HUDDERSFIELD: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1837.


"HUDDERSFIELD, in the parish of its name, and one of the four principal seats and emporiums of the Yorkshire woollen manufactures, was created a borough by the reform Act, in 1832 with the privileges of sending one representative to Parliament and is a populous, flourishing, and handsome market town, which has more than doubled its magnitude, and greatly improved its appearance, since the year 1811. It is the head of an extensive parish, and one of the polling places for the Parliamentary elections of the West Riding, and is pleasantly seated on the crown and declivities of an eminence, in the picturesque valley of the river Colne, in the Upper Division of the Wapentake of Agbrigg, in the liberty of the Honour of Pontefract, and on the high road between Manchester and Leeds; 23 miles N E of the former, 16m W S W of the latter, 7 miles S S E of Halifax, 26 miles N W of Sheffield, 14 miles S of Bradford, 13 miles W by S of Wakefield and 189 miles N N W of London. It is said to have derived its name from Oder or Hudder, the first Saxon who settled on the river Colne, which has its source from several brooks, rising about seven miles to the S and S W from the heights of Saddleworth and Holmfirth, and after washing the southern and eastern skirts of the town, flows northward to the Calder, near Nunbrook. The history of Huddersfield does not furnish much matter for the gratification of antiquarian research; though the castle hill at Almondbury, on the opposite acclivities of the valley, is the site of a Saxon fortress, and the celebrated Roman station, Cambodunum, is generally considered to have been in the adjoining township of Longwood, on the western side of the parish, bordering upon Stainland. Among the hills and dells on the borders of this and the adjoining parishes of Halifax and Saddleworth, have been discovered some ancient symbols of druidical worship, including the site of a Cromlech, and several stupendous rocking stones. In the Domesday book, Odersfelt (now Huddersfield) is described as being nearly all in waste. Indeed, this part of the country is naturally barren and unproductive; but its local advantages for manufacture, arising principally from its coal and waterfalls, has raised it to the rank of one of the principal seats of the woollen trade in the kingdom; and where men congregate in large numbers, the soil seldom remains for any long time unproductive.

Formerly, oats, and those of the coarsest kind, formed the principal part of the grain grown in this parish; and the sarcasm cast by Dr Johnson upon the Scotch, when he defined oats, as food for man in Scotland and for horses in England, applied with as much force to Huddersfield as to the parish of Glasgow; but now both wheat and barley corps are raised here in great perfection, and the wheaten loaf is much oftener to be seen than the oaten cake, in the dwellings of the inhabitants. Little more than a century ago, the population and wealth of Huddersfield did not amount to more than one half of either Halifax or Wakefield, but it is now equal, if not superior, to the larger of them, comprising upwards of 20,000 souls, though in the year 1801, its whole township had only 7208 inhabitants, as will be seen in the following enumeration of the seven townships of Huddersfield parish, shewing their population at the four decennial periods of the Parliamentary census.

Population in AD 1801 1811 1821 1831
Golcar Township 1846 2122 2606 3143
Huddersfield Township 7268 9671 13284 19035
Lindley Township 1377 1686 2040 2306
Longwood Chapelry 1276 1461 1942 2111
Marsden (part of ) Chapelry* 448 493 622 642
Scammonden with Deanhead Chapelry 626 647 855 912
Slaithwaite Chapelry 2007 2277 2871 2892
-------- ------- ------- ------
Total 14,848 18,357 24,220 31,041

*Marsden in mostly in Almondbury parish.

The Borough extends over the whole of the Township of Huddersfield, which comprises about 3,700 acres of land, divided for the maintenance of the highways into five Hamlets or Constablewicks, viz. Huddersfield, Fartown, Bradley, Deigton with Sheepridge and Marsh with Paddock. The number of houses of the yearly value of £10 and upwards is about 650, but the Votes tendered at the last election in Jan. 1834, to the three candidates for the representation of the borough, amounted only to 489, apportioned as follows; - to John Blackburn, Esq. 234; M T Sadler, Esq. 147; and Capt. Wood, 108. Mr Blackburn the successful candidate died in April, 1837, and his place was supplied on the 6th of May following by the election of Edward Ellice, jun., Esq. who had a warm contest with Mr Rich. Oastler; 340 votes being given to the former, and 290 to the latter.

THE HUDDERSFIELD UNION, formed in 1837 under the New Poor Law comprises of four parishes of Huddersfield, Almondbury, Kirkburton and Kirkheaton, which include 32 townships and a population of nearly 100,000 souls. The Board of guardians consists of 36 person, of which five are elected yearly for Huddersfield, and one for each of the other townships.

From the rolls of Richard II it appears, that in the third year of that reign free warren in Huddersfield was granted to the Prior and Canons of Nostel. But before this time, so early as the year 1200, Roger de Lacy, lord of the extensive honorial liberty of Pontefract, granted to William de Bellomonte, ancestor of the Beaumonts, of Whitley, a grant for his homage and service. A grant was also made by the same Roger de Lacy to Colin de Dammeville, which said Colin, as an act of gratitude to his benefactor, "gave to God, the blessed St Mary and the Abbots and Monks of Stanlaw, for the soul of his lord, Roger de Lacy, all his part of the said mill of Huddersfield, upon the river Caune, and 20s annual rent." Huddersfield is a dependent manor within the Honor of Pontefract, and the chief part of it belongs to Sir John Ramsden, Bart; for though there are several small free holders in the township, all the land in and near the town, except a small portion belonging to Mr Firth, is the property of this worthy baronet, and from it he derives a princely income; the building sites being let at high rents, and many of them without leases; indeed he has of late years refused to grant building leases, but still the town has continued to increases, and many fine streets and handsome houses have been erected on the unleased land, the inhabitants having the utmost confidence in the honour and liberality of the Ramsden family, who have held the manor since the Reformation, and in the 23rd of Charles II obtained a grant for a weekly market. A large portion of the buildings are of a very fine and durable stone got in the neighbouring quarries. Mould-green and Bradley Mills are in the township of Dalton and Folly hall, in Lockwood township, and consequently they are not in the borough, though they are on the opposite margin of the river, and may be considered as component parts of the town. The inland navigation of Huddersfield affords to its trade the most ample facilities, both to the east and the west. The Ramsden Canal, which commences at the King's Mills, close to the town, crosses the high road to Halifax, and passing Black-house-brook, near Deighton, unites with the Calder at Cooper's Bridge; thus opening a communication with Halifax, Wakefield, Leeds, York, Hull, &c. The Huddersfield Canal, which joins the Ramsden Canal at the south end of the town, was cut under the powers of an act of Parliament passed in 1794, and conveys goods westward, by way of Longwood, Slaithwaite, and Marsden. There is a tunnel 5,451 yards in length, and in one place 222 yards below the surface, cut through the English Appenines, to within two miles of Dob-cross, from which the canal, after crossing the river Tame, in several of its windings, comes within a mile of Lydgate, by Mosley and Staleybridge, and unites with the Ashton and Oldham Canal, near Ashton-under-Line. The navigation to Manchester, is then direct, and from thence the communication by water, is made daily to Liverpool, the great depot of commerce on the western coast. The Huddersfield Canal has answered better for the town, and for the country through which it passes, than for the proprietors, who have never received a remunerating interest for the immense capital expended.

An Act for lighting, watching, cleansing and improving the town of Huddersfield, received the royal assent on June 30th, 1820, and under it the Commissioners have established an efficient police, and with the sanction of the principal inhabitants have greatly improved the appearance of the town; but it was not till a few years ago that thy began to round the corner, and widen the contacted parts of the public streets. Dangerous Corner, the ugly obstacle in the passage through the town from Leeds to Manchester, vanished in the early part of 1837, by the demolition of the projecting building; behind the site of which, a handsome erection, with a fine curved front now presents itself to view. This is only the commencement of a series of projected improvements, among which are, the partial removal of the Horse Shoe Inn, the Boy and Barrel, the Fleece Inn, and the Rose and Crown, all of which contract the public avenue, consequently, the removal of their projecting parts, and the substitution of modern fronts, would not only beautify the town, but make the thoroughfares, which have so long been a reproach on the inhabitants, as commodious as those of most other towns in the Kingdom. The modern streets are generally spacious and handsome, especially New Street, Buxton road, King street, and Westgate. At the head of the latter, several houses have been removed to widen the approach, and to make room for a cattle market. The market place is a large area, lined with good houses and shops, mostly rebuilt during the last 50 years.

Water Works; - Huddersfield is by nature extremely ill supplied with water for domestic purposes, having but few springs, the water from which is hard and unwholesome, its source being the termination of drains connected with the deserted coal works which intersect the ground under the town. In 1743, works were constructed for supplying the inhabitants with a purer beverage from the river Colne, by means of forcing pumps; but this source having become contaminated by the numerous fulling mills and Dye houses afterwards erected on the river, and being found greatly inadequate to the want of the numerous population, an act of parliament was obtained in 1827, for procuring an abundant supply from the copious springs of fine soft water, in Longwood and Golcar townships, about four miles west of the town, where the water is collected in a reservoir covering four acres, and is sent thence to the service reservoir, (88 feet in diameter) at the head of Spring street, whence it is sent in cast iron pipes to the dwellings of the consumers; the elevation being sufficiently high to command every part of the town. In front of the service reservoir is a handsome building, with offices for the clerks, &c, and accommodations for the meeting of the commissioners. The supply is now supposed to be equal to any increase which may take place in the population during this and the ensuing century. The works, including a reservoir of six acres, made for the protection of the mill owners, cost about £10,000, raised in shares of £100. Pursuant to the act, the scale of water rents is limited so as not to exceed a clear profit of 71/2 per cent, out of which 4 per cent is paid annually to the shareholders and the remaining 21/2 per cent is applied in liquidating the capital, so that the works will ultimately become the property of the inhabitants, and their water rents will be reduced to such a scale as will merely cover the cost of keeping them in repair. Though the water is conveyed through a difficult line of country, the works were completed in little more than two years, under the able direction of that skilful engineer, Nicholas Brown, Esq. The GAS WORKS were originally built in 1821, at the cost of £3,400; but being found too small, they were re-constructed on a larger and more improved plan in 1824, so that their total cost amounts to above £10,000, raised in £20 shares. They have three gasometers, one holding 22,000, another 8,000 and the third 5,000 cubic feet.

The Manufactures of Huddersfield and the surrounding villages are principally woollens, consisting of broad and narrow cloths, serges, kerseymeres, cords, &c., and fancy goods to a great extent, in an endless variety, embracing shawls, waistcoatings, &c., of the most elegant patterns, and the finest fabric, generally composed of worsted, silk, and cotton; - some wholly of the first, and others containing an admixture of it with one or both of the other materials. Formerly the buyers and sellers of cloth met in an open square; but in 1765, a commodious CLOTH HALL was erected for their accommodation, by Sir John Ramsden; and it was enlarged by his son in 1780. This building, which is two stories high, forms a circle of 880 yards, with a diametrical range, one story high, which divides the interior parts into two semicircles. The light is wholly admitted from within, there being no windows on the outside, by which construction security is afforded against fire and depredation. The hall is subdivided into streets, and the benches or stalls are generally filled with cloths, lying close together upon edge, with the bosom up for inspection. Here, in brisk times, an immense quantity of business is done in a few hours. 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., Above the door is a handsome cupola in which a clock and bell are placed, for the purpose of regulating the time of commencing and terminating the business of the day. The hall is attended by about 600 manufacturers mostly from the country, and many others have ware-rooms in various parts of the town. The Tuesday market is well supplied with cattle, corn, and provisions, and as in most other large towns, here is a large display of meat, vegetables, &c., every Saturday. A large annual fair, for the sale of cattle horses &c., is held on the 14th of May, but those held on March 31 and October 4th are of small importance. Petty Sessions are held at the Court House, every Tuesday and Saturday, and Messrs. M Bradley and J C Laycock, are clerks to the Magistrates. The Court House is about to be enlarged, and was built in 1825, by the Commissioners of the Court of Requests, which is held here every Friday, for the recovery of debts under 40s, and was established by the act of parliament, which extended the jurisdiction of the Court Baron, (held half yearly) to the recovery of debts amounting to £5, There are in the town, several Banking houses, one of which is the Huddersfield Joint Stock Banking Company, established 1827.

THE PARISH CHURCH, dedicated to St Peter, was a small ancient structure, founded and endowed by the Lacy family, soon after the Conquest, but re built in 1506, after which it underwent many repairs; but being small and incommodious, the whole was taken down in 1835, and the present magnificent church erected on its site, in the perpendicular Gothic style, of which, the late fabric was a very plain specimen. The new church was opened on the 27th of October, 1836, and on that day and the following Friday and Sunday, £510 was collected from the congregation towards the cost of the building, which amounted to about £9,000, including £300 paid for a new clock, and £470 paid for the painted east window. The whole expense was defrayed by subscription, the sale of additional pews, and a grant of £600 from the Church Building Society. The old church had only 1,000 sittings, but the present building has 1,620, of which 460 are free. The old pews on the ground floor were the property of the lords of the different manors in the parish; the north side being held by Sir John Ramsden, the south side by Thomas Thornhill, Esq. and the chancel by Sir Thomas Pilkington. In 1812, a subscription of about £2,000 was raised, of which £700 was paid for a new organ, and the remainder was invested in buildings for the support of the organist. To this subscription, the Earl of Dartmouth, J Whitacre, Esq. and Thomas Holroyd Esq., gave 100 guineas each and many sums of from 20 to 50 guineas were given by other gentlemen. In the tower is a good peal of ten bells with a set of musical chimes. The Vicarage valued in the Liber Regis at £17. 13s. 4d., is now worth upwards of £500 per annum, exclusive of the Vicarage-house. Sir John Ramsden is the patron, and the Rev. James Clarke Franks, M. A., is the incumbent. Here are now four other modern churches, two in the town, and two in the suburban hamlets. TRINITY CHURCH, at the head of the street to which it gives name, was built by the late Benjamin Haigh Allen Esq. Of Greenhead, on his own land, at the cost of £12,000, in addition to which he gave about £4,000 for its endowment, and the procuring of the act of parliament which vests the patronage in his heirs and assigns. The first stone was laid in 1817, and the church was opened October 10th, 1819 It is a handsome edifice from a design by J Taylor, Esq. of Leeds, in the pointed style, with a square tower at the west end; and has upwards of 1,500 sittings, of which 500 are free. The benefice is a perpetual curacy, worth £135 per annum. The founder's relict (now Mrs Davies) has the advowson, and the Rev. Edward Acton Davies, M. A. is the incumbent. St PAUL'S CHURCH, in Ramsden street, was built by the parliamentary commissioners, at the cost of £5,486, exclusive of the site which was give by Sir J Ramsden. The first stone was laid November 13th, 1828, and the church was opened in 1831. It is an elegant edifice in the early English style, with a tower and spire, erected from designs by P Atkinson, Esq. It has 1,200 sittings, of which 250 are free. The curacy, worth £200 a year, is in the gift of the vicar, and incumbency of the Rev John Roberts Oldham, M.A.. CHRIST CHURCH, on an eminence at Woodhouse, in the hamlet or district of Fartown, on the north side of Huddersfield, was built and endowed by John Whitacre, Esq., under a special act of parliament passed in 1823. It is a small neat fabric in the form of a cross, with a tower and spire, and nearly 600 sittings, of which 100 are free. The first stone was laid July 24th, 1823, and the church was opened in January, 1825. The founder gave an acre of land for the cemetery, and £6,000 for the building and endowment. He has the patronage of the curacy, which is worth £280 per annum, and is now enjoyed by the Rev. Whyndham Madden, M. A. ALL SAINTS CHURCH stands in the village of Paddock, which is about 1.1/2 miles west of the Market place, but is nearly connected with the town by modern buildings extending each way from Paddock foot. This is another of the churches built under the million act, the whole cost of its erection (about £2,500) being defrayed by government. It is a small Gothic structure with a tower and about 400 sittings. It was opened June 24th 1830 and the first stone was laid November 5th, 1828. The vicar is patron, and the Rev. Thomas Potter, incumbent.

The CHAPELS in the town, unconnected with the established church, are seven in number. The Catholic Chapel is an ornamental building, erected in 1833, and now under the pastoral care of the Rev. John Fitzpatrick. The Wesleyans have two large and handsome chapels, one on Chapel Hill, built in 1837, on the site of one taken from the New Connexion about 25 years ago; and the other in Queen street, built in 1819, at the cost of £8,000, and having seats for 2000 hearers. The New Connexion Chapel, in High street, was built in 1814; and the Primitive Methodist Chapel, in Spring place, was erected in 1836. The Independents have two chapels, one a small building at Highfield, and the other a large and elegant structure in Ramsden street, built in 1824 - 5, at the cost of nearly £6,000, and having 1,250 sittings, besides seats for 350 Sunday scholars. There is a Friends' Meeting House at Paddock, and small chapels or meeting rooms in the other hamlets, occupied by various sects. The Sunday Schools and Religious Societies of the town are numerous and liberally supported, as also are many Charitable institutions. The National school was built in 1819, upon the site of an old school given by John Ramsden , in 1681. It is now attended by 150 boys and 130 girls, and is a neat Gothic building erected at the cost of £1,000. The Infant School, established in 1829, has 160 pupils, and was built by subscription, with a house for the master, at the cost of £600.

The PHILOSOPHICAL HALL was built in 1837, in the Grecian style of architecture, by the Philosophical Society, which was originally formed in 1825, under the name of the "Scientific and Mechanic Institute," but not being supported by operatives, its title and constitution were changed a few years ago. The edifice, which is 117 feet long and 60 broad, cost about 3,000 guineas, and in it the society hold their meetings, and have a valuable library, museum, laboratory, &c. The Subscription Library, at Mr Brook's in Westgate, was established in 1807, and now comprises upwards of 4,000 volumes, including copies of the Public Records. The Law Library, at Mr Lancashire's, in the Market place, was begun in 1829. The Commercial News Room, commenced in 1829, has 100 subscribers; and here is also a Conservative News Room, supported by about 70 readers.

The Huddersfield and Upper Agbrigg Infirmary, in an airy situation, in Trinity street, is a large and elegant stone building, in the Grecian Doric style, erected by subscription at the cost of about £4,000, of which £1,549 arose from the sale of fancy articles, contributed to a public bazaar. The first stone was laid June 29th, in 1829, and the building was opened June 20th 1831. Its principal promoters were the supporters of the late Dispensary, which was founded in 1814, and is now incorporated with the Infirmary, which has attached to it, two acres of land, held of Sir J Ramsden, at a small annual rent, under a lease of 999 years. The building reflects much credit on its architect, Mr John Oates, and has accommodations for about 40 inpatients. The number which the charity relieved in 1836, was 3,243 out and 206 in patients. Here is also a Lying in Charity, and a Female Benevolent Society. The Saving's Bank, for Huddersfield and Upper Agbrigg, was established in 1818, and had in November, 1836, deposits amounting to nearly £53,000, belonging to 1,511 individuals, 23 charitable Societies, and 21 Friendly Societies. About half a mile south of the town are LOCKWOOD SPA BATHS, in a handsome building erected in 1827. The water is highly esteemed for it medicinal virtues, and it is particularly limpid and sparkling. Its smell and taste are strongly sulphureous, and not saline, though it contains a portion of carbonate of lime and sulphate of magnesia, and its gaseous content are composed of 35 per cent of carburetted hydrogen, 17sulphuretted hydrogen, 7 carbonic acid and 41 azote. The baths are neatly fitted up with every convenience and comfort, and are abundantly supplied with the spa water, pumped from the spring by a steam engine. Besides a swimming bath, 13 yards long and 4 yards broad, and 4feet 6 inches deep, here are separate cold, tepid, warm, vapour, and shower baths. They are within a few minutes walk from Huddersfield, and occupy a finely sequestered spot, sheltered by a lofty ridge on the east side of the river, covered with wood.

The DOLE LAND, belonging to the poor of Huddersfield, was purchased with £200 left by Thomas Armitage, in 1647, and consists of 25 acres in Huddersfield, and 11A, 2R. 23P. at Stainland, now let for about £82 per annum. There is also belonging the charity, £83 1s 9d in the Saving's Bank. The income is distributed on St Thomas's day, by the Vicar and other trustees, among those poor persons of the township who do not receive parochial relief. The poor of Huddersfield have also £9 a year from land at Cumberworth, left by one Priestroyd. The poor parishioners of Huddersfield and Kirkheaton have £4 2s a year from the Mercers' Company, in London, as the bequest of Robert Gibson, in 1638. Those of Huddersfield town ship have a yearly rent charge of 20s , left by Mrs White, out of Mr Thornhill's estate at Fixby, and those of the whole parish have 20s a year from the trustees of Waterhouse's Charity, (see Halifax).

The HAMLETS, &c, in Huddersfield Township and Borough, with their distance from the town, are as follows: - Bradley, 3 miles N on the Leeds road; - Deighton and Sheepridge, two villages on the declivities of an eminence, 2 and 2½ miles N, - Fartown, 1 mile N but including within its constablewick, Hillhouse, Cowcliff, Cuckolds Clough, Woodhouse, and Birkby, extending close to the town; - Marsh, 1 mile W, surrounded by a fertile district, with many handsome villas at Egerton &c, - Paddock, 1 mile S W, has in its district Longroyd Bridge, Paddock foot, and many straggling buildings extending to the skirts of the town. At Sheepridge is a Wesleyan Chapel, built in 1822, and the New Connexion have one at Deighton, built in 1806."

[Transcribed from White's History, gazetteer and directory of the West Riding of Yorkshire 1837]