The following section was written by Philip Henry Lee (1872-1944) and is in the Public Domain, as the author died more than 70 years ago.
By Philip H. Lee.
The first descriptive account of Huddersfield was written and published in the year 1859 by the late Charles C. P. Hobkirk, honorary secretary of the Huddersfield Literary and Scientific Society. The work was inscribed to the Right Honourable the Earl of Dartmouth. A second edition containing additional information was published in 1868. Both books contain geological, botanical and zoological facts relating to Huddersfield which have not appeared in any subsequent work of a similar nature. These facts are of great value, and no one who is interested in local history should be without copies of the books.
In 1898 the late D. F. E. Sykes published "Huddersfield and its Vicinity." Mr. Sykes was possessed of considerable literary ability, and he correlated in an interesting and chronological form all the scattered threads dealing with the town from its early days. Notwithstanding a few errors this book still remains a standard work, and is one of the few books on local history to include a really good index.
Mr. Sykes was also the author of a number of other books, all of great local interest. It is only during recent years that his exceptional talents have been recognised, and his death removed a writer of the type never too common, and one which we could ill afford to lose.
Mr. Taylor Dyson, M.A., head master of King James’s Grammar School, Almondbury, followed in the footsteps of Mr. Sykes with his "History of Huddersfield and District from the earliest times down to 1932." This is one of the most useful books written about Huddersfield, and contains a wealth of information made available to the ordinary reader for the first time, but unfortunately it is not fully indexed.
A Versatile Writer.
A small book which merits attention has for its title "Walks Round Huddersfield," and was written by George Searle Phillips, former secretary of the Huddersfield Mechanics' Institute. This book was published in 1848, and printed by Bond & Hardy, Huddersfield.
George Searle Phillips, who was widely known as "January Searle," was born at Peterborough in 1815. He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he took the degree of B.A. In 1845 he was appointed editor of "The Leeds Times," and the following year came to Huddersfield. After a few years he went to America and in turn was editor of the "Chicago Tribune" and the "New York Sun." Phillips died under tragic circumstances on February 7th, 1859. In addition to newspaper contributions he was the author of several books.
G. W. Tomlinson.
Local antiquarians owe a debt of deep gratitude to G. W. Tomlinson, who left behind him so many valuable records. In 1875 he published "Some Account of the Founders of the Huddersfield Subscription Library, 1807," which contains a miniature biography of each founder.
At the time of compiling his book Mr. Tomlinson said: "There is little time to lose, because Huddersfield is now in a sort of transitional state. Old buildings are being pulled down, old landmarks are being removed, and old faces are rapidly passing away. Very soon the younger generation will not have the faintest idea of what the good old town was like in the days before railways and telegraphs, in the days when the George Hotel formed one side of the Market Place, when Westgate and Kirkgate were the principal thoroughfares and Castlegate a fashionable street." How true of the town to-day, in view of the many great changes foreshadowed by the municipality.
A brief account of Richard Oastler and the Factory Movement has been written by the late Mr. W. R. Croft. Although of value it does scant justice to the personality and labours of a truly remarkable man. A complete study of Oastler is required, and it is good news that the editor of the present Directory intends to undertake the task in the immediate future.
Three Beautiful Books.
In 1929 Mr. Legh Tolson published "The History of the Church of St. John the Baptist, Kirkheaton." This is one of the finest church histories ever written, and Mr. Tolson devoted many years to the task of compiling the work. The book contains many beautiful illustrations and is printed on hand-made paper. It is a great pity that so few copies were printed.
The late Mr. S. L. Mosley was a well-known local writer on nature subjects. In spite of all his wonderful knowledge of birds and flowers he was the most unassuming of men. He wrote a number of books and was a frequent contributor to "The Huddersfield Examiner." In August, 1915, he published one of his most important books, "Birds of Huddersfield."’ Mr. Mosley dedicated this work to his father, James Reid Mosley, who was born at Kirkburton some years previous to 1818, and died on September 20th, 1881.
Another valuable addition to local literature was made by Mr. Peter Cardno in 1933 with his book "Past Artists in Huddersfield." The author of this most interesting work has a perfect knowledge of his subject. This is obvious from every page, and it is a fact that with only one exception Mr. Cardno had personal knowledge of all the artists. The book contains twelve beautiful illustrations.
A Local List.
In a short article it is difficult to give more than brief particulars of some of the most important books written on Huddersfield and the surrounding district, but the following stand out and deserve mention:—
The Tolson Memorial Museum publications are edited by Dr. T. W. Woodhead, Ph.D., M.Sc., F.L.S. Nine publications have been issued and the most recent one "A History of the Huddersfield Woollen Industry" is a comprehensive account of the textile trade from early days to the present time.
Some years ago the late Mr. George Gelder wrote a number of interesting articles on the old chapels in the vicinity of Huddersfield and narrated in an entertaining manner many anecdotes of the old worthies who were such regular attendants.
Carrying on the Tradition.
Coming to more recent times, Mr. Philip Ahier has written about the old halls and manor houses in the district, and Mr. Stanley Chadwick, who is responsible for the article on Huddersfield in the present Directory, has made a special study of the old inns in the town.
In this article reference has only been made to writers of local history. Huddersfield, however, can claim to be the home of many authors of worldwide fame.