warehouse in Buxton Road. The opening ceremony was performed by the Mayor, Councilior George Thomson J.P., on 2nd December 1910. Like us, some of our readers will remember the Picturedrome with its covered canopy projecting to the pavement edge. Inside, a long foyer, which led to the pay desk at the top of a sloping floor, was much appreciated in incleinent weather by people standing in line, as they frequently and uncomplainingly did, waiting for admission. The Picturedrome was widely known as the Ranch House not only because of the frequently shown westerns but also because a sprinkling of dust regularly fell from the ceiling onto the audience. Wags, of course, said the dust was raised by cowboys galloping across the prairie. In 1950 the Picturedrome was refurbished and renamed. It was opened as the Curzon on 11th September 1950 by Eileen Fenton, a cross channel swimmer, from Dewsbury. The film chosen for the opening night was Ticker to Tomahawk. The Curzon had not severed all its links with the past.

THE TOWN HALL After the Charter of Incorporation was obtained in 1868, members of the new Borough Council held their meetings at the Philosophical Hali in Ramsden Street in rooms vacated by their predecessors, the Improvement Commissioners. It soon became obvious that the rooms were totally


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inadequate for the needs of the Corporation and when the proprietor of the Philosophical Hall demanded an increase in rent, from £80 to £120 per annum, the Finance and General Purposes Committee searched the town for larger, more suitable premises. The search was lengthy and in vain. A last-ditch proposal that buildings in Ramsden Street occupied by Messrs John Cooke & Co. should be converted for their purposes was dropped after the Borough Surveyor, John Abbey, said it would be too dangerous to touch them as they were very old. There was only one option left and at a meeting of the Council, held on 21st January 1875, Alderman John Fligg Brigg moved: 'That on the recommendation of the Finance and General Purposes Committee, new offices for the Council and Borough Surveyors and other departments of the Corporation be erected on the land in Ramsden Street belonging to the Corporation according to the plans prepared and submitted by the Borough Surveyor.' Alderman Mellor supported the resolution, remarking that the sooner the project was carried out the better. During the debate that followed, Councillor Glendenning explained that the new offices would be plain and substantial and suitable for conversion into offices and warehouses should the Corporation, in their wisdom, desire in the future to move and spend money on a Town Hall. Property in Huddersfield did not depreciate in value so there would be no losers if they wished, in subsequent years, to sell or let the property. Councillor Glendenning went on to point out the advantages of having a council room large enough to accommodate any ratepayers and members of the general public who wished to come and hear the oratorical flourishes and heated eloquence of the councillors. There would also, he said, ' much more dignified accommodation for the Mayor than the present room which was hardly large enough for a Mayor of ordinary sized proportions to turn around in.' Councillor D. Eastwood expressed concern about the estimated cost of £6500 and asked for a guarantee that this would not be exceeded, 'After all', he said, 'Somerset Bridge was first projected at a cost of £4000 but its actual cost was £11,000; if that is an example of how the Corporation speculated in building how can we know that the offices will not cost us £13,000? When he was assured by the Mayor, Alderman D. Sykes, that the resolution had been submitted to the Council on the understanding that the committee would


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bring the estimates before the Council for ratification, Councillor Eastwood withdrew all opposition and the resolution was unanimously carried. Over the next few months a number of Councillors pressed for another storey to be added to the proposed two storey building. Three special meetings were called to discuss the matter at the last of which it was decided, by twenty-two votes to eleven, not to have a third storey. This did not prevent Councillor J. Eastwood trying again. At a meeting held in October 1876 he moved, 'That the decision of the Council as to not having an additional storey to the new borough offices be rescinded and, having regard to the new public hall now decided to be built on the adjoining ground... that the erection of an additional storey be carried out.' He went on to point out that the present building would be so much lower than the proposed public hall and he thought in fairness to the appearance of the building and the credit of the Corporation they ought to lift it a little higher. Seconding the proposal, Alderman Sykes said a third storey would provide further office accommodation as well as a small concert room and that it could be done now at much less expense than by building additional rooms on some future occasion. In support, Councillor J. Brook remarked that it would be a great pity to let the building remain two storeys high. It seemed to him to be very dumpy, plain and unattractive whereas if they put another storey on it it would make a striking building and very attractive. He would not like to see such a blot in that street two storeys high; besides, the building in Princess Street would overtop the Ramsden Street building by at least sixteen feet and this would be a very great eyesore. Their earnest arguments did not impress the majority of the meeting and the resolution was defeated by thirty votes to seventeen. The (two storey) corporate office building was completed in 1878. All the work had been carried out by local contractors: mason, John Hill; joiner, John Rushworth; plasterer, W.E. Jowitt; plumber, Smithson; slaters, W. Goodwin & Sons; iron-founder, James Brook. The total cost of the building was £19386-5s-6d, a sum far in excess of Councillor Eastwood's gloomiest forecast. On Wednesday, 26th June 1878, a procession, consisting of detachments of the police and the fire brigade, council officials, councillors, Mr. Abbey, the Mace Bearer and the Mayor, Alderman J. Woodhead, formed up outside the old offices in Ramsden Street and shortly after 4.00p.m. proceeded to


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the new building. When the first detachment of police reached the steps the whole procession opened out and the Mayor passed between the lines, cheered by onlookers of whom, it was said, there might have been more if it had been widely known when the ceremony was to take place. When the Mayor reached the top steps Mr. Abbey presented him with a ceremonial key. Unlocking the doors the Mayor declared the building open and gave admission to council members, officials and a few invited guests. The opening ceremony was followed by the first meeting of the Council in the new chamber. In opening the meeting the Mayor congratulated members on taking possession of the new, commodious and beautiful premises. He did not think, he said, that it was necessary to attempt any lengthy or elaborate justification of the step they had taken and then proceeded to do so. Several more congratulatory speeches followed and then, after a cool refresher of claret cup, the company left the building and again formed up to process to the Princess Street site where the foundation stone of the Public Hall was to be laid. On arrival at the site Mr. Abbey, the architect of the new building, handed to Alderman Brigg, deputy Mayor, a tin box containing a portrait of the Mayor, cards of Mr. Brigg and Mr. Abbey, copies of the Huddersfield Examiner, Chronicle and Weekly News dated 22nd June 1878, a shilling, a sixpence and a penny. Mr. Brigg placed the box in a prepared cavity beneath the foundation stone. With a silver and gilt trowel presented by Abraham Graham and an ivory and silver mallet presented by John Abbey, the Mayor laid the foundation stone which, the Town Clerk told the assembly, was to be covered with a brass plate inscribed with the words: 'This corner stone of the Huddersfield Town Hall was laid by Joseph Woodhead Esq. Mayor of Huddersfield, June 26th 1878. John H. Abbey, Mem. Inst. C.E., architect; Abraham Graham and Son, (See appendix No.1 p.103). In his speech, the Mayor praised the excellent site, surrounded, as it was, by first class streets and contiguous to a very large proportion of the Borough. The building, which he hoped would be completed without accident, would not be quite so grand and certainly not so expensive as some of the Town Halls they knew. He did not wish to revive a dead controversy or touch a single jarring chord that afternoon and he would not do so. They had met to lay the corner stone of the Town Hall and they were satisfied they had done the right thing. He was sure it would be a credit to the architect and an


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ornament to the town notwithstanding what had been said to the contrary. A great deal had, in fact, been said to the contrary; almost from its inception the Town Hall scheme had been subject to subterfuge, political intrigue and conspiracy and bitter disagreement. What was at stake was nothing less than the governance of the town. As early as May 1872, long before the decision was taken to build the corporate offices in Ramsden Street, the Finance and General Purposes Committee instructed Joseph Batley, the Town Clerk, to give notice to Sir John William Ramsden that the Corporation desired to acquire the freehold of a plot of land in Princess Street and to ask him to name his price. The letter was followed, on 2nd June, by a reminder of the notice to treat which resulted in a reply from the Ramsden estate agent stating that he had mentioned the matter to Sir John but would have to speak to him again on the subject before he could communicate further. There was, in fact, no further communication on the subject for five years. In March 1876, after lengthy discussions, the Council adopted a resolution recommending the erection of a public hall in Princess Street. The Mayor, Alderman Brigg, and the Borough Surveyor, John Abbey, visited Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Bolton and Southport to inspect their respective town or public halls and on 16th June 1876 they reported the results of their visits and Mr. Abbey submitted plan and design for a building comprising Public Hall, Borough Courts and School Board offices. The matter was discussed and the plan revised and suggestions were made for improvements. The plans were laid before the full Council at a meeting held on 29th September when they were examined and discussed. During the meeting, the Mayor, in answer to doubts and objections about the size, style and location of the hall, said that he thought the scheme very feasible for their generation. When Huddersfield had multiplied and was better qualified to have more splendid buildings than those now proposed they might erect them but he was thoroughly convinced that at this time they were not ripe to have a larger and more costly building. When the town was ambitious enough to require a palatial building like those at Manchester, Leeds or Bradford, the people of those days would probably erect such a building. After some discussion about estimated costs (£22,500), several reassurances that the hall would be admirably suited for concerts and musical performances and a promise that an organ would be installed, Councillor Thomas Denham moved a resolution that the plans be approved and carried


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out. The resolution was passed unanimously. Subsequently, the plans were left on display for examination by members of the public and a full report of the meeting was published in local newspapers. The matter was now in the public domain. At the next meeting of the Council, held on 18th October, the minutes of the special meeting were read and being unchallenged were sealed with the Borough seal. Nevertheless, at the same meeting Councillor William Marriott expressed his strong opposition to the scheme and advised a cautionary wait until the results of the forthcoming election were known. If the ratepayers were in favour of the course the Corporation were pursuing let them go on, but if not, let them retrace their steps and wait until the time arrived when they could have a building which was a proper Town Hall and not a substitute. Councillor Marmiott's hopes were dashed when, during the election, not a single ward questioned the issue. The Council now felt fully justified in assuming that their actions had the approval of the ratepayers. During the year that followed the scheme for the public hall was brought before the Council and openly discussed five times so it was with some indignation that Alderman Joseph Woodhead, the current Mayor, at a meeting held on 10th November 1877, reported that the Council had been accused of underhand conduct in rushing the plans through with secrecy and undue haste. The accusation came from a number of influential businessmen, led by James Priestley and Joel Denham, who had objected to the proposed public hall in a memorial (petition) presented to the Mayor two weeks after the plans had been approved. Their objections were twofold: the unsuitability of the site in a 'back street' (Princess Street) and the proposed building itself which would be unworthy of the town. They suggested, therefore, that the plans be dropped in favour of building, when the time was right, a suitably impressive Town Hall on an available and prestigious site in Northumberland Street. The Mayor said that the memorialists® suggestions had been discussed by the Council and rejected. Now, because of their failure to comply, the Council had been accused of acting discourteously. Commenting on what he described as the absurdity of the accusation, the Mayor remarked that the Council had for two years been carefully developing and maturing their plans for a public hall, the need for which was universally acknowledged. They had spent much time and effort in the work and then, without any change in the circumstances of the town, they


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were asked to give it up by gentlemen who, whatever their position as ratepayers, as public men or as tradesmen, certainly were not so well acquainted with the question as were members of the Council. The building had been designed to meet the wants of the town, the cost had been carefully estimated and there was nothing to render it necessary for the Council to abandon their plans and therefore they decided to carry them out. In an attempt to overturn the Council's decision, the memorialists appealed to Sir John Willian Ramsden to stop the further progress of the scheme. Their appeal led to the first correspondence in five years on the subject of the land in Princess Street. Major Graham, Sir John's agent, in a letter to the Town Clerk, dated 17th October 1877, pointed out that it was doubtful whether the project had the approval of the most important ratepayers or the Council generally and that it had been overlooked that Sir John's consent in writing should be obtained before any building scheme could be proceeded with. He would certainly refuse to give consent, on Sir John's behalf, to a project that so powerfully affected the interests of the town unless he first knew that it had the approval of the main body of ratepayers. In reply, Joseph Batley, the Town Clerk, pointed out that the Council members were two to one in favour of proceeding with the scheme in Princess Street and reminded Major Graham that as long ago as 1872 he had notified Sir John that the purchase of the freehold had been decided on by the Council and he had given notice to treat for the land. Now the Council would be driven to enfranchise the site by compulsory purchase so as to put to an end any such similar threats in the future. In a further letter dated 24th October 1877, Major Graham informed Mr. Batley that the powers conferred upon the Corporation by the Improvement Act of 1871 for the compulsory purchase of the land in Princess Street had expired in 1876. Several more letters were exchanged culminating in one in which Sir John Ramsden expressed his position directly: he did not regard Mr. Batley's letter of 6th May 1872 as notice to treat and from the silence during the ensuing five years, that he (Mr. Batley) did not intend that it should be so regarded. Sir John, therefore, proposed to withhold his consent, as required by the memorialists who constituted a body of such weight and opinion that it was doubtful that they did not represent the feelings of the main body of ratepayers, until the opinion of the inhabitants of Huddersfield had been



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Expressing his own opinion of the situation the Mayor declared he wished to use no harsh language but, he said, 'I cannot refrain from expressing my surprise that there should be found a body of men in Huddersfield asking that the town should be placed in the humiliating position implied in their appeal to Sir J. W. Ramsden; asking that a decision of the Town Council - the representative body managing its municipal affairs - should be over-ruled and set aside by Sir John and that upon a question not in the least affecting him.' He went on, 'Gentlemen, this is not a question of Town Hall or no Town Hall but of the independence of the Town Council, We are not representatives of the Ramsden Estate but of the burgesses of Huddersfield ... we cannot afford to surrender the rights and sacrifice the independence of the Council and I feel confident that we shall not do so. At whatever cost of feeling, of labour or of money we have no honourable course left open to us but that of defending the independence of this Council and thus maintaining inviolate the rights which have been entrusted to our keeping.' After explaining the main points in Major Graham's letter the Mayor expressed his indignation at the unjust implication in the letter that a section of the Council was endeavouring in some improper manner to defeat the wishes of the majority. 'Major he said, 'knew that the vote was two to one in favour of the project but in his last letter he claims for Sir John Ramsden the right to decide whether you faithfully represent the burgesses by whom you have been sent here - a claim which every feeling of respect for yourselves will impel you firmly to Referring to Sir John's intention to withhold his consent until the opimons of the inhabitants of Huddersfield had been tested the Mayor said he knew of but one effectual way of testing public opinion - the elections which took place on 1st November cach year. Judging by the elections of 1876 and 1877 it seemed that the main body of the ratepayers were not opposed to the projected building. The memorialists, he pointed out, had not attempted to test the opinions of the ratepayers. Instead they preferred to appeal to Sir John Ramsden and ask him to crush the freedom of the municipal life of the Borough. The Mayor concluded, 'I regret the position now taken by Sir John. He has listened to one-sided statements from an irresponsible body and asks that you be set aside in their favour. Gentlemen, there can be but one answer to that ...that it will be better that Sir John should mind his own affairs and leave you to manage your business in your own way.' The Mayor sat down to loud applause.


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During the discussion that followed, Councillor Glendenning stated that in this unfortunate dilemma the only course open was for them to protect themselves by compulsory purchase of the land and he moved, 'That the Council apply to Parliament in the ensuing session for powers to acquire the freehold of the land now held on lease by the Corporation, under Sir John William Ramsden, in Princess Alderman Brooke, who supported the memorialists' stand, pointed out that the Council would have to spend a considerable amount of money if they went to Parliament. He was, he remarked, one of those who said that no building of the sort proposed ought to be erected but when they did build let them build something worthy of the town. He believed that a site would be forthcoming in Northumberland Street, a site which they could adopt, and until that time let them hold their hands where they were. He moved as an amendment that they should not go to Parliament for compulsory power. After further heated discussion, the vote was taken resulting in the amendment being defeated by thirty-nine votes to thirteen and the motion carried by thirty-nine to eleven. This, of course, was not the end of the matter. At a meeting on 22nd December 1877 the Mayor, Alderman Woodhead, said he had received a memorial, signed by nearly three thousand five hundred persons, on the public hall question. It was intended to strengthen the hands of the Council in the undertaking they had commenced. The main points, briefly, were: 1. Because of the debt already incurred by the Council in the provision of public water, gas works and the inarket, the Council should not build a town hall of the size and costs desired by some ratepayers. 2. The proposed building and site would meet the needs of the town for some time to come. 3. The action taken by some ratepayers in appealing to Sir John Ramsden against the Council was to be deprecated. 4. The Corporation would fail in their duty if they did not apply to Parliament for the freehold. 5. There was complete confidence that the Council would carry out properly and efficiently such works as they thought necessary. Not to be outdone, the original 'influential' memorialists presented another memorial which, at a meeting held on 19th January 1878, the Mayor said was entirely the same as that presented before except that it contained additional names and some rough sketches of a ground plan of the


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Northumberland Street site. He had been told that if they took the site, Sir _ John would allow five years to elapse before he would charge any ground rent. After five years, ground rent would be charged whether or not the land was occupied by public buildings and the rent, the 'influential' memorialists admitted would be considerable. This news was received with some incredulity. Councillor Porrit expressed the scepticism of many when he asked, 'Do I understand that Sir John will charge no rent for five years for land we don't want or for land we are going to build upon? 'For land you do not occupy', said the Mayor. 'How very liberal", said Councillor Pornit. The debate continued becoming more heated as members on both sides aired their views. Costs were the main concern of some council members. Halstead, for instance, pointed out that a building in Northumberland Street would need four frontages which would be much more expensive than a plainer building in Princess Street with only one frontage. Eventually, Alderman Hirst proposed, 'That after reconsideration of the memorials in opposition to and in favour of the public hall project on the Princess Street site the Council adhere to and hereby reaffirm their former decision.. and that the same be proceeded with.' Now came the greatest surprise of that afternoon. Alderman Denham, the proposer of the original scheme, rose to ask the Council to examine the Northumberland Street site and the plans. He thought it only courteous that they should at least investigate the case so fully that they might be able to pronounce an opinion. If they did so he thought they would no longer have two opimons as to the merit of the two sites. It was an important undertaking and whether they went to one site or the other the building would remain as a monument to their wisdom or folly. After further pleading, Alderman Denham moved as an amendment: 'That the question as to the erection of a Public Hall in Princess Street be adjourned for a week and that the plans forwarded by Sir John Ramsden be exhibited for Supporting Alderman Denham, Alderman Henry Brooke said he had Major Graham's sanction for say ing that the ground in Northumberland Street would be given to the Corporation on far more advantageous terms than it would be to anyone else. Sir John had kept this land for the purpose for ten


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or fifteen years and it would be most uncourteous to Sir John if they were not prepared to treat with Major Graham for this site in preference to Princess Street. The argument raged on with Alderman Denham's change of heart causing some indignation. Alderman H. Hirst, for example, expressed his surprise at Alderman Denham's turning back. He remarked that some people had very short memories, they could charge people with ingratitude and forget it when it touched themselves. If Mr. Denham would look at his conduct on this head, first in being the warmest advocate of the original, then in purchasing property in Back Buxton Road o . | to improve the Princess Street site, and now in Aiderman Tomas Denham. | his opposition to the scheme, he (Mr. Hirst) thought he would see such conduct would not bear being put before the public. Alderman Denkham's explanation was that when he proposed the Princess Street site he did so because the building committee said that there was no other site available. When he saw there was movement in the town to direct their attention to a more eligible site he believed the Council should consider the fresh proposal. If they would examine the site he believed they would come to a unanimous vote that would please everybody. Just as the Mayor was about to put the resolution and the amendment, Alderman Sykes suggested that the Cloth Hall site might be preferable to the other two. His suggestion was ignored and the Mayor put the matter to the vote. The amendment was defeated by twenty-eight votes to twelve and the original resolution carried by twenty-eight votes to eleven. Alderman Denham did not give up casily. As late as 22nd March 1878, only three months before the foundation stone was due to be laid in Princess Street, he was still pleading for a change of heart. He appeared before the Council, he said, not only for the purpose of advocating his own view but also of laying before them the views of others. He had sought the real convictions of the most intelligent men in the town upon this very important question. Asked to name them, he said he could easily do so. When Alderman Hirst suggested they were those who occupied the warehouses in John William Street, Alderman Denham replied simply, 'Their name is legion." His earnest


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convictions had led him to seek the views of architects but he could not find a single one in favour of the Princess Street site. He was accused by Councillor Marriott of trying to hoodwink the Council and waste their time by asking them to discuss a question after it had been repeatedly decided. Alderman Jordan pointed out that the matter had been fought in the superior courts and therefore they ought not to have another debate on it. Eventually, Alderman Denham's proposal that the matter should be referred back to the building committee was put to the meeting and was soundly defeated, only four members voting in favour. Thus the matter was decided and, as we have seen, the foundation stone was laid on 26th June 1878. By that time the new building was being referred to as the Town Hall. All the stone used in the building was quarried locally at Crosland Moor and about half the contractors were local men including A. Graham & Sons, masons; J. Christie, joiners; G. Garton, plumber; W.E. Jowett, plasterer. Sadly, John Abbey did not live to see the completion of the building he had designed. At the commencement of the scheme he had devolved much of the important work upon Thomas Wood his associate in his practice and, later upon Frederick Wild of Bradford. After John Abbey's death, in November 1880, Mr. B. Stocks of New Street was appointed by the Corporation to act as consulting architect and the successful completion of the work owed much to his efforts. Alderman Woodhead's sincere wish, expressed at the stonelaying ceremony, that the building would be erected without accident was not to be fulfilled. On 16th August 1881, only two months before the Town Hall was opened, Stephen Whithard Llewellyn was painting the ceiling of the concert hall when he fell from the scaffolding and broke his right thigh and left leg. Sadly, he died within the hour. Members of the Council, touched by the tragedy, contributed £20-7s. out of their own pockets to help his widow and three infant children. The opening ceremony was set for Tuesday 18th October 1881. Given the Victorians' prediliction for pomp and ceremony the occasion was surprisingly subdued. Little attempt had been made to signify the event by decorating the town and even along the processional route only a few flags and banners were displayed. The meticulous planning usual on such occasions was also lacking as, at the last minute, the route was altered. Confusion


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ensued and the efforts of the police were needed to maintain order. At 3.50p.m., on a cold, bright afternoon, a short procession, consisting of police, Councillors, Alderman, Borough Justices, the Mace Bearer, and the Mayors of Huddersfield and Halifax wearing their robes and chains of office, left the council offices in Ramsden Street and walked by way of Buxton Road to Princess Street. At the main entrance to the Town Hall the Mayor, none other than Alderman Thomas Denham, was presented with an ornate gold and enamel key by Mr. Stocks who expressed the hope that it would be passed on to the Mayor's successors as a memento of a great occasion. In reply, the Mayor, all contention forgotten, said that after he had opened wide the doors of the hall he would keep the key and hand it down to his children as a lasting memento of the kindness and confidence of his fellow townsmen. There was, it would seem, a misunderstanding on the Mayor's part of the word 'successors' (see appendix No.1 page 103). As the procession entered the crowded concert hall the renowned organist, Walter Parratt, played Meyerbeer's Schiller March to the delight of the audience who were hearing their new organ for the first time. In his address, the Mayor began by praising the beautiful hall built by the people for the people with the people's money. He went on to describe the conditions in the town before Incorporation and the advances that had been made since in respect of the water supply, sanitary arrangements, gas supply, lighting, road improvements, markets, policing, hospitals, education, church building, the clearing out of cellar dwellings, the provision of artisans' houses and the tramways which were, at that time, being laid down. He regretted the fact that in one respect, Huddersfield remained an out of the way place approached only by branch railway lines as to their great north- south traffic and, he said, they should agitate, agitate, agitate until the town was on the main line north and south. With, perhaps, a backward glance at the Town Hall controversy, Alderman Denham said he rejoiced that the most cordial relations existed between the Ramsdens and the Corporation, for a house divided against itself could not stand. After praising the organ and the organist, who was his fellow townsman, Alderman Denham declared the public hall and the organ open. The Mayor was followed by Alderman John Fligg Brigg who had been closely connected with the undertaking since its inception. The most satisfactory matter to him was, that large as the building was, it would not prove a financial burden to the Corporation. They now knew that the entire cost would not exceed £40,000. The adjoining building had cost just over


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£19,000 so the entire cost of the two buildings would not be more than £60,000 and the cost to ratepayers would be just one penny in the pound. Considering what they had got for their money he maintained that there was not a town in England which could make a better exhibition. After further speeches the ceremony ended with an organ recital by Walter Parratt. Much praise was lavished, at the time, on the magnificent instrument with its three thousand pipes ranging in length from sixteen feet to a quarter of an inch. The organ which was made by Messrs. Henry Willis and Sons of London was purchased by Huddersfield Corporation from the Albert Hall Company of Newport, Monmouthshire. The work of removing and transporting the organ from Newport and rebuilding it in the Town Hall was carried out by Messrs. James Conacher, organ builder, Bath Buildings, Huddersfield. In the evening of the opening day seventy-three guests (all male) attended a temperence banquet given by the Mayor in the reception room. Guests of honour included EA. Leatham M.P., the Mayors of Halifax and Leeds, Huddersfield's first Mayor, Mr. CH. Jones, Walter Parratt B.Mus., and the Vicar of Huddersfield. The first great occasion at the Town Hall was a Musical Festival held on the 20th, 21st and 22nd October 1881. The first event of the festival, a performance of Mendelssohn's oratorio Elijah was conducted by the great Charles Halle of Manchester. A total of ten thousand one hundred and seventy persons attended the three day festival and the general opinion was that so far as resonance and acoustics, comfort and elegance were concerned the town's new concert hall left nothing to be desired. So, after all the acrimony and ill-feeling, Huddersfield's Town Hall was achieved and opened and approved. Over the years the magnificent concert hall has been the venue not only for musical performances but also for lectures, rallies, meetings, conferences and, in days when such things were fashionable, beauty parades and ballroom dances. The world famous Huddersfield Choral Society has been closely associated with the building from the beginning and tickets for their annual performance of Handel's Messiah are greatly prized. As we know, the Town Hall was never to be replaced by a building 'more worthy of the town' but it has served its purpose well and, perhaps, exceeded the expectations of even the most ardent of its proponents. Walter Parratt, the first person to play the Town Hall's great Willis organ in public, was born in Huddersfield and spent his early days in and around


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the town. Although we cannot show you the house where he was born we can take you to it's approximate location.

SOUTH PARADE On the left hand side of the ring road (going towards the Fire Station), just beyond the Manchester road exit and opposite Albion Street, there is a small stone structure built to display a bronze plaque and a stone tablet which were preserved when the property they commemorated was demolished. The stone tablet records the erection of dwelling houses in 1812, under the inmediate direction and superintendence of Godfrey Berry, for the purpose of supporting an organist and choir of singers in the Parish Church of Huddersfield. In 1812, this now busy area was all fields and hedgerows, remembered by John Hanson as the place where, as a boy, he rode a cart 'in the blythe hay-making time.' Berry's row of six houses, called South Parade, did not stand alone in the fields for long. Before 1850 other houses had been built and South Parade had lengthened to become a street connecting Manchester Road with the top of Outcote Bank, By 1880 both sides of the street were built over with the usual busy, Victorian mixture of private houses, shops, offices, workshops and small manufacturies. Such varied goods as cigars, dry soap, cards, hats and caps were manufactured in South Parade. A rag merchant, a drysalter, a photographer, a tailor and a greengrocer rubbed shoulders with a surgeon, an inland revenue officer and the registrar of births and deaths. On the north side there was a temperance hotel and a Masonic Hall (The Huddersfield Lodge, No. 240) and on the corner, at No.1, a William Henry Beswick dressed hair and made umbrellas - a practical combination of jobs. In the early 1960s, the property on the north side of South Parade was demolished to make way for the new police station and the law courts. The buildings on the south side lasted a little longer but they too fell victim to progress and by 1973 the street and its name were history. The site of the original South Parade - the houses Berry built - now lies under the ring road. In 1812, a young man came to Huddersfield to live in one of the newly built houses. His name was Thomas Parratt. Born in Tadcaster in 1793, Parratt was an accomplished musician who, at the age of nineteen, was appointed organist at St. Peter's Church, Huddersfield, the first ever holder of the post. He married rather late in life his first child, Henry, was born at South Parade in 1834, when Thomas was forty-one.


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Thereafter he and his wife, Sarah, produced four more children, three daughters and a son. Thomas Parratt continued as organist and choirmaster at the Parish Church until his death on 27th March 1862. He was succeeded as organist by his eldest son, Henry; together father and son served the church for a total of ninety-two years. In the 1860s, Henry Parratt, who described himself as Professor of Music, lived at No.17, Ramsden Street with his younger sisters, Anne and Emily, who kept a school for young ladies there. Henry Parratt was an extremely talented musician and it was only his uncertain health that prevented him equalling, in some measure, the achievements of his eminent brother, Walter.

WALTER PARRATT The third child and second son of Thomas Parratt, Walter Parratt was born on 10th February 1841 at No. 6, South Parade. His talent for making inusic manifested itself in early childhood. One day, the vicar of a local church, whose organist had been suddenly taken ill, came to South Parade to ask Thomas Parratt if he could recommend a substitute. Thomas immediately said, 'Take Walter, he'll do.' Walter did, and with his performance the seven year old proved that his father's confidence in his ability was not misplaced. Walter Parratt was educated at Tattersfield's school in Spring Street. A bright scholar, he was writing sermons at the age of six and he showed an early aptitude for chess. He also excelled at games and was easily the best runner in the school. At the age of eleven he succeeded his brother, Henry, as organist at Armitage Bridge Church. His salary was £10 a year which may not seem generous today but, in 1852, nearly four shillings a week was a considerable amount for a boy. Two years later, he was appointed organist at St. Paul's Church, Huddersfield, a post he held for the next seven years. In 1860 he became organist at Great Whitley Church a post which carried with it the position of private organist to Earl Dudley at a salary of £100 a year. Four years later he married Emma Gledhill of Huddersfield. Their marmmage lasted two months short of sixty years and produced four daughters and a son. After a short spell as organist and choirmaster at Wigan Parish Church, Parratt was appointed, in 1870, to the prestigious post of organist at Magdalen College, Oxford where, three years later he was awarded the degree of Bachelor of Music. Whilst at Oxford he also became choirmaster at Jesus and Trinity Colleges and conductor of the Oxford Choral Society. In 1882, the year after he played at the opening of Huddersfield Town


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Hall, Walter Parratt was appointed organist of St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle and the following year he was made Professor of the organ at the Royal College of Music. His interests were not entirely confined to music. For many years he was a competitive runner and chess was a lifetime passion. Impressively he could play four games at once - blindfolded! For nearly forty years he trained and sent out musical disciples to all parts of the world. He also enjoyed seeing the world himself, travelling to places as far away as Canada, Russia and South Africa. He was knighted - in a borrowed frockcoat - in 1892 at Osbourne House by Queen Victoria. His appointment the following year to the post of Master of the Queen's Music brought him into close contact with the Queen and other members of the royal family and from that time he played at all the main royal events. Sir Walter Parratt was judged by his peers to be the greatest organist of his age and on his eightieth birthday letters and telegrams of congratulations poured in. There were three from King George V, one of which informed him that he was to reccive the K.C.V.O. for services rendered to three monarchs. On 27th March 1924, the sixty-second anniversary of his father's death, Sir Walter Parratt died. Since it was no longer possible for a commoner to be buried in Si. George's Chapel he was cremated at Woking. On 1st April a casket containing his ashes was placed in a small vault in the Chapel by the organ loft steps (see appendix 2 p.105). Many eminent men attended the funeral service to honour the memory of Sir Walter and to give thanks to God for his life and his talent for making music. His life was commemorated in his home town when a bronze plaque was placed on the wall of No. 6 South Parade. It read: In this house was born Sir Walter Parratt K.C.V.O. Prof. Mus. Oxon. 1841 - 1924 By example and precept the outstanding organist of his time. This is, of course, the plaque preserved at the side of the ring road.


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Part two takes us to places as far afield as Paddock, Almondbury, Skelmanthorpe and Mirfield. We therefore include brief directions to the

appropriate sites.

DIRECTIONS TO EDGE HOUSE Take the Manchester Road out of town to Longroyd Bridge traffic lights. Turn right, s.p. Paddock, and continue under the viaduct into Church Street. In a third of a mile turn left into West View and then right at its junction with Wren Street into an unmade road. Edge House is on the left.

EDGE HOUSE & THE TENANTS RIGHT QUESTION Although by no means extraordinary in size, appearance and style, Edge House must, nevertheless, be considered one of Huddersfield's historic houses for the part it played in the bitter argument between landlord and tenants known, in the 1860s, as the Great Tenant Right Question. The controversy had its origins in a method of land management which started in 1789 when, as a result of the Huddersfield Enclosure Act, Sir John Ramsden was allotted a substantial amount of land that had been part of the commons and waste of Huddersfield. In order to increase the value of his estate Sir John let parcels of this otherwise unproductive land to various tenants for building purposes. The system of tenure, which was later de- scribed in the courts as peculiar and extraordinary, involved tenants, who were given no written agreement, trusting their security to the word of the landlord. When a prospective tenant wanted land on which to build he applied to the Ramsden's agent for the desired site. If the application was successful, the boundaries of the plot were marked out and when the building was com- pleted the agent would fix the ground rent which was paid annually on the day of audit. The new tenant's name was then entered in a tent book kept at Longley Hall. If the tenant decided to sell his property the name of the pur- chaser was substituted for his own, if he mortgaged it the name of the mortgager was entered in the rent book next to his own. This system was known as holding land by tenant right, the lessees becoming tenants at will. Some tenants, prudently perhaps, managed to obtain regular leases, usually for sixty years renewable every twenty years on payment of a fine (rent


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adjustment). Their names were also entered in the rent book but they paid a significantly higher ground rent than holders by tenant right. Many buildings were erected on Ramsden land under the tenant right system, including scores of workmen's cottages. The owners of the latter were helped by the cheap, unsecured leases and by the formation, in the 1820s, of building clubs and money clubs whereby money to cover the cost of building was advanced by the clubs to their members who then repaid the amount by small weekly contributions. Thus many people in Huddersfield were able to become home owners. Any worries they had about lack of title to their land were assuaged by repeated assurances from the Ramsden's agent that they were as safe without a lease as with one and that they benefited from paying a ground rent considerably lower than those with written leases. The tenant right system worked well enough until Sir John Ramsden's death in 1839. He was succeeded by his grandson, John who was only seven years old so, until he came of age, the estate was administered by three trustees, Lord Zetland, Earl Fitzwilliam and George Fox {each of whom gave his name to a street in Huddersfield). The trustees found the tenant right system unsatisfactory and in an at- tempt to regulate the estate they promoted, in 1844, a private Act of Parlia- ment giving themselves powers to grant written leases, usually sixty years renewable, to persons who had taken land and erected buildings under the tenant right system. The agent of the day, Mr. Lock, recommended such tenants to take leases and soine did so but a written lease meant the doubling of the ground rent paid under the old system and many tenants preferred to keep their cheap but unsecured leases in the confident hope and expectation that the 'honour of the Ramsdens' would ensure that their tenure would not be disturbed. During the period of trusteeship the estate was well adminis- tered. On assuming control of his estate in 1852, Sir John William Ramsden appointed a Mr. Nelson of Cloak Lane, London, as agent. During his ap- pointment, management of the estate took a distinct turn for the worse and after six years he was dismissed. Sir John Willian took over the administra- tion himself and immediately sought to stop tenancies at will. To this end, in 1859, he obtained a private Act of Parliament allowing him to impose leases for terms not exceeding ninety-nine years to persons who had built on Ram- sden land at their own expense without being lessees of the land. Ninety- nine years leases are obviously greatly inferior in value to sixty years re-


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newable leases and there was widespread anxiety among the tenants who feared that their tenures might be disturbed and that they might even be ejected from their properties without compensation. In an attempt to reassure and pacify his tenants Ramsden agreed to meet them at the annual rent dinner held on 10th November 1859 at the Philo- sophical Hall. In his toast to 'The Town and Trade of Huddersfield' he as- sured the audience that although, technically, the relationship between them was that of landlord and tenants it differed widely from the relations ordi- narily understood by those terms which implied dependence on the one hand and power and authority on the other. Such was not his relationship with his tenants, he explained, for how were they dependent on him and what power and authority had he over them? After all, any man who had taken a lease of ground possessed as distinct and assured an interest as any which he (Sir John) possessed himself. He concluded by saying that it was an entirely mistaken concept that Huddersfield belonged to him. The town of Hudders- field was the property of the townspeople. His words were to ring hollow in the months and years that followed. It is now time to bring Edge House into the story. In 1837, Joseph Thornton, a twenty-five year old partner in a cloth dressing firm, decided to build a 'gentleman's residence' on high ground at Paddock. He applied to the agent of the Ramsden Estate, stating his desire to become a tenant of the land in question and, the application being approved, the plot was staked out and the ground rent fixed at £4 per annum. When the house was nearing completion Thornton consulted the agent as to the prudence of taking a writ- ten lease. When he was assured that he would be equally as safe without one he took the land in the belief that he would never be disturbed as long as he paid his ground rent. No document was signed by Thornton but his name was entered in the estate rent book as tenant, holding by tenant right. Thornton's house was completed in 1839 and, being built on the edge of a worked out quarry, it was aptly named Edge House. At no small expense, he built access roads to the house and surrounded it with gardens and what he described as pleasure grounds where he and his family could enjoy unin- terrupted views over the Colne Valley. In 1845, Thornton applied to the Ram- sden Estate for a second piece of land which was duly measured out and on which he built a mistal and other outbuildings. In this case he signed an application form declaring his willingness to hold the land as tenant at will at such rent as was thought proper. The ground rent for the additional land,


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called 'the second take', was fixed at £1.0s.6d per annum. In all, Thornton spent £1850 on his property, a considerable sum in those days and, not surprisingly, in the mid 1850s he found himself short of capi- tal. To raise the money he needed he took the drastic step of mortgaging Edge House with a money club which fact was duly recorded in the rent book at Longley Hall. Following his private Act of Parliament, Sir John William Ramsden began to threaten those tenants who had 'unjustifiably rejected' what he considered his reasonable terms i.e. ninety-nine year leases. On 2nd No- vember 1861, a notice of ejectment was served on Joseph Thornton and Lee Dyson, his mortgager, stating that they were required to quit and deliver up (to Ramsden) 'quiet and peaceable possession of the dwelling house, cot- tage, pleasure gardens, gardens, barn, mistal and stable' on or by lith May 1862. Clearly, Ramsden had decided that the only way to settle the dispute was to submit a test case for decision by the law courts. Thornton and Dyson, supported by other tenants at will, took up the challenge contending that they had had an equitable right to a lease for sixty years with a covenant for perpetual renewal. Thus began the long, drawn out litigation known as Thornton v Ramsden or the Huddersfield Tenant Right Case. The case, in which Edge House figured largely, came up for hearing in the Vice Chancellor's Court on Wednesday 10th February 1864 and lasted eleven days. A great mass of evidence was heard from both sides, far too much, in fact, to attempt even to summarize here. We can, however, summa- rize Vice Chancellor Stuart's judgement which he delivered on 25th May 1864. He pointed out that there seemed to be no doubt that the agent of the Ramsden Estate systematically discouraged applications for leases by rep- resentations that the rent would be doubled and the leases expensive. It had been shown by the evidence that Thornton's transactions in 1837 and 1845 were the creation of tenancies for the purpose of building. According to the Act of 1844 Thornton was, therefore, entitled to have a lease granted, the rent to be double the amount hitherto paid. _- Relations between Ramsden and his tenants, which were far from cor- dial, deteriorated further when he decided to appeal. The appeal was heard in the House of Lords on 15th June 1865 and the judgement delivered on 11th May 1866. The Vice Chancellor said that Sir John had endeavoured to do what he thought fair and just by obtaining powers to grant leases for ninety-nine


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years. Whether that was more or less than his tenants at will had the right to look for from what they called the honour of the family was a point on which he would state no opinion but that some arrangement should be adopted to put an end to an unsatisfactory system seemed to him absolutely indis- pensable. In his opinion and that of the majority of the noble Lords, the plaintiffs (Thornton and Dyson) had not established their case and he gave judgement in favour of Ramsden but without costs. Subsequent to the case, tenants holding by tenant right and prospective new tenants were offered ninety-nine year leases. But by this time develop- ers, building small mansions and villas for the wealthy middle classes, pre- ferred to look for land offered on more favourable terms. They found it to the north west of the town on the extensive estate owned by the Thornhill family. The high status suburb of Edgerton, for example, was built on Thornhill land where nine hundred and ninety-nine year leases were avail- able. Recognising the threat to the future prosperity of his estate Ramsden bowed to the inevitable and on 23rd May 1867, less than a year after the decision in the House of Lords, he introduced a private Act of Parliament to enable him to grant nine hundred and ninety-nine year leases. Shortly after- wards, at a meeting held in the Gymnasium Hall in Ramsden Street, resolu- tions were proposed expressing approval of the three nines leases and an address of thanks was forwarded to Sir John William Ramsden. By this time, not surprisingly, Joseph Thornton was bankrupt. Never- theless he somehow contrived to remain at Edge House until his death there some twenty years later. In his later years he described himself as an artist and it is pleasant to think of him in his pleasure grounds peacefully sketch- ing, all turmoil put behind him and forgotten.

EDGE HOUSE TODAY In an affidavit, sworn in 1862, Joseph Thornton deseribed Edge House as being built of substantial and best materials and remarked with some pride that after nearly twenty-five years it was as sound and in as good repair as the day it was completed. Today, nearly a hundred and seventy years after it was completed, Edge House is little changed - if we overlook the later extension on its north side. Looking at the house from West View (without trespassing) it is possi- ble to see that the northern boundary wall has survived. Beyond the wall lies


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the area of Thornton's 'second take', the piece of land he leased in 1845. No trace remains of the barn, mistal and other buildings he put up there but a photograph (below), taken at the time of the court case, shows the position of the 'second take' in relation to Edge House.

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Barn on Second Take

The road now called West View was built as an access road by Thornton at his own expense. Near the end of West View the original gateway sur- vives but its connection with Edge House is no longer obvious as the drive- way has been blocked by a garage belonging to another, later house. As well as the benefits of uninterrupted views and uncontaminated air the site chosen by Thornton for his residence had the advantage of being close to his place of work. A plan, produced with his affidavit, clearly shows the route of a footpath starting near the gateway to Edge House and ending at his mill 32m. (106 ft.) below in the valley bottom (see opposite). The route has survived in its entirety and its upper section, a steep stepped path, complete with its old handrail, can be seen at the end of West View. The front of Edge House and its gardens cannot be seen from here but it is only a short drive to Upper Brow Road (called Occupation Road on the


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plan) where it is possible to see how time has dealt with the so-called pleas- ure grounds. Of course, those who are sound of wind and limb might prefer

River C o Ina b f

Huddersfield canal

to tackle the footpath on foot. From West View drive down Wren Street and at the bottom turn right into Upper Brow Road. In 320m. {352 yds.) on the right it is possible, with a little neck craning, to see the roof and chim- neys of Edge House. The steep ground between Upper Brow Road and the house was the area of the pleasure grounds and some of the walls that formed the once pristine terraces laid out by Joseph Thornton remain. Sadly, nature has taken over and the area is now abandoned, over- grown and forlorn. N.B. Upper Brow Road is not a through road but it is possible to turn round further along, where the road bends to the right. It is worth noting that the grassy area on the left of Upper Brow Road

was once occupied by several terraces of houses the back gardens of which clung precariously to the steep hillside (see appendix No.3 p. 105). On the way back (after turning round) notice on the left, the bottom of


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the first section of Thornton's footpath and a few metres further along, on the right, its continuation. From here the path leads steeply down to cross the Paddock goit and the fiver, the latter by a narrow footbridge. This is an area we have previously dealt with (see 1D.0.H.4 No.58). Because of its position high on a steep declivity it is impossible to ob- tain a view of the front of Edge House from close at hand. However, if you are ever driving along Manchester Road (A.62) spare a few minutes to pull into the lay-by two-fifths of a mile past the traffic lights by the Junction Public House. From there, across the valley, there is an excellent view of Edge House and its position on the edge of Paddock Brow.

COLD HILL The small settlement called Cold Hill is situated on a flat promontory to the north west of Castle Hill. To find it, start at Almondbury Church, a rea- sonably well known landmark, and from the front of the church turn right into Westgate (which becomes Kaye Lane). After four-fifths of a mile bear left into Ashes Lane and after a mile turn right into Park Lane where there is a convenient seat. Cold Hill is the small cluster of houses below and beyond the wall in front of the seat. Two houses, or a house and a barn, called Cold Hill are shown on the 1634 estate map of Almondbury but the settlement is much older than that. Dr. George Redmonds has unearthed evidence that takes the history of Cold Hill back to the mid fourtcenth century when William of Coldhill was a free tenant of the manor of Almondbury. Dr. Redmonds, in his book Almondbury Places and Place Names, says that by 1425 the tenancy of Cold Hill had been taken over by a family called Overall, who came from Flockton. To- wards the end of the fifteenth century the Overalls removed to Bury and for much of the sixteenth century the Ratcliffes were the Overall's tenants at Cold Hill. In the early years of the seventeenth century the Ratcliffes de- parted and a branch of the Blackburn family moved in. During the Civil War a member of this family achieved a certain amount of fame - or notoriety. The exploits of Blackburn of Cold Hill are not now widely known so, although the events in which he played a part did not take place in Huddersfield, we feel that his story is worth telling here, near to his family home. Michael Blackburn was probably born in 1597 (see note p.64). Of much of his life, little is known but when Parliament took up arms against King


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Charles I it seems Blackburn followed, supported and fought with Sir John Ramsden on the King's behalf. Sir John was at Selby when, on 11th April 1644, the garrison there was attacked by Parliamentary forces on their way to besiege York. After a short but fierce battle the Parliamentarians carried the day and Sir John Ramsden was one of several Royalists taken prisoner. On 31st May he was committed to the Tower of London for high treason but was released three months later. He died at Newark Castle in 1646. Presum- ably Michael Blackburn was with him during these adventures for in his own words he ®... was servante to Sir John Ramsden and waited on his cham- bers till the tyme of his death..." For the next two years nothing is known of Blackburn's whereabouts. After the Royalist defeat at the Battle of Marston Moor, near York, the whole of the north came under the control of Parliament. Two years later King Charles was a prisoner and it was obvious to most that the King's cause was lost. But oblivious to harsh truth, a Royalist general, Sir Marmaduke Langdale, was secretly considering the possibility of wresting Pontefract Castle, which he described as 'the key of the north', from the control of the Parliamentarians. The successful outcome of his scheme would, he hoped, foment an uprising of Royalists in the north. To his side came Captam William Paulden and Colonel John Morris who had themselves been hatching such a scheme. Morris, in fact, had fought on the side of Parliament but had be- come disenchanted with Cromwell and had retired for a time to his estates at Elmshall. He remained, however, on friendly terms with the governor of the Castle who never thought of suspecting him of treachery. More importantly he made contact with three members of the garrison, Major Ashby, Ensign Smyth and Sergeant Floyd who secretly agreed to help Morris, if they could, from within the castle. Before he made his attempt, Morris gathered together several accom- plices and it is here we meet Michael Blackburn again for, although he later denied involvement, witnesses in their later depositions placed him present at 'the surprizall of the castle'. One night in May 1648 Morris and his small group of men reared scal- ing ladders against the castle wall and waited for Sergeant Floyd who had promised to let them know from within when the coast was clear. Unfortu- nately for the Royalists, Floyd was drunk that night and his watch had been taken over by a loyal member of the garrison who raised the alarm. The attack was hastily called off.


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Following the attempt on the castle the governor, Major Cotterell, de- cided it would be wise to heighten security. Prior to the attack members of the garrison who were not on duty had been allowed to sleep in the town; afterwards they were required to sleep in the castle. Cotterell, therefore, made it known throughout the district that he was willing to buy beds from any who had them to sell. This was an opportunity not to be missed and early on the morning of the 3rd June 1648 the first purveyors of beds to reach the castle gates were Morris and Paulden accompanied by four others, including Blackburn. All were dressed as country folk and each was secretly armed with a dagger and a pistol. They were closely followed by three more members of their gang who were similarly disguised and armed. Once within the gates they raised the drawbridge, overcame the unsus- pecting guard and drove the rest of the garrison, about thirty men, into a dungeon described by one of the captives as '... beinge a darke place about forty-two steps within the earth'. They were joined there shortly afterwards by the governor who was *... brought thither sore wounded in severall places of his body.' Within hours the Royal Standard was flying over the castle and Morris had appointed himself governor on behalf of the King. A few days later Michael Blackburn received a commission from Sir Marmaduke Langdale as cornet (sub-licutenant) in Captain William Paulden's troop. As the news of the capture of the castle spread, Royalists from far and near flocked in to make a last stand for the King and within a month they were three hundred strong. They willingly placed themselves under the command of Colonel Morris who acted with wise forethought in victualling the castle and prepar- ing it for the inevitable siege. For many weeks the Royalists within the castle held out against the power and might of Parliament outside. In late October two items of unwel- come news filtered into the castle: Cromwell had ordered General Robert Rainsborough north to take charge of the siege and storm the castle and Sir Marmaduke Langdale, the great Royalist hero, had been taken prisoner at Preston. Worse, to intimidate the Royalists within the castle, many of whom had served under Langdale and held him in considerable affection, the Par- liamentarians threatened to bring the captive to Pontefract and execute him on the gallows on Baghill immediately in front of the castle Hastily, in an attempt to save their hero's life, a daring and reckless plan


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was put together. A small group of Royalists would sally forth, seize Gen- eral Rainsborough and bring him back into the castle to be used as a hostage for the safety of Langdale. The fact that Rainborough was quartered twelve miles away at Doncaster was regarded lightly. Just before midnight on 27th October 1648, twenty-two men, commanded by Captain Paulden, Captain Austwick and Cornet Blackburn, stole out of Pontefract Castle on horse-back and somehow managed to make their way through the enemy lines without being detected. It was an extraordinary feat and one that could only be accomplished by audacity, courage, daring and a large helping of the good luck that so often favours the brave. Daylight saw them at Mexborough where they let it be known that they were a party of Cromwell's horse on their way to Doncaster. All that day they carefully laid their plans and rehearsed their task. They decided to ride around Doncaster, enter the town from the south and then divide into four sorties. Six meu would surprise and disarm the main guard, six would range the streets to give assistance wherever it was needed and six would ride through the town and seize the sentries on the north bridge, thus securing the homeward route. The hazardous task of kidnapping Rainsborough was en- trusted to Austwick, Blackburn and two troopers. On Sunday morning, 29th October, the preliminary arrangements were successfully carried out and the raiding party rode straight for the inn where Rainsborough had his quarters. When challenged by the guard in the inn yard they produced a letter and said they had ridden post-haste from Cromwell with news for the General of a recent Scottish victory. The unsuspecting guard allowed them to go up to Rainsborough's bed chamber where Blackburn seized the General's sword and informed him he was their prisoner. Rainsborough was conducted downstairs and requested to mount Austwick's horse. He made as if to obey but with one foot in the stirrup he suddenly yelled for help. Swords were drawn, pistols were fired and General Rainsborough was killed. In that one moment their enterprise failed for a dead general was no use as a hostage. Dejectedly, the four took to their horses and rode peli-mell to join their comrades waiting at the north bridge. It would seem that, despite the hue and cry that inevitably followed the killing, the Parliamentary forces between Doncaster and Pontefract were less than alert for, having hidden up until nightfall, the party made their way back to Pontefract and, under cover of darkness, successfully re-entered the castle.


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The Parliamentarians regarded Rainsborough's death as wilful mur- der rather than the result of the fortunes of war. The furore brought Cromwell himself to Pontefract and his Ironsides closed in on the stronghold. In Janu- ary 1649, King Charles was beheaded but still the diehards would not sur- render. Undaunted, they held on proclaiming Prince Charles as King. Grimly, Cromwell strengthened the siege. The misery of privation began to take its toll and in February 1649, Captain Paulden died. By the end of March the Royalists could hold out no longer. Their glorious venture was all but over. Cromwell offered honourable surrender terms - a free pardon for all but six: Morris the instigator of the plot, Austick and Blackburn who were sus- pected of being concerned in the death of General Rainsborough and Ashby, Smyth and Floyd who were charged with treasonable correspondence with the Royalists. The defenders of the fortress predictably refused to surrender if they were required to give up their comrades. The reply came back that if the six could escape then God be with them. So, one spring morning the castle gates were flung open and, with the daring of despair, the six rode out straight at the guard. Smyth was killed on the spot, Morris and Blackburn cut their way through the enemy lines and escaped and the other three were forced back into the castle. As the gates closed behind them they were rushed into a dungeon, supplied with provi- sions for a month and walled up in a dark corner. After the surrender, a thorough search was made but the three were not found and after the hue and cry died down they quietly pulled down the inasonry and made their escape. Morris and Blackburn made their way to the Lancashire coast where they hoped to take ship to the Isle of Man. Unfortunately, about ten days after their escape, they were betrayed and captured. They were taken to York gaol where, after twenty-two weeks, they were tried for high treason. In his deposition Morris did not deny that he acted as governor of Pontefract Castle, producing, as his authority for the post, a commission signed by Prince Charles as Captain General under his father, the King. This was disallowed. Blackburn admitted that * the tyme when Colonel (sic) Rainsborough was slaine at Doncaster he went forth with the same party ...' but denied any involvement in the killing, saying *...I came not to Doncaster by reason that my horse was He also said he was not present at the surprising of the castle. Against him, one witness stated that *... he well knoweth him coin- monly called Michael Blackburne who was an actor in the conspiracy and


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ayded to surprise the castle and continued there under the command of Mor- ris.' The witness had heard Blackburn many railing words against Parliament and affirm that he had gon forth upon parties and killed severall men'. Another witness said he had been told that Blackburn ° ... was one of those that runne through with his sword and murdered General Rainsborough at Doncaster." The two men were found guilty and sentenced to die on the scaffold on Saturday 22nd August 1649. The story, however, is not yet over. On 20th August the two prisoners very nearly escaped from York Castle. Somehow they had obtained a rope - smuggled in by a sympathiser, perhaps. Under cover of darkness Morris lowered himself to the ground outside the castle. Blackburn followed but unfortunately fell and broke his leg. Thus disabled he could not cross the moat and Morris, who could easily have escaped, refused to desert his friend. At daybreak the two were recaptured and re- turned to prison. The following day they were taken for execution to Tyburn without (outside) Micklegate Bar. Before they died they each testified their steady loyalty to their cause and their King. Their bodies were buried in the churchyard of St. John's, Hungate, York. N.B. We have estimated Blackburn's year of birth from an account of his execution in The Criminal Chronology of York Castle which states that he was fifty-two when he died (Morris was fifty-three). Having seen, in our younger days, several films and read several books detailing the exploits of dashing young Cavaliers we must admit that we were surprised to find that our two gallant desperadoes were distinctly middle-aged. It is, of course, possible that the account is wrong for we have searched the Almondbury Parish Registers from 1590 to 1610 and found no record of Blackburn's baptism. Unfortunately, several pages of the Registers during those years are damaged and parts are illegible so no definite conclusion can be drawn from that source. Searching further, we found a Michael Blackburn who was baptised in December 1619. If the Criminal Chronology was wrong (by twenty-two years!) and this is, indeed, our Michael Blackburn then his age when he went off to war would be about twenty-four and his age at death, thirty. In his speech from the gallows Blackburn said: 'I am not a gentleman by birth but my Parents are of an honest quality and condition...' A man of thirty would be more likely to have both parents alive than a man of fifty- two although people did live until their seventies and even eighties in the seventeenth century. On the other hand, a thirty-year-old would, perhaps,


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find it easier to escape, even with a broken leg, than a fifty-two-year-old. In the end, perhaps, his age does not matter. He was most definitely Michael Blackburn of Cold Hill in the Parish of Almondbury, one of the district's lesser known heroes. Anyone who has been gripped by Blackburn's adventures might like to venture further afield to visit other places connected with the story. The ruined Pontefract Castle is certainly worth a visit not only because of Michael Blackburn's exploits but also to see the remnants of past splendour. The illustration on page 62 gives some indication of what the castle was like when Blackburn was there and it also shows the position of the besieging forces. It is quite an interesting exercise to wander round the castle ruins and speculate on the whereabouts of the entry to the dungeon used by the Royal- ists to imprison the garrison and the dark commer where three Royalists were temporarily walled up. Also worth a visit is an excellent museum near the town centre where, among other things, artifacts, costumes and documents from the Civil War period are on display. The site of York Tyburn where Blackburn met his end may be found at the right hand side of the A64 about half a mile short of Micklegate Bar. The site which is marked by the word 'Tyburn', inscribed on alow stone, was the scene of hundreds of public executions between 1379 and 1802. There is a suggestion in the Surtees papers that, as traitors, Blackburn and Morris would have been hanged until they were unconscious then taken down from the gallows to be drawn and quartered. If so it is almost certain that their heads would be displayed on the principal gateway into the city, Micklegate Bar. The cells of York gaol are well known and may be visited but they be- long to the Debtors' Prison built in the eighteenth century. The prison where Blackburn was most likely incarcerated was demolished in 1878. The whereabouts of Blackburn's bones is a mystery. The Criminal Chro- nology states that he and Morris were buried at St. John's Church, Hungate. Hungate is a run-down area between St. Saviourgate and the River Foss but - there is no church or graveyard there today nor was there in 1823 when the premises of the York Union Gas Light Company were built on Foss Bank - the likely site of the church. Hungate is due to be redeveloped and hopefully the archeologists, who usually go in first, will uncover. under the modern land surface, the site of the church and its graveyard and even perhaps, two headless skeletons.


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THE CLAYTON WEST BRANCH LINE In recent years the Kirklees Light Railway has brought a measure of life back to one of the district's defunct branch lines. It has proved a popular attraction and, no doubt, many of our readers will have taken a ride along the line and, hopefully, wondered about its history. The struggle for a railway line to serve the Skelmanthorpe and Clayton West district was a long one. It began in November 1844 when a survey was made for a line from Huddersfield to Penistone via Kirkburton. Such a line would have served the district but the scheme was dropped when a Bill authorising the construction of the Huddersfield, Penistone and Sheffield Junction line was passed in June 1845. In 1849 the Lancashire and Yorkshire Company proposed a line to Darton which would pass through the Skelmanthorpe and Clayton West district. Authorisation for the line passed through the committee stage in the House of Commons but was narrowly defeated in the House of Lords. Six years later, in 1856, the Huddersfield to Barnsley Collieries line was proposed. A subscription list was opened but at that time investment in railways was seen as a risky business and the undertaking failed for want of funds. Four more years passed and, at last, tired of being so neglected the inhabitants of the district send a deputation to Derby on 31st July 1860 to ask the Midland Railway Board to make a line for them. They were sympa- thetically received by the Board who assured them that it was, indeed, abso- lutely necessary for a line to go through the district. Unfortunately, the Board members did not see their way to providing it. Circumstances, however, alter cases and when the London and North Western Company started building the Huddersfield to Kirkburton branch line in 1865, the Midland Company sought powers to build an extension railway from Kirkburton to Barnsley. This again would have served the Skelmanthorpe and Clayton West district and it seemed to the locals that their long struggle was over. After a hard fight in the House of Commons a Bill authorising the line was passed. An even harder fight in the Lords fol- lowed and the Bill was within an ace of being passed when the Manchester Sheffield and Lincoln Company and the Lancashire and Yorkshire Com- pany stepped in and jointly agreed to give the Midland Company running powers to Huddersfield and Penistone. Once again the district was shut out. However, a measure of hope remained as the L.. and Y. Co., to placate many indignant voices, pledged themselves to make a branch line to Clayton West


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at some future date and in 1866 a Bill was passed authorising the line. Several years went by without any action and the locals came to suspect that the company had no intention of building the line. Their suspicions were confirmed when, early in 1874, the Company went to the House of Commons to request a postponement. They were opposed by John Kaye J.P. of Clayton West who had been one of the chief promoters of the line since 1844. Kaye pleaded that the pledge made by the Company was binding and should be honoured. He won his case; at last Skelmanthorpe and Clayton West would have their railway. On 27th November 1872, twenty-eight years after the campaign had commenced, the first sod of the Clayton West branch line was cut in a field where the Skelmanthorpe Station was to be built. The ceremony was per- formed by John Kayc who, ever hopeful, confidently forecast that soon the first sod would be cut for a line from Clayton West to Barnsley that would complete the system. His confidence was misplaced. The Clayton West line left the Penistone branch line at Shelley and Shepley Station and ran through Shelley Woodhouse and Skelmanthorpe to the terminus at Clayton West Station, three miles away. The principal civil engineering works on the line were deep cuttings near to Skelmanthorpe Station and the Skelmanthorpe tunnel, 559 m. (611 yds.) long, which was built wide enough to accommodate a double track if required; it never was. As usual, navvies were brought into the area to do the digging and huts were put up for their accommodation at various places along the line including Shelley Woodhouse and Skelmanthorpe. Their presence in the area led to a strange and violent episode known afterwards as:

THE SKELMANTHORPE RIOTS Over the years, navvies had acquired a reputation for disorderly riotous and even criminal behaviour and their appearance in Skelmanthorpe was not welcomed by the locals. So great was their anxiety that they asked for a supernumerary policeman to provide protection from the anticipated law- lessness. Curiously, things happened differently for, from the beginning, it was the locals who caused trouble. For two years they intruded on the works, attacked the huts and shouted insults at and picked fights with the navvies, presumably in the hope of getting rid of them. By October 1874, the village was seething with ill-feelings and fights between truculent locals and the despised navvies were becoming more frequent, especially on Saturday eve-


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nings when the navvies visited local public houses. The navvies proved them- selves strong opponents and, in a fair fight, man against man, they invari- ably won. Frustrated, the Skelmanthorpe men soon resorted to underhand tactics. One of them would confront a group of two or three navvies, insult them and challenge them to fight. Once the blows began, several locals came out of hiding to join in the fight taking great delight in kicking the navvies with their metal tipped clogs. On Saturday, 7th November 1874, a fierce skirmish broke out in front of the Commercial Inn. This time the numbers were evenly matched and the conflict was long and hard. Eventually, the navvies saw off the locals and triumphantly made their way back to their huts at Shelley Woodhouse Icav- ing their demoralized opponents in disarray. The following afternoon, still smarting from their defeat, a group of locals invaded the huts to fight a return battle but the navvies once again prevailed. Obviously, two defeats rankled and during Monday plans were carefully laid in the village. The local hot-heads had no intention of losing again and, spreading their grievances round the village, they recruited more and more people to their cause. Tomorrow, they were determined to be the victors. Between Skelmanthorpe Station and Shelley Woodhouse the line of the railway runs through a decp cutting called, in those days, Old George Cut- ting. On Tuesday morning, 10th November, some two hundred navvies were at work in the cutting unaware that a group of about a hundred locals were making their way towards the linc. Picking up stones as they wont the at- tackers quietly dispersed into the fields above the cutting closely followed by twenty or more women who carried extra ainmunition in their aprons. Once in position along the edge of the cutting the men opened up a bom- bardment on the navvies fifty feet below. Although there were more misses than hits the navvies took immediate action to defend themselves. Their position was difficult for advantage in battle usually belongs to those who hold the high ground but, arined with pick shafts, shovels and hedge stakes, they scrambled up the steep side of the cutting to meet the enemy at close quarters. Soon, by sheer weight of numbers, the locals were driven back to the road. Once again the navvies scented victory but cxhilaration turned to alarm when a large back-up group of locals came out of concealment to join their belcaguered comrades. Another volley of stones scattered the navvies and drove them back towards the railway. But an appeal for help had been


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sent to another group of navvies working near Skelmanthorpe Station who armed themselves and set out to defend their own. Outnumbered and in danger of being closed in by the navvies the locals dropped their ammuni- tion and ran. The locals had chosen that particular day for the attack because they knew the Skelmanthorpe police would be engaged at the Police Court in Huddersfield. However, Sergeant Battye of Scisset heard of the attack and, accompanied by two constables, arrived at Shelley Woodhouse at eleven o'clock, an hour after the start of the riot. He found some fifty navvies pre- paring to march on Skelmanthorpe and the regrouped locals about to march on Shelley Woodhouse. As the two groups converged, positions were taken and insults were hurled as well as stones. Sergeant Battye immediately went into the fray to inforin the ringleaders that a telegram had been sent to Hud- dersfield and police reinforcements were on their way. Both sides immedi- ately withdrew and the riot fizzled out. In response to the telegram, Superintendent Heaton sent a squad of sev- enteen policemen by the 2.30p .m. train to Kirkburton. From the station there they marched to Shelley Woodhouse where the navvies cheered their com- ing. By that tine, of course, the local gang was nowhere to be seen and the excitement was over. Afterwards, sporadic fighting seems to have continued, for three weeks later three Skelmanthorpe men, Joseph Hey, Ellis Senior and John Turton, all weavers, were summoned to appear at the Police Court in Huddersfield charged with assaulting three railway workers on 28th November. Stating the case, Superintendent Heaton said that the navvies were quietly enjoying a Saturday night pint in the Commercial Inn when the three defendants en- tered. Their demeanour towards the navvies was exasperating and annoying and when the landlord tried to intervene they turned off the gas. The police were informed and Constable Cullingworth was sent to warn the defendants to moderate their behaviour. After about half an hour the navvies left, closely followed by the defendants who, once outside, threw stones and tried to provoke a fight. Constable Cullingworth who was still in the vicinity inter- vened and arrested the three locals. The Chairman of the Magistrates, summing up, said he was determined to put a stop to such lawless behaviour and sent the three men to prison for two months with hard labour. Perhaps these custodial sentences brought the locals to their senses for afterwards there were no more reports of trouble.


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This strange episode challenges, perhaps, the familiar idea that wher- ever they worked navvies could be expected to live up to their reputation for hard drinking, and unruly behaviour. In Skelmanthorpe the unrest arose en- tirely from such preconceptions held by the locals who expected the navvies to disrupt the neighbourhood. When this did not happen, the locals, unable to suppress their prejudices, heckled the navvies, harassed them and chal- lenged them to fight. The police had no hesitation in attributing the trouble 'entirely to the repeated, insulting and brutal conduct of the Skelmanthorpe people towards the navvies'. As Superintendent Heaton pointed out, far from needing a supernumerary policemen to protect the inhabitants from the law- lessness of the navvies it had turned out that extra police were needed to protect the navvies from the inhabitants. N.B. If you are in the district, or passing through, it is easy to find the places associated with the Skelmanthorpe Riots and the Clayton West line. Follow the B6116 through Kirkburton towards Skelmanthorpe. Shelley Woodhouse is the area about two thirds of a mile beyond Shelley Church. The railway line is beyond and below the fields on the left opposite the school. Soon after entering Skelmanthorpe turn left, by the Grove public house, into Station Road and in about 92m. (100 yds.) turn left again into Strike Lane. This was probably the way the combatants came from Skelmanthorpe. Continue along Strike Lane to a bridge spanning the railway line. To the left of the bridge are the fields where the locals took up their position and 15m. {50 feet) below is Old George Cutting. To the right of the bridge, and a little distance away, is the site of Skelmanthorpe Station where the backup nav- vies were at work on the day of the fight. Retrace the route along Strike Lane and Station Road and turn left into the main road through Skelmanthorpe. In about a quarter of a mile notice the Chartist public house on the right. This was the Commercial Inn, scene of several fights between locals and navvies. Of course, an excellent way to see the cutting and other features of the branch line; including the tunnel, is to take a ride on the Kirklees Light Railway. To find it continue through Skelmanthorpe on the B.6116 and on reaching the A.636 turn left. After about two thirds of a mile turn right to follow the brown signs. The modern station is situated just a few metres down the line from the original station of which only a few large flagstones and part of a wall remain.


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BEYOND COOPER BRIDGE When we explored the Colne Bridge area for 'Discovering Old Hud- dersfield' (part three) we knew that beyond Cooper Bridge there were a few interesting features worthy of comment but our way, at that time, lay in another direction. Now, this book of 'bits and allows us to repair the omission. Street parking in the area is impossible but the Three Nuns public house offers excellent refreshment and it has a car park. It is obvious from its style that the present Cooper Bridge dates from the 1930s but it stands on or near the site of much earlier crossing which, long ago, was by way of a ford. The name 'Cooper' is a corruption of Cow Ford (pronounced locally as Cooford) and so had nothing to do with barrel mak- ers. The first bridge built near to the Cow Ford was erected in the twelfth century by the monks of Fountains Abbey who had extensive land holdings in the Bradley area and who would require bridges to open up their estates {see D.O.H.3 p.65). Near to Cooper Bridge the River Colne empties into the River Calder and the valleys of both rivers influenced the direction taken by the turnpike roads, navigations and canals of the eighteenth century and the railways of the nineteenth century. All three forms of transport come close together at Cooper Bridge (see D.O0.H.3 pages 6,55,61 & 62).

THE RAILWAY About 183m. (200 yds) past Cooper Bridge (going away from Hudders- field) the railway crossing Leeds Road is of some interest as it was the first line to operate in the area. The immediate success of the Liverpool to Man- chester railway which opened in 1830 led to calls for a railway connection between Lancashire and Yorkshire. There was a suggestion at the time that filling in the Huddersfield Narrow Canal would provide a convenient, level and mex pensive route through the Pennines. This ingenious (or ingenuous) idea came to nothing and it was not until 1836 that work began on a route that had been surveyed by the great George Stephenson six years earlier. The line from Manchester to Littleborough was completed in July 1839 and the connection to Normanton in October 1840. At Normanton the line joined the North Midland line to Leeds. The Manchester and Leeds railway, as the linc was called, followed the Calder Valley and had stations at Elland, Brighouse and Mirfield. Huddersfield, unfortunately, was bypassed.


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At a meeting held in 1842 influential local businessmen, eager to be part of the railway boom, asked the Lancashire and Yorkshire Company to build a branch line into Huddersfield. The Company was not enthusiastic and refused to consider building the high level line that would be necessary to make feasible a future cxtension through the Pennines into Lancashire. Building a line at river level they pointed out would be much less expensive. Eeelings ran high and when the L. and Y. spokesman famously declared 'Huddersfield is not worth stopping a train for' the meeting ended in uproar. Subsequently, a local company was formed to build the desired high level line into the town. Until that line was completed in 1847 local railway pas- sengers had to rely on Ellam's horse buses to carry them to and from the nearest station at Cooper Bridge. The railway station at Cooper Bridge was closed and its buildings de- inolished during the Beeching era. Today, the only evidence of its existence is the walled up entrance which may be seen under the railway bridge. This doorway, which formerly gave access to the platform via a flight of steps, was erected by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Company in 1902 when the station was rebuilt. It is said to owe its rather grand design to Sir George Armytage of Kirklees Hall who was chairman of the company between 1887 and 1918.

DUMB STEEPLE About 183m. (200 yds.) beyond the railway bridge, near to the junction of three very busy roads, stands the obelisk know by the strange name, 'Dumb Stceple'. It was moved to its present location from its original position at the centre of the road junction when it became a hindrance to the flow of mod- ern traffic. The strangest thing of all about Dumb Steeple is that nothing is known of its origin or history although there is general agreement that the present edifice is an eighteenth century replacement of an earlier stone or timber pillar. Lack of ascertainable evidence has never, will never and should never stop informed speculation and there are several rival theories concerning Dumb Steeple, the most fanciful of which is that the original pillar was a relic of the primitive worship of Phallus. A Mr. Henry Speight who put for- ward this theory remarks that the Dumb Steeple, near Kirklees Park, is a comparatively late erection that commemorates Phallic worship! A more favoured idea, first recorded by Charles Hobkirk in 1859, is


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that the original edifice was a sanctuary cross connected with nearby Kirklees Priory. The medieval custom of sanctuary, associated with religious estab- lishments, offered safe refuge to law breakers for forty days during which time if they confessed their guilt they would be allowed to go unmolested into exile. Hobkirk's idea, which found favour with the other local histori- ans, was that the Dumb Steeple, originally known as the Doom or Doomed Steeple marked one of the boundaries of sanctuary for 'doomed' persons. Another suggestion connecting Kirklees Priory with the Dumb Steeple comes from Taylor Dyson in his book The History of Huddersfield. He points out that there are many instances of steeples built within the precincts of monastic premises but away from the main buildings. The name, Dyson suggests, could have arisen because the steeple had no bell and was, there- fore, dumb. Later writers, including Philip Ahier, disagree with the sanctuary theory. Kirklees Priory was, in fact, a small and not very rich nunnery. Ahier, says, privileges (as sanctuary) were usually granted to Abbeys, Monaster- ies and kindred male institutions." He also points out that there is no refer- ence in the charters of Kirklees Priory to the precincts of the priory ever having been used for that purpose. Ahier's own theory discounts any connection between the Priory and the obelisk. He believes that, 'the original pillar may have been erected to define the limits of several townships and parishes which converge in its vicinity viz., Mirfield, Clifton and If it was a boundary post then the name 'Dumb Steeple' might be a corruption of 'Domini Stapulus' mean- ing lord's post, the pillar set up on the boundary of his estates by a feudal lord. Yet another theory has been presented by members of the Mirfield Civic Society who recently set up the blue tablet on the wall behind the obelisk. This says that the Dumb Steeple was 'built around the 1760s and may have replaced an carlier structure that stood as a guide post to the Cowford." Go- ing off at a slight tangent, it is interesting that the name found in several parts of England, means 'ford marked by posts' from the Old English words 'stapol' (pillar of wood or stone) and 'ford' (river crossing). Places so named would have had either a dangerous ford where the crossing needed to be marked or a ford that needed to be pointed out because its position was not obvious from the road. This idea, then, accounts for the 'steeple' element in the name but if it is correct we have to question why 'Cowford' never became 'Stapleford'. Perhaps the answer lies in the dis-


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tance between the stapol and the ford. A final point needs to be made. In 1719 John Warburton, an eminent surveyor and map maker, surveyed in some detail the roads in these parts but he makes no mention of the Dumb Steeple, nor is it shown on Jefferey's map of 1772. Of course, the most likely explanation is that the usually me- ticulous map makers merely overlooked the obelisk. On the other hand, it could mean that the present structure was not erected before 1772 and did not replace an earlier one. In the end, we must say that whatever its history, whatever its purpose, whatever its age the Dumb Steeple is well named for so far as facts go, as opposed to thcories, all 1s silence.

THE RENDEZVOUS At about half-past-nine on a cold April evening in 1812, two men stood ncar the Dumb Steeple quietly awaiting the culmination of their careful plan- ning. They were George Mellor, leader of the local Luddites, and William Thorpe his sccond-in-command. As they waited their thoughts turned to the successful machine breaking attacks they had recently led on several mills in Huddersfield. As a result, some inill owners had already removed their machines and others had announced their intentions of doing so. A few, how- ever, stubbornly refused to give in to threats and blackmail. With confidence born of success Mellor determined to lead a large scale attack on one of the intransigent mill owners, He put forward his idea at a meeting of all the West Riding Luddite leaders held at the Crispin Inn, Hali- {fax. Tradition has it that it was a toss of a coin that made Rawfolds Mill at Cleckheaton the target rather than Ottiwells Mill at Marsden. The night cho- sen for the attack was Saturday 11th April 1812, the meeting place was the Dumb Steeple. During that day, trusted messengers had visited known Luddites and sympathisers to deliver firearms, powder and ball and to give last minute directions to the meeting place. Waiting at the rendezvous, Mellor and Thorpe knew that they would need a large force to be sure of success and they were relieved when, by ten o'clock, they had been joined by about sixty men; half an hour later another hundred had arrived. Some of the men were masked, others had blackened faces and each had a small white flash on his hat to make initial identification easy in the dark. At eleven o'clock, in the shadow of the Dumb Steeple, Mellor and Thorpe began to organise their men into


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companies. Two companies were armed with pistols, one with muskets and one with hatchets, mauls and large hammers. The muster was called by number - names were never used in the Luddite Organisation - and Mellor detailed two of his pistol men to the rear to make sure no-one defected dur- ing the march. Even at this stage he was not completely confident that his men's courage and resolve would hold out. At about half past eleven, their feelings a mixture of exhilaration and apprehension at the task ahead, the hiitle army left the Dumb Steeple behind and quickly moved off into the night. Their way would take them through the fields near Hall, over the ridge to Hightown on Hartshead Moor and down quiet paths to Mill in the Spen Valley. It would also take them to bitter defeat. William Cartwright, the mill owner, in expectation of trouble had taken steps to defend his property. Locked in the mill with three loyal workmen, five soldiers and a stock of primed guns he managed to repel the raid. Sev- eral Luddites were wounded, two mortally, and their screams drained the resolve of the other attackers. There was nothing Mellor could say or do to prevent the flight of his army. After just twenty minutes he called off the attack. With his victory Cartwright proved that the Luddites were by no means invincible and it was the humiliation of defeat coupled with a sense of out- rage at the death of two of their men that led Mellor and Thorpe to change their target from machines to masters. Just over two weeks later William Horsfall of Oitiwells Mill was dead at their hands (see D.0.H.21 No.25). On Friday 8th January 1813 Mellor, Thorpe and their accomplice Tho- mas Smith were executed for the murder of Horsfall at the new drop behind the castle walls at York. Eight days later fourteen men followed them to the scaffold to be hanged for the Rawfolds attack and other Luddite activities. Although these judicial punishments brought the Luddite Movement in Huddersfield to an end, discontent continued to smoulder and in 1820 local magistrates received information that a general uprising of workers was to be attempted and the town could expect to be attacked in force. The rendez- vous was once again to be the Dumb Steeple and the firing of a bonfire on Castle Hill would signal the march on Huddersfield. The date of the attack, 30th March, was known well in advance by the authorities who, on that day, took prompt measures to defend the town. Barricades were thrown up, shops were shuttered, the military was concentrated in the Market Place and special


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constables patrolled the streets. The signal on Castle Hill was duly lit and the inhabitants of the town awaited the insurgents. But the authorities' vig- orous preparations must have been widely reported and if men did, indeed, assemble at the Dumb Steeple that night they found discretion of more im- mediate concern than valour. No attack ever came.

KIRKLEES In the field behind the Dumb Steeple a stone wall running in a north- westerly direction follows exactly the course of a tree-lined path which, a hundred or more years ago, led from Wakefield Road (then called Obelisk Road) into the Kirklees estate. The path has long since been ploughed out but a gated entrance survives in the southern boundary wall of the estate which may be seen near the top of the gently sloping ground to the north west of the obelisk. As we have seen, some historians insist on a close connection between Kirklees and the Dumb Steeple and we feel it will not be out of place here to give a short account of the priory and to mention some of the stories at- tached to it. We do not include a visit as the estate is private but limited visits to the grounds are allowed on very occasional open-days. Kirklees Priory, a nunnery of the Cistercian Order, was founded around the year 1135 when Reiner le Flemying, Lord of the Manor of Clifton, granted 'to God, St. Mary and the Nuns of Kuthales the place in which they dwell, to wit Kuthalay and Hcdnesley as the water of Kalder goes to the old mill as far as to the river ....and from Wagstan and so by the boundary of Liverseg and Herteshevet and Mirfield. All within the limits so named.' Some of these place names are lost but Liversedge, Hartshead and Mirfield have survived and these together with the Calder give some idea of the extent of the nuns' original land holding. The mill on the banks of the Calder worked for hun- dreds of years after 1135. Its site is now occupied by the popular Old Corn Mill public house. During the four hundred years it existed, Kirklees Priory had twenty- one Prioresses of whom the earliest known is Elizabeth de Stainton. Her grave was discovered in 1706 north of the main priory site, in what was probably the convent chapel. The Cistercian rule was strict and the life aus- tere, the nuns' days being devoted to prayer, contemplation and periods of manual labour on the land. In the early years of the fourteenth century the Archbishop's Registers


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at York reported an indelicate situation at Kirklees: 'The Archbishop having heard that there are scandalous reports in circulation about the nuns at Kirklees, especially Elizabeth de Hopton, Alice le Raggid and Joan de Heaton, that they admit both clergy and laymen too often into secret places of the monastery and have private talks with them, from which there is suspicion of sin and great scandal arises: he commands the Prioress to admonish the nuns, specially the above named, that they are to adnut no-one whether reli- gious or secular, clerk or layman unless in a public place and in the presence of the Prioress and any other two ladies." The severe warning must have gone unheeded for in 1315 Joan de Heaton was judicially convicted, before the Archbishop, of the crime of inconti- nence with Richard de Lathe and Sir Michael, called the Scot, a priest. In November of the same year Alice le Raggid was, on her own confession, convicted of incontinence with William de Heaton of Mirfield. They were expelled from the community. Margaret de Burton, who had also sinned, was allowed to return to the priory after she had prostrated herself before the gates and carried out the prescribed penance. It is clear from the names of three of the sinful nuns, Heaton, Hopton and Burton, that local girls entered the Priory. It was quite a common prac- tice for families to give a daughter to the religious life whether she had a vocation or not. The name of the fourth, Alice le Raggid suggests that the Priory accepted poor girls - orphans perhaps. In the early fourteenth century many ordinary people had not yet acquired a hereditary surname and poor Alice would have been named according to her condition - the ragged one. Over the years, the nuns of Kirklees acquired a good deal of land, in- cluding pasture in Shelf for four hundred and eighty sheep with as many lambs, for ten cows with as many calves, for eight oxen and for one horse. True to the Cistercian ideal, the nuns were great farmers. Kirklees was never one of the great and rich Cistercian houses and, at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries it was worth just over £19 per annum and housed only the Prioress, six nuns and two novices. The last Prioress, Joan Kepasst, was ejected in 1540 and lived out the rest of her days at Mirfield on a pension of £2 per annum. Fifteen years later the priory and its precincts were acquired by John Armitage of Farnley Tyas. He, or his son, built a mansion house on the hill- side overlooking the priory site, probably using the old convent buildings as a convenient quarry. The Armytages (the change of spelling must have been


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a deliberate attempt to distinguish themselves from hundreds of other Armitages in the area) remained in occupation until the 1990s when the mansion and outbuildings were sold to developers and converted into pri- vate dwellings. By far the most intriguing legend connected with Kirklees concerns the death of Robin Hood whose grave is marked on Jefferys' map of 1772. The tradition of Robin's death and burial at Kirklees is very old. It first appeared in print around 1500 in 'A Lyttel Geste of Robyn Hode' a collection of bal- lads thought to date back to the thirteenth century. Leaving aside the contentious issue of whether Robin actually existed, the story goes that, feeling unwell, he came to Kirklees with his companion, Little John. to have his blood let by his kinswoman, the Prioress. In the Middle Ages, blood letting was regarded as a cure for all ills and, at a time when doctors were few, bleeding irons were often administered by women. The Prioress, whose name is not mentioned, dismissed Little John and took Robin to the gatehouse of the priory. There, incited by her lover, Sir Roger of Doncaster who bore a grudge against Robin, the Prioress deliberately pierced a vein. The ballad graphically describes the results:

And first it bled, the thicke, thicke bloode And afterwards the thinne, And well then wist good Robin Hoode Treason there was within.

Knowing he was dying, Robin made his peace with God, and told Little John to carry him to his grave,

And sett my bright sword at my head, Mine arrows at my feete. And lay nrty yew bow by my side My met-yard wi....

There the ballad breaks off. The story that Robin summons Little John with three blasts on his hunting horn. shoots an arrow through the gatehouse win- dow and commands John to bury him where it falls is an eighteenth century embellishment. After Robin's burial in unhallowed ground the Prioress laid a great stone


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slab on the grave. Seventeenth century scholars, who saw it, said on it were inscribed the names of Roberd Hude and other outlaws. They make no men- tion of an epitaph. Yet in the nineteenth century, by which time the stone was badly damaged, another stone was erected bearing an epitaph said to be copied from the original grave stone:

Hear undernead dis laitel stean Lais Robert earl of Huntington Nea arcir ver as hei sae geud An piplt kauld im Robin Heud Sick utlawz as hi an is men Vil England nivr si agen

Obiit 24 Kal Dekembris 1247.

This is obviously someone's fanciful idea of 'Olde English' and must be regarded as a spurious attempt to reinforce the legend. A grave site and a gatehouse do still exist in Kirklees Park but, as the former was excavated in the eighteenth century by Sir Samuel Armytage who found the ground had never been disturbed and as the latter is thought to be post-Reformation, even their authenticity must be questioned. So, should we question the authenticity of the man himself? There are no official documents, either local or national, recording his criminal activi- ties or even his nuisance value. The only information about Robin is to be found in ballads, the earliest of which would have been composed for and recited to audiences who enjoyed a stirring tale. As time went by, several new ballads introducing new characters and adventures appeared and by the end of the fifteenth century Robin Hood was well established as a character in plays written to celebrate May Day. Robin's connection with the earldom of Huntingdon is a late invention; in the earliest ballads he is a yeoman, a man of the people, who pitted his wits against those in high office and won. In this, even though the early stories make no mention of robbing the rich to pay the poor, his appeal to the common man would be irresistible. So the story grew and spread. Some well known characters, Maid Marian, Friar Tuck and Alan a' Dale for example, were taken from other literary sources and brought into later ballads to enhance the Robin Hood stories. And if they are the stuff of legend perhaps Robin, too, should be consigned to mythical realms.


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One thought, however, remains: fictitious heroes usually comes to glo- rious ends. King Arthur, for example, died fearlessly in battle and in death was taken on a magic boat journey to rest in Avalon, beyond the west. Surely if Robin Hood was pure invention the early balladeers would have sung of a courageous death and a mystic burial, perhaps in the beloved greenwood. But Robin's death at the hands of a woman was far from glorious and Kirklees, lacking in prestige and romance, is an unlikely resting place for a hero. Per- haps then, in the manner and place of his death, it is just possible to assert a measure of belief in the existence, if not of Robin Hood, then of a people's hero very much like him.

THE THREE NUNS About 230m. (250 yds) away from the Dumb Steeple, the Three Nuns public house stands on the site of a much older establishment known by the same name. A plaque on the wall, put up by Mirfield Civic Society says that a tavern probably stood here in the sixteenth century and maybe as long ago as the fourteenth century and suggests that after the dissolution in 1539 'three nuns from the Priory may have taken over the tavern.' On the other hand, Taylor Dyson in The History of Huddersfield says that the inn's name prob- ably recalls Prioress Elizabeth de Stainton and her two sisters, Agnes and Mary. Unfortunately the two theories cannot be reconciled as Elizabeth de Stainton was dead long before dissolution. The source of the name is a mys- tery unlikely ever to be solved but of one thing we can be sure: the three nuns in question were not Alice le Raggid, Joan de Heaton and Elizabeth de Hopton. The Armytages owned the inn from 1565 until they sold it in 1935. The present building dates from 1939. Near the Three Nuns a substantial bridge carries Leeds Road over a narrow stream. The stream which flows through Kirklees Park must have been the Priory's main water source and its name, Nun Brook, recalls those far-off days when a small group of holy ladies settled in a beautiful valley, where they should have been remote from the ways of the world. On leaving the Cooper Bridge area, readers might like to make the short Journey to Mirfield to pick up the route of the car tour beginning on page 85.


On 27th February 1689 a poor boy was tied on the back of a horse in Dewsbury and led through Mirfield, Kirkheaton and Daiton to Hudders-


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field. It was to be his last journey on earth. We know nothing of him prior to his appearance in Dewsbury apart from a comment that he had outrun his master. Whatever his situation before, when he arrived in Dewsbury he was ill, penniless and in need of help and shelter. He was kindly treated by two local women but was not allowed to stay in Dewsbury for long. Itinerant strangers who were discovered within the boundaries of a parish or town- ship that was not their own and who might, because of age, poverty or imfirmity, become a charge on the township received scant sympathy from local officials. After the Law of Settlement Act was passed in 1662 removal orders were easily obtained which enabled local overseers and constables to convey strangers to the first township along the road towards the place where they were born. If the first township would not receive them then the process was repeated. On Monday 25th February 1689, James Stancliffe a boy of about four- teen years of age came to the house of Michael Parker in Dewsbury to ask forlodgings. Parker's wife, Easter, received him kindly, gave him some warm meat and told him he could spend the night in the barn where there was enough straw to keep him warm. James told her he was 'sicke sometimes and his leggs would not carry him.' The next morning Easter fed him again and then went to 'acquaint the constable and others of the towne how it was with the boye.' A little before nightfall on 26th February James went to the house of Roger Holgate where he 'sate him downe and fell asleepe and slept about halff an hower.' He then went out of doors and disappeared. A search was organised by the constable and he was found among some straw in Michael Parker's yard. He was returned to the Holgate house where Jane Holgate settled him 'by the fier-side in an old coverlet and a quishinge under his heade.' At nine o'clock, after they had gone to bed. Easter Parker sent a pennyworth of ale for James if he was thirsty during the night. After an uneasy night, James rose at daybreak and sat by the fire. The constable, who by this time had made arrangements for the boy's removal, came to the house to pay the Holgates twopence for 'his lodgings and for fier and waytinge on him.' With him came Abraham Cosin who had been hired to lead James to the next township, Mirfield. After drinking a pint of warm ale James was put up on Cosin's horse and tied to the saddle because he could not support himself or sit upright. Before they left, Easter Parker came with some bread and cheese for the journey and a white cap which she


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tied on the boy's head. This was to be the last act of tenderness in James' life. At about ten o'clock in the morning on 27th February Cosin approached Joseph Allison, constable of Mirfield 'with a boye tyed on horseback, with a coard about his middle and tyed in a packe saddle.' Cosin told Allison he had brought the boy by virtue of a paper signed by the minister and constable of Dewsbury. When Allison said he would not receive the boy Cosin threatened to 'set him downe at his dore.' Allison asked Cosin to carry James to the next constable at Kirkheaton but he re- fused to go without wages. Eventually they agreed on fourpence, a of ale and 'another potte when he came backe.' At about mid-day Cosin and James were in Kirkheaton. Grace Jepson the wife of the constable said that the boy was very sick and had very bad clothes. She 'askt the childe why he had no better cloathes, but he could not speake ....beinge very weake.' She burned him some drink which he was unable to swallow but when they took him off the horse and into the house he revived a little. Grace was perturbed because she had nobody to send with the boy to the next constable at Dalton. Cosin said he would carry him for pay and 'demanded a shilling for goinge thither, it beinge but twoe myles.' After some argument Cosin settled for ninepence and some meat, drink and tobacco. After tying James on the horse again Cosin went back into the house to smoke his tobacco. Then the two set off towards Dalton. At about 2 o'clock Cosin and James arrived at the house of Joseph Dyson, constable of Dalton. Dyson said the boy was so bad he did not hear him speak all the time they were there. Cosin told Dyson that he had been hired by the constables of Dewsbury, Mirfield and Kirkheaton and 'if he pleased to hyer him hee wold carry (James) to Huddersfield beinge the next constablery.' He asked for a shilling but 'it beinge but a myle' accepted sixpence. An interested onlooker, Joshua Eastwood, who overheard the conver- sation between Cosin and the constable, said, 'the childe was very sicke and lookt as if he would dye.' He heard Cosin say that the boy had outrun his master and had fallen sick in Dewsbury. As Cosin turned the horse out of the



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fold, 'the childes head hung down, first one waye and then another, and (he) wold have falne off but he was tyed on with coardes.' Eastwood watched them go towards Huddersfield and heard Cosin tell the boy 'to sitt up for he cold ryde well enough and he shold goe to Huddersfield one litle myle and might goe up by the church-yard-side and might see the place where he might be buried.' Later that afternoon, Mary Shaw of Huddersfield saw the pair at Huddersfield towne end and because shee sawe his heade hange downe very lowe she went nere and tooke hold of the boye's She told Cosin she thought the child was dead but he told her to 'let him alone for I have but to goe to the constable with him." Richard Thewlis, constable of Huddersfield, said that when James arrived at his house 'he was so weake with sickness that he cold not hold up his heade but it hunge below the sadle crutch on the farr side and some part of his face did, by the movinge of the horse, knocke against the sadle crutch. And soone after he got James into his dwelling house he dyed." The tragic story of James Staneliffe is condensed from depositions made on 11th March 1689 before John Hargreaves, Coroner of Hudders- field, when Abraham Cosin was arraigned for murder. Cosin, naturally enough, tried to lay the blame on the constables who refused to receive the boy. Unfortunately, we have been unable to discover the outcome of the case but, as there is no record of an execution in The Criminal Chronology of York, perhaps Cosin received a lesser sentence.

FROM MIRFIELD TO HUDDERSFIELD IN THE 17th CENTURY. After we had read James' story we wondered if it would be possible, 312 years later, to follow in his footsteps and thus provide, in these pages, a short car tour for anyone interested in bygone routes. Of course, as with any long-ago journey where details are scanty, assumptions have to be made and theories tested. In this case we have four clues: the distance from Kirkheaton to Dalton (2 miles), from Dalton to Huddersfield (1 mile), the mention of a 'fold' at Dalton and the place name 'Huddersfield Town Lind'. We had, of course, to assume that Cosin led James along the highways and footways of the time rather than taking off over the fields. So, after picking out a likely route on old maps we set out one cold February day to assess its possibilities (although we did not do so on foot}. Twice we found that parts of the old road have disappeared but in those


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places it was possible to describe the line of the lost sections and rejoin the route further on. Now, whilst we cheerfully admit that our route is merely conjectural as to the way taken by Abraham Cosin it does, nevertheless, fit in with distances and place names, it does use roads that were in existence in the seventeen century and it was a viable route between Mirfield and Hud- dersfield. Let us assume, then, that Cosin knew it and, by an even greater assumption, say he and his woebegone charge came this way. So that the tour might be easily undertaken after the exploration of the Cooper Bridge area, described in the previous section, we decided to pick up the route at Mirfield which is two miles from the Three Nuns along Hud- dersfield Road. Here and there, as is our wont, we point out interesting sites along the way but if you decide to follow the route remember that virtually all of them post date 1689 and, above all, remember poor James. In Mirfield turn right into Station Street, cross the bridge over the Calder and turn right into Granny Lane which soon becomes Hopton Lane. Follow this for 1.2 miles to the top of the hill. The word lane indicates that this is an old route as does its steep gradi- ent. In his book Huddersfield Highways Down the Ages, W.H. Crump says of Hopton Lane: ' was a deep narrow lane with a causcy running along the middle, rocky and overhung with bushes. The side causeway was in many places a yard or so higher than the road and there was hardly room for two carts to pass.' It would not be so very different when James came this way. At the top of the hill, opposite the Blacksmith's Arms, notice the old milestone on the left hand side. Direction posts or stones at cross-highways were originally required by law in 1697 but, despite legislation, signposting remained sporadic. Further orders were necessary in 1733 when local offi- cials were particularly required to set up direction posts on large moors and commons 'where intelligence is difficult to be had' and in 1738 when dis- tances had to be stated. The much weathered guidestone here, which stands on a later base, fulfills all the requirements: it stands on Heaton Moor at cross-highways, it is dated 1738 (although the date may be retrospective) and it directs to Barnsley 12 miles, Huddersfield 6 miles and Halifax 6 miles. The fourth face, hidden from the road, points the way to Dews Berry but no mileage is given. If Cosin came this way in 1689 his only guide would have been local knowledge. At this point our route crosses another old highway, more important


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than ours in that it was part of a long distance route running from Kendal in the north to London in the south (see D.O.L. Second Edition p.43). Our route lies straight ahead down Heaton Moor Road to reach Town Top in three tenths of a mile. Here, on the left hand side near the junction with Cockley Hill Lane, the travellers would pass a structure which was a familiar sight in every village the pinfold. This was a pound or enclosure where straying animals were collected and kept until their owners claimed them and secured their release by payment of a fine to the pinder. Kirkheaton's pinfold disappeared long ago; its site is presently occupied by a surgery. On into Town Road which, in the seventeenth century, would be little more than a track through the village fields with a thin scatter of farmhouses and cottages. We are given no clues in the deposition as to the exact location of the constable's house where Cosin smoked his tobacco but it seems rea- sonable to presume it was somewhere in the region of the 'town'. We do know that it was 'but two myles' to the next constable at Dalton and that he lived in a 'fold'. Folds, of course, are fairly common but sticking to our script, we had to look for one within the Dalton township, two miles from Kirkheaton, one mile from Huddersfield and, hopefully, with evidence of seventeenth century building. Amazingly, we found one. Leaving Town Road behind, at the road junction go straight ahead (in front of the chemist's shop) into Bankfield Lane. After half a mile turn left into Jagger Lane and follow this to the bottom of the hill. On the right hand side of Bankfield Lane notice the Spangled Bull pub- lic house the architectural features of which fit in well with the 1740 date stone. The bull over the front door is obviously of much more recent ances- try and replaces or covers an older bull. Nevertheless, with his spangled collar, he is a cheerful beast and a striking inn sign. Obviously, Cosin never knew this building but if it stands, as it might, on the site of an earlier road- side inn then we can casily imagine him stopping here to part with some of his 'wages'. A few metres further on, the shop on the right was, until recent years, the Field Head co-operative store. Despite Rochdale's well known claim to be the home of the co-operative movement (it started there in 1844) it is now known that a number of small co-operatives were operating in the north of England in the late cighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. This building, with its Venetian windows, large footstones and narrow stone courses, can


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be firmly dated to the eighteenth century although its traditional lines are somewhat obscured by the twentieth century extension at the front. As well as selling commodities such as oats, butter, flour, salt and lard to its mem- bers, Field Head co-operative in the early nineteenth century farmed seven- teen acres of land the profits from which would benefit what was a strictly local organisation. On the left hand side of the road notice, in the grass verge, the broken and disturbed remnants of an old causey. Many miles of causeys have sur- vived at the side of our upland and country roads and they are usually indi- cators of old pre-turnpike routes. The hard surface provided by a stone causey was the obvious solution to the problems of negotiating roads that in wet weather quickly deteriorated into quagmires. The short section of causey just beyond the cricket club, which has been recently relaid with concrete flags, gives some idea of the position, width and height of the original. In the seventeenth century, boys, in their scanty leisure time, probably enjoyed ball games and perhaps James once enjoyed whacking a ball with a piece of wood. However, the idea that land could be set aside exclusively for the playing of ball games would be beyond his imagination. Kirkheaton Cricket Club was formed in 1871 when it was known as the Kirkheaton Beaumonts. The members at that time played at Heaton Moor and then in the late 1870s moved to a pitch near to the church at Hole Bot- tom. The name was changed to Kirkheaton Cricket Club in 1880 and the club moved to its present ground, previously known as Fletcher Croft, in 1883. Forty years later the members purchased the ground for £375. It was here that two of Yorkshire's most famous sons began their playing career. They were, of course, George Herbert Hirst and Wilfred Rhodes. Just beyond the cricket field, where the road begins its sharp bend to the right, notice the raised causey at the left hand side. This leads to Coldroyd Lane, a steep and direct route down to Dalton. Although it is not on our route it is worth a short stop to look at Coldroyd Lane as it is a good example of a sunken lane with a raised causey. Over time, the surface of the lane was worn down by the passage of cart wheels, and the tramping feet of horses, cattle and people. Doubtless, on such a steep gradient the process would be accelerated by slope wash. In dry weather traffic would use the whole width of the lane but the raised causey at the side provided firm going all the year round. Today, most of the lane is overgrown and wild but the causey bank survives as do several of the old stones.


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Cosin, on his way to Dalton, could have chosen this route but the day was very cold with frequent hail showers and the surface of the causey might well have been slippery. So, bearing in mind James' condition, it seems more likely that Cosin would ignore the precipitous slope and make his way to Jagger Lane, an easier way down the hillside. Somewhere between Coldroyd and Jagger Lane it is worth stopping to take in the view on the left which extends beyond Castle Hill to the range of hills once called The Backbone of England. From here, far and near, a number of familiar places may be spotted including Cowciliffc, Fixby, Lindley, Ainley Top, Golcar, Scapegoat Hill, Rawthorpe, Dalton, Almondbury, Newsome, Cop Hill and Meltham. The many built-up areas date from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and, of the hundreds of buildings to be seen today, perhaps only one, Almondbury Church, would be recognised by seventeenth century travellers, Their view would be of rolling green hills, of woods, meadows and fields, of small settlements and a scatter of farmhouses, stone cottages, small-holdings, paddocks, crofts and tenter-fields where the farmer-clothiers of the time, and their families, worked and lived out their lives in their own small, balanced economy. There can be little doubt that Jagger Lane is an old route leading, as it does, off the high ground to reach a river crossing. The name, like Jagger Lanes all over the country, recalls the days when goods were transported by pack animals (see D.0.H.3 No.50). The causey on the right hand side of the road is largely overgrown but here and there in the grass verge a few old stones are visible. Near the bottom of the hill we leave behind the ancient landscape through which, briefly, we have been travelling and abruptly catch up with the nine- teenth and twentieth centuries. The massive stone parapets on either side of the lane are relics of the Kirkburton branch railway line which opened in 1867. The course of the deep cutting through which the line ran has, in re- cent years, been obliterated by landfill. At the bottom of the hill the old lane continued straight ahead to cross Lees Head Beck by a wooden bridge. From there it climbed the far hillside to Nether Hall at Rawthorpe. This section of the road was lost soon after British Dyes Ltd. acquired the land in 1915 (see D.O0.H.3 Nos.48 and 50). It is here then that we must make our first diver- sion. Turn left at the bottom of Jagger Lane, follow the Moldgreen signs to Long Lane and in half a mile turn right into Ridgeway. At the top of the hill


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turn left into Rawthorpe Lane (at this point Nether Hall is about a third of a mile away to the right). There is nothing left of the seventeenth century in Rawthorpe Lane, not even a causey, and it is difficult to imagine Cosin plodding along here with the dying boy unprotected from hail and rain. But his next stop was not far away and we can follow him along Rawthorpe Lane and into Dalton Fold Road on the right. The houses here very obviously post date the seventeenth century but in 275m. (300 yds.) we come to Dalton Fold on the left. Evi- dence that the Fold existed in Cosin's time is to be found in the first house on the left. Although cement rendering has obscured features such as the stone courses and quoins, the timber lintels and the thick walls are typical of the seventeenth century. And Dalton Fold is just two miles from Kirkheaton. A footway from Dalton Fold to Huddersfield, 'one little myle' away, ran down Kilner Bank through Carr Pit, along what is now Carr Pit Road to the bridge over the River Colne. The exact route out of the is now lost beneath Daiton Cricket Club and any search for a diversion is hazardous as, after negotiating a deep ditch just beyond the Fold, one comes, without warn- ing, upon the dangerous, precipitous and unguarded rock face of Brown Royd Quarry. Here, then, is our second diversion. Drive back down Dalton Fold Road, turn right and at Moldgreen turn right into Wakefield Road. Follow this to Somerset Bridge and on into town. Carr Pit Road is on the right just before the bridge. The next clue in the story is Mary Shaw's encounter with the travellers at 'Huddersfield towne end'. The name 'Town End' has not survived but Dr. George Redmonds firmly identifies it as the area later known as Bottom of Town - the Seed Hill, Shore Head area on the east side of Huddersficld. After leaving Mary Shaw, Cosin's route lay along the present day Oldgate to the constable's house somewhere by 'the churchyard side'. Here, at last, James' suffering ended; his journey was over. Cosin's promise to the boy that 'he might see the place where he might be buryed' was probably fulfilled. It is likely that James' bones, buried in a pauper's grave, lie somewhere in the churchyard. Once again we emphasize that we can never know, with certainty, which way Cosin and James took on that cold February day so long ago but our route is a likely way between Mirfield and Huddersfield in the seventeenth century and if it does nothing else it shows how later roads have changed our perception of direction. The modern road from Mirfield to Huddersfield runs


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in an entirely different direction.

THE RIVER COLNE & KILNER BANK When, in the last decade of the twentieth century, Huddersfield's im- pressive new sports stadium was built the opportunity was taken to improve and publicise an interesting walk between Bradley Mills and Aspley. For about a inile the walk follows the river where there are many relics of past industrial activity. As early as the seventeenth century a weir had been con- structed across the river with sluices to control a flow of water along a headrace or goit to the water wheel at Bradley Mills. At that time the water would be clear, sparkling and full of life. Certainly in 1743 the water of Colne was considered wholesome enough to provide the town with its first organised and copious supply (sec D.0O0.H.1 1 No.19). A century and a half later things were very different. As a result of rapid population growth and industrial expansion, domestic sewage and industrial waste had turned the river into a noisome, lifeless drain. Described in 1887 as 'a smelly mess of festering filth' the Colne was a cause of great concern to the Medical Officer of Health who had to resort to engaging men to re- move 'objectionable matter' from the river. Things improved after 1906 when the Huddersfield Corporation Act authorised the installation of sewage works at Cooper Bridge. Since then several Acts promoting river improvements have brought about something of an ecological renaissance and today the Colne supports a diverse wildlife including several species of fish, particu- larly trout and grayling, and many species of invertebrates. To make this a circular walk we return to Bradley Mills by way of Kilner Bank, the steep cliff on the east side of the river. Like the river, the condition of Kilner Bank deteriorated during the nineteenth century, its once lush veg- etation killed off by the noxious fumes sent out by the chemical, textile and iron works in the lower Colne Valley. For many decades Kilner Bank was a gaunt, treeless cliff but, as with the river, more enlightened times have brought about an uinprovement. Forty or so years ago much of Kilner Bank was replanted and now, unchallenged by air pollution, the trees have grown tall. Around the same time row upon row of back-to back houses were demol- ished and their sites support a mixed and luxuriant vegetation. Recently, The Kilner Bank Improvement Group was formed whose members aim to pro- tect the area's wildlife and preserve its many footpaths. They hope also to put a stop to the activities of the thoughtless people who, for some reason or


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other, regard it as their right to tip rubbish - anything from a plastic bag to a three piece suite - on the Bank. We hope we have whetted your appetite for the walk which includes wide views over the town and a good deal of history, much of which we leave to your own interpretation. The total length is only three miles and the going is reasonably easy in dry weather. A sunny, early spring day is the best time to go when the budding leaves, catkins and pussy-willow and the dan- delions, daisies and daffodils delight the eye but do not obscure the view. In summer, when the trees are in full leaf it is impossible to see the river, let alone any historical remains. On a non-match day there is adequate space at the stadium car-park which is where the walks begins. The maps on page 91 will help identify the features we mention.

THE RIVERSIDE WAY At the corner of the car-park a finger post points the way to Aspley. Follow the path past the car-park bridge (No.1 on nuap A) and continue between the river and the sports shop. For many years part of the land between the river and the present sta- dium buildings was occupied by two sizeable factories, Grove Dyeworks and Upper Dyeworks (No.2 on map A). The former had gone by 1930 but the buildings of the latter survived until the 1960s. Notice the shallow weir (No.3 on map A) in the river and the remains of a sluice on the near river bank. From here water entered the Upper Dyeworks via a short goit. Used water from the works was sent along a channel (No.4 on map A) to empty into the old Bradley Mills goit which at this point ran along the bottom of Kilner Bank. A few metres further on notice, on the far bank, a length of steel piling topped at the end by a mass of concrete. It was in this area that the British Dyes railway line crossed the river {No.5 on map A). The line, shown dotted on map A, which was laid during the First World War, ran from the factory at Ttimbridge to British (later L.C.I.) new site at Dalton (see D.0.H.3 No.48). To be accurate the railway here was recrossing the river as the line first crossed about a third of a mile away upstream as we shall see. By the 1950s the line had been lifted but traces of it remained until the stadium car- park was laid out in the 1990s.


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The next bridge (No.6 on map A) which leads directly from the car-park to the stadium entrance was built by Sellers International Enginecring Com- pany in memory of their former managing director, R.F. (Eric) Sellers who died in 1989. The dedication board explains that he was a lifelong supporter of Huddersfield Rugby League Club and was instrumental in Fartown's suc- cess for many years after the Second World War. Follow the path to the top of the rise and look for a seat overlooking the rIver. It is in this area that the Hebble Beck empties into the river. This water- course rises in the Grimescar area, flows south east through Birkby and Bay Hall and continues beneath Bradford Road and the canal to its confluence with the Colne. The stream, which near its source is called Grimescar Beck, was culverted for much (but not all) of its length in the nineteenth century. In its lower reaches it flowed through the town's open fields and in this section was, for centuries, known as the Town Brook. The change of name to Hebble Beck came in the late eighteenth century (see D.O0.H.3 No.12). From the seat notice, on the opposite bank, an arched stone culvert with retaining walls on both sides (No.7 on map A). We are reasonably certain that this is the outfall of the Hebble Beck although the situation is compli- cated by the existence of another similar, but newer, culvert only a few me- tres upstream. There are many outlets for industrial waste along the river bank but this one is surely too elaborate for such a purpose. There is cer- tainly no other culverted stream in the area and no map shows two outfalls at this point. Beyond the faint possibility that the newer culvert was built to take excess water from the Hebble Beck at times of flood we must admit that we can think of no good reason for its existence. From the seat return to the path which in 183m. (200 yds.) passes a large weir (No.8 on map A). On our first exploration we carelessly assumed that this is the weir con- nected with the ancient Bradley Mills goit, mentioned above. It is not. This weir, in fact, does not appear on maps before 1960 and it is, therefore, com- paratively recent. As the maps show neither sluices nor goits at the head of the weir it is difficult to surmise its purpose but it could perhaps have had something to do with the cooling towers which once stood on the opposite bank above the weir. Just a few metres further on, on both sides of the river, are the remains


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of the abutments of a footbridge. This originally led to a house called The Grove (No.9 on map A) on our side of the river, the location of which is now totally obscured. By 1918 The Grove had gone but the bridge was still in daily use as it gave access to a small colliery (No.10 on map A) opened up, perhaps. to provide a nearby factory with coal during the difficult days of the First World War. The entry to the single shaft of the colliery was some- where near the present fenced enclosure. Continue along the path which, in 92m. (100 yds.), reaches a new road and bridge, called Stadium Way (No.11 on map A). The scene here has changed dramatically in the last few decades with the realignment of roads and the removal of gas holders, cooling towers, brick sheds, old workshops, factory chimneys and scores of chemical stor- age tanks. Our route so far has followed the course of the British Dyes' railway and it is near here that the line crossed the river for the first time. The rail- way bridge is long gone but a remnant of it survives in the shape of four concrete cutwater footings (No.12 on map A) which can be seen in the river bed from the down stream side of Stadium Bridge. From Stadium Bridge go straight ahead on the path at the other side of the road towards the railed enclosure. Continue up the steps and pass the car-park, keeping to the right of the boulders. At the last boulder turn right, down and then up the gravel path. At the top of the rise look down on the river where there are the over- grown stonework remains of a weir (No.13 on map A). This was the weir built at the head of the long Bradley Mills goit. At this point the goit (No.14 on map A) ran along the flat marshy ground at the bottom of the bank. Both weir and goit are shown on the 1716 map of Huddersfield and they remained in use for some two hundred years. By 1918, however, the weir no longer spanned the full width of the river and a single line works tramway ran along the line of the goit towards the small colliery mentioned above. Unused and unmaintained, goit and weir soon degraded and by 1930 both had gone. For the next 320m. (350 yds.) the land on both sides of the river was once occupied by the aniline dyeworks of Messrs. Read Holliday and Sons which firm amaigamated with others in 1915 to form British Dyes. The railway mentioned above ran from and to a terminus in the works on the opposite side of the river.


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In 1899 the managers of Read Holliday's were offered a war-office con- tract to produce Lyddite (picric acid) on condition the company laid down the necessary plant. Lyddite, an extremely effective explosive, was used in vast quantities during the Boer War. The offer was accepted and sheds for manufacturing and drying the product were erected, wisely as it turned out, in an isolated position on our side of the river, well away from the main works. To make way for the plant and laboratories the few remaining trees in Kilner Bank Wood, which grew between the bottom of the Bank and the river, were cut down. Early one evening in May 1900, things went wrong. 'The inhabitants of Huddersfield abruptly realised what a bombardment by ILyddite shells was like when they were suddenly and fearfully alarmed by a great rumbling and booming noise, the rattling and breaking of windows and the shaking of their premises to the foundations." So begins an Examiner account of a huge explosion in one of Holliday's picric acid sheds. The incident started with a small fire caused by a spark from the chisel of a workman who was carrying out repairs to a hydro extractor. James Turner, the chemist in charge, who was in the shed with five workmen noticed the fire at 5.40 p.m., some dis- tance from where he was working. He later expressed his opinion that if the man nearest the fire had possessed sufficient presence of mind to merely put his cap over the flames, the fire would have been easily extinguished. In- stead, the man and his four mates made themselves scarce leaving Turner to tackle the fire with a bucket of water. By that time the flames had spread and the water had little effect. Turner hastily left the premises. The fire spread rapidly through the stone-built shed, which was forty feet long, twenty-five feet wide and roofed with wooden joists and stone slabs. At 5.50 p.m., only ten minutes after the fire began, the shed blew up in a sheet of flame. Pieces of wood, iron, slate and stoue were driven with terrific force in all directions and a coluunn of smoke rose high into the sky. The explosion also wrecked the nearby benzol and aniline laboratories but, although a number of people were hit by flying debris, miraculously there were no fatalities. The fire brigade offices in Princess Street had received an alarm at 5.45 p.m. and fourteen firemen with a horse drawn engine and a steam engine left unmediately for the scene. They had reached Turnbridge when the shed went


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up but when they arrived at the scene there was no fire to fight as the explo- sion had blown out the flames. Despite the mishap, the manufacture of pic- ric acid proved extremely profitable and continued throughout the duration of the war. Perhaps we should add that men working in the picric acid sheds received a well earned bonus of two shillings and sixpence (12%p) a week on top of the usual rate of sixpence (2¥%p) an hour. In 1967, when one of us explored this area for a project on Read Holliday's, the remains of the shed could still be seen with huge slabs of masonry lying around at crazy angles. Today only some low stonework, a pipe and three iron joists remain and they have to be searched for in the grass. Thirty five years ago the whole scene hereabouts was very different. Two wide cobbled roads, which formerly gave access to the sheds and labo- ratories, remained in position. Buried under the silt, which over the years had slipped down the hillside, were the brick floors of sheds with wooden dramage channels running alongside. In various places, water running off the hiliside had cut channels which revealed deposits of colour and it was possible to find such chemical debris as jars, bottles and carboy tops. Continue along the path and, just before the steps, notice on the banks of the river the remains of the buttresses of a bridge (No.1 5 on map B) which once linked the picric acid plant on our side of the river with the main works. The site of Read Holliday's, and later of British Dyes, is presently occupied by the neatly laid out buildings of Holset Engineering although a link with the past remains in the shape of one of Holliday's red brick sheds. A flight of easily negotiated steps now leads up a steep bank. At the top, after about 18m. (20 yds) notice, on the right, an old rubbish tip which has obviously been dug over by modern-day bottle and pot collectors. In Janu- ary 1887 the Council's Sanitary Inspector recommended to the Scavenging and Nuisance Committee the advisability of using part of the slope of Kilner Bank for tipping purposes and the pottery shards and broken glass left in the tip certainly suggest that they were deposited here more than a century ago. Continue along the narrow path at the side of the allotments and follow it uphill. 275m. (300 yds) after the steps, just after the path starts to descend, notice a stepped footpath (No.16 on map B) coming in from the left, com- plete with its old handrail and lamp. Several paths coming over Kilner Bank


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from Dalton converge just above Kilner Bank Road and continue down the hillside on this path, making directly for the bridge over the Colne. This then could be the way Abraham Cosin and James Stancliffe came in 1689. Just before the path, what appears to be a short lane with a gentler gradient, was, in fact, the back way to a long-gone row of cottages. Hereabouts there are the debris remains of a number of other long lost buildings. Follow the old footway to the bottom of the hill to its junction with two paths. Carr Pit, the area to the right of the footway, has been banked and lev- elled several times over the last hundred and fifty years and its once open aspect disappeared in the 1980s when the present industrial estate was built. Despite all the changes the old path has survived on more or less its ancient course. Thus when (and if) Cosin led his dying charge this way he would turn right at this point to follow the path across Carr Pit which led directly to the bridge over the river at Aspley (No.17 on map B). Although it is much altered and includes the present day Carr Pit Road (No.18 on map B) this route can still be followed. The name 'Carr Pit' appears on Crosland's nap of 1826 and, as it takes some time for a place-name to become established, it must have been known for at least two hundred years and probably much longer. There seems never to have been a pit nor a colliery nor a shaft here and we have been told by a friend who lived in nearby Silver Street (No.19 on map B) in 1916 that locals believed the 'Pit' element referred to small day-holes driven into the side of Kilner Bank. There is, though, another possible explanation of the name. In the northern dialect 'carr' is a rock or a rocky shelf - an apt enough description of Kilner Bank. Interestingly, one or two Carr place names (Carr Green, Carr End) survive on the high ground above the Bank. It is possible then that the steep cliff was originally called Carr and if this is so then the 'Pit' element is easily explained by contrasting the low lying area with the Bank - it is at the bottom, or far below, or deep in the nether regions or, as the Bible has it, a place to go down to (they that go down into the pit. Job 33:24). Over the years, Carr Pit has, for widely differing reasons, been a famil- iar place to many people: to travellers making for the bridge into town, to street sweepers and employees of the Corporation's scavenging and sanitary departments, to horticulturists and gardeners, to rugby and soccer players and to local children.


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For more than sixty years Carr Pit was a noisome and unpleasant place. In the mid nineteenth century it was the site of the Huddersfield Street Ma- nure Yard where horse dung - and there would be a lot of it in those days - was tipped by men employed to clean the street. Later, after the formation of the Borough, the Corporation's Scavenging and Nuisance Department's workmen also used Carr Pit as a repository for the ordure collected from streets and drains. In 1880, for example, the department removed 1332 cart- loads of street sweepings, 1020 cart-loads of slop from drains and 597 cart- loads of refuse from local markets. That amount of tipping went on year after year and there is no doubt that many of the loads ended up at Carr Pit. It is likely that human waste was also tipped at Carr Pit. In 1872 Hud- dersfield adopted the Rochdale system of sewage management whereby closet tubs and their contents were collected weekly by Sanitary Department work- men to be emptied and taken to the department's depot in Emerald Street (formerly Sanitary Lane) for cleaning and disinfecting (see D.O0.H.3 No.45). By the early 1880s, the department was dealing with some five hundred and fifty thousand tubs a year but while the Council minutes reeord the amount of 'excremental matter' colleeted they give no of where it was tipped. However, a report in 1887 of an accumulation of water at the bottom of Kilner Bank 'next to the sanitary tip at Carr Pit' indicates that the depart- ment was active there and this is confirmed in the same year by a comment that the disrepair of the footpath leading from Carr Pit Road to Kilner Bank had been caused by carts belonging to the Sanitary Department. Before local authorities learned how to purify and filter sewage, the disposal of human waste presented enormous problems. Although a large amount of the waste would be urine which would be quickly absorbed into the ground and although the solids would eventually decompose, the yearly collection must nevertheless have been overwhelming. To try to understand the amount involved, the one of us who enjoys such a challenge, used the following formula to calculate the approximate cubic content thus: Assuming the contents of a tub to be 1ft. Gins. x 1ft. 3ins. then the area of a tub (tr?) x depth of a tub x No. of tubs = 3.14 x .75 x .75 x 1.25 x 550,000 = 1,214,297 cubic feet (34,364 cubic metres) To put that figure into an understandable, but definitely imaginary, context there would be enough sewage collected in one year to spread one foot deep


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over twenty-seven football pitches - or for those who are not Imperialists, one metre deep over eight pitches. With that amount of sewage to dispose of, Carr Pit, in use as a tip since the 1850s, would be seen by the Sanitary Comunittee as an obvious repository for at least part of their burden. A Sanitary Department minute dated 9th August 1887 resolved, 'that the remaining half of Charles Rowlands wages be paid, he having been on half wages during his three week illness caused through the smells arising from Carr Pit Tip. For a man in those days to receive even half wages dur- ing his illncss proves, we believe, that the health problems associated with Carr Pit and its miasma were freely and publicly acknowledged. With the laying of intercepting sewers from most parts of the Borough in the late 1880s and the opening of the sewage works in 1906 the problem of disposal eased but tipping sewage from the outlying districts and dump- ing drain sludge continued at Carr Pit until 1922. Our friend, who lived in Silver Street during the Great War, remembers, as a little child, digging with his friends in the deposits in the hope of finding something of value. 'We came across the nasty stuff , he told us, 'but we were mucky little beggars and if we found a penny it was worth a smack.' After tipping ceased, the ground was levelled and re-banked and by the 1930s a number of allotment gardens (No.20 on map B) had been estab- lished on the tip. Given the nature of the underlying soil no doubt the annual yield of vegetables and fruit was phenomenal. A few years later, a sports field was laid out alongside the allotments. (No.21 on map B). One of us, who played rugby there many, many years ago, remembers an ash path run- ning across the field and a small changing room without the benefit of a communal bath! Today, the large premises of J.T. Ellis & Co. Ltd. cover the area of allotments and playing fields. Still at the bottom of the hill, notice the small green triangle between the two paths. This is all that remains of the area of a children's playground (No.22 on map B) where there was space to play the absorbing games of childhood: dusty bluebelis, the alley O, Mr. Wolf, tin can squat, tag (called 'it' in these parts) and a multitude of skipping games. Here also were to be found such amusements as seesaws, long rocking horses, slides, roundabouts (both barrel and maypole shaped) individual swings and the ever popular 'big swing' which moved horizontally and could be made to carry six or


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seven children to great heights. None of these delights had any safety de- vice, all were on hard standing and when big boys and girls took over their operation little boys and girls were thrilled to be frightened. The obvious dangers were, in fact, cheerfully ignored by children, who knew their own capabilities, and by parents who, sensibly, stayed at home. Much of the former playground is now occupied by a bank of large satellite dishes. On reflec- tion, this is quite fitting given modern children's enthusiasm for the ing screen. Follow the left hand path to reach Wakefield Road (No.23 on map B), turn left and in 83m. (90 yds) left again into Back Chapel Lane. Turn right into Chapel Lane and at the end turn left into Chapel Street and at the road junction take the left fork to Kilner Bank. For the next section of the walk it is sensible to keep an ear and an eye open for traffic, to walk at the side of the road and, where necessary, to cross it carefully. The green field on the right hand side of Chapel Street now owned by Moldgreen School was the site of the Moldgreen United Methodist Church and Sunday School. The buildings were demolished in the 1960s but the street-name remains to remind us of its existence.

KILNER BANK Just after the fork into Kilner Bank, the plot of land on the left was called Robinson's Fold. An old gatepost and a few bricks and worked stones partly buried in the undergrowth are all that is left of a dozen or so small houses that stood in the Fold and, here and there, a few raspberry canes and one or two fruit trees survive from their gardens. Over the Fold there is an attractive view beyond Wakefield Road of the heavily wooded slopes rising to the high ground at Alimondbury and Newsome. On the right hand side is more building debris, the remains of a row of nineteenth century houses which extended as far as Mount Zion Road some 320m. (350 yds.) away. The houses were demolished in the late 1960s and now their sites support a rich mixed vegetation which includes beech, birch, ash, sycamore, hawthorne, brambles, and, in season, convolvulous, thistles and rose bay willow herb. It is soon obvious to anyone who comes this way that some memory of


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the tradition started, but long ago abandoned, by the Corporation of dump- ing rubbish on Kilner Bank lives on unofficially in the minds of people who care nothing for the environment. It is difficult to understand their motives as much of the rubbish - anything from full bin bags to old furniture and carpets - must have been brought here by car and could just as easily have been taken to the official tip, less than a mile away. It is a problem very much on the minds of the members of the Kilner Bank Improvement Group, one they hope to solve in the near future. Already there is a sign stating that the penalty for tipping is £20,000. Soon after Mount Zion Road we come to the footpath on the left that we met earlier at a lower level. Notice its alignment with the cobbled path on the right coming over Kilner Bank from Daiton. 9m. (10 yds.) further on, at the end of a dry stone wall on the right, a straight vertical joint marks the site of another row of houses. A few worked stones may be seen in the bedded wall and at the end of the site an old gateway and path lead into a long-lost garden where old thresholds, flags and door and window jambs have been left by the demolition workers. Opposite, were more houses their site now colonised by an abundance of nettles. About a tenth of a mile further on, just past telegraph pole No.11, look on one of the stone outcrops on the right for a bench mark. The 0.8. map records the height here as 331.44 feet above mean sea level. The level given at the bridge at Bradley 4 | | Mills is 197.50 so we have climbed 134 feet to reach this point. Opposite, at a wide break in the trees on the left hand side of the road, spare a few minutes to admire the extensive view. Looking from right to left some of the most obvious places and features to pick out include: the water works buildings at Fixby, Grimescar Woods, St. John's Church at Birkby, the Clock Tower and the Church at Lindley, the railway viaduct, Highfields, the Royal Infirmary, Fitzwilliain Street, the line of the Ramsden Canal, Holy Trinity Church, the Cross on the War Memorial in Greenhead Park, Pole Moor, St. Peter's Church, Crosland Hill Airfield, St. Luke's Hospital, Kingsgate Shopping Centre and the ring road, St. Paul's Church, the University, Shooter's Nab and West Nab, Newsome Mills and Castle Hill


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One interesting site in the valley bottom is now occupied by the car- park which may be seen on the far side of St. Andrew's Road behind a modern brick building. This area was where, in the 1870s, the Corporation built the first artisans' houses in the town, men- by Alderman Denham in his speech at the opening of the Town Hall. In this small area, bounded on one side by the canal and on the other by St. Andrew's Road, were no fewer than a hun- dred and eighty six houses, twenty-seven along St. Andrew's Road and the rest set out in short streets optimistically named Aster, Violet, Hope, Rose, Lily and Daisy Streets (see plan). Most of the houses had their own outside closet but a few, in Violet Street and Hope Street, were back-to-back and had shared closets, No doubt those families who were removed from crowded cellar dwellings into the new council houses regarded them as palaces. The houses were demolished in the 1960s. Half a mile further on, notice, over on the right, the pavilion of Dalton Cricket Club and its banked up ground. Just beyond the pavilion, but not visible from here, is Dalton Fold. The mounds below the cricket field are spoil heaps associated with the Brown Royd Quarry. After it was worked out, a brick works was established on the quarry floor to exploit the brick shales in the area. The small factory has been converted into a attractive single storey house and the owner, Chris Haigh, is, through her research, able to place the whereabouts of the kilns, boiler house, engine room and the chimney which was a hundred feet high. Beyond the old brickworks the massive sandstone quarry with its sheer, unprotected face soon comes into view. Here, on both sides of the road, in defiance of a 'strictly no tipping' sign, rubbish dumping is at its worst. When we were proving the walk, for example, someone had recently pushed an armchair, a sofa and a table down the bank on the left hand side. About 230m. (250 yds.) past the quarry gates, the log path coming in


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from the right is of fairly recent origin. It is a foot route from Rawthorpe to the Stadium but it also attracts the activities of would-be motor-bike scram- blers. Some 75m. (80 yds.) after the log path, take the path on the left down the hillside towards the Stadium. Follow the fence round to the right and then to the left and near the bottom of the hill veer right (avoiding the very steep slope ahead) to Bradley Mills Road. There turn left and return to the car-park. N.B. Since we put this walk together the efforts of the Kilner Bank Improvement Group have started to show. A new section of path has been laid out (near Stadium Way) seats have appeared along Riverside Way and a skip has been provided in the Brown Royd area in an attempt to stop casual dumping. Doubtless there will be other improvements by the time our book is published.


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Appendix No. 1

Anyone who has given more than a passing glance at the exterior of the Town Hall will be aware that the inscribed brass plate described by the Town Clerk at the stone-laying ceremony is now nowhere to be seen. Since the stone itself was not inscribed it is impossible to identify it, and the location of the 'time capsule', with any certainty. We thought, however, that a tentive identification might be possible if we could locate some likely fixing holes on one of the stones. We know the stone is in Princess Street and most likely on one of the corners but, unfortunately, what we found were identical fixings near both comers which, in any case, were prob- ably too low down to be likely candidates. Prepared to be convinced that the stone was on neither corner we inspected the rest of the frontage and found a multitude of old fixings. We admitted defeat. We have been unable to find out why or when the plate was removed but we felt sure it would have been preserved and, perhaps, put on display within the building. Interested in seeing it, we initially contacted the Civic Department only to be met with marked dismterest. Determined not to be fobbed off we visited the Town hall and there met Mr. Leonard Spence, Mayor's Chauffeur Attendant, who was kind, courteous and willing to help. He told us that he was fairly sure that what we were seeking was not on display anywhere in the Town Hall. He was also reasonably sure it was not stored in the cellars as he had recently searched them, at the instigation of a member of Council, looking for, coincidentally, the location of the 'time cap- sule'. So, for the present, all we can say is that the historic inscribed plate is missing. It is, of course, possible that in the three years separating the stone-laying from the completion of the building the idea of a commemorative plate was forgotten but this seems unlikely as those involved would surely be eager to have a public record of their part in the event. We were also curious about the whereabouts of the trowel and mallet used by Alderman Woodhead to lay the stone and the key used by Alderman Denham to open the doors. We were allowed to inspect the magnificent collection of silver in the reception room of the Town Hall and Mr. Spence was kind enough to open one of the display cabinets (which involved deactivating an alarm connected to the police station) to allow us to examine a likely looking key. The key and its case are sealed in a glass and wood box and no inscription is visible but from the description given in an account of the opening ceremony there is no doubt at all that this is the key used to open the Town Hall on 26th October 1881. Either Alderman Denham had changed his mind about the disposition of the key or his family had presented it to the Council after his death. There was no sign of the silver and gilt trowel nor of the ivory and silver mallet.


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Appendix No.2

To summarise the remarkable honours and achievements of Sir Walter Parratt we include a copy of the inscription, written on vel- lum, and placed within the casket: Here rest the ashes of SIR WALTER PARRATT Organist of St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, 1882 - 1924 Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order, Knight Bachelor, Master of the Music to Queen Victoria, King Edward VII, King George V; Master of Arts, Oxford; Doctor of Music., Oxford, Cambridge, and Durham; Honorary Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford; Fellow of the Royal College of Organists; Professor of the Royal College of Music; Professor of Music, Oxford University, 1908-18; Past Grand Organist of the Freemasons of England; Son of Thomas and Sarah Parratt, of Huddersfield. Born 1841 Died 1924.


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Appendix No.3

The two photographs below were taken at the time of the Tenant Right Case. The top one shows Edge House from Manchester Road and the houses built on the steeply sloping bank that have since been demolished. The lower picture shows Edge House at closer quarters. It could well be that the man standing at the front door is Joseph Thornton.

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Most but not all the books, maps and documents listed below are available at the local studies department of the Huddersfield Central Library, Ramsden Street.


Documents and maps: SURVEYS AND RENTALS OF HUDDERSFIELD 1716-1797



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