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West Riding
Meltham & Lower Holme Valley.JPG
Meltham and lower Holme Valley
Grid reference: SE099106
Location: 53°35’31"N, 1°51’0"W
Population: 8,089  (2001)
Post town: Holmfirth
Postcode: HD9
Dialling code: 01484
Local Government
Council: Kirklees
Colne Valley

Meltham is a small town in the West Riding of Yorkshire, lying within the Holme Valley, below Wessenden Moor. It is four and a half miles southwest of Huddersfield on the edge of the Peak District National Park. Meltham had a population of 8,089 at the 2001 census.

The valley has been inhabited since pre-historic times and there are two Iron Age sites overlooking the town. Meltham also includes the small village of Helme which has its own school and church. Meltham is situated within close reach of several of the major cities of the West Riding and also of Manchester to the southwest.




Meltham has often appeared on television, for example:

  • Coogan's Run (3rd episode in 1995), filmed around Meltham Parish Church Hall.
  • Last of the Summer Wine used some Meltham locations.
  • Where the Heart Is (1997, ITV series) also used some Meltham houses as character's homes.

Industrial history

Brook family

Meltham Mills was the former site of Jonas Brook and Brothers, a silk mill complex that employed over 1,000 workers during the late 19th century. The Brook or Brooke family originally came from New House Hall in Sheepridge, moving to Thickhollins towards the end of the 18th century. William Brook married Martha Smith at Bradford Parish Church - the daughter of a prominent Mirfield banker. Their sons Jonas, James and Joseph established their business in Meltham Mills, using a goat's head - the crest from the Brook's coat of arms - as their brand. The goat's head can still be seen on the old office building to the mill complex and their arms are emblazoned in St. James' Church, in Meltham Mills (which the family built) - a hawkes lure. Meltham Mills Band also carry the Brook family coat of arms as their official logo. Edward Brook died in 1904 at Hoddom Castle, the house near Ecclefechan in Dumfriesshire, which he had bought in 1878.

The Brook family were philanthropists and built housing in Meltham Mills for their employees, including the convalescent home. They also built Meltham Hall, Helme Church and owned an estate at Enderby in Leicestershire. William Brook is buried with his wife Martha in Meltham Church, but his descendants are buried in the crypt underneath St. James Church, Meltham Mills.

Jonas Brook and Brothers became United Threads in 1890 and the latter closed in 1939 with the business transferred to Paisley in Renfreshire. The factory site was taken over by David Brown Tractors.

John Charles Brooke, who originated from the Silkstone branch of the Newhouse Hall family was Somerset Herald during the 18th century. He was crushed to death at the Haymarket Theatre in London following the crowd's clamour to see King George III in 1794. He is buried in St Benet Paul's Wharf in London.

Tractor factory

Meltham Mills was also the base of the David Brown Tractors factory opening in 1939 and closing operations on the site in 1988. The various building have now been converted into a diverse number of industrial units, one housing a Tractor museum and other large sections containing an indoor Kart racing track.


Meltham from Wessenden Moor

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Meltham)