Discovering Old Huddersfield: Part Two (1995) by Gordon and Enid Minter

Discovering Old Huddersfield was written by Gordon and Enid Minter, and published in five parts by Barden Press from 1993 to 2002.

The series takes the form of several driving tours, with occasional interspersed walks, covering the centre of Huddersfield and several of the surrounding districts

The Huddersfield Local History Society republished all five parts in 2010 in digital form and the entire book can be downloaded as a 621-page PDF from their web site:

Discovering Old Huddersfield: Part Two

cover of part two

The second book in the series contains two tours:

  1. Palaces and Pleasure Grounds
  2. The First Turnpike Road 1759
The first tour starts in St. George's Square, travels through an industrialised area to the south and west of the town, and ends at Greenhead Park — one of the pleasure grounds of the title. The provision of public parks in the late nineteenth century stemmed from a growing conviction that an urban population could and should benefit from open spaces and an acquaintance with nature. In addition to large landscaped areas like Greenhead, Huddersfield had a number of smaller parks and public gardens and the tour passes the sites of three of these. At the opening of Greenhead Park in 1884, the Mayor commented that such a place would have had little value, sixty years previously, when people had no spare time to avail themselves of recreation. The mills and factories where those people worked were described by G.S. Phillips, in 1848, as "enchanted palaces" and, as the tour crosses the Colne Valley, these improbably named buildings are much in evidence. Of course, we do not concentrate exclusively on parks and mills as the tour passes many other interesting features such as canals, turnpike roads, railways, public baths, schools, co-operative stores, hotels and cinemas all of which played an important part in the development of the area or in the daily life of its people.

An Act of Parliament passed in 1758 gave Huddersfield its first turnpike road. Known as the Wakefield to Austerlands road, it passed through the townships of Horbury, Overton, Lepton, Almondbury, Huddersfield and Marsden on its way to Austerlands on the Yorkshire Lancashire border. There it joined up with a road leading to Manchester which had been turnpiked a quarter of a century earlier. This belated response by the people of Yorkshire to the efforts of their neighbours over the Pennines was a direct result of the growth of trade between the two counties.

Our second tour which follows part of the route of this old highway allows us to comment not only on the many interesting features it passes but also on the provision of early turnpikes. As we have described sections of the road at Lepton, Almondbury and Aspley in earlier books, in this tour we pick it up at Shorehead and follow it through Crosland Moor and Holt Head to Marsden. Unlike the first tour which is concentrated into six eventful and industrialised miles near to the town, this tour stretches out to the western hills and, where it crosses moorland and heath, offers panoramic views on all sides.

Further Reading

Discovering Old Huddersfield: Part Two (1995) by Gordon and Enid Minter

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This page was last modified on 18 May 2016 and has been edited by Dave Pattern.

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