Huddersfield Railway Station

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This is a backup of the West Yorkshire Archive Service's "Off the Record" wiki from 2015. The live went offline in 2016 and remains unavailable.

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 It may have been compiled many years ago and could be out of date.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.

Only the determination of the local inhabitants ensured the construction of a railway which made communication possible. The Huddersfield and Manchester Railway and Canal Company was formed in April 1844. The Bill for the proposed line, commencing at Cooper Bridge, passing through Huddersfield, up the Colne Valley and under Standedge was given Royal Assent on 21st July 1845.

The station was designed by James Pigot Pritchett,an architect born in Wales in 1789, but moved to and practiced from York in 1813. He also designed many other buildings in Huddersfield eg. the Lion Arcade, Ramsden Street Chapel, Parish Church and the Huddersfield College. By 1852 Pritchett occupied offices in New Street, Huddersfield and was responsible for many other commissions in Huddersfield and Leeds until his death in 1868.

Under instructions from Joseph Kaye (1780-1858), noted builder of Huddersfield, work on levelling the ground on which to erect the Railway Station began in 1845. On Friday 9th October 1846, the foundation stone, complete with bottle containing a copy of the Leeds Mercury and various coins of the realm was laid by the Right Honourable Fitzwilliam.

It is said that the Railway Station cost £20,000 to build. It has a frontage of some 410 feet and still retains a great sense of beauty and dignity and is one of the finest in the country. It was constructed at the joint expense of the Huddersfield and Manchester Railway and Canal Company (which in 1847 became part of the London and North West Railway), and the Manchester and Leeds Railway Company. Until the building of the railway and railway station in Huddersfield, travellers from Huddersfield had to be content with horse buses which conveyed them to the station at Cooper Bridge.

The station was partly opened for the commencement of services in August 1847 and by 1848 the central portion was complete followed by the outer wings housing the booking offices, waiting rooms and parcels office; then the final touch, in 1850 a clock supplied by a local jeweller was placed in position. During this time The George Hotel, Huddersfield was being built to provide accommodation for the expected travellers.

The original layout of the railway itself consisted of a platform road and a through line with a 'scissors crossing' between them in the centre of the station to enable trains in either direction to draw up the platform. There was only one platform until the enlargement of the station during 1883-1886.

To complete the approach to the Railway Station, a statue of Sir Robert Peel was erected in 1873. [1]. A famous statesman, Peel was responsible for the re-organisation of the police force and he also helped in the abolition of the Corn Laws [2] . The statue was made of Sicilian marble and decayed so badly the it became unrecognisable and was destroyed.

Huddersfield Corporation purchased the railway station facade and the front buildings (which saved them from demolotion), platform one and the railway track adjoining it, together with the forecourt from British Rail at a cost of £52,400 as a kind of permanent memorial to celebrate the Centenary of Huddersfields Incorporation as a Borough.

Records relating to the railway station are available at WYAS: Kirklees office under the following reference numbers DD/RE/43, DD/R/dd/V11/160, KX272.