Huddersfield is a large market townand is the largest settlement in the metropolitan borough of Kirklees, West Yorkshire, England. It is the 11th largest town in the United Kingdom with a population of 162,949 (2011 census). Halfway between Leeds andManchester, it lies 190 miles (310 km) north of London, and 10.3 miles (16.6 km) south of Bradford, the nearest city.
Huddersfield is near the confluence of the River Colne and the River Holme. Located 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, British Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson, and the international film star James Mason.
Huddersfield is a town known for sport, home to the rugby league team,Huddersfield Giants, founded in 1895, who play in the European Super League and Football League Championship football team Huddersfield Town 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 stationis 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 and subsequently won the Europa Nostra award for European architecture.
A view of Huddersfield from Castle Hill
There has been a settlement in the area for over 4,000 years. The remains of a Roman fort were unearthed in the mid 18th century at Slack near Outlane, west of the town. Castle Hill, a major landmark, was the site of an Iron Age hill fort. Huddersfield was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Oderesfelt and Odresfeld.
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, building the Huddersfield Cloth Hall in 1766 and the Sir John Ramsden’s Canal in 1780, and supporting the arrival of the railway arrived in the 1840s.
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, which would have condemned them to poverty or starvation. 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 Saledescribes 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. 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. 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.
Two Prime Ministers have spent part of their childhood in Huddersfield: Harold Wilson and Herbert Asquith. Wilson is commemorated by a statue in front of the railway station.
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.
The far left is represented by Revolution, the Socialist Workers Party and the Socialist Party of England and Wales active groups involved in campaigns such as Stop the War, Save Huddersfield NHS, Socialist Appeal and the Communist Party of Britain. The town has substantial Conservative Party and UKIP presences, with other centre-right and rightist groups also represented.
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.
Huddersfield expanded in 1937, including parts of the Golcar, Linthwaite, and South Crosland urban districts.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 theHuddersfield Daily Examiner. The council did not apply for that status in either the 2000 or 2002 competitions.
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.
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 is actorPatrick Stewart from Mirfield.