HUDDERSFIELD: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1829.


"HUDDERSFIELD, a populous and flourishing manufacturing and market-town, in the parish of its name, is situated in the wapentake of Agbrigg, in the liberty of the honour of Pontefract, and in the central part of the west riding, 189 miles from London, 41 from York, 25 from Manchester, 16 from Leeds, 14 from Bradford, and 8 from Halifax and Dewsbury. The town, which derives its name from Oder or Hudder, the first Saxon colonist in the place, stands on the river Colne; the valley formed by this stream, with a small quantity of level ground upon its banks, comprehends the parish of Huddersfield. The houses are principally built of light-coloured stone, in a neat style, and the general appearance of the town is of a character calculated to inspire the traveller with the impression that its inhabitants are wealthy and respectable. The manufactures of Huddersfield and neighbourhood are principally woollens, and consist of broad and narrow cloths, serges, kerseymeres, cords, &c.: fancy goods, to a considerable extent, are also made here, embracing shawls and waist-coatings in great variety, besides articles from silk. The cotton trade, of late years, has much increased in importance; and at this period a great number of hands are employed in the spinning establishments. Amongst the principal buildings is the cloth-hall, erected by Sir John Ramsden, in the year 1765; the edifice is very large, and consists of two stories, formed into streets : it is of a circular form, a middle row of one story in height, and supported by pillars, opens into the other parts, and divides the area into two Courts; above the entrance is placed a cupola, in which is a clock and bell, used for the purpose of regulating the time allowed for doing business. Here, in brisk times, an immense number of manufacturers and buyers from all parts of the country, to a considerable distance, congregate. The amount of property that asses from the possession of one to another, in a few ours, is truly astonishing. The doors are opened early in the morning of the market-day, which is Tuesday, and closed at half-past twelve o'clock at noon, they are again opened at three in the afternoon, for the removal of cloth, &c. The inland navigation of Huddersfield affords to its trade the most ample advantages, both to the east and to the west; the Ramsden and Huddersfield canals communicating with others and their branches, an intercourse is kept up with all the great commercial and manufacturing towns. There are many streams in the neighbourhood, and the rivers Holme and Colne here unite and fall into the Calder, three miles below the town, upon which streams vast numbers of mills are erected, principally employed in the manufacture of woollens, and fulling and washing the cloth, &c. The town is chiefly supplied with coal from collieries at Mirfield, Emley Moor and Upper Flockton. It is now well lighted with gas, by a company established a few years since. Sir John Ramsden, Bart. is lord of the manor; and the chief and almost sole proprietor of the property here, the revenue derived from which, at the present day, may he said to be more than princely. This gentleman holds a court leet once a year, at Almondbury; a court of requests for the recovery of debts under forty shillings is held in a neat building in Queen-street; and a court is held twice in the year, at the George Inn, for the liberty of the honour of Pontefract, for plea of debt or damages under £5. The edifices constructed for divine worship in the parish, although numerous, are not sufficiently so to accommodate its great population; others are, therefore, in progress of erection, and several sites for a still greater augmentation are fixed on. Those existing for the accommodation of the inhabitants more immediately belonging to the town, are St. Peter's, or the parish church, a plain building, but noble and stately in its appearance; the living is a vicarage, in the patronage of Sir John Ramsden, and incumbency of the Rev. J. C. Franks, whose curate is the Rev. -- Wilkins. Trinity, or the new church, is a beautiful Gothic structure, erected at the expense of £12,000, by B. H. Allen, Esq. of Greenhead, in 1819; the incumbent is the Rev. B. Maddock. Christ church is a still more recent erection, being completed in 1824. It is situated about a mile and a half from the town, in the hamlet of Fartown, and central to a population of 4000 persons; it is a beautiful and chaste edifice, built by John Whitacre, Esq.; the pastor is the Rev. W. C. Madden. The other places of worship in and near the town are two very large chapels, belonging to the Methodists, and others for the use of the Baptists, independents, new connexion, Quakers, &c. The charitable institutions are a dispensary, established in 1814; a bible society, in 1810; a religious tract society, in May, 1816; a church missionary society, in 1813; a benevolent or strangers' friend society; an auxiliary society for the conversion of the Jews; a school of industry for girls, established and supported by ladies residing in the town and neighbourhood; besides numerous Sunday schools, and other benevolent institutions. A mechanics' institute was established in 1825, under highly favoured auspices, and although it received a check by the loss of the greater part of its funds, through the failure of a bank; yet they are now improving, and the library attached to the institution has become valuable. Naturally, this part of the country is barren and unproductive, but its local advantages for manufacture, from its waterfalls, and having coal mines contiguous, has caused the assemblage of a great population, and the soil has gradually yielded to the labours of the agriculturist and husbandman, until at length it has become valuable, and available to the wants of those who have established themselves upon it. The hilly portion of the land is not unfertile, and the values are rich in pasturage, while, from many parts in this district, the views may be taken as most pleasing. There are many handsome residences and elegant seats in the vicinity of Huddersfield, and about three quarters of a mile from it are Lockwood baths; the building is elegant and commodious, and combines every comfort and convenience. The baths, which are abundantly supplied with spaw water, highly esteemed for its medicinal qualities, were opened to the public on the 1st of May, 1827. The establishment is the most complete in its kind of any in the west riding; Mr. Oates, of Halifax, was the architect. The market day is on Tuesday, which is well supplied with every necessary, but it is to be regretted, that it does not come under the denomination of a free market. The ancestors of Sir John Ramsden had the grant of a patent for a market as early as the 23rd of Charles I. The fairs are March 31st, May 4th, and October 1st, for cattle and horses; the May fair is the principal one. A century ago, the population and opulence of Huddersfield did not amount to one half of either Halifax or Wakefield, but it is now equal to the larger of them, and promises fair to maintain the commercial and manufacturing consequence which it has so deservedly acquired. By the parliamentary returns for 1811, the whole parish of Huddersfield contained 18,182 inhabitants, and, in 1821, 24,220, of which latter number there were 6,672 males and 6,612 females, total 13,284 in the township of Huddersfield."

"MARSDEN, a chapelry, in the parishes of Almondbury and Huddersfield, is 5 miles from Delph, in Saddleworth, 7 from Huddersfield, 17 from Manchester, and about half a mile from a tunnel, three miles in length, which is entered by the Huddersfield and Manchester canal. The village contains a chapel of ease under Almondbury (of which the Rev. Edward Edwards is the incumbent) and one each for the independent and Wesleyan Methodists, and, by the census of 1821, a population of 2,330 persons."
Note: The directory entry for Marsden in Pigot's 1829 Directory is included with Saddleworth, in the parish of Rochdale.

"SLAITHWAITE, a village, in the parish of Huddersfield, is 5 miles S.W. of that town, and 2 from Marsden. Here is a chapel of ease to the church of Huddersfield and an endowed school for twenty boys. The Earl of Dartmouth is the sole landed proprietor in this village which in 1821 contained 2,871 persons."
Note: The directory entry for Slaithwaite in Pigot's 1829 Directory is included with Saddleworth, in the parish of Rochdale.

[Transcribed from Pigot's National Commericial Directory for 1828-29 ]
by Colin Hinson ©2007