Huddersfield is a large market and university town[1] in West Yorkshire, England. It is the 11th largest town in the United Kingdom, with a population of 162,949 at the 2011 census.[2][3] It lies 14 miles (23 km) southwest of Leeds and 24 miles (39 km) northeast of Manchester.


Northumberland Street, Huddersfield
Location within West Yorkshire
Population162,949 (2011 Census)
OS grid referenceSE145165
Metropolitan borough
Metropolitan county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtHD1-5, HD7-8
Dialling code01484
PoliceWest Yorkshire
FireWest Yorkshire
EU ParliamentYorkshire and the Humber
UK Parliament

Huddersfield is near the confluence of the River Colne and the River Holme. Within the historic county boundaries of the West Riding of Yorkshire, it is the largest urban area in the metropolitan borough of Kirklees and the administrative centre of the borough. The town is known for its role in the Industrial Revolution, and for being the birthplaces of rugby league, Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson, and the film star James Mason.

Huddersfield is home to rugby league team Huddersfield Giants, founded in 1895, who play in the Super League, and Championship football team Huddersfield Town A.F.C., founded in 1908. The town is home to the University of Huddersfield and the sixth form colleges Greenhead College, Kirklees College and Huddersfield New College.

Huddersfield is a town of Victorian architecture. Huddersfield railway station is a Grade I listed building described by John Betjeman as "the most splendid station façade in England", second only to St Pancras, London. The station in St George's Square was renovated at a cost of £4 million[4] and subsequently won the Europa Nostra award for European architecture.


Early history

There has been a settlement in the area for over 4,000 years.[5] The remains of a Roman fort were unearthed in the mid 18th century at Slack near Outlane, west of the town.[6] Castle Hill, a major landmark, was the site of an Iron Age hill fort.

The place-name 'Huddersfield' is first recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, where it appears as Oderesfelt. It appears as Hudresfeld in a Yorkshire charter from 1121-7, and as Huderesfeld in Subsidy Rolls in 1297. The name means 'Huder's field or open space'.[7]

The modern name Huddersfield is pronounced without a word-initial /h/ in the local dialect, suggesting that the standard English pronunciation has been influenced by the commonly accepted spelling.

Huddersfield has been a market town since Anglo-Saxon times. The market cross is on Market Place.

The manor of Huddersfield was owned by the de Lacy family until 1322, at which it reverted to royal ownership. In 1599, William Ramsden bought the manor, and the Ramsden family continued to own the manor, which came to be known as the Ramsden Estate, until 1920. During their ownership they supported the development of the town. Sir John Ramsden, 3rd Baronet built the Huddersfield Cloth Hall in 1766 and his son the fourth baronet was responsible for Sir John Ramsden's Canal in 1780. The Ramsdens also supported the arrival of the railway in the 1840s.[8]

Industrial Revolution

Huddersfield was a centre of civil unrest during the Industrial Revolution. In a period where Europe was experiencing frequent wars, where trade had slumped and the crops had failed, many local weavers faced losing their livelihood due to the introduction of machinery in factories. Luddites began destroying mills and machinery in response; one of the most notorious attacks was on Cartwright – a Huddersfield mill-owner, who had a reputation for cruelty – and his Rawfolds Mill. In his book Rebels Against the Future, Kirkpatrick Sale describes how an army platoon was stationed at Huddersfield to deal with Luddites; at its peak, there were about a thousand soldiers in Huddersfield and ten thousand civilians. In response, Luddites began to focus attacks on nearby towns and villages, which were less well-protected; the largest act of damage that they committed was the destruction of Foster's Mill at Horbury – a village about 10 miles (16 km) east of Huddersfield.[9] The government campaign that crushed the movement was provoked by a murder that took place in Huddersfield. William Horsfall, a mill-owner and a passionate prosecutor of Luddites, was killed in 1812.[10] Although the movement faded out, Parliament began to increase welfare provision for those out of work, and introduce regulations to improve conditions in the mills.

Political history

Two Prime Ministers spent part of their childhood in Huddersfield: Harold Wilson, who attended Royds Hall School, and H. H. Asquith. Wilson is commemorated by a statue in front of the railway station.

The Huddersfield constituency has been represented by Labour MP Barry Sheerman since its creation in 1983 and is considered a safe seat for Labour.

Kirklees Council was the first in the UK to have a Green Party councillor, Nicholas Harvey who was instrumental in protesting against the intended closure of the Settle and Carlisle Railway line.[11] The town has substantial Labour, Conservative Party, Liberal Democrats and UKIP presences.


Huddersfield was incorporated as a municipal borough in the ancient West Riding of Yorkshire in 1868. The borough comprised the parishes of Almondbury, Dalton, Huddersfield, Lindley-cum-Quarmby and Lockwood. When the West Riding County Council was formed in 1889, Huddersfield became a county borough, exempt from county council control.

In 1920, the Corporation bought the Ramsden Estate from the Ramsden family, that had owned much of the town since 1599, for the sum of £1.3 million. As a result, the town became known for a time as 'the town that bought itself'. To this day, much of the freehold of the town belongs to the local authority.[8]

Huddersfield expanded in 1937, assimilating parts of the Golcar, Linthwaite, and South Crosland urban districts.[12] The county borough was abolished in 1974 and its former area was combined with that of other districts to form the Metropolitan Borough of Kirklees in West Yorkshire.

Attempts by the council to gain support for city status were rejected by the population in an unofficial referendum held by the Huddersfield Daily Examiner. The council did not apply for that status in either the 2000 or 2002 competitions.[13]

Huddersfield had a strong liberal tradition up to the 1950s reflected in the number of liberal social clubs in the town. The current Member of Parliament (MP) for the Huddersfield constituency is Barry Sheerman, a Labour Co-operative member.

According to the United Kingdom Census 2001 the population of the Huddersfield urban sub-area of the West Yorkshire Urban Area was 146,234, and the population of the former area of the county borough was 121,620. The wider South Kirklees area had a population of 216,011.


Huddersfield is a manufacturing town, despite the university being the largest employer. Historically the town produced woollen textiles. This area of business, along with the chemical and engineering industries that emerged to support the manufacture of textiles, was the basis of the town's nineteenth and early twentieth century prosperity. The number of people who work in textiles has declined greatly, but the surviving companies produce large quantities of woollen products with little labour. The town is home to textile, chemical and engineering companies, including Brook Motors Ltd founded by Ernest Brook in 1904. Against conventional wisdom, he started making alternating current electric motors, and he did this in one room with two assistants and starting capital of just £300. On its 50th anniversary in 1954 it employed more than 2,000 people and, with Ernest's sons Frank and Jack in charge, was the largest exclusive producer of AC motors in the world, and had a turnover of £4,500,000. That same year Brook Motors Ltd operated 10 factories in Huddersfield, its biggest being Empress Works on St Thomas's Road, and opened one at Barugh Green, Barnsley. Other local manufacturers are Cummins Turbo Technologies, founded in 1952 as Holset by Messrs. Holmes and Croset.[14] (turbochargers), David Brown Gear systems (industrial gearing), Huddersfield Fine Worsteds (textiles), Taylor & Lodge (textiles), C & J Antich (textiles), Syngenta AG (agro-chemicals), Pennine Radio Limited (electronics transformers and sheet metalworking) and a large number of niche manufacturers, such as Dual Seal Glass (maker of spandrel glass panels[15]) and Ellis Furniture (producer of kitchen and bathroom furniture).[16] Huddersfield is home to Andrew Jones Pies, a regional award-winning pie-maker, and Mamas and Papas, a manufacturer and retailer of prams, pushchairs and related items and specialist pneumatics supplier Shelley Automation Ltd.

Film and television productions

Several films and television series have been filmed in and around the town.[17][18] For example, portions of the BBC television series Happy Valley were filmed in Huddersfield; in addition to exteriors, some of the studio filming was done at North Light Film Studios at Brookes Mill, Huddersfield. As well, interiors for the BBC's Jamaica Inn, for the BBC's Remember Me and for ITV series Black Work, were also filmed at the studios.[19][20][21][22] More recently, many of the exteriors of the BBC series Jericho were filmed at the nearby Rockingstone Quarry and some interior work was done at North Light Film Studios.[23]

The long running BBC comedy show Last Of The Summer Wine was filmed nearby, predominately in the Holme Valley around Holmfirth but also some parts of the Colne Valley including Marsden and Slaithwaite [24]


Huddersfield is located on the valleys of the River Colne and the River Holme the confluence of which is located south of the town centre. The town is located in the eastern foothills of the Pennines which extend into the moorlands of the South Pennines west of the town.


Huddersfield experiences a temperate oceanic climate which is relatively mild for its latitude, and which is not subject to extremes of temperature because of the moderating influence of the Gulf Stream. According to the Köppen climate classification, Huddersfield is certified as Cfb.

Climate data for Huddersfield
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 5.1
Average low °C (°F) −1.7
Source: [25]

Divisions and suburbs

After boundary changes in 2004, Huddersfield now covers eight of the twenty-three electoral wards for Kirklees Council. Neighbouring wards in the Colne Valley, Holme Valley, and Kirkburton are often considered to be part of Huddersfield though they are predominantly semi-rural. Huddersfield town centre is located within the Newsome ward. The eight wards that make up Huddersfield proper, with their populations, areas and constituent suburbs (mid-year 2005 estimates) are:

Ward Population Area (miles²) Population density (/mile²) Places covered
Almondbury[26] 16,610 3.863 4,299 Almondbury, Fenay Bridge, Lascelles Hall, Lepton
Ashbrow[27] 17,470 4.366 4.001 Ashbrow, Brackenhall, Bradley, Deighton, Fixby, Netheroyd Hill, Sheepridge
Crosland Moor & Netherton[28] 17,400 2.856 6,092 Beaumont Park, Crosland Moor, Lockwood, Longroyd Bridge, Netherton, South Crosland, Thornton Lodge
Dalton[29] 17,520 4.975 3.521 Colne Bridge, Dalton, Kirkheaton, Moldgreen, Rawthorpe, Upper Heaton, Waterloo
Golcar[30] 17,370 2.375 7,313 Cowlersley, Golcar, Longwood, Linthwaite (part of), Milnsbridge, Salendine Nook
Greenhead[31] 17,620 1.706 10,328 Birkby, Edgerton, Fartown, Hillhouse, Marsh, Paddock
Lindley[32] 17,020 2.737 6,218 Ainley Top, Birchencliffe, Lindley, Mount, Oakes
Newsome[33] 17,110 3.233 5,292 Armitage Bridge, Berry Brow, Hall Bower, Lowerhouses, Newsome, Primrose Hill, Springwood, Taylor Hill

Green belt

Huddersfield is within a green belt region that extends into the Kirklees borough and wider surrounding counties. It is in place to reduce urban sprawl, prevent the towns in the West Yorkshire Urban Area conurbation from further convergence, protect the identity of outlying communities, encourage brownfield reuse, and preserve nearby countryside. This is achieved by restricting inappropriate development within the designated areas, and imposing stricter conditions on permitted building.[34]

The green belt surrounds the Huddersfield built-up area, separating towns and villages throughout the borough. Larger outlying communities such as Upper Hopton, Grange Moor, Highburton, Farnley Tyas, Netherton, Honley, Outlane, Slaithwaite, Wellhouse are also exempt from the green belt area. However, nearby smaller villages, hamlets and rural areas such as Thurgory, Gawthorpe Green, Bog Green, Upper Heaton, Wilberlee, South Crosland, Rushfield Bridge, and Bank End are 'washed over' by the designation. Much semi-rural land on the fringes is also included. The green belt was defined from the 1960s,[34] and the total area in Kirklees amounted to some 23,050 hectares (230.5 km2; 89.0 sq mi) (2017, excluding the Peak District National Park),[35] 70% of the borough.[34]

A subsidiary aim of the green belt is to encourage recreation and leisure interests,[34] with nearby rural landscape features, greenfield areas and facilities including Castle Hill with Victoria Tower; Coal Pit Scrog and Hall Wood in Lepton; Blackmoorfoot reservoir; Longwood reservoir; Huddersfield Narrow Canal and the River Colne west of the town; River Holme south of the town; Storthes Hall; Kirkheaton cricket ground; and Beaumont Park. Further afield west of Marsden, Meltham and Holmbridge, the green belt also borders the Peak District National Park.



Like many former mill towns, Huddersfield has a higher than average number of residents from ethnic minorities. The white population makes up 81% of the population comparing to 91.3% for England as a whole (2001). The largest ethnic minority group are those who have described themselves as being Asian or British Asian originating from the Indian sub-continent (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka) with 10,837, or 8.9% (compared to 7.8% for England as a whole (2011). An ethnicity summary of the town's 121,620 population is 98,454 (81.0%) white, 15,072 (12.4%) Asian or British Asian, 4,328 (3.6%) Black or Black British, 328 (0.3%), 259 (0.2%) Other and 3,131 (2.6%) Mixed.[36] In 2011, Huddersfield had a population of 162,949 and was 75.8% White (which includes people from Ireland, Mainland Europe and other places), 72.1% White British (or 117,548 people), 14.9% Asian (24,201 people) and 4.2% Black (6,822 people).[37]


Huddersfield is slightly above the English average for those who have no religion and also for the number of Muslims. Conversely, it is below average for its number of Christians.

There are a number of Churches, Gurdwaras, Mosques and Temples covering a wide spectrum of religions in the Huddersfield area. These include established Christian denominations, such as the Church of England, the Baptist Church, Methodism, Presbyterianism and the Roman Catholic Church. Religions that are relatively new to Britain also have places of worship in the town: Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, the Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormonism and Sikhism all have congregational buildings.

Denomination Population Percentage Comparative percentage for England
Christian 77,843 64.0 71.7
Buddhist 133 0.1 0.3
Hindu 577 0.5 1.1
Jewish 70 0.1 0.5
Muslim 12,147 10.0 3.0
Sikh 2,250 1.9 0.6
Other religions 341 0.3 0.3
No religion 18,694 15.4 14.8
Religion not stated 9,604 7.9 7.7

Landmarks and architecture

Huddersfield has an abundance of Victorian architecture.[38] The most conspicuous landmark is the Victoria Tower on Castle Hill. Overlooking the town, the tower was constructed to mark Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee Year in 1897. A picture of the Victoria Tower features on the New Zealand wine Castle Hill.

Huddersfield Town Hall was designed by John H. Abbey and built in two stages between 1875 and 1881. The first section opened on 26 June 1878, comprising the Mayor's Parlour, Council Chamber, Reception Room and municipal offices including the Sanitary Inspector, Inspector of Weights and Measures, Medical Officer, Town Clerk, Borough Surveyor and the Rates Office. The second phase opened in October 1881 comprising the Magistrates' Court and Concert Hall. The hall seats up to 1,200 people and hosts events ranging from classical to comedy and from choral to community events.

The colonnaded Huddersfield railway station in St George's Square was once described as 'a stately home with trains in it', and by Sir Nikolaus Pevsner as "one of the best early railway stations in England".[39] A bronze statue of Huddersfield-born Sir Harold Wilson, Prime Minister 1964–1970 and 1974–1976 stands in front of its entrance.

The George Hotel designed by William Wallen was built by Wallen and Charles Child in 1850. The hotel's Italianate façade became Huddersfield's adopted architectural style as the town developed over following decade.[40]

St Peter's Church (Huddersfield Parish Church) is situated on a site that dates back to the 11th century and is adjacent to the town centre, on Byram Street near the Pack Horse Centre. The current church on the site was constructed in 1838, making it somewhat newer than Holy Trinity Church, just outside the town centre and constructed between 1816 and 1819.

The Pack Horse Centre is a covered pedestrianised shopping area constructed over a cobblestone street, Pack Horse Yard, renamed Pack Horse Walk. Pack horses carried merchandise over pack-horse routes across the Pennines before turnpike roads and railways improved transportation. The pedestrian link passes from Kirkgate, across King Street and along Victoria Lane, by the Shambles, to the Piazza and the distinctive market hall at Queensgate, which was built to replace the old Shambles Market Hall in the early 1970s.[41] Next to the Piazza is the Victorian town hall and the 1930s public library.

Beaumont Park about 2 miles (3.2 km) to the south of the town centre was bequeathed to the town in the 1880s, by Henry Frederick Beaumont ('Beaumont's of Whitley' estate) and was opened on 13 October 1883, by Prince Leopold, fourth son of Queen Victoria, and his wife Princess Helena of Waldeck and Pyrmont (Duke and Duchess of Albany). It is a fine example of a Victorian era public park with water cascades, bandstand and woodland.

The St Paul's Street drill hall was designed by Captain Willey Cooper and completed in 1901.[42]

Greenhead Park is another large park in Huddersfield, situated around 0.4 miles (0.64 km) west of the town centre. A multimillion-pound restoration project, funded by the Heritage Lottery fund[43] was finished in autumn 2012.



Huddersfield is connected to the national motorway network via the M1 and M62 motorways. The M1 passes about 10 miles (16 km) to the east. The M62 passes about 2.5 miles (4.0 km) to the north and Huddersfield is served by three junctions: Mount (A640, J23 – limited access), Ainley Top (A629, J24) and between Brighouse and Cooper Bridge (A644, J25).

Huddersfield Corporation built an inner ring road, part of the A62, in the 1970s. The area within the ring road now defines the town's central business district. The ring road relieves traffic congestion in the town centre where many roads are pedestrianised.

Main routes into Huddersfield include the A62 Leeds Road, A641 Bradford Road, A629 Halifax Road – Penistone Road, A640 New Hey Road and the A62 Manchester Road.


A trolleybus system operated from 1933 to 1968. Huddersfield bus station was opened by the Mayor, Councillor Mernagh on 26 March 1974, although it had not been completed.[44] It is the busiest bus station in West Yorkshire with a daily footfall of almost 35,000. Most bus services pass through the bus station. Many services are subsidised by Metro.

Huddersfield's bus operators reflect the national situation; local subsidiaries of three dominant national operators provide most services in the area: First Calderdale & Huddersfield provide most local services in Huddersfield and some services outside Kirklees with destinations including Bradford, Brighouse, Halifax, Manchester and Oldham. Arriva Yorkshire provide frequent services to Dewsbury and Leeds, and Yorkshire Tiger provide almost all services in the south east of the town. Other smaller operators include Stotts Coaches and Tiger Blue. Centrebus Holdings purchased Teamdeck in May 2008, along with Stagecoach Yorkshire's Huddersfield depot.[45] In November 2006, a zero-fare town centre bus service, the Free Town Bus, was launched run by K-Line in partnership with Kirklees Council and Metro. Today this is run by Yorkshire Tiger.


Huddersfield railway station has a comprehensive local and regional rail service but there is no direct service to London, and passengers have to change at Manchester Piccadilly, Leeds, Wakefield Westgate or Mirfield.[46] Some services are subsidised by the public transport coordinator, West Yorkshire Metro. A frequent express service operates to Dewsbury, Leeds and Manchester and regular services to Darlington, Hull, Liverpool, Manchester Airport, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Scarborough and York operated by TransPennine Express. There are local stopping services operated by Northern linking Huddersfield with Barnsley, Bradford, Brighouse, Dewsbury, Halifax, Leeds, Sheffield and Wakefield.


The Huddersfield Broad Canal, originally the Sir John Ramsden Canal, and the Huddersfield Narrow Canal which are both navigable by narrowboat, and the broad canal by wider craft, wind around the south side of town. To the rear of the YMCA in the Turnbridge section is an electrically operated road bridge, which is still in use, to raise the road and allow boat traffic to pass. This bridge originally used a windlass.


Football and rugby league are the main spectator sports in Huddersfield. Its professional football team, Huddersfield Town A.F.C. play in the Championship after 2 seasons in the Premier League. In 1926, the club became the first in England to win three successive league titles, a feat only three other clubs have matched.

The town was the birthplace of rugby league, and is home to the Huddersfield Giants who play in the Super League, the top division in Europe. The town is home to Huddersfield Underbank Rangers rugby league club, who play in the Rugby League Conference. Huddersfield Rugby Union Football Club play in the National Division Three North, Huddersfield Y.M.C.A. RUFC who play in North 1 East and Huddersfield Rams Aussie Rules club. The main sporting arena is John Smith's Stadium, home to both the football team and rugby league side. Also within the town boundaries is AFC Emley who were formed when the original Emley FC left for Wakefield.

Rugby football

Rugby was first played in the town in 1848 and the Huddersfield Athletic Club, the direct progenitors of Huddersfield Giants, formed in 1864, played its first rugby game in 1866. In Huddersfield on 29 August 1895, 22 northern clubs met in the George Hotel and voted to secede from the Rugby Football Union and set up the 'Northern Rugby Football Union' which became the Rugby Football League in 1922. The Rugby League Heritage Centre is in the basement of the George Hotel.

Following the split of 1895, Huddersfield became a focus for rugby league and is represented by Huddersfield Giants in the Super League. Huddersfield Giants, the town's rugby league club, has won the Rugby Football League Championship seven times, most recently in 1961–62, and the Challenge Cup six times, the last time in 1952–53.

After 1895 rugby was played exclusively under the auspices of the Northern Rugby Football Union until 1909 when Huddersfield Old Boys were formed to play under rugby union rules, playing nomadically at five grounds until buying farmland at Waterloo in 1919 and, in 1946, renaming the club Huddersfield RUFC. In 1969 the club was at the forefront of a revolution in English rugby when it became the first club in the country to organise mini and junior rugby teams. The innovation spread and almost every club in the country has a thriving junior section providing a production-line of home-grown talent. Junior players at Huddersfield number over 200. In 1997 the Waterloo junior grounds were sold and the 26-acre (0.11 km2) former Bass Brewery site at Lockwood Park was purchased for its replacement. With the assistance of a £2 million grant from Sport England, the club has transformed it into a major sports complex, conference centre and business park.

Association football

Huddersfield Town F.C. is the town's senior association football team, founded in 1908, and currently playing in the Championship. In 1921–22 Huddersfield won the FA Cup and between 1923 and 1926 became the first club to win the League Championship three times in a row, an achievement matched only by three other teams. After several decades in lower divisions, Huddersfield Town FC returned to top flight football in 2017 when the club entered the Premier League for the first time. The club left its ground at Leeds Road in 1994 and now shares the John Smith's Stadium with the Huddersfield Giants rugby league team.

Notable ex-players include Scottish international Denis Law, Ray Wilson, a World Cup winner with England in 1966 and Trevor Cherry, England international. Herbert Chapman, Bill Shankly, Neil Warnock and Steve Bruce are notable former Huddersfield Town managers.

There are also 3 semi professional clubs within the town, Emley, Shelley and Golcar Utd who, from the 2019–20 season will all play in the North West Counties Football League Division One North

Other sports

Huddersfield Rams Aussie Rules is an Australian rules football team, formed in 2008. The club played its first season in 2009 and won the Aussie Rules UK National League – Central Division and took part in the North West Division in 2010.

Huddersfield has a number of field hockey teams, many of which train at the Lockwood Park sports complex on the all-weather pitch.[47]

Motorcycle speedway racing was staged in Huddersfield in the UK pioneer year of 1928. A venue in the town staged four or five meetings. James Whitham, is a former 'British Superbike Champion'. Lepton born Tom Sykes joined the Yamaha Motor Italia World team in the 2009 World Superbike season[48] after spells in British Supersports & British Superbikes in which he finished 4th in the 2009 Season. He won his first race in World Superbikes in one of two wildcard meetings.

On 6 July 2014, Stage 2 of the 2014 Tour de France from York to Sheffield passed through the town.[49]


Huddersfield Choral Society founded in 1836, claims to be the UK's leading choral society. Its history was chronicled in the book 'And The Glory',[50] written to commemorate the society's 150th anniversary in 1986 – its title derived from a line in the Hallelujah Chorus featuring in Handel's landmark choral arrangement Messiah.

The annual Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival is held in the town which is also home to the Huddersfield Philharmonic Orchestra and the Huddersfield Singers.

On Christmas Day 1977, the Sex Pistols played their last two British shows, a matinee for the children of striking firefighters, at Ivanhoe's nightclub, before embarking on their ill-fated US tour which saw the group's acrimonious collapse. In the early-mid-1990s, Flex, an underground Jungle/Drum 'n' Bass record label, was founded by musician and BBC Radio 1Xtra DJ, L Double. In 2000 another independent record label Chocolate Fireguard Records was founded by singer Pat Fulgoni who developed a three-stage community music event, Timeless Festival, in Ravensknowle Park, featuring a range of electronica, hip hop and rock music.

There are other annual music festivals held in the town and surrounding area, examples being the Marsden Jazz Festival,[51] Mrs Sunderland,[52] Janet Beaumont, the Holmfirth Festivals, and the Haydn Wood (Linthwaite). The Haydn Wood (for under 21s) and Mrs Sunderland festival focus on musical and oratorial performance. The Mrs Sunderland Music festival is the second oldest in the United Kingdom, started in 1889 lasting for nine days each year. Free music concerts have been put on for the town, including bands such as the Ordinary Boys, the Script and Elliott Minor. There are many local choirs, youth and adult, a noted example of the latter being the Honley Male Voice Choir.[53] Home-grown musical talent of all kinds is complemented by the student intake to the University of Huddersfield's music department. "The Sheriff of Huddersfield" is a song by heavy metal band Iron Maiden on the B-side of their 1986 single "Wasted Years", written about their co-manager Rod Smallwood, leaving his home town of Huddersfield and struggling to settle into life in Los Angeles. Huddersfield is home to thrash metal band Evile, dance rock outfit Kava Kava, the birthplace of the synthpop musician Billy Currie (of Ultravox and Visage), the hard rock bassist John McCoy who played with Neo and Gillan.

Long-running television series have been filmed in and around Huddersfield. They include Last of the Summer Wine, which is usually associated with Holmfirth, but uses locations in the Holme and Colne valleys; Where the Heart Is was filmed in the Colne valley around Slaithwaite; Wokenwell was shot on location in the Colne Valley and Marsden; and The League of Gentlemen used locations around Marsden. The feature films Between Two Women and The Jealous God were filmed in and around Huddersfield.

Huddersfield Art Gallery occupies the top floor of the library building on Princess Alexandra Walk, it houses an extensive collection of work by internationally renowned artists such as Francis Bacon, L.S. Lowry and Henry Moore, as well as significant regional artists. Throughout the year, it holds exhibitions of work by both established and emerging artists.

Ian Berry was born in Netherton, Huddersfield and was educated in the town and went to Greenhead College[54][55] and is internationally renowned for his art using only denim jeans and was named as one of the top 30 artists under the world in 2013.[56][57][58] In 1996 aged 11 he won the Huddersfield Daily Examiner 125th Birthday competition that saw his design printed on to mugs, tea towels and posters.[59][60]

Cultural events

Huddersfield Festival of Light takes place annually in December,[61] usually in the town centre adjacent to the railway station. Each year there is a performance by a theatre company. The finale is a firework display. The 2007 show was performed by French company Plasticiens Volants, which used large inflatable sea creatures in a parade through the streets as they told the story of 'Pearl'. The 2005 and 2008 performances were by the Valencian artists Xarxa Teatre. The 2010 festival featured Belgian company Company Tol and their suspension act – Corazon de Angeles (Angels' Heart) and ended on 5 December with fireworks in St. George's Square.

Huddersfield has a very well established Saint Patrick's Day Parade held annually.

Huddersfield Caribbean Carnival in mid-July, begins with a procession from the Hudawi Cultural Centre in Hillhouse, through the town centre to Greenhead Park where troupes display their costumes on stage. Caribbean food, fairground rides and various stalls and attractions are available. A "young blud" stage presents Hip Hop, UK garage, RnB and bassline.[62]

The Huddersfield Literature Festival is held annually in the town,[63] and features author events, creative writing classes and poetry nights, and sometimes creative writing competitions.

Present day


Huddersfield has a large and diverse retail shopping area, enclosed within the town's ring road, compared with other towns of its size. There are three shopping areas: Kingsgate, The Packhorse Precinct and The Piazza Centre. The Piazza offers an outdoor shopping mall near the public library, with a grassed area, used for relaxation and events throughout the year such as entertainment, international markets and iceskating in winter. Through the adjacent Market Arcade is a covered market hall, which has listed building status, due in part to its distinctive roof formed by hyperbolic paraboloids. It is adjacent to the town hall and public library. An open market is located next to Tesco, on the opposite side of the town centre.

The town centre is home to several national high street retailers and chain stores including Clinton Cards, GAME, House of Fraser, JD Sports, Sports Direct (formerly JJB), W H Smiths and Wilko; up until January 2008, it also had a Woolworths. Fast food outlets include KFC, McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Subway, Wimpy and Nando's. High street clothing and fashion retail outlets such as, Marks & Spencer, River Island, Topman and Next. There are three major supermarket outlets located in the town centre, and alongside the ring road: two Sainsbury's and one Tesco. In 2014 a small Morrisons store opened in the town centre located in the building previously occupied by Burger King.[64] Shortly after opening the Morrisons closed and the space was taken by a Foot Asylum. There are also a variety of small specialist and independent shops, many located in the three-storey Victorian shopping arcade, Byram Arcade, situated on Westgate.

However over the last decade many shops have closed down causing a general decline of the town centre[65]. Most notability the closure of British Home Stores (BHS) in 2016 left a large shopping unit empty in The Piazza Centre. In 2019 Marks & Spencer announced 17 closures within the UK, one of these is the Huddersfield store.[66]


The Lawrence Batley Theatre, opened in 1994, in what was once the largest Wesleyan Chapel in the world,[67] and presents dance, drama, comedy, music and exhibitions and is the base for Full Body & the Voice, a company focusing on the integration of disabled people into mainstream theatre. Kelly Rowlands also holds the 2003 Line Dancing championship Record.

The John Smith's Stadium, (formerly the Galpharm Stadium and Alfred McAlpine Stadium), is a multi-use sports stadium with a gym, swimming pool, spa and offers sporting classes. The stadium is home to Huddersfield Giants and Huddersfield Town football team. Adjacent the stadium is an Odeon cinema (formerly UCI).

There are many pubs, restaurants and night clubs, one of which, Tokyo, which closed in 2019, occupies the former Huddersfield County Court, a 19th-century Grade II listed building. The oldest pub is the Parish (formerly the Fleece Inn), the pub has been trading since 1720.


As well as primary and secondary schools, which cover compulsory and sixth form education for the town's population, Huddersfield has two sixth form colleges: Huddersfield New College at Salendine Nook and Greenhead College west of the town centre. Huddersfield Grammar School is the only independent school for secondary education up to age 16. The town has a further education college, Kirklees College formed following the merger of Dewsbury College and Huddersfield Technical College. Its one establishment of higher education is the University of Huddersfield, whose chancellor until 2019 was the Duke of York. The actor Patrick Stewart from Mirfield is emeritus chancellor.


Huddersfield Royal Infirmary is situated in Lindley. Medical services are split between there and the Calderdale Royal Hospital at Salterhebble, near Halifax. Kirkwood Hospice provides care for the terminally ill, and is dependent on donations and charitable gifts. Princess Royal Hospital provided maternity facilities until the risks of not being able to get an ambulance to A&E in the event of complications were judged to outweigh the benefits of specialist service provision. It now functions as a day clinic, family planning consultation centre and GUM Clinic. A decision to move most maternity services provided by the Calderdale & Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust to the Calderdale Royal Hospital ended the provision in 2007, despite strong local opposition. The campaign was led by Save Huddersfield NHS which elected a councillor, Dr Jackie Grunsell in the Crosland Moor ward. In January 2016 plans were announced to close the A&E department of Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and have all emergency cases go to Calderdale Royal instead. This sparked uproar in local communities as it would mean journeys from some areas of over 40 minutes to and from the hospital assuming that the main road into Halifax was not congested, as it frequently is.[68]

The former St. Luke's Hospital in Crosland Moor mostly provided geriatric and psychiatric care. It closed in 2011 and the land was sold to a developer.

List of civic honours and freedoms

Thirty-four people and one military (infantry) regiment have been granted the Freedom of Huddersfield, between 1889 and 1973.[69]

  • Wright Mellor JP DL – (25 September 1889)
  • Henry Frederick Beaumont JP DL – (28 August 1894)
  • Lt Col Sir Albert Kaye Rollit LLD DLC LittD JP DL – (28 August 1894)
  • James Nield Sykes JP – (12 March 1895)
  • Joseph Woodhead JP – (28 October 1898)
  • Sir Joseph Crosland Knt JP DL – (28 October 1898)
  • Major Charles Brook – (23 May 1901)
  • Major Harold Wilson – (23 May 1901)
  • Sir Thomas Brooke Bart JP DL – (25 July 1906)
  • Rev Robert Bruce MA DD – (25 July 1906)
  • William Brooke JP – (15 October 1913)
  • John Sykes JP – (15 October 1913)
  • William Henry Jessop JP – (18 September 1918)
  • Earnest Woodhead MA JP – (18 September 1918)
  • George Thomson JP – (18 September 1918)
  • Benjamin Broadbent CBE MA JP – (18 September 1918)
  • John Arthur Brooke MA JP – (18 September 1918)
  • James Edward Willans JP – (18 September 1918)
  • Admiral of the Fleet Earl Beatty GCB OM GCVO DSO – (24 July 1920)
  • The Rt Hon H. H. Asquith Earl of Oxford and Asquith, and Viscount Asquith – (6 November 1925)
  • Sir William Pick Raynor Knt JP – (17 December 1926)
  • Wilfrid Dawson JP – (25 July 1934)
  • Rowland Mitchell JP – (25 July 1934)
  • James Albert Woolven JP Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur – (25 July 1934)
  • Sir Bernard Law Montgomery Field-Marshal GCB DSO – (26 October 1945)
  • Joseph Barlow JP – (23 June 1949)
  • Duke of Wellington's Regiment (West Riding) – (2 July 1952)
  • Sidney Kaye LLB – (19 November 1957)
  • Alderman Arthur Gardiner OBE JP – (11 October 1960)
  • Alderman Harry Andrew Bennie Gray CBE JP – (11 October 1960)
  • Sir Malcolm Sargent MusD(Dunelm) MusD(Oxon)(Hons) LLD(Liverpool) Hon RAM Hon FRCO FRCM FRSA – (13 October 1961)
  • The Rt Hon Harold Wilson OBE MP Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury – (1 March 1968)
  • Alderman Douglas Graham CBE – (5 March 1973)
  • Alderman Reginald Harmley MBE JP – (5 March 1973)
  • Alderman Clifford Stephenson – (5 March 1973)

On 2 July 1952, in recognition of historic ties and links with the Duke of Wellington's Regiment (West Riding), the Huddersfield County Borough had conferred on the regiment the Freedom of the Town. This gave the regiment the right to march through the town with 'flags flying, bands playing and bayonets fixed'. Many of the town and district's male residents had served in the regiment during its long history. This right to march was technically lost when the County Borough itself was merged with Dewsbury to form Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council though, unofficially, continued as on 25 March 1979, Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council gave the Freedom of Kirklees to the 3rd battalion of the Yorkshire Volunteers. The 3rd Battalion was the Duke of Wellington's Territorial Army unit.

When the 'Dukes' were amalgamated with the Prince of Wales's Own Regiment of Yorkshire and the Green Howards' to form the Yorkshire Regiment on 6 June 2006. The right to march was finally ended as the award did not give the right, for the freedom to march, to be passed on to any heirs or successors. The majority of the Yorkshire Regiment is now composed of soldiers from the north and eastern areas of Yorkshire. The Yorkshire Regiment requested the right to march to be transferred to them. However, the County Borough no longer exists and so there was no authority to do so. The 'Freedom' given by Kirklees to the 3rd battalion of the Yorkshire Volunteers did not permit any transfer to heirs or successors and effectively that freedom also ceased when the battalion was amalgamated into the East and West Riding Regiment. The East and West Riding Regiment ceased to exist on 6 June 2006, having been merged into the Yorkshire Regiment as its 4th Battalion. Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council, as successors to the Huddersfield Borough Council, amended the original 'Freedom' and transferred the 'Freedom' to the Yorkshire Regiment, at a Freedom parade on 25 October 2008.

Notable people

A number of national and internationally famous people originate from Huddersfield. Actors include Joanna Christie, James Mason, Gorden Kaye and Keith Buckley. Some people have also become known through their association with Huddersfield, though they were not born there. These include the Mirfield-born actor ("life-long" Huddersfield Town F.C. supporter[70] and Chancellor of Huddersfield University from 2004 to 2015[71][72]), Patrick Stewart; the dancer, entertainer and TV presenter Roy Castle, who was born in Scholes;[73][74] the York-born Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer, Anita Lonsbrough;[75][76] and the Brighouse born inventor Wilf Lunn, who was raised in Rastrick.[77] Other famous people whose association with Huddersfield is not as notable or well-known, though they were raised there, include H. H. Asquith (born in Morley), who served as the Liberal Prime Minister of the United Kingdom between 1908 and 1916. The actress Lena Headey, who was born in Bermuda, grew up in Shelley from the age of five.[78][79]

Notable people born in and near to Huddersfield

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Further reading

E.A. Hilary Haigh ed. (1992) Huddersfield: A Most Handsome Town – Aspects of the History and Culture of a West Yorkshire Town. Kirklees MC, Huddersfield, pp. 704.

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