Huddersfield 150 – Celebrating Civic Achievement
Huddersfield was granted a Royal Charter as a Municipal Borough on 7 July 1868. Working with a wide range of partners, Huddersfield Local History Society has taken the initiative to arrange a series of commemorative events for the 150th anniversary, from July through to November.
Our own main contribution will be publication of a collection of essays focussing on the first fifty years. We hope this book, Making Up for Lost Time: The Pioneering Years of Huddersfield Corporation, will be available to launch on 7 July — watch this space for further details. The title recalls that, compared with its neighbours, Huddersfield was 20 years late in achieving Borough status — but, within 15 years of inception, was managing markets, water and gas supply, tramways, the police force and fire brigade, some of the country’s earliest Council housing and much more besides.
Also opening on 7 July, at the University of Huddersfield, will be an exhibition on the Borough’s history, developed jointly by Heritage Quay and the West Yorkshire Archive Service (Kirklees). Centred at Heritage Quay (in the University’s Frederick Schwann Building), the weekend of 7/8 July will also see a ceremony with Mayor of Kirklees, local dignitaries and young people who will have taken part in school-based Charter-making and poetry workshops in June, facilitated by Chol Theatre Co and local poet Rose Condo. Workshops and short talks will also be on offer to the public and families during the weekend.
That weekend, on Sunday 8 July, Discover Huddersfield will also conduct a guided walk around early municipal landmarks and launch a new town trail on the theme. Borough Councils were a step along the way to greater democracy, and in the afternoon a second walk will celebrate the centenary of most women gaining the vote in 1918. This will complement a Vote 100 exhibition at the Tolson Museum, opening on 28 April; and there is also a Vote 100 website.
The summer months will also see displays on the incorporation theme in Kirklees libraries.
Looking further ahead, Kirklees Council plan to mark two other key anniversary dates:
- 7 September 1868 saw the first meeting of the new Corporation. In 2018 we hope that date will see free tours of the Town Hall and other activities, as part of this year’s Heritage Open Days festival.
- 2 November 1868 saw the first ordinary elections to the Corporation, which will be marked by more events at the Town Hall, including re-enactments involving local schools at Huddersfield Town Hall, with the Mayor and local councillors invited.
The Council also supports the Kirklees Democracy Commission, working to enhance local democracy today.
The full programme of events is still being developed, so watch this space, or follow the links above, for updated details. If you would like to contribute an event of your own, or have mementoes of the Corporation to share, please use our contact form and we will put you in touch with the most appropriate partner organisation.
Jubilee History of the Corporation of Huddersfield: 1868 to 1918
In partnership with Huddersfield Exposed, the Society had digitised Owen Balmforth’s 1918 book Jubilee History of the Corporation of Huddersfield: 1868 to 1918 and this is now available to read online.
The following web pages provide information that may be of interest to anyone researching this topic.
The following web pages also provide information that may be of interest to anyone researching this topic.
- Details of the Local Boards (formed from 1859 onwards)
- Transcriptions of newspaper articles about the Incorporation of Huddersfield
- Chronology of Acts of Parliament (including some transcriptions)
- Municipal Borough of Huddersfield (1868-1889)
- County Borough of Huddersfield (1889-1974)
Please keep an eye on this page as we’ll be adding more information and resources over the coming weeks and months!