Huddersfield Corporation: 1918 to 1928
As noted by the Huddersfield Daily Examiner in 1918:
It is inevitable that the jubilee of the incorporation of the borough of Huddersfield, since it occurs in the midst of the greatest war in history, should be quietly celebrated without the usually inevitable banqueting and ceremony […] It was decided by the County Borough Council to mark the occasion by repairing omissions in the visible records of past municipal history, by impressing the meaning of the anniversary on the minds of the children, and by the addition to the roll of freemen of the borough of the names of six gentlemen who are deemed to have rendered conspicuous service to the municipality.
Former mayor, Owen Balmforth, was asked to compile a book to commemorate 50 years of Huddersfield Corporation and this can be read online.
School children in the borough were presented with a ceremonial certificate.
The six new Freemen of the Borough were:
- Alderman William Henry Jessop
- Alderman Ernest Woodhead
- Councillor George Thomson
- John Arthur Brooke
- James Edward Willans
- Benjamin Broadbent
Local philanthropist Legh Tolson had acquired the Ravensknowle Hall estate at Dalton in 1901, but subsequently decided to retire to north west England. In remembrance of his two nephews who were killed in the war, he gifted Ravensknowle to the people of Huddersfield and the Tolson Memorial Museum was opened three years later in 1922.
Most of the land in the town had been owned by the Ramsden family since 1599, but the opportunity arose in 1919 for Huddersfield Corporation to purchase the estate. However, they lacked the necessary legal powers to do and instead businessman Samuel Copley (who was born in Berry Brow) acted as the middleman and acquired the land for £1,300,000. The following year he sold the estate to the Corporation for the same price and Huddersfield famously became “the town that bought itself”.