This year we’re marking the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Borough of Huddersfield in 1868. This was an important achievement at the time, and it’s part of a rich democratic heritage in Kirklees that we can be proud of today. Several local organisations are joining in the celebrations and you can take part in some local events and activities, or learn more about Huddersfield’s civic heritage through exhibitions, publications and online resources.
Huddersfield was granted a Royal Charter as a Municipal Borough on 7 July 1868. Compared with its neighbours, Huddersfield was 20 years late in achieving Borough status — but, within 15 years of inception, was managing markets, water and gas supply, tramways, the police force and fire brigade, some of the country’s earliest Council housing and much more besides.
By 1893 an illustrated London magazine reported that: “The Huddersfield Corporation occupies a high position among the municipalities of England. No town of the same population can show the same extent and variety of municipal institutions. Few, if any, of our great cities can equal it, as there is not a single local service in Huddersfield which is not under the control of the Corporation. In more than one department it has been a pioneer.”
The Borough continued its pioneering in a wide range of public services before handing over to Kirklees Metropolitan Council in 1974.
Thanks to the generosity of the estate of the late Roy Brook, who sadly passed away in 2015, you can read his The Story of Huddersfield which was published to commemorate the centenary in 1968.
The foreword was provided by the Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Harold Wilson who was born in Huddersfield in 1916:
Huddersfield will change in the next hundred years. It will rise to still greater heights. But in the changes two things, I hope, will remain unchanged — the search for quality and the neighbourliness which has grown from our village roots.