Huddersfield Lunchtime Club 2019

The programme for the Huddersfield Local Studies Library’s Lunchtime Club 2019 has been announced:

  • Wednesday 16 January 2019 — Endings and Aftermath
    Tom Ashworth, a local military and social historian, talks about the hopes of soldiers returning from the Great War.
  • Wednesday 20 March 2019 — Marsden’s Inns and Alehouses
    An illustrated talk by Judi Thorpe of Marsden History Group.
  • Wednesday 22 May 2019 — History of Cinemas in Huddersfield
    A talk by Vincent Dorrington of Mount Community Group on the cinemas of Huddersfield.
  • Wednesday 10 July 2019 — Patrick Bronte and his time in Dewsbury and Hartshead
    Diane Fare from the Bronte Society will be talking about the father of Charlotte, Emily and Anne who spent time in the area at Dewsbury and Hartshead.

The Lunchtime Club is an informal meeting of people with an interest in Local History. Meetings are held every two months at Huddersfield Library. Meetings begin at 1pm. Light refreshments are provided.

Please book your free place for our Lunchtime Club talks at

Local Studies Library
Huddersfield Library & Art Gallery
Princess Alexandra Walk
Huddersfield HD1 2SU
Tel (01484) 414868

Hilary Haigh (1945-2018)

photograph courtesy of the University of Huddersfield It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Hilary Haigh. The following statement from our Chairman, Cyril Pearce, was circulated to members:

Today I was shocked to learn that our Secretary, Hilary Haigh, had passed away. From its very beginning almost forty years ago now, she has been a veritable rock on which the Local History Society has been built. She will be sorely missed. On behalf of the Society I have expressed condolences and our deep sense of shock to her daughter Sarah.

New Discover Huddersfield Trails

If you’ve not already spotted them, there are two new Discover Huddersfield Trails waiting to be explored…

Firstly, as part of the Huddersfield 150 events, our own David Griffiths has prepared a new Civic Celebration Trail (PDF) which covers 11 locations including the Town Hall, Somerset Buildings, the Waterworks Office and Greenhead Park.

Secondly, Dave Verguson has prepared a Lindley Trail (PDF), which includes the Mechanics Institute, St. Stephen’s church, Field Head House and (of course!) the famous Clock Tower.

Two New Publications for 2018

The Society is proud to announce two new publications for 2018!

The first is The Charter Our Right! Huddersfield Chartism Re-Considered, edited by John A. Hargreaves. This illustrated 126-page paperback is an edited collection of essays which explore Chartism and popular radicalism in Huddersfield, and retails for £9.95. You can order your copy online via our shop.

The Huddersfield district lay at the centre of many of the social and political protest and reform movements of the first half of the nineteenth century – Luddism, the war of the unstamped press, the ten-hours factory campaign, opposition to the new poor law, parliamentary suffrage and municipal reform. This rich collection of research essays affords new insights into the nature of Chartism as an expression of popular grievances and aspirations for a better life. It will both deepen the understanding of Chartist scholars nationally and inform local readers of a heritage to be celebrated with pride.
— Professor Edward Royle, The University of York


  • Foreword — Cyril Pearce
  • Editor’s Introduction — John A. Hargreaves
  • The Roots of Chartism in the Huddersfield Area — Alan Brooke
  • ‘God Save the Paddock Flag’: Anti-Poor Law and Chartist Banners, 1837–1844 — Matthew Roberts
  • Chartism in Huddersfield, the cultural dimension — Malcolm Chase
  • ‘The Charter and Something More!’ The Politics of Joshua Hobson, 1810–1876 — John Halstead

The second book is Making Up for Lost Time: The Pioneering Years of Huddersfield Corporation, which will be launched on July 7th. This illustrated 128-page paperback will retail at £8.95 and is now available to order.

Huddersfield became a Municipal Borough in 1868, two decades after many of its neighbours, but rapidly became a champion of civic enterprise. This new book explains the delay, describes the town as it was on the eve of incorporation, and explores the priorities, the politics and the personalities of the new Corporation’s first half century.


  • Foreword — Cyril Pearce
  • Editor’s Introduction — David Griffiths
  • Huddersfield in 1867 — Joseph Batley
  • A Pioneer in Municipal Enterprise: Huddersfield, 1868 to 1920 — Cyril Pearce
  • Policing Victorian Huddersfield: Chief Constable Withers and the Re-Founding of the Borough Police Force — David Taylor
  • A Liberal Town? The Politics of Huddersfield Borough, 1868 to 1918 — Brendan Evans
  • A Representative Citizen in Context: James Edward Willans (1842-1926) — Clyde Binfield


Joseph Batley (1824-85) was clerk to the Huddersfield Improvement Commissioners from 1865-68 and the first Town Clerk of the Borough of Huddersfield from 1868 until his death. In its obituary, the Huddersfield Chronicle (23 January 1885) recorded that he “was energetic and unwearying in his efforts to improve the position of Huddersfield”.

Clyde Binfield is Professor Emeritus in History, the University of Sheffield. His publications include So Down to Prayers: Studies in English Nonconformity 1780-1920 (1977). He contributed to and chaired the editorial board of The History of the City of Sheffield (3 Vols, 1993).

Alan Brooke is author of several works on local working class social and political history and co-author, with the late Lesley Kipling of Liberty or Death – Radicals, Republicans and Luddites in the Huddersfield Area (2nd edition, 2012, Huddersfield Local History Society, 2012) and Huddersfield – History and Celebration (Published by Francis Frith, 2005). He also contributed a chapter, on ‘The Whole Hog: Huddersfield Chartism 1838–1855’ to I. Schofield, ed. Aspects of Huddersfield, Wharncliffe Publishing, Barnsley, 1999.

Malcolm Chase is Professor of Social History at the University of Leeds. He has published widely on labour history and radical protest movements. The Merlin Press has recently published a collection of his essays, The Chartists: Perspectives and Legacies, exploring the place of Chartism within the wider framework of Victorian politics (2015), a sequel to his Chartism. A New History, published by Manchester University Press (2007), a French translation of which was published by the Sorbonne University Press in 2013.

Brendan Evans is Emeritus Professor of Politics at the University of Huddersfield and has published widely on historical and political themes. He is researching the career of J.P.W. (Curly) Mallalieu, the Labour MP for Huddersfield from 1945-79, who was a Government Minister in the 1960s.

David Griffiths is a retired local government officer and local historian specialising in the development of the public realm in 19th century Huddersfield. His previous publications include Pioneers or Partisans: Governing Huddersfield, 1820-48 (2008) and Secured for the Town: The Story of Huddersfield’s Greenhead Park (2011).

John Halstead studied at Highburton Church of England elementary school and Penistone Grammar School. He provided copy for the Scissett-based West Yorkshire Advertiser when a schoolboy, graduated from the London School of Economics, and had a ten-year career in the civil service before teaching adult industrial workers on a variety of courses provided by the University of Sheffield. He is a Vice-President of the Society for the Study of Labour History; and after twenty-two years of activity in the field, recently retired as chair of the care and support board of a major housing association.

John A Hargreaves has taught history in secondary, higher and adult education in Huddersfield and Kirklees and is Visiting Research Fellow in History at the University of Huddersfield. He co-edited with E. A. H. Haigh, Slavery in Yorkshire: Richard Oastler and the Campaign against Child Labour in the Industrial Revolution (University of Huddersfield Press, 2012) and with K. Laybourn and R. Toye, Liberal Reform and Industrial Relations: J. H. Whitley (1866–1935), Halifax Radical and Speaker of the House of Commons for Routledge Studies in Modern British History.

Cyril Pearce is a former college and university Lecturer and is currently Honorary Research Fellow in the School of History at Leeds University. He has researched, written and lectured extensively on the history of Huddersfield and district. His Comrades in Conscience (2001 & 2014) explored anti-war activity in First World War Huddersfield.

Matthew Roberts is Senior Lecturer in Modern British History at Sheffield Hallam University. He works on popular politics and protest in the ‘long’ nineteenth century and is currently completing a monograph provisionally entitled Radical Portraits: Heroes and Villains in British Popular Politics, 1809–1848. His chapter in this volume draws on a database of banner inscriptions, which he has constructed. He has also published similar case studies of radical banners in the Manchester region and Scotland.

David Taylor is an Emeritus Professor of History at Huddersfield University. He has written extensively on the history of crime and policing, including Beerhouses, Brothels and Bobbies (2016), a detailed study of the policing of Huddersfield and district in the mid-nineteenth century.

Edward Law History Prize

Pam Brooke receiving her prize from Prof. Tim Thornton, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Huddersfield.

We are pleased to announce that the panel of four judges comprising members of the society and our partners has unanimously agreed on this year’s winner, Pam Brooke. Her winning article — Death on the Home Front — has been published in the current edition of the HLHS Journal (pp. 16-24) and can be accessed online.

The Edward Law History Prize 2019 has now been launched and full details are available here. This time, two prizes are on offer:

  • £150 for a long essay (2500 to 3000 words)
  • £50 for a short essay (500 to 800 words)

Issue 29 of the Society’s Journal

Issue 29 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 this issue of the journal. 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 29 of the Society’s Journal”

Honley Civic Society (2018/19)

Honley Civic Society’s 2018/19 season of talks is now available on their web site:


  • 13th September — Mining Disasters (Anne Bradley)
  • 11th October — John Edward Shaw, Photographer (Brian Haigh)
  • 8th November — The Suffragettes (David Cockman)


  • 10th January — From the Archives (Peter Marshall)
  • 14th February — Little Known London (Patricia Bell)
  • 14th March — Heroes of a Different Kind (Cyril Pearce)
  • 11th April — A History of Farnley Tyas (Caroline Page)
  • 12th September — Harry Bray, Photographer (Helen Bray)

All meetings are held at the Parish Rooms, Church Street, Honley, and begin at 7.30pm.

Luddite Memorial Lecture 2018

The annual 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 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.

Dr Mike Sanders is Senior Lecturer in Nineteenth-Century Writing at the University of Manchester. He is particularly interested in Chartism and in nineteenth century working-class radicalism and culture more generally. He serves on the executive committee of the ‘Society for the Study of Labour History’ and is an Educational Trustee for the General Federation of Trades Unions. His current research project explores the role of religion within the Chartist movement. His publications include, ‘The Poetry of Chartism: Aesthetics, Politics, History’ (published by Cambridge University Press in 2009), as well as articles in ‘Victorian Studies’, ‘Victorian Poetry’, ‘Victorian Periodicals Review’ and ‘Victorian Literature and Culture’.

This is a free event and takes place at 7:30pm on Monday 30 April 2018 in the Brontë Lecture Theatre (BLG/05), University of Huddersfield. The lecture theatre will be open from 7pm.

2018/19 Season of Talks

The planned 2018/19 season of talks and events by the Huddersfield Local History Society are as follows:


  • 24 September: The Standedge Tunnels — Trevor Ellis
  • 29 October: Conchies On the Run – and the Matter of Ireland — Cyril Pearce
  • 24 November: Women’s Suffrage — study day at the Tolson Museum
  • 26 November: Nurses of Passchendaele — Christine Hallett


  • 28 January: Holocaust Learning Centre — Emma King
  • 25 February: Dispersal Bussing in Huddersfield during the 1960s and 1970s: Solving “The Problem” of Immigrant Children — Joe Hopkinson
  • 25 March: You Always Remember Your Co-op Number: The Amazing Rise of the People’s Own Shops — Stephen Caunce
  • 29 April: Annual Luddite Memorial Lecture — Janette Martin
  • 20 May: to be confirmed
  • November: Landed Estates: Ramsden; Thornhill; Savile — study day

Please note that the venue for the evening talks will be confirmed in due course.

Discover Huddersfield 2018

The Discover Huddersfield guided walks programme for 2018 has just been announced and is summarised below:

  • 8 April — Chapels, Grand Houses and Mill Workers: A Walk through Lindley’s Story (David Verguson)
  • 22 April — Huddersfield’s Historic Canals (Trevor Ellis)
  • 6 May — The University Campus Trail (Lindsay Ince)
  • 24 May — Milnsbridge Transport Walk (Trevor, Eric and Robert)
  • 10 June — Punks, Parratt and St Peter’s: Musical Sites of Huddersfield (Rachel Cowgill)
  • 21 June — Getting to Know our Historic Buildings (David Wyles)
  • 8 July — Huddersfield 150: Celebrating Civic Initiative (David Griffiths)
  • 8 July — Walking with Women’s Suffrage: 100 Years of Votes for Women (Jill Liddington)
  • 19 July — The Building Stones of Huddersfield (Ailsa Burrows)
  • 9 August — Exploring Greenhead Park (David Griffiths)
  • 9 September — Exploding Huddersfield (Chris Marsden)
  • 15 September — Walking with Women’s Suffrage in the Colne Valley (Jill Liddington)
  • 16 September — Discover Historic Almondbury (Vivien Uff)
  • 7 October — Exploring Huddersfield’s Caribbean Heritage (Heather Norris Nicholson, Denzil Nurse and Natalie Pinnock-Hamilton)
  • 28 October — Shuddersfield Halloween Walk (Rebecca Winwood)
  • 11 November — Commemorating World War 1 (Dave Verguson)

With the exception of the three walks in September (which are free but require pre-booking), there is a charge of £3 per person.

Full details can be found in this PDF brochure but we would encourage you to keep an eye on the Discover Huddersfield web site or on their Twitter feed (@discover_hudds) in case there are any amendments to the above details.