Huddersfield is a town in Yorkshire, northern
England, near Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield. With a population
of 115,000 it is one of the
largest towns in the country not granted city status. For all its
popular 'flat caps' image it has been recognised as a centre
of culture in terms of poetry and traditional music. Most
importantly, there are plenty of good pubs.
The surrounding district was first settled during the iron age,
but the first record of the town itself is to be found in the Domesday
Book (1086), where it was noted that:
In Odersfelt Godwin had six carucates of land to be taxed,
affording occupation of eight ploughs. Now the same has it of Ilbert (de
Laci) but it is waste.
In 1757 the Methodist founder John Wesley visited the town and
recorded his mixed impressions:
"I rode over the mountains to Huddersfield and a wilder
people I never saw in all England. The men, women and children filled
the streets as we rode along and appeared just ready to devour us. They
were, however, tolerably quiet while I preached; only a few pieces of
dirt were thrown."
(There are no real mountains in England, this is poetic licence
with reference to the Pennines.)
Huddersfield remained a small settlement until the industrial
revolution where it grew to become a mill town, mass producing woollen
goods. The luddites were very active in the area at this time.
Today, stepping out of the railway station onto St
George's square, the elegance of the town in its Victorian heyday
may still be seen. Unfortunately, like many English towns and cities,
much of what the Luftwaffe failed to destroy in the 1940s was torn
down by modernist zealots in the 1960s.
There is a medium sized University and the award-winning sixth form
Greenhead College. In sports, Huddersfield can claim to be the
birthplace of Rugby League as well as home to the Huddersfield
Giants rugby team and the once great Huddersfield Town
Association Football club.
Famous Huddersfielders include actors Patrick Stewart and James
Mason, Prime Minister Harold Wilson and entertainer-musician Roy
Note that locals will usually pronounce the name as 'uddersfield'...