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.

2020/21 Season of Monthly Talks

Due to the ongoing social distancing restrictions, the Society’s current season of talks will be delivered online via our website.

Dr Alice Brumby – Veteran’s Voices: Storthes Hall and the Long Shadow of Shell-Shock

Despite the interest in shell-shock and mental disability amongst servicemen, little is known about the plight of the mentally afflicted veteran after the armistice and into the interwar years. This talk rediscovers the voices and experiences of ex-servicemen institutionalised within the Ministry of Pensions Hospital at Kirkburton (Storthes Hall), during the interwar years. By focussing upon the written letters of the patients, this talk will present some of the diverse responses of patients to their hospitalisation. Medical men came to regard these patients as incurable cases, rather than as mentally ill ex-servicemen who deserved any special treatment.

Dr Brumby’s article A painful and disagreeable position’: rediscovering patient narratives and evaluating the difference between policy and experience for institutionalized veterans with mental disabilities, 1924–1931 is available to read online.

If you’ve enjoyed this talk, you may wish to subscribe to our new YouTube channel. The subtitles for this talk were generated automatically by YouTube and may contain the occasional spelling or conversion error.

The previous talks from the current season are available to view online.

Christmas Special 2020

As a festive treat to our members, our Journal Editor Rob Piggott has compiled a Christmas Special issue which brings together a selection of archive articles and a tinseled treasure trove of Christmas Past from the local area. Full details of the contents can be found here. A limited number of print copies are now available for purchase.

If you are looking for last-minute Christmas presents — or perhaps something to buy with your Christmas money! — David Griffith’s new book Highfields: a Most Handsome Suburb is available purchase. Further details can be found here.

Our Latest Publication

We are pleased to announce that a newly revised edition of Pamela Cooksey’s Public Lives: The Woodheads – A Notable Family of Huddersfield is now available to purchase for £1.00 as a downloadable 74-page PDF e-book.

The work was originally published by the Society in 1999 as a paperback booklet and the full contents are listed here.

2020/21 Journal

Our 2020/21 Journal is now out, and just £4.00 for a 76-page issue.

Inside, you’ll find articles on topics such as the Peterloo Massacre, Linthwaite’s Suffragist Florence Lockwood, Sufi-Muslims in Dewsbury, and farm communities in the Huddersfield area. The full list of contents can be found here.

Names, Places & People

Names, Places & People: a selection of articles from Old West Riding, edited by Cyril Pearce.

Old West Riding published 23 editions from 1981 to 1995. It was a joint venture by three local historians – Jennifer Stead, George Redmonds and Cyril Pearce. This collection of over a dozen articles is dedicated to George Redmonds, who died in August 2018.

This book was launched on 23rd November 2019 at our Annual Study Day and is available to order online for £6.95 (+p&p).

George’s final book, Honley: People, Places and Place-Names, has also been published.

2019 Luddite Memorial Lecture

The sixth annual Luddite Memorial Lecture was given by Dr. Janette Martin, Modern History Archivist at John Rylands Library in Manchester, on the topic Peterloo Retold: 1819-2019.

Dr Martin talked about the many ways in which the Peterloo Massacre of 16 August 1819 has been remembered and retold. From the contemporary commemorative mugs, handkerchiefs, poems, fiction and engravings to the how the City of Manchester has responded across the centuries to this traumatic episode in Manchester’s history.

She also explored the reaction of West Riding Radicals on the events in Manchester and how Peterloo was remembered and commemorated this side of the Pennines. Her talk was illustrated with objects and sources from John Rylands Library‘s collections.

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.

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.