Huddersfield from Castle Hill
Huddersfield is near where the River Colne and the River Holme meet, and according to the 2001 it was the 10th largest town in the United Kingdom, with a total resident population of 146,234. The town is known for its role in the Industrial Revolution, for being the birthplace of rugby league and birthplace of the British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson.
Huddersfield is a town of Victorian architecture. Huddersfield railway station is a Grade I listed building described by John Betjeman as 'the most splendid station facade in England' second only to St Pancras, London. The station in St George's Square was renovated at a cost of £1 million and subsequently won the Europa Nostra award for European architecture.
The remains of a Roman fort were unearthed in the mid 18th century at Slack near Outlane, west of the town. Castle Hill, a major landmark, was the site of an Iron Age hill fort.
Huddersfield is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Oderesfelt and Odresfeld.
Huddersfield has been a market town since Anglo-Saxon times. The market cross is on Market Place.
Huddersfield was a centre of civil unrest during the Industrial Revolution. In a period where Europe was experiencing frequent wars, where trade had slumped and the crops had failed, many local weavers faced losing their livelihood due to the introduction of machinery in factories, which they feared would condemn them to poverty or starvation. Luddites began destroying mills and machinery in response; one of the most notorious attacks was on Cartwright, a Huddersfield mill-owner, who had a no-nonsense reputation, and his Rawfords Mill. In his book Rebels Against the Future, Kirkpatrick Sale describes how an army platoon was stationed at Huddersfield to deal with Luddites; at its peak, there were about a thousand soldiers in Huddersfield and ten thousand civilians. In response, Luddites began to focus attacks on nearby towns and villages, which were less well-protected; the largest act of damage that they committed was the destruction of Foster's Mill at Horbury — a village about 10 miles east of Huddersfield. The government campaign that crushed the movement was provoked by a murder that took place in Huddersfield. William Horsfall, a mill-owner and a passionate prosecutor of Luddites, was killed in 1812. Although the movement faded out, Parliament began to increase welfare provision for those out of work, and introduce regulations to improve conditions in the mills.
Two Prime Ministers have spent part of their childhood in Huddersfield: Herbert Asquith (Liberal) and Harold Wilson (Labour). Wilson is commemorated by a statue in front of the railway station.
Huddersfield is a manufacturing town, despite the university being the largest employer. Historically the town produced textiles. The number of people who work in textiles has declined, but the surviving companies produce large quantities of woollen products with little labour. The town is home to textile, chemical and engineering companies and a large number of niche manufacturers.
There are a number of churches in the town, and several Sikh gurdwaras, Mohammedan mosques and Hindu temples.
Huddersfield parish church (St. Peter's Church) was constructed in 1838 and is adjacent to the town centre, on Byram Street, near the Pack Horse Centre.
Landmarks and architecture
Huddersfield has an abundance of Victorian architecture. It has the third highest number of listed buildings of any town or city in the UK. The most conspicuous landmark is the Victoria Tower on Castle Hill. Overlooking the town, the tower was built to mark Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee Year. (A picture of the Victoria Tower features on the New Zealand wine Castle Hill.)
Huddersfield Town Hall was designed by John H. Abbey and built in two stages between 1875 and 1881. The first section opened on 26 June 1878, comprising the Mayor's Parlour, Council Chamber, Reception Room and municipal offices including the Sanitary Inspector, Inspector of Weights and Measures, Medical Officer, Town Clerk, Borough Surveyor and the Rates Office. The second phase opened in October 1881 comprising the Magistrates' Court and Concert Hall. The hall seats up to 1,200 people and hosts events ranging from classical to comedy and from choral to community events.
The colonnaded Huddersfield railway station in St George's Square was once described as 'a stately home with trains in it', and by Sir Nikolaus Pevsner as 'one of the best early railway stations in England'. A bronze statue of Huddersfield-born Sir Harold Wilson, Prime Minister 1964–1970 and 1974–1976 stands in front of its entrance in St George's Square.
The Pack Horse Centre is a covered pedestrianised shopping area constructed over a cobblestone street, Pack Horse Yard, renamed Pack Horse Walk. Pack horses carried merchandise over pack-horse routes across the Pennines before turnpike roads and railways improved transportation. The pedestrian link passes from Kirkgate, across King Street and along Victoria Lane, by the Shambles, to the Piazza and the distinctive Market Hall at Queensgate, which was built to replace the old Shambles Market Hall in the early 1970s. Next to the Piazza is the Victorian Town Hall and the 1930s Public Library.
Beaumont Park about 2 miles to the south of the town centre was bequeathed to the town in the 1880s, by the Henry Ralph Beaumont ('Beaumont's of Whitley' estate) and was opened on 13 October 1883, by Prince Leopold, fourth son of Queen Victoria, and his wife Princess Helena of Waldeck and Pyrmont (The Duke and Duchess of Albany). It is a fine example of a Victorian era public park with water cascades, bandstand and woodland.
The Huddersfield Broad Canal, originally the Sir John Ramsden Canal, and the Huddersfield Narrow Canal which are both navigable by narrowboat, and the broad canal by wider craft, wind around the south side of town. To the rear of the YMCA in the Turnbridge section is an electrically operated road bridge, which is still in use, to raise the road and allow boat traffic to pass. This bridge originally used a windlass.
Football and rugby league are the main spectator sports in Huddersfield. Its professional football team, Huddersfield Town FC play in the Championship.
The town was the birthplace of rugby league.
- Huddersfield Town FC
- Rugby League:
- Huddersfield Giants
- Huddersfield Underbank Rangers
- Rugby Union:
- Huddersfield Rugby Union Football Club
- Australian Rules Football: Huddersfield Rams
The main sporting arena is John Smith's Stadium home to both the football team and rugby league side.
- Hockey: various teams.
- Motorcycle speedway
Huddersfield Choral Society founded in 1836, claims to be the UK's leading choral society. Its history was chronicled in the book 'And The Glory', written to commemorate the society's 150th anniversary in 1986 — its title derived from a line in the Hallelujah Chorus of Handel's Messiah.
The annual Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival is held in the town which is also home to the Huddersfield Philharmonic Orchestra and the Huddersfield Singers.
Huddersfield on television
Long-running television series have been filmed in and around Huddersfield.:
- Last of the Summer Wine is usually associated with Holmfirth, but uses locations in the Holme and Colne valleys, and Hudderfield was mentioned in the dialogue on occasion.
- Where the Heart Is, was filmed in the Colne valley around Slaithwaite.
- Wokenwell, was shot on location in the Colne valley and Marsden.
- The League of Gentlemen, used locations around Marsden.
- Two feature films filmed in and around Huddersfield are:
- Between Two Women and
- The Jealous God.
Huddersfield Festival of Light takes place annually in November, usually in the town centre adjacent to the railway station. Each year there is a performance by a theatre company. The finale is a firework display.
Huddersfield Caribbean Carnival in mid-July, begins with a procession from the Hudawi Cultural Centre in Hillhouse, through the town centre to Greenhead Park where troupes display their costumes on stage. Caribbean food, fairground rides and various stalls and attractions are available. A 'young blud' stage presents Hip Hop, UK garage, RnB and bassline.
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- Huddersfield Town Hall
- BBC Voices - Audio recording Huddersfield residents who have roots in Jamaica talk about storytelling traditions and the generation language gap.
- Aerial views of the town centre, April 2007
- Pictures of Huddersfield and the area on Geograph.co.uk
- Huddersfield One - Tolson Museum Booklets
- Kirkpatrick Sale. Rebels Against the Future. pp. 120. ISBN 0-201-62678-0.
- Pevsner, Nikolaus; Radcliffe, Enid (Ed.) (2002). The Buildings of England: Yorkshire: The West Riding. Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-09662-3.
- "Risky Buildings". Riskybuildings.org.uk. http://www.riskybuildings.org.uk/docs/20queensgate/index.html. Retrieved 2008-10-09.
- "Training Location". Kirkleesgirlshockeyclub.co.uk. http://www.kirkleesgirlshockeyclub.co.uk/kghc-training-location.html. Retrieved 2008-10-09.
- "About Us". Huddersfield Choral Society. http://huddersfieldchoral.com/page--about-huddersfield-choral.html. Retrieved 2008-10-12.
- Huddersfield Carnival
E.A. Hilary Haigh ed. (1992) Huddersfield: A Most Handsome Town - Aspects of the History and Culture of a West Yorkshire Town. Kirklees MC, Huddersfield, pp. 704