The Sweeps' Arms was a beer house situated at 62 Kirkgate, Huddersfield, which existed from at least the 1860s until being demolished circa 1880.
The 1861 Census names the property as the Sweeps Arms, although gives no other indication that it was a beer house. The head of the household was master chimney sweep Edward "Ned" Wright (aged 42), with Sarah Ann Whiteley (36) named as his servant. Nine other people were lodging in the property, including chimney sweeps James Moore (14) and James Charlesworth (7). It is to be assumed the beer house took its name accordingly. Newspaper articles from the early 1860s name Edward as the keeper of the beer house and there are frequent references to chimney sweeps lodging at the property.
In March 1861, one of the temporary lodgers was jewellery hawker Edward Magee. Having seemingly come into some money, he spent the evening drinking heavily at the Sweeps' Arms and buying drinks for others until it closed at 11pm, after which he went off in search of other places to drink. In the early hours of the following day he was discovered by the police in Thomas Street, "so drunk as to be unable to take care of himself" and was taken to the police cells for the night. It was late afternoon before he was able to return to his lodgings, where he found his possessions had vanished — including a lockable carpet bag of jewellery contains goods worth around £60. He quickly returned to the police station to report the theft and their investigations revealed that a couple had lodged in his room that night during his absence, and were seen the following day on Bradford Road carrying what appeared to be a heavy carpet bag. Whilst police were dispatched to Halifax and Bradford to try and apprehend the suspect thieves, Inspector Townsend conducted a further search of the Sweeps' Arms where he found Magee's possessions "mysterious enscoused in an attic" — presumably the couple who had lodged in his room had placed them there. Magee's pleasure at being reunited with his goods was perhaps tempered by the fact he was then fined 5 shillings plus costs "for his inebriation"!
In January 1863, John Schofield was robbed of "a purse containing two florins and five shillings" after spending the evening drinking at the Sweeps' Arms with Mary Jane Senior — "a girl of light character". After reporting the theft to the police, Senior was apprehended by the police, "but nothing was found upon her." When the case went before the local magistrates, it was dismissed and Schofield was advised to "keep more respectable company" in future.
Sarah Ann Whiteley is named as the landlady in an article in the Huddersfield Chronicle from December 1865, which names Edward Wright as her lodger.
By the 1871 Census, Sarah Ann (46) was the head of the property and named as a widowed publican. Also residing in the property was her servant Eliza Kaye (20) and three lodgers: smith Richard Ramsden (37), greengrocer James Scholes (51) and boiler marker Jeremiah Hook (38).
By 1879, the landlord was named as Jeremiah Womersley.
The Register of Huddersfield Licences notes that the Sweeps Arms' licence was discontinued in August 1881, but it is likely the property was demolished the previous year when a large area centred around Chadwick's Fold was cleared to make room for new Parish Church National Schools.