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 here for further information.
World War I centenary – and our latest book
The Society’s latest book is ‘Yours for Eternity’ – A Romance of the Great War, by John Rumsby. This marks the centenary of the First World War and examines it through the experiences of a local young couple. The book is based on an extraordinary collection of 150 letters, found in a tin box in the attic of a house in the town, between Henry Coulter, who served and died in the war, and his sweetheart Lucy Townend. Full details of the 168-page illustrated edition their poignant letters are here.
Other World War I commemorative activities locally are outlined on our World War I page.
Other recent publications
Our 2015/16 Journal is now out, and once again just £4.00 for an 84-page issue, with more than ten articles on a wide range of aspects of local history.
Society members have contributed two new town centre trails to the growing series published by Discover Huddersfield (see below) – the Ramsden Heritage Trail and European Exile Communities Trail. These follow the Radical Heritage Trail published in 2014.
Recently published by the Friends of Greenhead Park is a booklet, Huddersfield’s Best Address: Four centuries of life at Greenhead Hall, by Society member David Griffiths.
Awards for Society members
Our publicity officer Dr Christine Verguson was given a special award in this year’s Yorkshire History Prizes for an essay on the wartime broadcasting career of Todmorden-born author, traveller and political activist William Holt. Full details are here. Other recent winners of the annual YHP awards have included Society members Alan Brooke and David Griffiths.
And member Dr Anne Brook received an award from the national British Association for Local History for her article in our 2014 Journal on the Jewish community in Huddersfield. Anne is pictured receiving her award from BALH President Professor David Hey at the Association’s AGM in June.
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. Eight printed town trails are now available, including one on Historic Buildings based on our own Town Centre Heritage Trail, and there are over a dozen guided walks in the 2015 programme.
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.
Plaque remembers Basque refugee children
The Society has placed a plaque at the Old Clergy House, Stocks Walk, Almondbury, jointly with the Basque Children of ’37 Association, to commemorate its use as a refuge for Basque children during the Spanish Civil War. The full story can be found here.
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 at <research[at]hdfhs.org.uk>. 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.
This website is always under development and we would like your feedback on how to improve it.
Header image courtesy of Kirklees Image Archive: www.kirkleesimages.org.uk