Byram Arcade, Westgate, Huddersfield
The following source list was originally available only on paper in one of the West Yorkshire Archive Service offices. It may have been compiled many years ago and could be out of date. It was designed to act as a signpost to records of interest on a particular historical subject, but may relate only to one West Yorkshire district, or be an incomplete list of sources available. Please feel free to add or update with any additional information.
The plans for Byram Buildings, consisting mainly of warehouses were drawn up in 1871 as part of one of the commercial developments undertaken by the Ramsden Estate for J W Ramsden.
The plans for Byram Arcade were drawn up in 1878 and the building was complete by 1881.
The architect was William Henry Crosland, Architect, 1835-? though the original schemes for Byram Buildings and Byram Arcade were devised by Isaac Hordern. He was not a professional architect, but he was an employee of the Ramsden Estate and as such was very much involved with the Ramsden's major town centre development in the late 19th century. It would appear that he did have some architectural ability, and he put forward his own suggestions, with sketches, for the design of Kirkgate buildings and Byram Arcade when W H Crosland was preparing the plans.
The builder responsible for Byram Arcade was a local man Ben Graham. He was born in 1841 and lived at Black Dyke, Fartown. The Graham family were already established in the town as building contractors, his father Abraham and his grandfather Ben had already been in the business at their main yard at Folly Hall. They also had a quarry at Crosland Moor and employed stone masons there. During the busy season, Ben Graham employed some two hundred hands. He was also responsible for the building of (amongst others) the Huddersfield Technical College and Spring Grove School.
Byram Arcade has much wrought ironwork used on its interior, including balustrades and handrails, and also has a gabled fascade. It has a carved decoration over the entrance from Westgate.
In 1985 restoration work amounted to £250,000 and more recently the Arcade has had improvements carried out which included a new lift.
Huddersfield Local History library has newspaper cuttings relating to the restoration of the Arcade. In addition they have various photographs, postcards, town centre maps, directories of Huddersfield, 'Shopping Arcades'- a gazetteer of extant British Arcades 1817-1939' by Margaret MacKeith, 1985 (which has details of over 100 British Arcades and includes a list of British Arcades in chronological order).
WYAS: Kirklees has the building plans for the Arcade- reference numbers Central 142 & 700.
The Ramsden Archives 1875-1876 includes Isaac Hordern's sketches and notes DD/RE/48, DD/RE/23, DD/RE/467. Correspondence regarding the Arcade is also in this series.
NB- We have permission to copy the plans.