Huddersfield Local History Society is a membership organisation for anybody and everybody interested in the history of the town. Our established activities include monthly talks from September to May; a summer outing; an autumn seminar; an annual journal, free to members; and a series of publications. We are keen to recruit new members and to develop opportunities for members to share their interests in local history and work together to find out more about our fascinating town. 

Please explore our website and contact us for further information.

Hilary Haigh (1945-2018)

photograph courtesy of the University of Huddersfield

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Hilary Haigh. The following statement from our Chairman, Cyril Pearce, was circulated to members:

Today I was shocked to learn that our Secretary, Hilary Haigh, had passed away. From its very beginning almost forty years ago now, she has been a veritable rock on which the Local History Society has been built. She will be sorely missed. On behalf of the Society I have expressed condolences and our deep sense of shock to her daughter Sarah.

The funeral will take place at 12:30 on Friday 28th December at St. Luke’s Church, Old Road, Overton, Wakefield, WF4 4RB. Family flowers only, donations to Wakefield Hospice, c/o Radcliffe Funeral Service, 16, Westgate, Honley, Holmfirth HD9 6AA.

Messages of condolence can be submitted via our web site and will be passed on to Sarah.

2018/19 Season of Talks

Our new season of Monday evening talks begins on 24 September with a presentation about The Standedge Tunnels by Trevor Ellis.

Making Up for Lost Time: The Pioneering Years of Huddersfield Corporation

Our newest publication was launched on July 7th 2018… and if you don’t know why we chose that particular date, Making Up for Lost Time: The Pioneering Years of Huddersfield Corporation will reveal all! The 128-page paperback can be ordered online.

Huddersfield became a Municipal Borough in 1868, two decades after many of its neighbours, but rapidly became a champion of civic enterprise. This new book explains the delay, describes the town as it was on the eve of incorporation, and explores the priorities, the politics and the personalities of the new Corporation’s first half century.

The Charter Our Right! Huddersfield Chartism Re-Considered

The Charter Our Right! Huddersfield Chartism Re-Considered, edited by John A. Hargreaves. This illustrated 126-page paperback is an edited collection of essays by Alan Brooke, Matthew Roberts, Malcolm Chase and John Halstead which explore Chartism and popular radicalism in Huddersfield. Copies can be purchased through our web site for £9.95 (excluding P&P).

The Huddersfield district lay at the centre of many of the social and political protest and reform movements of the first half of the nineteenth century – Luddism, the war of the unstamped press, the ten-hours factory campaign, opposition to the new poor law, parliamentary suffrage and municipal reform. This rich collection of research essays affords new insights into the nature of Chartism as an expression of popular grievances and aspirations for a better life. It will both deepen the understanding of Chartist scholars nationally and inform local readers of a heritage to be celebrated with pride.
— Professor Edward Royle, The University of York

2018/19 Journal

Our 2018/19 Journal is now out, and just £4.00 for a 108-page issue.

As well as Pam Brooke’s essay Death on the Home Front, which was the winner of the 2018 Edward Law History Prize, you can find articles on topics including Marsden Manor, George Faulkner Armitage, Huddersfield’s legal pioneer Mary E. Sykes, dispersal bussing of immigrant children in the 1960s and 1970s, Victory Avenue in Lindley, the 1918 Jubilee Freemen, and much more!

Huddersfield 150

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Incorporation of Huddersfield as a Municipal Borough. Our Huddersfield 150 page has details of upcoming events and research resources for those interested in finding out more!

Edward Law History Prize

The Edward Law History Prize for 2019 has been launched with two prizes on offer.

The prize was first announced in 2017 by the Society in recognition of our member and prolific local historian, Edward Law, who died in 2013. The 2018 prize was awarded to Pam Brooke.

Annual Luddite Memorial Lecture

This year’s Luddite Memorial Lecture was given by Dr Mike Sanders of the University of Manchester on the topic Revolutionary Sermons, Democratic Chapels and Rebellious Hymnals: religion in the Chartist Movement.

A review can be found on the University of Huddersfield’s web site.

Discover Huddersfield

The Society is a partner in Discover Huddersfield, a community-led project with the Huddersfield Partnership, Civic Society, University and Kirklees Libraries just some of the other organisations involved. The project has been supported by funding from Kirklees Council’s High Street Innovation Fund; the aim is to offer new and exciting ways to experience our town through guided walks, talks and trails. Ten printed town trails are now available, including one on Historic Buildings based on our own Town Centre Heritage Trail, and there are almost 20 guided walks in the 2017 programme.

Society members have contributed two new town centre trails to the growing series published by Discover Huddersfield – the Ramsden Heritage Trail and European Exile Communities Trail. These follow the Radical Heritage Trail published in 2014.

Commemorating the Luddites

With the bicentenary of the Luddite uprising now well behind us, the Society has joined with the University of Huddersfield to organise an annual Luddite Memorial Lecture. Our bicentenary book, Liberty or Death: Radicals, Republicans and Luddites, 1793-1823, by Alan Brooke and the late Lesley Kipling, proved so popular that we have already undertaken a second print run, and Alan Brooke has published two sequel chapters on his own website, taking the story forward to 1834. Also on the Luddite theme is William Horsfall’s last journey, a walking trail of about 3 miles, prepared with Huddersfield University students.

Supporting research

The Society is keen to encourage local history research both by individuals and community groups.

We cannot offer to research your local history queries, but we will do our best to point you in the right direction — check out our research resources page or useful links, or contact us. You can also post queries on the forum of the Huddersfield & District Family History Society (which is a separate organisation) or make use of their family history search service; this charges £6 per hour for members, £7 for non-members, and you can contact their research team. Huddersfield Local Studies Library have also set up links to a wide range of family history resources.

The University of Huddersfield has gained funding for a Sound, Craft, Vision, Place project, which aims to help community groups to explore and articulate their heritage for themselves.

Our website

This website is always under development and we would like your feedback on how to improve it.