Britannia Works, Birkby

This page is a bare-bones entry for a specific location marked on an old map. More detailed information may eventually be added...


  • location: Wheathouse Road, Birkby
  • status: partially exists and now in different use
  • category: engineering works

Built as engineering works for Hopkinsons Ltd. After the firm axed around 180 jobs in February 2005, the works were closed.[1] Most of the site was later cleared for a residential estate.

Discovering Old Huddersfield

Extract from Discovering Old Huddersfield (1993-2002) by Gordon & Enid Minter:

On the left hand side of Wheathouse Road the huge Britannia Works cannot be missed. These are the premises of Messrs Hopkinson, known more familiarly to all Huddersfield people as "Hops" In the 1840s the founder of the firm, Joseph Hopkinson, began to manufacture safety mountings and valves for mill boilers in a workshop in Lockwood Road and by 1853 he had patented the compound safety valve. Fame and fortune followed and in 1871 the firm moved to larger premises in Viaduct Street. Soon Hopkinson's reputation spread world-wide and their valves played a part in the industrial development of many countries. More patented inventions led to further expansion and in 1904 the Britannia works was opened. It was unusual at that time for a town-centre firm to move to the suburbs but the location at Birkby offered the opportunity of further expansion if and when it became necessary. Later, the firm extended their activities into electrical valve control and for many years they were one of the foremost employers of labour in the town — so much so that most local people have either an ancestor, a relative or a friend who worked at "Hops".


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Notes and References

  1. "The end for Hopkinsons" in Huddersfield Daily Examiner (11/Feb/2005).