Market Walk, Market Place, Huddersfield

This page is a bare-bones entry for a specific location marked on an old map. More detailed information may eventually be added...


"Wappy Nick"

The meaning of the nickname for Market Walk remains uncertain but several theories have been suggested.

According to some sources, "wappy" means "quick"[1] whilst the term "nick" is often used for a route between hills, similar to a "gap"[2], and may reflect the narrowness of the alley or the fact that it provides a shortcut. In support of this, the Huddersfield Examiner noted in 1936 that the Market Place entrance was once only 4 feet wide and that it provided a "quick way between Huddersfield's two former market places".[3]

In an article published in June 1894, the author implied that "Wappy Nick" was an old nickname that was by then dropping out of common use:

I then passed through Market Walk, once better known as "Wappy Nick," and went with the stream [of people] into the Market Hall.

In The Place-Names of Huddersfield, George Redmonds notes:

I made an appeal some years ago for information about this use of Wappy Nick and had several fascinating contributions. The late Mary Freeman explained to me that because the alley was so narrow it was necessary on busy Saturdays to push one's way through the throng. She demonstrated for me the dialect use of the verb "to wap", meaning something like "bustle" or "jostle", but allied to a certain jauntiness. An alternative story is that "wap" means home-brewed ale and that Wappy Nick was so named because a public house close by sold Wappy Stout, from the brewery on Lindley Moor. Whatever the meaning, there is no doubt that the name entered into local folk lore. One correspondent remembered his mother saying that "only clever dicks ... could walk six abreast down Wappy Nick".

The public house mentioned by Redmonds was possibly the Vicker's Commercial Hotel and Dining Rooms on Market Walk, which had been established by the late 1860s and advertised itself as offering "bottled and draught ales and stout" as well as a "fresh supply [of] oysters each day".[4] An earlier inn (Grey Hound Inn) on Market Walk had closed prior to the Lindley Moor brewery opening, so can be discounted.

The connection to Lindley is strengthened by the fact that the area where the Wapping Spring Brewery stood was also called "Wapping Nick" (shortened by locals to "Wappy Nick"):

1854 map showing Wapping Nick.png

In May 1867, the Huddersfield Archæological and Topographical Association made an "inspection of the many remains of antiquity in the neighbourhood of Wapping Nick:[5]

The next place visited was Wapping Nick, a ravine between two craggy points that bear the names of the Great Pen End and the Little Pen End, names pointing to a British occupation of the place."

The September 1891 issue of the Railway Suppliers' Journal contained the following:

Some three miles out of Huddersfield, on Lindley Moor, situated in a deep ravine, partly buried in the earth, is the Wapping Spring Brewery, owned by the firm of Messrs. John Ainley and Sons. The brewery takes its name from a famous spring, formerly called Wapping Nick, whose waters emanate from the rough sandstone rock, and possess valuable medicinal properties, which make them peculiarly suitable for not only brewing purposes, but also for the manufacture of mineral and ærated waters. Our reason for directing the attention of our readers to the beverages which are made at this brewery, is that we had occasion to taste some of the same description lately and were stuck by the difference in flavour and quality. This induced us to make further enquiries concerning them, and after an exhaustive trial we came to the conclusion that Messrs. Ainley and Sons' manufacturers were equal to the best that have from time to time been brought beneath our notice, and much superior to many of a similar kind for which exorbitant prices are charged. Having made what we deem to be a valuable discovery we do not, therefore, hesitate to make the matter public for the benefit of our friends. We should not omit to state that the stout brewed here is of exceptional value, and abounds in medicinal and nourishing properties, which make it peculiarly suitable to invalids or those of weak constitution. It is frequently recommended by doctors, who state that it has undoubtedly benefited their patients.

Grey Hound Inn

The Grey Hound Inn appears on the 1851 Town Plan (surveyed in the late 1840s) but was demolished in 1851 or 1852 due to it being "in a most dilapidated state".[6]

Fillans & Sons

In February 1858, Scottish jeweller and watchmaker William Fillans moved his business from Victoria Street to 2 Market Walk. His sons William and Archibald joined the business as Fillans and Sons, which later became Fillan and Sons.

The shop is currently home to Walkers Jewellers of Huddersfield.[7]

See Also...


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Notes and References

  1. For example, The Story of Huddersfield (1968) by Roy Brook.
  2. According to the Transactions of the Yorkshire Dialect Society, nick "is a kindred work to the Dutch 'neck'."
  3. "In and About: Wappy Nick" in Huddersfield Daily Examiner (19/Nov/1936).
  4. Huddersfield Chronicle (17/Jan/1880) & (14/Feb/1880).
  5. Huddersfield Chronicle (25/May/1867).
  6. "Transfer of Licenses" in Huddersfield Chronicle (11/Oct/1856).