Folly Hall, Huddersfield
Folly Hall was the nickname given to a building erected in the late 1700s for Marmaduke Hebden by Blind Jack Metcalf on the northern side of the Huddersfield and Woodhead Turnpike road, which had been surveyed by Metcalf.
The building later became the Commercial beerhouse before being demolished in the early 1900s.
According to local historian Philip Ahier in The Legends and Traditions of Huddersfield and Its District, there were two theories to explain the nickname:
- the location was prone to flooding, so it was a folly to build anything there
- it was a folly to build anything so far from the centre of Huddersfield
Ahier also noted that locals referred to the building as "The Cottage by the Sea".
The name Folly Hall now refers to the area at the foot of Chapel Hill.
Discovering Old Huddersfield (1993-2002) by Gordon & Enid Minter:
Folly Hall, the area at the end of Colne Road and the bottom of Chapel Hill, owes its name to the enterprise of one Marmaduke Hebden, a man of property in Huddersfield in the eighteenth century. Duke Hebden was the only Huddersfield man to invest in the new Huddersfield to Woodhead turnpike of 1768. Confident that the new road would extend development southwards from the town centre, Hebden commissioned Blind Jack Metcalf to build a row of four tenements near to the bridge over the river. Most people, however, considered it unwise to build so far from the centre of things and soon, probably even before it was finished, Hebden's building was being referred to as "Folly Hall". The building, which became the Commercial Inn, stood for one hundred and fifteen years before it was demolished in 1890.
The History of Lockwood and North Crosland (1980) by Brian Clarke:
Folly means silly or stupid, meaning that in this instance the original building named Folly Hall was in a silly place. Built on low-lying land on the bank of the River Colne upon the west side of Lockwood Road, this house was erected around 1759 for Marmaduke Hebden, reputedly by ‘Blind’ Jack Metcalf of Knaresborough. Due to its position, the building was subject to frequent flooding and eventually an embankment had to be built for protection. It is surprising that Blind Jack allowed himself to be associated with a building in such an unsuitable position for, in spite of his blindness, he was a renowned surveyor and builder of Turnpike roads, including in our area the Manchester road over Blackmoorfoot and Standedge. The Folly Hall later became the Commercial Inn, being demolished at the start of this century.
The location of building erected by Marmaduke Hebden is shown below: