10 April 2016

Huddersfield

Rooftop pub sign
Huddersfield is one of England's largest towns. It was the birthplace of rugby league and in the early nineteenth century a hotbed of industrial unrest. Here the so-called "Luddites" rose up against powerful millowners whose new technology in the woollen industry was putting men and women out of work, resigning them to destitution.

I was up there  yesterday for a football match - the Yorkshire derby match between Huddersfield Town and Hull City. Before the game, I had lunch in "Herbert's" bar  after a nice stroll around the town centre.

Huddersfield railway station is a magnificent mid-nineteenth century structure, built in a classical style. It looks out over the plain expanse of St George's Square where in 1999 a statue was unveiled of one of Yorkshire's most influential sons - Harold Wilson.

Born and educated in Huddersfield, Wilson was the leader of our Labour Party and prime minister in two spells - 1964 to 1970 and 1974 to 1976. He led our country through the most swinging period of the sixties and was a true moderniser. One of his greatest achievements was to launch The Open University that gave so many more people access to higher education. It is easy to be cynical about politics and politicians but looking back I would say that Harold Wilson was this country's greatest leader since World War II. It is fitting that he should have such a prominent statue in his home town.
Wilson supported Huddersfield Town F.C. and if he had been at The John Smith's Stadium yesterday he would have jumped out of his seat in the fortieth and ninetieth minutes when his team scored. Fortunately, two of our lads - Hernandez and Diomande - also managed to get the ball in the net and the game finished 2-2.

On the way home, I took Clint down the M1 motorway for the first time. He seemed to enjoy the experience for he purred like a tiger as I listened to the endless football chatter on Radio 5 Live. 
Hull City's manager Steve Bruce signing autographs before the match
The Gas Club on Gasworks Street
Sikh festival in a corner of St George's Square. Huddersfield has a significant
and vibrant Sikh population - a legacy of the textiles industry.

23 comments:

  1. It took me a minute to figure out what that pub sign reminded me of. It's the boy on the Cracker Jack box...I wonder if they still make them? I haven't thought of them in years.

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    1. We never had "Cracker Jack" in England as far as I know but I googled it and I can see what you mean. He was called Sailor Boy and his dog was called Bingo.

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    2. The little toy prize in each box was always the best part!

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    3. Okay! No need to say that three times Jennifer!

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    4. Oops! Sorry!!!!!!

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  2. You tied several things together in this post. You are a Yorkshire booster. Why din't we have Harold Wilson's when we need them.

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    1. Yes I am a "Yorkshire booster" Red. It is surprising that you hadn't noticed already, I am afraid that all the Harold Wilsons have gone now. We are stuck with lesser leaders.

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    2. I noticed your support of Yorkshire and just wanted you to know that I recognize it. I also have a Yorkshire connection as my wife was born there at Lawn's House I believe.

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  3. If the prof gets further promotion , i have told him huddersfield is somewhere i would consider

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    1. There are some lovely villages near Huddersfield. Farnley Tyas for example and Slaithwaite... Good places for dogs and poultry.

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  4. Until lasr year, I knew Huddersfield only from travelling through by train. My mother-in-law gave me a book about Yorkshire when I came up last summer. The pictures and descriptions of Huddersfield made me want to go there for a day trip to explore. Maybe this year!

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    1. Last year I walked up to Castle Hill and the Victorian tower that overlooks the town. There's a nice art gallery that I haven't visited and The Tolson Museum which has limited opening times. It's very different from York and Ripon. Not so quaint.

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  5. Seeing what was one the gas works took me back to when I was a child.

    Just over the way a bit from where we lived in Gympie was the Gas Works. We'd cut through the grounds as a short cut on the way the local picture theatre. My playmate of mine at the time was manager of the Gas Works. The pile of dumped/discarded coke that gradually over time became covered with different forms of vegetation became a playground, particularly for my brother and his mates, They'd slide down the sides of the pile on sheets of galvanised iron.

    Another interesting post. :)

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    1. Well I am glad that this post sparked those memories Lee. Good job there was no gas around to be ignited by the spark!

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  6. What vibrant colours in the Sikh festival photo.

    Ms A Soup

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    1. I wanted to snap more Sikhs Alphie. They were giving away free Sikh food in the corner of the square. I bet they get stick from idiots who confuse them with Muslims.

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  7. Harold Wilson had his faults as a leader but had he not promoted Comprehensive schools and the EEC he would have been perfect. Bring back the old days.

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    1. Like many others, I would never have become a teacher if the bipartite system had still been prevalent. I believed and still believe in the comprehensive ideal.

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  8. Love that last photo! What a great street portrait. Whenever I hear of Harold Wilson (or Edward Heath, for that matter) I think of the Beatles song "Tax Man." And is it just me, or does "Boy & Barrel" sound just a little gay?

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    1. Yes. It's just you Steve. Mind you, I think that the outfit the lad is wearing on that rooftop would suit you fine.

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  9. I had two aunts who lived with their families in Almondbury when I was a child and I enjoyed countless holidays there - I especially loved the museum in Almondbury with the beehive which had one side all glass so that you could see what was going onl

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    1. I do not mean this as a complaint Mrs Weaver but one day I am going to touch upon a place with which you have no connection! I am currently investigating flights to Ougadougou. Any connection?

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  10. I love the statue of Wilson, one I must get over to see at some point. I saw him speak at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester in the 1960s and he was quite the orator, at a time when politicians could inspire people and didn't speak in sound bites.

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.