CIVIC SOCIETY NEWS
CIVIC SOCIETY NEWS
A web app produced by the Discover Huddersfield Partnership has been launched to coincide with this year’s Heritage Open Days in Kirklees.
The Huddersfield On Foot Guide reveals the heritage of the town for those with smartphones and those who want to discover the history of the town on their computer from the comfort of home.
The Heritage Open Days runs until September 19.
The app is based on the printed Discover Huddersfield Trails with 12 trails available to follow, covering themes such as historic buildings and transport, cultural heritage including the Caribbean and music trails and local centres such as Birkby and Lindley.
Huddersfield On Foot works by using your phone’s GPS to see where you are, a map to follow points of interest and information about local landmarks. Access to the trails is free.
Vernon O’Reilly, Chair of Discover Huddersfield said: “Huddersfield On Foot makes it even easier to discover our town, its extraordinary architecture, heritage and culture. It provides an ideal way to enjoy an informative stroll with the flexibility to follow more than one trail as you move from location to location or to explore online.”
There are 17 printed trails available from local information points and selected retailers and cafes, a programme of guided walks through the year and a number of virtual trails produced with the support of Kirklees Libraries (available by searching YouTube for Kirklees Libraries).
The partnership hopes the app will attract people from further afield who have an interest or are visiting the town.
It also complements activities being undertaken within the Huddersfield High Street Heritage Action Zone cultural programme, funded by Historic England.
The app can be opened by going to https://huddersfield.onfoot.guide/ or visit www.discoverhuddersfield.uk for further details about Discover Huddersfield.
A special website celebrating the history of St George’s Square is now up and running and people are urged to add their own memories to it ... and they could also feature in a book.
Huddersfield Local History Society’s website Our Square (https://oursquare.huddersfieldhistory.org.uk/) is building up a history of the square, including photos.
The society will be putting together an illustrated book, to be published in 2023, which will feature eye-witness accounts and images drawn from historical sources as well as present day reminiscences so your words and pictures could be included.
Huddersfield Local History Society is also working together with the West Yorkshire Archive Service so that all our memories of St George’s Square can be preserved for future generations.
It’s part of a project called Huddersfield High Street Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) which has received £90,000 from Historic England to provide community-led cultural activities in that area of Huddersfield town centre over the next three years.
Each year will have a theme. This year it’s sport and well-being to tie-in with the 2021 Rugby World Cup. The theme for 2022 will be Arrivals, reflecting the diverse make-up of Huddersfield and, finally, the theme in 2023 will be Music to complement the Kirklees Year of Music.
As well as the website helping to collect memories in words and pictures, Huddersfield Local History Society will be adding to all the sections.
This includes a comprehensive timeline written by local historian Brian Haigh who died recently. Brian also wrote articles for the history section along with Huddersfield Civic Society chairman David Wyles.
Other sections include From the Archives - stories, sometimes quirky, taken from newspapers and other archives - and a Photo Diary which will chronicle what is happening in the Square during the three years of the HAZ project and features about the square’s history.
For more information about Huddersfield Local History Society’s Memories of Our Square project email firstname.lastname@example.org
By Cyril Pearce
Chair, Huddersfield Local History Society
Brian Haigh was the former Head of Kirklees museums and galleries.
Brian, 72, who was a well-respected educator, historian and vice-chair of Huddersfield Local History Society, died at Kirkwood Hospice after a long illness.
Although he was born in Braintree, Essex, his parents Ernest – a pattern weaver from Kirkburton - and Edith had moved there to find work but returned to Kirkburton a few years later.
Brian went to school at Highburton and then Kirkburton Secondary Modern. On leaving school he continued his education at Huddersfield’s Ramsden Technical College and Huddersfield Technical College and then on to the University of Hull for a degree in History and Geography. After that there was another degree, Local History at the University of Leicester, before he took up a teaching post at Goole Grammar School where he stayed for 11 years.
On leaving Goole he went to Norwich and a post at the Castle Museum. While there he completed all his museum qualifications but, in the 1980s, at another time of local government spending cuts, he found himself out of work. He then came to Batley to run a Manpower Services Commission project.
In 1986 he was appointed to run Bagshaw Museum, Batley, a post he held for the next 12 years. As a former school teacher Brian was passionate about engaging schools with heritage and the arts. He consulted with teachers and artists and raised more than £200,000 to create an innovative, exciting education space in the museum which is an exemplar of its type.
In 1998 he was appointed Community History Manager for Kirklees Museums and Galleries, a post he held until he retired in 2004.
On retirement, he immediately plunged into a major role as a researcher with the University of Huddersfield Archives’ Lottery-funded Buildings of Huddersfield project. He painstakingly transcribed 19th century Huddersfield building plans to form the nucleus of the website which is now an invaluable aid to all those interested in the built history of the town.
At the same time he became an active member of Huddersfield Local History Society and eventually its vice-chair.
Brian’s huge experience in this field, his thoughtfulness, his insights and his unique imagination were invaluable contributions to the Society’s deliberations.
He was an early member of the Edgar Wood Heritage Group (Yorkshire), established in 2008 to champion the local works of the architect of Lindley Clock Tower, Banney Royd house in Lindley and the Clergy House at Almondbury among other buildings. More recently, Brian’s essay which unpicked the complicated history of Longley New Hall was his contribution to 2020’s book, Power in the Land, published by the University of Huddersfield and the Local History Society, which explored the history of the Ramsden estate and Huddersfield.
Brian was an inveterate and knowledgeable concert and theatregoer and an indefatigable traveller and visitor of museums, galleries and stately homes.
Despite debilitating health problems, Brian was as active as ever until the last weeks of his life. He made a major contribution to the new Our Square website which is gathering memories of St George’s Square and had several other works in progress.
The group Discover Huddersfield is hoping to add Brian’s guide about the town’s historic theatres and cinemas to its range of town trails and his major contribution to a book on Edgar Wood’s Briarcourt is yet to be published. His promised work on the history of Huddersfield Theatre Royal remains to be completed but in the years ahead, if all of this can be achieved, there will be much to remind us of Brian’s major contributions to our understanding of Huddersfield’s heritage and to that of Kirklees as a whole.
He leaves behind a loving family and a great many friends from the worlds of local history and the arts. He will be sorely missed. Eric, his older brother, died in 1991 but Brian is survived by his sister Wendy and his nephews Daniel, Matthew, Christopher, Timothy and Simon and by his great-nieces and great-nephews.
The oldest farm shop in the UK that suffered a devastating fire and a former shower block transformed into a chic café are two of the winners in the Huddersfield design awards.
Another victor in the awards run by Huddersfield Civic Society was a large detached house that had also been destroyed by fire and has now been transformed into a unique 6-bedroomed family home.
The annual awards throw the spotlight on the best designs in Huddersfield and other winners were a memorial garden for the Windrush generation from Caribbean countries and artwork in the town’s Victorian Greenhead Park.
The Best Refurbishment and Overall Winner awards went to the University of Huddersfield for the stunning way it has transformed a derelict bath house on the site of an old foundry into a café and art gallery.
Broadbent’s engineering company had sold some of its site on Queen Street South to the university and part of it featured a derelict bath house which had been originally designed by architects Abbey Hanson Rowe in 1954 and the Huddersfield-based practice – now simply known as AHR – returned to turn it into something spectacular. It’s one of the very few buildings in Huddersfield to have a roof terrace and the café will be open to the public from Monday, September 20.
The bath house is a Grade II listed building as it’s thought to be the only remaining purpose-built bath house for foundry workers in the UK. AHR have included the old showers, soap holders and walls into the design along with original lockers to capture its history.
A floor has been removed to allow light to flood into the building which is ideal to hire for functions. Now called Sovereign Design House, it’s right next to the university’s imposing Barbara Hepworth Building.
AHR director Andrew France said: “One of the key challenges to overcome was the severely dilapidated state of the building which had been unoccupied for 10 years. The building was in a very poor state of repair with water ingress, a partially collapsed roof, vermin issues and general vandalism.
“We worked to restore many of the building’s authentic properties including its roof terrace and sun lounge with the use of local stone another distinguishing feature.”
Hinchliffe’s Farm Shop at Netherton has literally risen from the ashes to scoop the Best Commercial Award.
The shop dates back to the 1960s and is thought to be the oldest farm shop in the UK but was destroyed by a fire in July 2010 caused by an electrical fault. The shop relocated to large temporary accommodation on the same site while planning permission was sought for a new building and then it had to be constructed.
The judges describe it as “a functional yet visually pleasing development that integrates well into its surroundings with the use of natural dry-stone walling and timber.”
Partner Simon Hirst said: “The old farm shop was in what was originally a poultry shed so it had its limitations. What we have now is a palace by comparison.”
At the moment the shop has a large marquee at the front where people can sit out and dine under heaters. That will be replaced with a permanent roof in the coming months but still open so people can admire the view.
Simon added: “Covid has got people used to dining outside and I think that’s something that will stay. We make it really comfortable with powerful overhead heaters so people can sit out in all weathers.”
The shop could still expand further if needed and there is also planning permission for a gastro pub on the site.
The original farm shop was set up by Simon’s grandad, Charlie Hinchliffe, who formed it in around 1970 after people kept calling at his poultry farm to buy fresh eggs. He died in July 2019 aged 95.
The Best Residential Award went to another property that was gutted by fire and has now been transformed into a stunning 6-bedroomed house on Kaffir Road in Edgerton.
It’s owned by Huddersfield-born Julie Hester who has returned to her roots after living in the Caribbean for a decade and she has made the most of the space for herself and her four grown-up sons.
Each bedroom is huge and comes with its own en-suite or dressing room and all the walls are white to reflect the light with oak doors to keep it traditional. It’s still the original building on the outside but has been sandblasted and repointed.
It’s known as an Arts and Crafts house due to its asymmetrical roofs, distinctive form and structure and was a very challenging restoration project.
The house was once owned by the late Huddersfield athlete Derek Ibbotson who held the world record for running a mile in 3 minutes and 57.2 seconds in July 1957 and was a bronze medallist in the 5,000m at the Melbourne Olympics in 1956.
The architects on the project were Huddersfield-based Acumen. The photos below show the house fire damaged and then the same hallway repaired and also Julie Hester with Acumen architect Jeremy Child (centre) and architectural assistant James Fearnley.
The Community Award has gone to the Windrush Anniversary Garden in Springwood developed by Huddersfield’s Building African Caribbean Communities group.
The judges said: “This scheme has transformed a formerly unloved patch of ground surrounding a railway tunnel air vent into a colourful and relaxing area with seating that is clearly popular with local residents.”
The project was inspired by 77-year-old Denzil Nurse from Salendine Nook who was determined the Windrush generation should be remembered.
He said many immigrants from African Caribbean countries settled first in the Springwood area of Huddersfield which made this the ideal setting for the memorial.
Denzil arrived in Huddersfield in 1962 and was a psychiatric nurse for many years before going into community development work.
He said: “In the 1950s and 60s the seats in this area next to the air vent were known as the Houses of Parliament as this is where these Windrush pioneers sat, talked and set the world to rights. I wanted this anniversary garden to be their legacy.”
The Windrush generation refers to people arriving in the UK between 1948 and 1971 from Caribbean countries and the name comes from the ship MV Empire Windrush which docked in Tilbury, Essex, in 1948 bringing workers from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and other islands, to help fill post-war UK labour shortages.
The Windrush scandal, which broke in April 2018, saw the UK government apologise for deportation threats made to some of the Windrush generation children.
Despite living and working in the UK for decades, many were told they were here illegally because of a lack of official paperwork. The Home Office kept no record of those granted leave to remain and issued no paperwork making it difficult for Windrush arrivals to prove their legal status.
In 2010, it even destroyed landing cards belonging to Windrush migrants.
The final award, the Examiner Readers’ Award has gone to the Friends of Greenhead Park (FoGP) for the lakeside arbour which now features new murals painted by artist and FoGP member Helen Williamson.
The Huddersfield Civic Society judges also recognised “the tremendous efforts made by the Friends in supporting the hard work carried out by the park’s gardening team in maintaining the herbaceous borders, a delight for those who regularly visit the park.”
People have the chance to learn about one of the greatest Victorian architects, who was brought up in Huddersfield and designed some of its finest buildings.
William Henry Crossland (1835- 1908), designed several local churches and town centre buildings including Estate Buildings, Byram Arcade, Somerset Buildings and adjacent properties along Byram Street.
His reputation, nationally, was achieved for his designs of some of the Victorian era’s greatest buildings including Rochdale Town Hall and the Royal Holloway College at Egham in Surrey.
Huddersfield Civic Society chairman David Wyles said: “Crossland’s commissions in Huddersfield, including the Ramsden Estate Office on Railway Street, demonstrate his complete command of Gothic Revival architecture, combining elements from Renaissance Europe particularly from England, France and Flanders. His buildings combine grandeur with a flamboyant use of details and decoration. These demonstrate why Crossland is now considered to be one of the Victorian period’s greatest architects.”
The lecture on Monday, September 13 is one of the free events organised as part of this year’s Heritage Open Days and will be presented by Sheila Binns, Crossland’s biographer, whose book exploring his life and work was published in the autumn of 2020 and will be on sale on the night.
Sheila will reveal the creative genius behind this ambitious and talented man, his personal and artistic influences and the archival material which has brought this elusive individual to the forefront of those recognised as creating some of England’s most glorious architecture.
Organised jointly by Huddersfield Civic Society and Huddersfield Local History Society, tickets for the free talk, which begins at 7.30pm at New North Road Baptist Church, New North Parade, are available by going to https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/164730831351
Those attending will be encouraged to wear facemasks except when seated, use hand sanitisation on entry and use the track and trace NHS app facility at the entrance door.
To read more about the Heritage Open Days and so see the full brochure click here.
Victoria Tower, Castle Hill picture by Vinny Tyrell
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