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 will kick off the series of monthly lectures with his talk, ‘The town that bought itself’? New light on 1920. This will be 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 this and future talks.

And while it has not been possible to hold a book launch in the usual manner, there will be a Pop-Up Shop in the Piazza (Unit Three, opposite the Library) on 26, 28 and 29 September between 11am and 4pm when the new book will be available at the special price of £25 (RRP £30). Professor Royle intends to be there on Saturday 26 to sign copies and the Shop will also house a Centenary exhibition which has been put together by the West Yorkshire Archive Service, helped by history students from the University of Huddersfield. Staffed by WYAS and Society members, original archival documents will be on display on the Saturday, and other local history books will be on sale thoughout. Current Covid regulations for shops will apply.

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 (

Further information for editors:

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.

Public Lives: The Woodheads – A Notable Family of Huddersfield

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.


  • Introduction — page v
  • The Woodhead Families of Pog Ing and Ridings — page 1
  • The Newspaper Proprietor: Joseph Woodhead — page 11
  • The Medical Pioneer: German Sims Woodhead — page 27
  • The Editor: Ernest Woodhead — page 33
  • The Medical Officer of Health: Herbert Miall Woodhead — page 40
  • The Businessman: Arthur Longden Woodhead — page 42
  • The Sportsman: Frank Ellis Woodhead — page 49
  • Additional material on the family of Joseph Woodhead — page 51
  • Additional material on the family of Catherine Woodhead — page 53
  • Sources — page 58
  • The Family Tree — page 61

Issue 31 of the Society’s Journal

journal cover Issue 31 of Huddersfield Local History Society’s Journal is now available.

Current members of the Society receive a free complimentary copy of the journal. However, if we can’t tempt you to join today, you can order a copy of the journal for £4.00 (excluding postage). There is also a downloadable PDF version which has the exact same formatting as the print edition but incurs no extra postage costs.
Continue reading “Issue 31 of the Society’s Journal”

March/April 2020 Newsletter

Our newsletter for March and April is now available to read online or download in PDF format.

The contents include:

  • new publications
  • Huddersfield Band of Hope Diary
  • updates on events
  • Local History Books Online
  • Huddersfield & District in the Past

Any corrections, comments or feedback are welcome and will be added to this page.

February 2020 Newsletter

Our newsletter for February is now available to read online or download in PDF format.

The contents include:

  • new publications
  • Discover Huddersfield news
  • events in late February & March 2020
  • Press Release: Burial Ground Management System
  • “A Century of Progress: 1868 to 1968”
  • Huddersfield & District in the Past

Any corrections, comments or feedback are welcome and will be added to this page.

January 2020 Newsletter

Our newsletter for January is now available to read online or download in PDF format.

The contents include:

  • new publications
  • celebrations planned for “The Town that Bought Itself”
  • events in early 2020
  • appeal from the British Federation of Women Graduates
  • The Panto Vicar and his (Upper)Thong Birds
  • Huddersfield & District in the Past

Any corrections, comments or feedback are welcome and will be added to this page.

Lunchtime Club 2020

Kirklees Libraries’ Lunchtime Club is an informal meeting of people with an interest in local history. Meetings are held every two months in Huddersfield Central Library and begin at 1pm. Light refreshments are provided.

Although the talks are free, you are requested to book places in advanced at

The advertised talks for 2020 are:

  • 15 January World War One Peace Pageant in Dewsbury by local historian Stuart Hartley
  • 11 March “I Wished to Tell the Truth”: Ann Bronte at 200 by Diane Fare, Bronte Society
  • 20 May Huddersfield in 50 Buildings by local author and historian Chris Marsden
  • 15 July A Bradford Pal by local author John Broadhead
  • 15 September Brass Bands Around Huddersfield c1840—1914: Inventing Myths of Northernness and Class in an Industrial Landscape by Dr Stephen Etheridge of Huddersfield University
  • 18 November A Brief History of Farming in Kirklees by historian Dr Stephen Caunce

Names, Places & People (2019)

Our latest publication, Names, Places & People: a selection of articles from Old West Riding, is now available to order for £6.95 (+p&p).

This 160 page paperback book, which is edited by Cyril Pearce, will be launched on 23rd November 2019 at our Annual Study Day.

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.

ISBN: 9780992984120


  • Introduction
    • Selections from Old West RidingCyril Pearce
  • Language and Local Topography
    • Huddersfield and Yorkshire Dialect — Stanley Ellis
    • Surnames and Settlement — George Redmonds
    • Turf Pits — George Redmonds
  • Local Customs
    • Ringing Adam Bells 1 — Jennifer Stead
    • Ringing Adam Bells 2 — Jennifer Stead
  • The Textile Industry
    • Foundlers at Marsden — Philip Charlesworth
    • The Uses of Urine 1 — Jennifer Stead with Arthur Saul
    • The Uses of Urine 2 — Jennifer Stead
  • Two Historic Houses
    • The Bradley Family and their Newhouse — Edward J. Law
    • Woodsome Hall, Some Estate Correspondence — Edward J. Law
  • Going to America
    • West Riding Emigrants 1843 — George Redmonds
    • Emigration of the Scott Family and Friends 1842 — Jennifer Stead
    • John Broadbent (1795-1856) and the Vegetarian Colony, Kansas — Helen Broadbent
  • Early Modern Morality
    • Archbishop Neile’s Primary Visitation of the Huddersfield District, 1633 — John Addy