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.
Annual Luddite Memorial Lecture
This year’s Luddite Memorial Lecture will be 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. This is a free event and takes places on the evening of Monday 30 April 2018 at the University of Huddersfield.
This lecture explores the role which religious ideas played in the Chartist struggle for basic democratic rights. It focuses on three particular examples. The lecture begins by considering the ‘revolutionary sermons’ of the ‘Chartist’ preacher, the Reverend Joseph Rayner Stephens. It continues by examining the role of Chartist and Democratic Chapels within the movement. Finally, it explores the ideas contained in the only surviving Chartist hymnal – the ‘National Chartist Hymn Book’. The lecture will consider both the reasons why religion was important to the Chartist movement and the ways in which Chartism challenged conventional Victorian religious ideas.
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!
The 2018 season of guided walks has been announced.
Edward Law History Prize
The Edward Law History Prize was launched by the Society in recognition of our member and prolific local historian, Edward Law, who died in 2013. Two prizes of £100 were on offer.
2017/18 Monday Evening Talks
Our 2017/18 Journal is now out, and just £4.00 for a 100-page issue.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
This website is always under development and we would like your feedback on how to improve it.