Meltham and Meltham Mills Liberal Association

The Meltham & Meltham Mills Liberal Association — also known as the Meltham Liberal Club and the Meltham & Meltham Mills Liberal Club — in an extant political club.


The Meltham and Meltham Mills Liberal Association was formed in early 1876, with around 120 people attending the first meeting on 8 May which was held in the Baptist Schoolroom in Meltham. The Huddersfield Chronicle reported that around 100 people had signed up as members at the meeting, with the following being appointed:[1]

  • president — Samuel Coldwell
  • vice-presidents — William Pickles and John Broadhead
  • treasurer — J.B. Hirst
  • secretaries — Benjamin Sykes and Jonas Lawton
Huddersfield Chronicle (11/Nov/1876)

The inaugural meeting was held on Saturday 18 November 1876 at the Odd Fellows' Hall, Meltham, presided over by Liberal politician William H. Leatham of Hemsworth Hall, Pontefract, and was preceded by a knife and fork tea.[2]

By 1878, the president was Mr. D.A. Bamford.[3]

In July 1882, the Association held its annual excursion by travelling to Scarborough, setting off at 5am from Meltham and arriving into Scarborough by 8:30am. Around 400 people travelled to the coastal town and many visited "the splendid aquarium", along with the other major attractions. They returned to Meltham around 11pm. On the same day, the Meltham and Meltham Mills Conservative Association held an excursion to visit Edward Brook at his Hoddam Castle estate in Dumfriesshire, Scotland.[4]

The Association helped to organise the athletic sports day part of the annual Meltham Feast in September 1883, which was held in a field behind the Odd Fellows' Hall. The Meltham Mills Junior Brass Band played throughout the day and Mr. John Kilburn acted as the umpire for the events.[5]

The annual excursion in 1884 was to Hull, with around 350 people. On the same day, the local Conservative Association travelled to Blackpool.[6]

In October 1885, the Colne Valley Liberal candidate Henry F. Beaumont addressed a meeting of the Association.[7] Following his success, Beaumont attended a knife and fork tea party organised by the Association in March 1886. The following resolution was proposed and accepted:[8]

That this meeting desires to congratulate Mr. H.F. Beaumont, M.P., on the honourable position to which he has been elected by the constituency of the Colne Valley Parliamentary Division, and has full confidence that in him the division has secured an honourable and efficient representative.

At the annual meeting held in December 1893, it was reported that Association had had 198 members during the year. After adopting the report and balance-sheet, the following were elected:[9]

  • president — J.W. Denham, Esq.
  • vice-presidents — J. Moorhouse, Allen Crosland, James Kilburn, T.H. Mellor, H. Iredale, Henry Bamford, Joseph Armitage and A. Anderson
  • treasurer — J.B. Hirst
  • corresponding secretary — T.W. Waterhouse
  • financial secretary — A. Woodhead
  • auditors — J. Roberts and G.W. Pogson
  • committee — James Sykes, W. Shaw, W. Wood, W. Castle, J.W. Quarmby, W. Pogson, A. Mosley, N. Mosley, J.W. Mellor, D. Daylor, C.H. Haigh and J.H. Mosley
Huddersfield Chronicle (14/Jul/1894)

On 14 July 1894, the foundation stone of the new Liberal Club in Meltham was laid by Sir James Kitson, M.P.[10]

Kitson returned in November 1896 to formally open the new Club. The Chronicle reported that the building had a public hall which could house between 300 to 400 people, and that it has cost £1,648 7s. 9d. towards which £918 had already been raised.[11]

The Meltham Liberal Club still stands on Wessenden Head Road.

By 1899, the Liberal and Conservative Associations were holding joint excursions and, on Saturday 15 July that year, around 500 members travelled to Morecambe. Joining them were around 200 employees of Bent Ley Silk Mills, who had their costs paid by the directors of the mill. The day trippers eventually returned in the early hours of Sunday morning.[12]

By 1914, the Meltham Women's Liberal Association were regularly meeting at the Liberal Club.[13]


A selection of lectures were organised by the Association were reported by the Chronicle, all of which were held at the Odd Fellows' Hall until the Liberal Hall was opened in the mid-1890s:

date person topic
Jan 1878 Mr J.B. Robinson of Marsden "John Bright"
Dec 1879 Samuel Wimpenny of Holmfirth "Wars in Afghanistan: Past and Present"
Feb 1880 Rev. J.B. Charles, Wesleyan Minister of Holmfirth "Scenes in English History: Chiefly in Connection with the Great Revolution of 1688"
Mar 1882 Mr E.T. Hicks of the Financial Reform Association "The Legislation of the Past 50 Years, or Conservatism and Liberalism ; a Contrast and a Picture"
Dec 1883 Mr J.B. Robinson of Marsden "In Ireland, What I Saw and Heard"
Feb 1884 Mr. D.F.E. Sykes "The Coming Democracy"
Feb 1899 Rev. J. Jackson "The Life of Gladstone"


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Notes and References

  1. "Liberalism in Meltham" in Huddersfield Chronicle (13/May/1876).
  2. "Meltham and Meltham Mills Liberal Association" in Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (20/Nov/1876).
  3. "Meltham and Meltham Mills Liberal Association" in Huddersfield Chronicle (10/Jan/1878).
  4. "Meltham Political Club Excursions" in Huddersfield Chronicle (28/Jul/1882).
  5. "Athletic Sports at Meltham" in Huddersfield Chronicle (12/Sep/1883).
  6. "Meltham: Trips to Blackpool and Hull" in Huddersfield Chronicle (26/Jul/1884).
  7. "The Colne Valley Division: Mr. Beaumont at Meltham" in Leeds Mercury (26/Oct/1885).
  8. "Liberal Celebration at Meltham" in Huddersfield Chronicle (27/Mar/1886).
  9. "Meltham" in Huddersfield Chronicle (09/Dec/1893).
  10. "Public Notices" in Huddersfield Chronicle (14/Jul/1894).
  11. "Liberalism in Meltham: Opening of a New Club" in Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (26/Nov/1896).
  12. "Meltham: Friendly Politicians" in Huddersfield Chronicle (22/Jul/1899).
  13. "Women's Liberals" in Huddersfield Daily Examiner (26/Feb/1914).