This transcription has been made available in partnership with the Huddersfield Local History Society to mark the 150th anniversary of the Incorporation of Huddersfield as a Municipal Borough. For details of events and research resources relating to Huddersfield 150, please see the society's web site.
Table of Contents for Jubilee History of the Corporation of Huddersfield: 1868 to 1918 (1918) by Owen Balmforth:
In this chapter it is proposed to deal with quite a different group of departments, which though unremunerative in the ordinary sense, are admittedly of the greatest importance. Let us take first the
Educational Institutions must obviously have had great influence in moulding the moral and intellectual character of the people.
Eighty years ago, the facilities for education were very meagre indeed. Before a select committee of the House of Commons, which sat in 1832, the following evidence was given by two Huddersfield witnesses. Abram Whitehead, said: "There is not any possibility of children employed in the mills obtaining any instruction from Day Schools; but since this Factory Bill was agitated, when I have been at mills, the children have gathered round me for a minute or two as I passed along, and have said, "When shall we have to work ten hours a day? Will you get the ten hours' bill? We shall have a rare time then; surely somebody will set up a night school; I will learn to write, that I will!'" The other witness, J. Habergam, said: "When at the factory I had not any opportunity of learning to read and write — only a little on the Sabbath Day. I have tried to learn to write within these last ten or eleven weeks. I do not think there is above one in a hundred in the factories that can write."
The Blue Book for 1864 gives the total attendance at Elementary Schools in the Borough as 2,500.
The Elementary Education Act having been passed in 1870, the first Huddersfield School Board was elected on February 6th, 1871. Several temporary schools were opened in the following year, and no time was lost in erecting a number of new school premises.
The following are the Elementary Schools belonging to the Local Authority, the dates they were opened, and the number of scholars they will accommodate:—
|Beaumont Street||Aug., 1874||930|
|Berry Brow||Nov., 1875||557|
|Brierley Wood||April, 1875||70|
|Crosland Moor||April, 1877||612|
|Mount Pleasant||August, 1875||1460|
|Spring Grove||Dec., 1880||1085|
|Stile Common||August, 1876||804|
|Spark Hall, Longwood||1888||402|
These Schools contain 41 departments. In September, 1918, the number on roll in the Council's Elementary and Secondary Schools was 9,574, and the average attendance 8,486.
The first School Board Offices were situate in Byram Buildings, Westgate, and in January, 1882, they were removed to the Municipal Offices. The School Board Offices in Peel Street, near the Town Hall, were opened in August, 1890, at a cost of £8,753, which sum included £1,700 for the site. In all the Board Schools the fees were abolished by resolution of the Board in September, 1891. Following the Education Act of 1902, the School Board terminated its existence, after a successful career, and on September 29th, 1903, all the Board Schools and the Denominational Schools passed under the jurisdiction of the Council. These latter, number 23, with 44 departments and an average attendance, in September, 1918, of 5,786, and the number on roll 6,753.
In the year 1870, not a single penny was expended from the rates upon education and in Huddersfield only about £2,000, in the shape of grants by the Government. Last year £50,625 was expended from the local rates upon Education, and £47,000 by the Government — that is £97,600 to-day, as against £2,000 forty-eight years ago.
In 1870, the daily attendance at public schools in the Borough was only 4,000, while to-day it reaches 14,272. There was then no school accommodation for thousands of children of school age, the number of places being only 7,863, although there were 13,596 children. Actually one-half the children were either running about the streets, or at work, receiving no education at all, and of those comparatively few children whose names were on the books, only about one-half were in regular attendance. How different to-day, when practically every child is at school. Such was the condition of education in this district in the old days. Child labour rampant, through long hours, and at such an early age as effectively prevented children from attending school. The schools which were provided were utterly inadequate for the needs of the time, and the education given was of a very rudimentary and unsatisfactory type. Need we wonder at the ignorance and crime, the political and social servitude which then obtained. The accommodation now provided in Council and Denominational Schools is 21,559. The figures for 1870 show the average daily attendance to be 4,000, or about 50%, of the number on books, to-day the number in attendance is 14,272, a percentage of 87.2, which shows the greatly increased regularity in attendance.
The number of Teachers employed by the Committee is 565.
The Half-Time System has been long abolished in Huddersfield. While Halifax, Bradford and many Lancashire towns retain thousands of Half-Timers, since 1902 we have had none at all. Again, the leaving age has been raised. Children do not now leave school for work at seven and eight years of age. Out of 1,753 children who left school in this Borough last year, only 4 were under thirteen. In connection with Juvenile Labour, a special enquiry was instituted in 1912, and it was discovered that 967 school children, boys and girls, between seven and eleven years old were working outside school hours, from six up to forty hours a week, for wages varying from 6d. to 4/6 weekly, the great majority earning 2/6 or less, mainly selling newspapers and running errands. In 1914, with the approval of the Home Office, bye-laws were adopted to regulate the ages and hours of Juvenile employment and Street Trading. In the first seven months 500 offences were discovered, but last year there were only 13. As a result, there are now only 10 boys under sixteen years of age licensed to sell newspapers in the streets and only two of these are school children. Girls below sixteen are not now allowed to engage in Street Trading.
Scholars' Savings' Banks have been established, and last year a sum of £7,262 was deposited by the children.
Also, in many of the schools, there are lending libraries for the use of the scholars.
In the year 1906, the system of Medical Inspection of school children was adopted. Later this was extended to include the medical treatment of children, and in 1912 the School Clinic was opened in Ramsden Street. All this has been of inestimable value in safeguarding the health of the children. The personal cleanliness of the scholars has greatly improved. Defects of eyesight and hearing, defective teeth, throat and skin diseases, and many other ailments have been pointed out to the parents, and in a large number of cases have been remedied. In this department there are engaged a Chief School Medical Officer, one Assistant Medical Officer, one Dentist, four Nurses and a Clerk. For many years free breakfasts have been given to necessitous school children, though it is pleasing to record that owing to the prosperous condition of trade, at the present time, there are no children receiving meals.
For many years a number of Evening Schools have been organised in different parts of the Borough. These schools are co-ordinated with the Technical College. This year 53 Evening School Students have been admitted to the Technical College free, and 87 at half-fees. The Evening Schools thus form a very useful link between the Day Schools and the advanced work of the Technical College.
The Huddersfield College, in New North Road, was erected in 1838, and was owned by a body of private managers. After a useful career it was closed in 1893. The School Board purchased the building, and re-opened it in the year following as a Higher Grade School for boys and girls. In the year 1909, the newly erected High School for Girls, at Greenhead was opened, and the girls were transferred there; the Higher Grade School being transformed into a Secondary School for boys only.
These two Secondary Schools have been very successful, both numerically and educationally. The Boys' School is at present overcrowded and its enlargement is now under consideration. Several of its pupils have won very valuable Scholarships, tenable at Oxford University and other institutions for higher education. In this way a ladder has been constructed enabling scholars, by the aid of free scholarships, to pass from the Elementary School to the highest Universities. This year, the number of boys in attendance is 380.
The Girls' School also has proved insufficient to accommodate all who desired to enter, and last year the large house near the school, known as "Longdenholme," formerly occupied by the late Joseph Woodhead, Esq., has been acquired on lease as an extension. At present there are 420 pupils in the school.
The Higher Elementary School at Hillhouse for boys and girls was opened in 1909. It occupies a position educationally midway between the elementary and secondary schools. At present there are 309 pupils.
The following table will prove interesting:—
|EXPENDITURE||GOVERNMENT GRANTS||RATES||RATE IN £|
† In 1904 the Town Council became responsible for the maintenance of the Denominational Schools.
In the month of May, 1841, the Institution commenced its work in the British School Room, Outcote Bank, with 30 members, and was then designated as "The Young Men's Mental Improvement Society." Classes were established in Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, Grammar, Geography, Drawing, Design, and French, and at the first Annual Meeting the number of members had reached 100, mainly young men of from 16 to 24 years of age, while a Library of 121 volumes was also in existence. In 1843, more suitable premises were necessary, and Nelson's Buildings, New Street, were secured, and the name of the Society changed to "Mechanics' Institution." Progress continued to be made and a writer in Tait's Magazine, in 1849, speaking of the Huddersfield Institute, said: "It is essentially a people's college, numbering between 600 and 700 students, who are divided into 52 classes, and taught by 42 voluntary and paid teachers."
In 1850, larger premises again became necessary, and the Institution removed into Wellington's Buildings, Queen Street, purchased at an outlay of £1,600. Here the classes continued to be held and to prosper, so much so, that the Committee decided to erect a special building for the work. A suitable site was secured in Northumberland Street, and a building put up at a cost of £4,700, the foundation stone being laid by Lady Goderich, afterwards Lady Ripon. The classes were removed here in February, 1861. By this time the Library numbered 3,000 volumes, and was a very useful feature of the Institution's work. A flourishing Penny Bank (first commenced in 1850, at the suggestion of the late Sir C. W. Sikes) was also in existence. The subjects taught in the classes were as follows:— Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, Grammar, Geography, Drawing, Shorthand, Book Keeping, Mathematics, French, Singing, and Weaving. The building had been designed to provide more than the accommodation absolutely necessary, and considerable development was realized. Many new subjects were added to the curriculum, and the classes began to be examined by, and to earn grants from, the Science and Art Department (now Board of Education). By 1870, the accommodation was found to be somewhat insufficient, and year by year, the inadequacy of the premises became more and more apparent. Nothing was done, however, until 1877, at which time the local Chamber of Commerce was seriously considering the advisability of establishing a "Trade School." As the result of negotiations (much facilitated by the fact that the President of the Institution, Mr. Thomas Brooke, was also President of the Chamber), a joint committee was formed in 1878 to carry out the establishment of such a school as was desired to be styled "The Technical School and Mechanics' Institute." A subscription list was opened and the memorial stone of the present building was laid in 1881, and the Classes, Library, etc., were transferred from Northumberland Street in 1884. To celebrate this, a Fine Art and Industrial Exhibition, opened by the Duke of Somerset, was held, lasting six months and attended by 329,639 visitors. The new premises, which had cost £21,000, rendered a large extension of the work possible, and Day Classes in various subjects were established. For many years progress continued to be made and the name Technical College was adopted in 1896. The purely elementary work gradually disappeared, but excellent provision was made for the teaching of Science, Art, Technological, Literary, Commercial and other subjects. A further extension of the premises became necessary, and this was carried out at a cost of £35,000. The extension included new Biological, Chemistry and Physics Laboratories, Engineering Lecture Rooms and Workshops, a School of Art, Gymnasium Museum, etc.
The new buildings were completed in 1903, and on April 1st of that year, the College was transferred to the Corporation. Since that date the work has expanded in all directions and the present accommodation has become quite inadequate. Further considerable extensions are now being contemplated on the Textile, Engineering, and Chemistry sides. The subscription lists opened to defray the cost of the proposed extension of the College has, up to the present, realized over £32,000. In addition, it is arranged that the Employers in the Engineering and Textile Industries will generously undertake the equipment of the new premises with the necessary machinery.
A new department for specialized study and research in Coal Tar Colour Chemistry was established two years ago.
The following list of the chief departments of the College will indicate the character of the work carried on:—
It should be stated that J. A. Brooke, Esq., M.A., J.P., the President of the College, has worthily occupied that position now for twenty-three years.
The Museum at the College was established about the year 1903 with collections of natural history objects, mainly given by Mr. S. L. Mosley, and transferred from his Museum near Beaumont Park. A large and valuable collection of minerals was presented by the late Mr. Samuel Learoyd. Additional bequests have been made from time to time. For a period, at the beginning, Mr. Mosley generously gave his services voluntarily as Curator. The Museum is of great assistance to the teaching staff and students at the College, and is growing in extent, importance and usefulness. Already it is overcrowded and contains collections of great value. Mr. Mosley, the Curator, is always willing to give information to all inquirers.
The comparison given in the following table will be of interest:—
|Year||Students||Teaching Staff||Fees (£)||Government Grants||Expenditure (£)|
|1841||30||no record||no record||0||no record|
The Medical Officer of Health (Dr. Moore) has kindly supplied the following statement:—
The first report of the first Medical Officer of Health for Huddersfield, is dated in June, 1873. It might appear from this, that the Authorities had been remiss, seeing that nearly five years had elapsed from the Incorporation of the Borough to that date.
That, however, is by no means the case. To form a true judgment, it is necessary to reflect that 50 years ago the need for attention to the health of the people by the Government of the country, either central or local, was only just commencing to be perceived. It was only some 10 years before Huddersfield was incorporated, that the first Public Health Act was passed. Prior to that, almost the sole conception of Government, in relation to the Public Health, had been to exclude exotic infectious diseases, by means of maritime quarantine measures. The Local Government Board was not itself constituted until August the 14th, 1871, although Local Medical Officers of Health had been appointed under local acts, for some years previously ; thus, Liverpool appointed Dr. Duncan in 1847, and London appointed a Medical Officer of Health a couple of years later.
In Sir John Simon's "English Sanitary Institutions," folio 335, the functions of such officers are described as follows:—
A Borough Corporation which appointed a Medical Officer of Health two years after the establishment of the Local Government Board, was clearly by no means behind hand in setting about what every clear thinker recognizes as being its most important task, namely, by wise care of the health of the inhabitants, upon which alone can be built their happiness, to promote the welfare of the population entrusted to its government.
The following quotations from the Report of the first Medical Officer of Health, referred to above, shed much light upon the deplorable conditions under which the people existed in those days:—
The reference to the condition of individual insanitary dwellings, reveal also, conditions which would not be permitted nowadays for a moment, but they are too numerous for quotation in this brief account.
The extracts given above, largely speak for themselves, but it is desirable to point out how far we have progressed since it was contemplated leaving a person suffering from Small-pox at home, attempting to establish quarantine of portions of the town, and since it was supposed that Cholera was spread by "inhaling the breath or vapour immediately arising from the person suffering from the disease."
The resolution advised in his first report to the Sanitary Authority, by the first Medical Officer of Health, to the effect that himself and the Inspector of Nuisances, should be authorised to take necessary action without incurring the delay associated with reference to Committees, is endorsed, "proposed, but not passed," notwithstanding that the Sanitary Acts of 1866 and 1872 contemplated such authorisation.
The first file of Monthly Bills of Mortality, as the reports of the Registrar General of Births, Marriages and Deaths were then known, also afford good reading to interested persons. They commence three months earlier than the report from which the foregoing quotations are taken.
The first death rate quoted is 25.1 on a population of 72,000. It included two deaths from Small-pox.
The same report contains internal evidence that the presence of Small-pox in the town, was so commonplace as to give rise to little comment. Typhus Fever, also, is referred to casually. To-day, of course, we regard both of these diseases as being practically extinct. The last case of Typhus Fever arising in Huddersfield occurred sometime in the last century.
Though there is much of interest which might be set forth, exigences of space are such that it is only permissible to give an outline of outstanding subjects.
Among other facts which emerge from a perusal of the extant reports to the Sanitary Authority, is the early recognition in Huddersfield of the need for learning of the occurrence of cases of disease in different parts of the Borough. In the early days, as will readily be recognized, the work of protecting the health of the people was very primitive in its conception and operation — thus, the Sanitary Authority had no established means of learning of the existence of even the most grave and dangerous epidemic diseases. Frequent reference to this occurs in the reports of the Medical Officer of Health, but it was not until three years after Dr. Pritchett's appointment, in 1876, that a clause, No. 67, in the Huddersfield Waterworks and Improvement Act, was obtained, requiring medical practitioners, resident or practising in the Borough, and in cases where a medical man was not in attendance, then the parent, or the person having the charge or control of the building or room where the patient was, to notify to the Medical Officer of Health the common infectious diseases.
It will be a source of satisfaction to the descendants of these pioneers in public service, to learn that it was not until 1889 that similar clauses were adopted by Parliament and made applicable to the whole country, although other Sanitary Authorities had obtained clauses similar to that in the Act referred to above. This action, in relation to infectious diseases, was supported and extended by the provision of Hospital Accommodation, first at Birkby, and subsequently in the present admirable institution at Mill Hill.
The utility and advantage to the inhabitants of the Borough, of their Hospital, is amply displayed in the following tabular statement:—
Mortality among cases of Diphtheria, Scarlet and Typhoid Fevers, treated at home and treated in the Mill Hill Hospital.
|Disease||Cases Notified||Removed to Hospital||Cases Treated at Home||Mortality % (in hospital)||Mortality % (at home)|
The public water supply, sewers, sewage purification, and other phases of Local Government, have not only a bearing on, but are provided, either principally or exclusively, for the benefit of the health of the people, but because they are administered in other Departments, do not fall to be dealt with here ; while drainage of houses, which is dealt with in the Public Health Department, presents no outstanding features, beyond the fact that owing to the hilly character of the district, and to the consequent irregularity of the distribution of houses upon land, greater difficulty is experienced in securing proper drainage than happens in districts occupying level sites.
No account of the care of the public health in Huddersfield would be complete without a statement of the special work which has been done to combat those influences which are injurious to the lives and health of infants.
In 1904, the writer submitted a preliminary report on the whole subject, and in the following order: a complete report which embodied the results of investigations into the subject, both in this country and on the continent. One outstanding need was made apparent in that report, namely, the prompt notification of the fact that a birth had occurred, to the Medical Officer of Health. This need, may perhaps best be set forth here, in the words of the Medical Officer of Health, in reply to a question addressed to him while giving evidence before a Police and Sanitary Committee of the House of Commons, in March, 1906:— "The heaviest mortality of infants occurs at the earliest stages — the first week, the first month, the first quarter, and the first year. It follows from that, that if anything is to be done to prevent the excessive mortality to which I have referred, we must have information of the existence of the child, or else, manifestly, we cannot do anything. Now, under the system of civil registration, which permits the registration of the birth to be delayed for as long as 42 days, we find that the mean age in Huddersfield at which the registration take place is 34 days. That, of course, is too late. The notification should be made to the Public Health Department very early, because the prime need of the infant is to be suckled by the mother. All other methods of feeding can only be substitutes. If a mother intends to refuse her infant breast milk she takes means of arresting the secretion of the breast milk almost immediately after the birth by applying medication. Now it is found that at the time of birth the mother's mind is in a very plastic and malleable condition. She is more open to receive advice and to be guided by advice than later on, when the child has become a sort of ordinary member of the household. For these reasons it seems to me, in my judgment, to be imperative that if anything is to be done to save the lives of these helpless infants we must know of their existence almost immediately after their birth, because we cannot do anything and nobody can do anything if we do not know of their existence."
The result was the Notification of Births Clause in the Huddersfield Improvement Act of that year.
The superficial effects of this and other measures on the fatality among infants in Huddersfield, is best set forth graphically, as in Chart I.
The insight gained into the diverse causes of ill-health and fatality among mothers and their infants, resulting from the special Notification of Births, led to the perception of the need to carry efforts to improve matters to a still earlier period of existence. After much consideration, and in face of considerable opposition, a voluntary system for the Notification of Pregnancy to the Medical Officer of Health was inaugurated and finally approved by the Sanitary Authority in 1915. Many ill-omened prophecies were indulged in by different persons (some very highly placed indeed). Principal among these, were statements such as the following:— "Notification of Pregnancy would be a violation of the holiest instincts of woman." "It would destroy the sanctity of the home," and so on, and so forth.
Another set of statements found their key-note in threats of opposition and resentment to which such provision would inevitably give rise.
The numbers of Notifications received were:—
|1916||From January to December||217|
|1917||From January to December||382|
|1918||From January to October||446|
The number of Births during the corresponding periods, were:—
|1916||From January to December||1,906|
|1917||From January to December||1,650|
|1918||From January to October||1,240|
It will be observed that these Notifications of Pregnancies are increasing year by year, and already constitute a considerable proportion of the total pregnancies.
The system is voluntary. The numbers are the more satisfactory on that account, while the dismal prophecies have been entirely falsified. But even if that were not the case, the fact that several lives have been saved and much suffering alleviated, would justify the measure even in the face of an opposition, which, however, is entirely absent — quite the reverse; the visits of the Assistant Medical Officers of Health are welcomed, their advice is followed and acted upon. If an attempt were made to do the work by means of Health Visitors, or even if the work were done by male medical practitioners, the result might well be different. It can only be satisfactorily accomplished with the assistance of Women Doctors.
Chart II., showing the death-rate over a long series of years will repay a careful study, and is worth pondering over.
It will be seen that the reduction in the death-rate is from an average of 22 during the first half-dozen years to 14 during the last half-dozen years; a difference of 8. What does this mean? It means that with respect to each person living in the Borough, it was 44 to 1 that he or she did not die during the year, whereas, in the last half-dozen years, the odds were 71 to 1 that he or she did not die during the year.
The first Borough Engineer and Surveyor appointed for Huddersfield was Mr. John H. Abbey, M.Inst. C.E. He took office under the then Commissioners in 1868 and carried on an extensive private practice, as well as his public duties under the Local Authority. He continued to carry out in an able and satisfactory manner his municipal work until 1879, when, on account of the increased duties in connection with his private practice, he retired from office. The principal work which has been carried out by Mr. Abbey, and stands as evidence of his professional skill as an Engineer, is the erection of the Town Hall and Municipal Buildings.
On Mr. Abbey's retirement, Mr. R. S. Dugdale, M.Inst. C.E., was appointed in 1879 and was the first Borough Engineer to give the whole of his time to the duties of the office. For some 19 years Mr. Dugdale devoted his great talent as an Engineer to the town's interest. He designed and carried out the first system of Steam Tramways, which at the time was the first Municipal Tramways authorized by Parliament in any town in the country. He also designed and carried out the Main Intercepting Sewer and a number of Secondary Sewers. The first instalment for Sewage Purification Works was initiated and carried out by Mr. Dugdale, but the leading projects which, perhaps more than any other, remain to remind the public of the great services which Mr. Dugdale has rendered to the town in his official capacity is the manner in which he carried out and designed Greenhead Park, Beaumont Park and Norman Park. These stand as samples not only of professional skill, but unmistakeable evidence of an artist of high attainments. The following additional works were carried out by Mr. Dugdale:— Artizans' Dwellings, Divisional Police Stations and the present Police Offices in Peel Street, Sanitary Depot, Refuse Destructors. He resigned office in the year 1897, and was succeeded by the present Borough Engineer, Mr. K. F. Campbell, M.Inst C.E., M.I.M.E.
During Mr. Campbell's term of office several important works, involving a large expenditure on capital account, have been carried out. Primarily, the extension and electrification of the Steam Tramways within the County Borough and the linking up of a number of populous districts adjacent to and outside the Borough, with an effective Tramway Service. The outcome of such an up-to-date system of Electric Tramways, so necessary in a town containing large commercial interests, has resulted in the undertaking being a financial success. New Sewage Disposal Works to deal with the increased flow from not only Domestic, but from the Trade establishments, has been for the first time established to deal with the total sewage flow of the Borough, under the most modern methods of sewage purification. Three new schools have been erected from Mr. Campbell's designs, viz: Girls' High School, Hillhouse Higher Elementary School, and Birkby Elementary School. Housing and Town Planning under special legislation have engaged the attention of the Corporation. Since the Act was passed 96 tenement dwellings and 180 houses have been erected for the working classes. A Branch Library has been erected in Almondbury district of the Borough. A new Cemetery has been established in the Lockwood area, which includes the required place of Worship under the Burials Act.
Through the public spirit and patriotism of a few of the leading gentlemen in the town and adjacent districts, a hospital for the treatment of our wounded soldiers was erected in 1915, during the mayoralty of Mr. Alderman Joseph Blamires, on a site at Royds Hall acquired for housing purposes. To carry out this very laudable project the following gentlemen were appointed:— His Worship the Mayor (Mr. Alderman Blamires, J.P.), Mr. Alderman Jessop, J.P., Mr. Alderman Woodhead, J.P., Mr. Alderman Wheatley, J.P., Sir Wm. Raynor, J.P., Mr. J. H. Kaye, J.P., Mr. T. Julius Hirst, J.P., Mr. Wm. Broadbent, Mr. Joe Lumb, J.P., Sir Charles Sykes, J.P. For such an important undertaking, it was deemed advisable to consult Professor Sims Woodhead, of Cambridge, as to the class of Buildings to be erected, as well as the suitability of the site chosen. This eminent authority on Hospital construction recommended that the Pavilions should be designed on the open-air system, on similar lines to the Hospital erected by the War Office, on the Professor's recommendation at Cambridge. The site was considered an ideal one. The Committee fortified by his advice lost no time in initiating and carrying out the work. Within three months of the time when the proposals were first introduced the hospital, completely equipped in all essentials, was erected and handed over to the War Office free of charge on October 4th, 1915. Since that date, the results which have been anticipated from the erection of this notable institution during good weather and bad, have been completely achieved under the able direction of Lieut.-Col. Marshall, C.M.G. and his efficient medical staff. The accommodation provided represents 600 beds with Quarters for Medical and Nursing Staff, Operating Theatre, Gymnasium, Recreation Room and R.A.M.C. quarters complete. The cost of the building has been spontaneously covered by private subscription at the instance of the Acting Committee; the Corporation providing drainage, land and the services of the Borough Engineer and his staff in the design and the carrying out of the work.
In 1917, the Corporation, through the Health Committee, completed the erection of a hospital for the treatment of tuberculosis patients. In this connection a site comprising 14 acres of land and standing some 400 feet above ordnance datum admirably sheltered by a belt of trees from North to North-east, was selected at Bradley Gate, and presented to the town by the late Mr. John Sykes, J.P., of Acre House, Lindley. Mr. Sykes, who took great interest in all matters appertaining to public health, erected at his own cost and on the advice of Dr. Gauvain, of Trelore Children's Hospital, Alton, Herts., a building for the exclusive treatment of children suffering from tuberculosis. It contains two large wards, four cubicles, day-room, operating theatre, X-ray room, plaster room, dispensary, laboratory, sisters' room, kitchen, with the necessary sanitary accommodation. This extensive building was erected from the designs of Colonel Cooper, F.R.I.B.A. To complete the hospital in accordance with the provisions of the Insurance Act, a handsome block of buildings for administrative purposes, as well as a pavilion for the treatment of adult patients of both sexes, has been erected by the Corporation. The administrative block, pavilion and laying out of the grounds were designed by the Borough Engineer (Mr. K. F. Campbell, M.Inst. C.E.) On the 2nd March, 1917, the buildings were opened by the Mayoress (Miss Jessop), and the Mayor (Mr. Alderman Jessop) handed over the buildings, free of all charges to the War Department, to Surgeon-General Bedford of the Northern Command, R.A.M.C., who accepted them on behalf of the War Office for use as a hospital for wounded soldiers.
Naturally, in a Borough covering so extensive an area as Huddersfield, large sums of money have been expended by the municipality upon various public improvements. About half-a-million has been spent in the making of new roads, constructing drainage and sewers, making and widening of bridges, and in the purchase of slum property for purposes of demolition. A large clearance of slum property was made near the bottom of Kirkgate. Somerset Bridge, Aspley, was opened by Lady Ramsden, on Whit-Monday, May 25th, 1874. The bridge was erected at a cost of £13,000, towards which the county contributed £3,000, and Sir J. W. Ramsden £1,000. Among other bridges widened and re-built may be mentioned those at Colne Road, Lockwood, Longroyd Bridge, Folly Hall, Gasworks Street, and near Queen's Mill.
The following table shows the number of houses built during the periods named. In 1868, on the Incorporation of the Borough, the number of houses was approximately 18,000:—
|No. of Houses Built|
|During 13 years ending 1881||2,968|
|During 10 years ending 1891||940|
|During 10 years ending 1901||1,634|
|During 10 years ending 1911||3,005|
|During 7 years ending 1918||1,694|
To be charged with the cleansing of a Town is to have opportunities for exercising a beneficent and far-reaching influence, for it is to be entrusted with the comfort, convenience and health of the citizen.
The area of the Town is 11,870 acres, but the density of population is far below that of other towns with a similar number of inhabitants. Air spaces are abundant, to the consequent benefit of the Town from a health point of view: on the other hand the cost in cleansing such a large area is not comparable with that where the population is analogous and the area one-third.
The average citizen has no idea of what is involved in cleansing operations : his view is limited to the dust cart and receptacle van, as he sees them on their daily rounds. He sees the removal of the refuse, but not its disposal. Work is begun as early as four o'clock in the morning, when a large number of horses are fed and watered ; and an hour later teamers begin to check on preparatory to turning out for the daily work, all of which is arranged according to the distance to be traversed.
For the collection of refuse, the Town is divided into 19 districts ; 90 per cent. of the refuse is carted to the Destructors for cremation, whilst the remaining 10 per cent., usually unsuitable for cremation, finds a resting place at the Tips.
Within recent years the Corporation have authorised the provision of Dust Bins for all new property, thereby giving to each house an additional amount of air space, and in turn bringing about a more frequent and clean system in dealing with the accumulation of refuse which each householder has to dispose of from day to day.
Few towns have been more enterprising than Huddersfield: hygienic principles of disposing of refuse have been in operation many years, particularly during the past seven, for in 1911, a further step towards bringing the Town to the forefront municipally was made, and St. Andrew's Road Destructor built. The utilzation of refuse, by cremation in furnaces of high temperature for steam raising in high pressure water tube boilers, is now an accomplished fact, and from the 80 tons of refuse disposed of daily at this Destructor, the Department is able to give a constant supply of steam to the Electricity Department of the Corporation, which would drive a 1,000 h.p. engine. Thus is the bulk of the refuse disposed of.
The average yearly value of steam supplied to and paid for at the Electricity Department for the seven years ending December, 1917, was £1,656. There is no Destructor Plant in the Country doing better work, and the Corporation can now claim to possess not only an up-to-date Plant, but one which is carrying out its work efficiently.
Such material as is unburnable, is picked out and sold. The residuum from the fires is partly disposed of in making mortar, four mortar mills being employed on this work; it is also used for sewage filters, road-making and other purposes.
Work at the St. Andrew's Road Destructor Plant starts at 5 a.m. and continues without interruption until 11 p.m., when the fires are banked for the few hours of rest that intervene ere the first shift of men commences work again.
A part of the work which calls for special attention, is the daily removal of offal from the Slaughter Houses and the garbage from the Wholesale Markets: clinker from public
buildings, churches, chapels and schools also is regularly removed.
So long ago as 1872, the then existing system of privies or earth closets called for consideration and a system of tubs, or what is still known as the "Rochdale system" was introduced. This method has grown until now there are in use over 15,000 closet receptacles. To cope with this branch of the work of the Department, the Town is divided into Districts, and the Vans employed have a given number of tubs to collect daily so that no part of the work is left to chance; every man is checked in and out by a recording clock; the receptacles or tubs are brought to the Depot, and after the contents are disposed of, each tub is thoroughly washed and disinfected before it is allowed to pass out of the Works; lastly, each Van is likewise swilled before it passes again into the streets. The present system is undoubtedly an expensive one, largely due to the fact that double service is rendered to almost every house, first by collecting the refuse from the ashpit or dust bin, and secondly, by the exchange and removal of a closet receptacle.
The question of the conservancy system in dealing with foecal matter has received the serious and careful consideration of the Health Committee on several occasions, and at last it may be said that steps towards abolishing the tub system are being taken. When the War is over, and a normal state of affairs exists, further progress hereon will, it is hoped, be reported.
Every effort is thus made to keep as alert as medical science demands, and to barricade the avenues of disease and secure conditions that make for health.
The following figures will shew the advance made in the collection and disposal of the town's refuse during the last twenty years: in 1897, the Department emptied 58,237 ashpits and dust bins; in 1917, 381,463; in 1897, 556,614 closet tubs were collected compared with 793,654 in 1917, and the cremation of refuse in 1897 was 6,988 tons, and in 1917, 18,016 tons.
At the time of the Incorporation of the Borough, the Police Station was situated at the corner of Victoria Street and Bull and Mouth Street. An inner door from the offices led into a yard where the cells were situated, which were used for both males and females. The premises were altogether out of date and unsuitable long before the new premises were provided.
The foundation stone of the present Police Station, in Peel Street, was laid by the late Alderman J. J. Brook, J.P., in 1896. The building was formally opened on September 15th, 1898, by the present Mayor, Alderman W. H. Jessop, who was also Mayor at that time. The cost of the building was £11,450.
On leaving the old premises, the strength of the Force was 113. The present normal strength is 138, but owing to the war has been depleted by about 44 men.
During the past few years great changes have taken place in the Police and Fire Brigade Departments. A "Local Taxation Department " now exists from which all licenses are taken out. During the last twelve months 6,295 licenses were issued to motor drivers and others.
The "Finger Print" system of identification has been introduced, and has been a great help in the detection of crime and identification of prisoners. Rapid strides have also been made in the photographing of prisoners. Soon after commencing at the new Police premises, a horse ambulance was obtained, but about six years ago this was superseded by a motor ambulance, a great improvement upon the hand ambulance which was in use at the old Police Station. A Lady Police Assistant was brought into requisition about three years ago. She was appointed under the Shops' Act, and in that connection her duties are to see that the regulations are observed. Her other duties include attention to cases of indecent assault on females, and rescue work.
Since the outbreak of the war the duty has devolved upon her of making inquiries and reporting upon the conduct of the wives of soldiers and sailors, and upon the circumstances of soldiers' and sailors' dependants. The work has grown to such a degree that two Lady Assistants are now required. For a few years past the conveyance of prisoners to gaol has been done by motor, a motor van having been specially built for the purpose. The old way was to remove them from the Police Station to the Railway Station in a horse-driven vehicle, known as "Black Maria," and thence by train to Wakefield or Leeds, the remainder of the journey being done by tramcar or on foot. The amount paid last year in pensions to fifty-one policemen reached £3,362. The gross total cost of the Police Force last year was £16,945, the Government contribution towards this being £7,024, leaving £9,921 to be recovered from the rates.
The following tabulated statement has been kindly prepared by Captain Moore, the Chief Constable :-
|Year||Crimes Committed||Persons Apprehended||Tried Summarily||Offences by Juveniles||Drunkenness|
|Indictable Offences||Non-Indictable Offences||Total||Male||Female|
The Fire Brigade Station is situated in Princess Street, and adjoins the Police Station. It was erected at a cost of £3,200. This department has seen very marked changes since the Incorporation of the Borough. From 1868 to 1879 the Brigade consisted of volunteer firemen. The Town Council then took matters over and made it into a Police Brigade, and the Chief Constable was appointed Captain. The only fire appliances then were two hose carts, one-horsed fire engine and fire escape, and horses were supplied by a local cab proprietor in case of fire. The only means of notifying the firemen of an outbreak of fire was by one of the firemen blowing a fog-horn at the main entrance in Princess Street. In the year 1899, the Brigade had been brought more up-to-date. Five horses were then kept at the Fire Station, and the appliances consisted of two steam engines, two escapes, two hose-carts and a horse ambulance. The firemen resided in close proximity to the Fire Station and had electric alarms in the houses. Twenty-nine telephone fire alarm boxes had also been fixed in the streets in different parts of the Borough in direct communication with the Fire Station.
In 1914, the Brigade was brought further up-to-date by being supplied with two motor fire engines with ladders and escapes attached, and all the horses were dispensed with. The number of fires reported last year was forty-two, and the damage caused thereby was estimated at £7,215.
Beaumont Park, Lockwood, the land for which was presented to the Borough by H. F. Beaumont, Esq., of Whitley Hall, was opened by His Royal Highness the Duke of Albany, in the year 1883. It covers an area of twenty acres and presents some very romantic and rocky scenery. Last year £601 was spent in keeping the park in good condition. The total expenditure on capital account reaches the sum of £31,654.
The other large Park is situated at Greenhead, near to the centre of the town. It was opened in September, 1884. The statute in the Park was erected by public subscription in memory of the Huddersfield men who lost their lives in the Boer War, and was unveiled by Lord French on May 20th,
1905. The two Drinking Fountains were presented by the Huddersfield Temperance Society and Band of Hope Union. Last year £1,226 was spent in keeping the Park in good condition. The capital sum expended upon this Park is £58,120, which includes £30,000, cost of the land purchased from Sir John Ramsden, towards which he gave a donation of £5,000.
Norman Park, at Birkby, was opened in 1896. This Park covers a very small area, but rivals the other two in beauty and wealth of foliage. £142 was spent on it last year. The capital sum expended is £4,198, towards which £1,611 was derived from the Old Waterworks Surplus Value Account.
For many years during the summer months, the Parks Committee have engaged a number of first-class bands to play in Greenhead Park. These performances have been greatly enjoyed by many thousands of people.
There are a number of Recreation Grounds in various parts of the Borough, which are owned or rented by the Committee. The principal of these is the one situated at Salendine Nook, and was presented to the Corporation in July, 1914, by T. H. Moore, Esq., J.P.
The Town Hall, in Princess Street, and the Magistrates' Courthouse were opened in 1881 at a cost of about £57,000. The Town Hall is beautifully decorated ; it boasts a magnificent organ, and will seat about 2,250.
The Municipal Offices adjoin the Town Hall, facing Ramsden Street, and were erected in 1878 at a cost of about £19,000, Here will be found, in addition to the Council Chamber, the Mayor's Reception Room, Mayor's Parlour, and numerous departmental offices. There is internal communication between the two buildings, and for all practical purposes, the Town Hall and Municipal Offices may be regarded as one huge and handsome building.
In consequence of the increase and extension of Municipal Undertakings, these offices have for many years proved inadequate, consequently other premises have been purchased at the corner of Ramsden Street and Peel Street, in order to accommodate the Medical Officer of Health and the Borough Engineer's department. Prior to the Incorporation of the Borough, the Offices of the Improvement Commissioners were situated at the corner of Manchester Road and South Parade. After the Incorporation the Municipal Offices and Council Chamber formed part of a building in Ramsden Street, fronting the old Philosophical Hall, which stood on the site now occupied by the Theatre Royal.
The Public Library and Art Gallery was established as part of the local scheme for celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of Her Late Majesty Queen Victoria. It is situated in premises in Somerset Buildings, Church Street, held on lease from the Ramsden Estate, which together with the contents were taken over by the Corporation in April, 1898 from the trustees of the fund, amounting to £1,603 7s. 4d., subscribed for the purpose of its establishment. For the first ten years, Sir J. Ramsden generously charged only a nominal rent.
The Reading Rooms were opened to the public on February 14th, 1898, by Alderman W. H. Jessop ; the Lending and Reference Libraries being opened on 22nd April, 1898, by The Marquis of Ripon. The Library, which has rapidly increased in size and importance, comprises the following departments, Lending, Reference, and Patent Libraries. The original tenancy was quickly outgrown, and in 1899, it was necessary to take over an additional room to which the Reference Library was transferred, the News Room being extended into the room it previously occupied. A Reading Room for Boys was also inaugurated. Further extensions were made in 1900, the Reference Library being transferred to an upper floor, allowing for an extension of the Lending Library; an additional Magazine Room being also provided.
The accommodation in the Reading Rooms consists of two News Rooms, a Ladies' Room, and two Magazine Rooms.
The Art Gallery, consisting of three rooms, was opened by Lady Gwendolen Ramsden, at the same time as the Libraries, the Inaugural Exhibition consisting of works kindly lent from private local collections. Other Loan Exhibitions have been organised and Annual Exhibitions of the work of the Huddersfield Art Society and Autumn Exhibitions of invited works have been held, and Special Exhibitions of Photographs, Arts and Crafts, Etchings, Lithographs, Cartoons, and works by indvidual artists have been features of interest. A Permanent Collection is in course of formation. It at present consists of 37 Oil Paintings, 17 Water Colours, 85 Engravings and Lithographs, 100 Arundel Society Chromolithographs, and 7 Sculptures (3 in Bronze). Of these, 144 items have been presented and 102 purchased. The Library and Art Gallery are maintained by a rate of one penny in the £.
In February, 1906, a Branch Library, at Almondbury, consisting of Lending Library, News and Magazine Rooms, the cost of which was defrayed by Dr. Andrew Carnegie, was opened by Sir Thomas Brooke, Bart., J.P. The Branch, which is opened on two days a week, contains 3,757 volumes, the issues for the past year being 5,717. The number of Borrowers is 678.
The progress of the Libraries may be gauged by the following table:—
|Stock (by Library)||Issues (by Library)||Borrowers|
|Mar. 31, 1899||7124||1104||97015||386||1765||4584|
|Mar. 31, 1903||14,771||3034||156478||598||2458||736||5,202|
|Mar. 31, 1908||22,004||4909||186548||691||4827||1002||5,631|
|Mar. 31, 1913||28,263||6658||218305||824||5425||931||6,753|
|Mar. 31, 1918||31,486||8119||225,834||863||7254||572||7,417|
During the years 1899 to 1913, fifteen Courses of Oxford Extension Lectures were organised, together with sixteen other Lectures on Literary and Scientific subjects, but owing to the falling off in attendances their promotion was discontinued.
A system of School Libraries was established in March, 1906, consisting of 31 boxes of books, 1,840 volumes in all. These were distributed among the Elementary Schools in the Borough outside a radius of 1 mile from the Central Library, being changed round periodically. Six additional boxes of books have been added since for certain schools. The cost of provision and upkeep is met by the Education Committee, the services of the Borough Librarian and his staff being, by consent of the Public Library Committee, given to the whole of the work of administration.
The first Librarian and Curator, Arthur G. Lockett, who was appointed in December, 1897, organised the Library prior to its opening in the following April, and held the office until his death in June, 1909. Fredk. C. Cole, the present Librarian and Curator, was appointed Deputy Librarian in February, 1898, and succeeded to the post of chief in July, 1909.
It is proposed that after the War, a New Central Library and Art Gallery be erected as a Memorial to the brave men of this Borough who have offered, and many of them given their lives, for their country.
From 1868 to the year 1875, the duties in this department were carried out by the police; from 1876 to 1906, Market Superintendents of the Borough acted as Weights and Measures Inspectors.
On the death of Mr. George Matthewman, in consequence of increased inspection and supervision having become necessary, the combined offices were separated. In accordance with the Weights and Measures Act of 1889, it was also required that all inspectors should possess the Board of Trade Certificate of qualification.
In December, 1906, Mr. William Edward Warwick, of Sheffield, who obtained the Board of Trade Certificate at Westminster in 1903, was appointed Inspector of Weights and Measures, subject to his entering into the usual recognizances to the Crown, as required by the Statute.
The Offices are in Bull and Mouth Street and here are housed the Local Standards of Weight and Measure, together with the necessary balances. The local standards are required by the Act of 1878, to be verified by the Board of Trade; the Weights and balances once every five years and the Measures once every ten years.
The Standards, by which are controlled the Trade Weights and Measures of the Borough, are provided out of the local rates and not by the State; the following is a list of those owned by the Borough:— Weights: Avoirdupois, Apothecaries, Troy, Metric; Dry and Liquid Measures of Capacity; Apothecaries' Measures; Measure of Length.
For the year ending March 31st last, the number of outdoor visits made was 2,642, and the number of Weights and Measures examined was 24,116, of which number 4,170 were incorrect. The number of Weights and Measures verified (indoor) was 11,999, of which 3,179 were rejected.
The Huddersfield Corporation, as befits the governing body of a town whose ruling powers have always been noted for their progressive spirit, early considered the question of establishing a Stationery Department. We find that in 1889, and again in 1896, the Finance Committee considered the question of having a Stationery Department, but for various reasons the project was not carried out. However, in 1913, it was definitely decided to appoint a Stationery Manager, and the Department was opened on January lst, 1914,
The Department orders all Printing, Stationery and Account Books (except School Stationery) required by the various Departments of the Corporation, and the benefits accruing to the Corporation are many. There is a centralization of Stock Stationery, avoiding waste and securing quick delivery of miscellaneous requirements. Its establishment has tended to financial economy and has ensured that supplies shall be up to the standard of specification. It is also able to check extravagances as regards quality of materials requisitioned by Departments.
The difficulties occasioned by the War have further shewn the foresight of the Finance Committee in establishing the Department.