Huddersfield Town Hall
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 It may have been compiled many years ago and could be out of date.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.
Efforts to build a Town Hall for Huddersfield were first suggested in 1853. J P Pritchett, an architect from York designed a Town Hall for a site in St George's Square. However this was an unsuccessful attempt and the site is now occupied by Brittania Buildings.
When Huddersfield became a Borough in 1868 it was decided that there was an urgent need for a Town Hall as the existing accommodation for corporation departments was scattered and inconvenient.
John Henry Abbey the Borough Surveyor was asked to submit plans for a serviceable building which may later convert to a warehouse should the need arise.
Work began in 1875 under the instructions of the foremen from the firm of Abraham Graham, a local builder. The building in Ramsden Street was completed in 1876 and had an official opening on June 26th 1878. The Mayor, Alderman Joseph Woodhead opened the door with a key presented to him by Mr Abbey. The Town Clerk's Department, Borough Surveyor, Waterworks Engineer, Borough Accountant and Borough Analyst all had their offices within the building, together with the Mayor's Parlour, Council Chambers and Reception Rooms.
John Hill was the contractor for the masonry work, John Rushworth for the joinery and W E Jowett for the plastering etc. The cost of all this work amounted to around £19,386 by the end of August 1881.
On 12th October 1877 a strong deputation waited on the Mayor, pressing for the provision of a public Concert Hall. It was to this end that a foundation stone was laid by the Mayor, Alderman Joseph Woodhead on the same day as the official opening of the Corporate Offices.
The building of the Concert Hall began initially under the supervision of John Henry Abbey, the Borough Surveyor and following his death by his successor Ben Stocks, helped by Thomas Wood of Huddersfield and Frederick Wild of Bradford.
In the cavity beneath the foundation stone was placed a tin box containing a cabinet portrait of Joseph Woodhead, cartes of J F Brigg (ex-mayor 1876) and John H Abbey, Councillor Glendinning's card, a Huddersfield Examiner, Chronicle and Weekly News of 22 June 1878, one shilling, one sixpence and one penny.
The Concert Hall was built entirely from Crosland Moor stone by Abraham Graham. As well as a large public hall, complete with organ, the building also housed the Borough Court and it's police officials plus the School Board offices. On Tuesday 18th October 1881, the Concert Hall was officially opened by the Mayor Alderman Denham. Mr Stocks presented the Mayor with a ceremonial key with which he opened the main door of the Town Hall.
It is said that the Concert Hall cost around £57,000 to complete.
Plans for the Town Hall are available at the WYAS: Kirklees office.