History of the Huddersfield Water Supplies (1939) - Preface

The following is a transcription of a historic book and may contain occasional small errors.

History of the Huddersfield Water Supplies (1939) by T.W. Woodhead

Table of Contents:


Every valley drinks,
Every dell and hollow ;
Where the kind rain sinks and sinks
Green of spring will follow.
But for fattening rain
We should have no flowers,
a bud or a leaf again
But for soaking showers.

The supply of water to a community, as with the provision of so many essential services, e.g., Education, Public Health, Sewage Disposal, Gas, Electricity, and the like, are so familiar to everyone that they are taken for granted in the general order of things and their significance is all too frequently overlooked. Nevertheless the history and development of all these undertakings is so intimately associated with the evolution of society and of industry, that the story of the supply of so essential a commodity as water should prove of interest to all concerned with local government and the welfare of the people. The fact that the water supply is generally taken for granted is a great compliment to our Waterworks Authority. It is only occasionally, when something goes wrong, that we get a grumble from the consumer.

As will be seen from a perusal of these pages, a knowledge of the supply of water for a modern community covers a wide field, and the help of experts in many departments of science and industry are needed if an efficient service is to be maintained. In the preparation of this Handbook, therefore, the results of many workers, in different fields, have been drawn upon, and to all our thanks are freely given.

The memoirs of the Geological Survey dealing with this District, by Dr. D.A. Wray, Mr. W. Edwards, and their colleagues ; the publications of Professor P.F. Kendall and Mr. H.E. Wroot, also the Official Circular of the British Waterworks Association, have been invaluable and should be consulted for further details and references.

For permission to consult early records and Acts of Parliament, I wish to record my thanks to Mr. S. Procter, Town Clerk, and his assistant, Mr. W. Stoney; Mr. H.T. Taylor, Estate Manager, for many early records; to Dr. Gibson and the staff of the Health Department, for records of population and analyses of well waters ; to Alderman A. Sykes, ex-Chairman of the Waterworks Committee, Alderman A.E. Sellers, the present Chairman, also to Alderman H.A. Bennie Gray and Mr. A.W. Sykes for help in many ways. For details of statistics and finance, which were so willingly supplied, I am much indebted to Mr. W. Dransfield, of the Borough Treasurer's Department, and for help with many records, to Mr. H. Goulden, Librarian and Curator.

To Mr. J.P. Beveridge, Waterworks Manager, special thanks are due, for without his very generous help this account could not have been written, and I am further indebted to him for supplying details of filtration, chlorination and the re-conditioning of mains. His assistant, Mr. J.F. Bailey has kindly drawn the Waterworks Map and prepared the illustrations for figures 44, 48, 55 and 56.

To Professor W.H. Pearsall I am indebted for his account of recent researches relating to Pennine waters, to Mr. J. H. Garner of the West Riding Rivers Board ; also to Mr. W.E.L. Wattam and many others acknowledged in the text.

To Miss Ellen Gallwey I owe many thanks for the records of rainfall and valuable help with the illustrations. The photographs of the late Mr. W.H. Sikes have been most helpful, also those specially taken for this work by Mr. Wright Rhodes and Mr. F. Radcliffe, and to Mr. Noel Spencer, Art Master of the Huddersfield Technical College, for allowing three of his students to make sketches for figures 19, 21 and 22, to Messrs. Balmforth Ltd. for permission to use illustrations for figures 29, 53 and 54, and to Messrs. Bray and Sons, Ltd., for figures 16, 23 and 51.

Two previous accounts of our Waterworks Undertaking have been written, the first in the Corporation Year Book for 1907 and repeated in the Year Books for 1908 and 1909, and another by Mr. Owen Bamforth in the "Jubilee History of the Corporation of Huddersfield," 1918. Both these have proved most helpful, and free use has been made of the facts there recorded.

This Handbook has been written at the request of the Waterworks Committee, and with their valuable assistance, and the pleasure of preparing it has been greatly enhanced by the willingness of all to co-operate.



  1. Balmforth, O. Jubilee History of the Corporation of Huddersfield. 1918.
  2. Bisat, W. S. The Carboniferous Goniatites of the North of England and their Zones. Proc. Yorks. Geol. Socy., Vol. XX., Pt. 1., 1923-4.
  3. Churchill, H. G. Some Views of Huddersfield New Waterworks. 1879.
  4. Edwards, W. and others. Geology of the Country around Holmfirth and Glossop. Memoir Geological Survey. 1933.
  5. Ellis, David. Iron Bacteria. 1919.
  6. Evelyn, John. Sylva, or a Discourse on Forest Trees. 1670.
  7. Garner, J. H., F. M. Brown, and M. Lovett. Report upon the Chemical and Biological Survey of the River Holme. 1936.
  8. Hobkirk, C. P. Huddersfield, its History and Natural History. 2nd Ed. 1868.
  9. Huddersfield Corporation Year Book. Description of Waterworks. 1907-8 and 9.
  10. Huddersfield Town Council. Inaugural Meeting. September 7th, 1868.
  11. Huddersfield Corporation Waterworks. Scale of Charges. 1922.
  12. Hoover, C. P. Water Supply and Treatment. N.D.
  13. Kendall, P. F. and H. E. Wroot. Geology of Yorkshire. 1924.
  14. Kendall, P. F. The Porosity of Rocks and its Influence upon the Yield of Wells and Boreholes. Institution of Water Engineers.
  15. Long, A. P. Afforestation of Water Catchment Areas. British Waterworks Association. Official Circular. 1936.
  16. Morehouse, H. J. History and Topography of the Parish of Kirkburton. 1861.
  17. Naismith, R. T. E. Annual Report, Medical Officer, Colne Valley Urban District Council. 1937.
  18. Priestley, J. Navigable Rivers, Canals, and Railways throughout Great Britain. 1831.
  19. Rivers Polution Commission. Third Report. The Best Means of Preventing the Pollution of Rivers. London, Vol. C. 1867 and 1871.
  20. Sugden, H. Report on the Longwood Waters. 1857.
  21. Sykes, D. F. E. History of Huddersfield and its Vicinity. 1898.
  22. Sykes, D. F. E. History of the Colne Valley. 1906.
  23. Tomlinson, G. W. History of Huddersfield. Huddersfield Parish Church Magazine. 1886.
  24. Woodhead, T. W. Occurrence of Boulder Clay at Huddersfield. Naturalist. 1917.
  25. Woodhead, T. W. History of the Vegetation in the Southern Pennines. Tolson Museum Publications, No. 5. 1929.
  26. Woodhead, T. W. Climate, Vegetation and Man. Tolson Memorial Publication, No. 8. 1931.
  27. Wray, D. A. and others. Geology of the Country around Huddersfield and Halifax. Memoir Geological Survey. 1930.
  28. Wray, D. A. The Pennines and Adjacent Areas. Geological Survey and Museum. 1936.
  29. Wright, W. B. and others. Geology of the Rossendale Anticline. Memoir Geological Survey. 1927.

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