Holroyd's Almshouses, Birkby Lodge Road, Birkby

Founded in 1830, Holroyd's Charity almshouses comprise 4 adjoining properties at Birkby Fold.[1] The charity also provided scholarships at local schools, as well as distributing blankets and provisions to the "old and needy persons residing in the Birkby and Fartown districts" on New Years Day.[2]

The following details are provided by West Yorkshire Archive Service:[3]

In 1830, Thomas Holroyd of Birkby conveyed to trustees four cottages at Upper Birkby, to be called form then on Holroyd's Almshouses. They were to be occupied by poor or aged men and women of Fartown, with not more than two in each cottage. Mr Holroyd also conveyed to the trustees £800 in 3% consuls to be used to maintain the cottages, and then to use half of the surplus income to buy warm clothing for 12 poor old people of Fartown each winter, and to use the other half to help pay for the education of up to 5 poor children of Fartown. The children were to go to Fartown Grammar School. The Charity's endowment was increased in 1880 by a legacy of £200 in the will of John Taylor Armitage, a former trustee. The almshouses at Birkby have a stone tablet on them saying they were built in 1830. The Charity is now concerned only with the letting and maintenence of the almshouses, which were extensively renovated in the period, 1977 - 1981. It is now termed the Thomas Holroyd Charity. Fartown Grammar School was founded in 1770. It was built on an enclosure form the common land and paid for by a public subscription. The school was re-organised and the buildings enlarged in 1882. It was then run as a co-educational grammar school to about 1922, after which it became a preparatory school. It closed in 1928. The school buildings at Fartown Bar were demolished in about 1971.

Thomas Holroyd

Thomas Holroyd was baptised on 20 June 1750 at Huddersfield Parish Church, the son of Thomas Holroyd of Birkby.

By the early 1800s he was working as a merchant and was a noted collector of sheet music, which was sold after his death by bookseller Thomas Kemp of New Street, Huddersfield.[4]

He died on 25 April 1833 and was buried at Huddersfield Parish Church on 3 May.[5] The bequests in the will included £300 to Huddersfield Infirmary.[6] He had also paid for a house at Shorehead to be used by the schoolmaster of Seed Hill National School.[7]

Discovering Old Huddersfield

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

In 1830, Thomas Holroyd of Birkby set up a charity trust fund of £800 3% Consuls to support four cottage almshouses at Upper Birkby. Under the terms of the Trust the trustees were to use part of the income to maintain the property and from half of the surplus, purchase warm clothing in December and January for twelve poor and aged persons belonging to the township (sic) of Fartown whether living in the cottages or not. The other half of the surplus was to be used to support the education of five poor children at the school at Fartown Green.

In 1874, under a legacy in the will of John Taylor Armitage, a former trustee, the endowment of the Charity was increased by £200. From the increased income the trustees were required to provide coals at Christmas for the occupants of the almshouses. The surplus income was divided into two equal shares and used, as before, to provide a clothing dole and scholarships to Fartown School. The clothing was distributed annually on the first of January at the school, the headmaster assisting in the distribution. Although the Trust still specified only twelve recipients, in practice, after 1874, some forty persons received clothing to the value of five shillings each.

After the school was reorganised in 1882, fees were increased and the number of poor children supported by Holroyd's Charity was reduced from five to three. The scholarships were awarded to local children, generally boys, on the result of examinations to standard four of the elementary education code and they were usually held for two to three years. By the 1890s the awards were worth five guineas a year, which barely covered tuition fees.

Historic England Listings

BIRKBY ROLD. Birkby. No 5. C18 or early C19. Hammer-dressed stone. Pitched stone slate roofs. Two storeys. One 3-light stone mullioned window with glazing bars on first floor. One 2-light stone mullioned window with glazing bars on ground floor. Planked door.

BIRKBY FOLD. Birkby. No 6. C18 or early C19. Hammer-dressed stone. Pitched stone slate roofs. Two storeys. One range of 3-light stone mullioned sashes with glazing bars. Door with 6 sash porch. Inscription in late C19 or early C20 lettering "Holroyds Almshouses 1830". The cottages look slightly earlier than 1830, in which case this may be the date of their acquisition for almshouses.

BIRKBY FOLD. Birkby. No 7. C18 or early C19. Hammer-dressed stone. Pitched stone slate roofs. Two storeys. One range of 3-light stone mullioned sashes with glazing bars. Door with 2 sunk panels.

BIRKBY FOLD. Birkby. No 8. C18 or early C19. Hammer-dressed stone. Pitched stone slate roof. 2 storeys. One range of 3-light stone mullioned sashes with glazing bars. Door with 2 sunk panels.

Further Reading

Location

Notes and References

  1. "The Almshouses Experience in the Nineteenth-Century West Riding" (2004) by Helen Caffrey in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal (Vol. 76).
  2. Huddersfield Chronicle (03/Jan/1891).
  3. West Yorkshire Archive Service (reference: KC00627).
  4. Leeds Intelligencer (23/Apr/1836).
  5. Newspapers reported Holroyd's age as 84, but the burial register of Huddersfield Parish Church recorded his age as 82.
  6. Leeds Times (13/Aug/1836).
  7. "Alarming Accident at Shorehead" in Huddersfield Chronicle (14/Aug/1873).