1968 Centenary Pageant Parade

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.

Huddersfield Town Hall (Kirklees Image Archive)

Huddersfield Town Hall

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.

A new Discover Huddersfield guided walk — Civic Celebration Trail (PDF) — has been prepared by David Griffiths of Huddersfield Local History Society.

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By the 1920s, Huddersfield Corporation had begun publishing annual “Official Handbook”s which provided the townspeople with details of the municipal services on offer, as well as information about local companies.

We’ve digitised two of the handbooks which you can read online — 1930 and 1968.

If you enjoy reading these, you can browse more of the handbooks at the Local Studies Library in Huddersfield.