By David Griffiths
Huddersfield Corporation made history in October 1919 when it agreed to buy the 4300-plus acres of the Ramsden estate for £1.3 million.
The estate comprised nearly half the land within the Borough boundary and the whole of the town centre. The deal was struck via locally-born entrepreneur Sam Copley and finalised on September 29, 1920.
To mark the centenary, Alderman Clifford Stephenson’s classic account of events, The Ramsdens and their Estate in Huddersfield: the Town that bought itself has been republished on our website.
Stephenson, who chaired the Corporation’s estates committee, published his booklet in 1972. It follows the story of the Ramsdens in Huddersfield from their purchase of the manor in 1599 to the sale in 1920.
Its re-publication begins a year of activity by Kirklees Council, West Yorkshire Archive Service, Huddersfield University and local societies to mark the historic centenary. The main focus will be in September and October 2020, when events will include:
Cllr Robert Walker, Kirklees Council's Cabinet lead for Culture and Environment says: "Huddersfield may not be an ancient settlement but it has a fascinating history."
"We are graced by a strong community of local historians who do a great work in exploring and presenting this story. Huddersfield University has a vibrant history department and I am very pleased that students are involved in presenting the story of the momentous events 200 years ago that shaped or town’s future."
The story of Sam Copley and ‘the town that bought itself’ is already commemorated by an information panel in Huddersfield Town Hall and a blue plaque on Copley’s home at Berry Brow.