New book: Power in the Land

Press Release

How Huddersfield bought itself!

Huddersfield made history a hundred years ago this month when its Corporation agreed to buy the Ramsden estate, which included the whole of the town centre and over half of the land within the Borough boundary, for £1.3 million.

The Ramsden family’s association with Huddersfield began in 1542 when William Ramsden bought his wife’s home at Longley and ended in 1920. To commemorate the centenary of the purchase of the Ramsdens’ Huddersfield estate by the Corporation, Huddersfield Local History Society has brought together a series of original essays on the family’s role in shaping the town, resulting in an extensively illustrated new book, Power in the Land, published by the University of Huddersfield Press.

Edited by Edward Royle, Emeritus Professor of History at the University of York and a long-standing member of the Society, the seven essays by local historians not only explore the relationship between the Ramsden family with the town and its people, but also throw new light on the somewhat mysterious circumstances surrounding the purchase of the estate in 1920.

Huddersfield Local History Society is also pleased to announce that, while it is not possible to provide its 2020-2021 season of monthly talks in the usual way, it will instead be presenting a series of recorded virtual talks on the Society website ( It seems only appropriate that Professor Royle kicked off the series of monthly lectures with his talk, ‘The town that bought itself’? New light on 1920. This is available for viewing from Monday 28 September, the eve of the centenary of the purchase of the Ramsden estate by Huddersfield Corporation. Please keep an eye on the Society’s website for information about future talks.

And while this new publication is a joint venture between Huddersfield Local History Society and the University of Huddersfield, other organisations in the town also plan to commemorate the centenary in different ways, details of which will be made available on a dedicated website (

Edward Royle (ed.) Power in the Land: The Ramsdens and their Huddersfield estate 1542-1920 is published by the University of Huddersfield Press on 26 September 2020. ISBN: 9781862181762. For those who would like to purchase the book and are not able to get to the Pop-Up Shop, it can be purchased through for the RRP price of £30.

Huddersfield Local History Society is a membership organisation for anybody and everybody interested in the history of the town. Find out more at

The press release is available as a PDF document.