By Andy Hirst, Special Correspondent
People will be able to see behind the scenes at almost 60 of the best heritage and historical locations in Kirklees next month as part of the ever-popular national Heritage Open Days festival.
The festival will run for 10 days from September 10-19 and alongside old favourites there are more than 20 new entries, many of them celebrating this year’s national theme, Edible England.
The selection offers an insight into many places that are not always open to the public. Sites in Huddersfield include an intimate local history museum, High Flatts Quaker Meeting House, along with several Anglican churches, a look behind the scenes at town halls, the Lawrence Batley Theatre, the Platform 1 men’s mental health project in Huddersfield station and even a Holmfirth Graveyard Walk.
Huddersfield events include sound and colour featuring carnival costumes and dancers, walks that explore Irish heritage and textiles, a talk about the celebrated Huddersfield architect W H Crossland and an open day at his very first building. A festival hub on the Piazza, hosted by West Yorkshire Archive Service, will stage exhibitions and information on five of the 10 days.
All venues and events are free, although this year more than usual must be booked in advance. For details of the venues and events in the Kirklees area and beyond go to the national website www.heritageopendays.org.uk. and simply pop Kirklees into the search bar. The Kirklees Heritage Open Days brochure will be available from information points across the district from the end of August.
Here are some of the outstanding events that have been lined up.
A top one is a talk about one of the great Victorian architects, W H Crossland (1835- 1908), who built Estate Buildings, Byram Arcade, Kirkgate Buildings and the old Post Office in Huddersfield. Born in Elland and brought up at Longwood House, Netheroyd Hill, he was an architect of national repute with a poignant personal story.
Huddersfield Civic Society chairman David Wyles said: “Crossland’s commissions in Huddersfield, including the Ramsden Estate Office on Railway Street, demonstrate his complete command of Gothic Revival architecture, combining elements from Renaissance Europe particularly from England, France and Flanders. His buildings combine grandeur with a flamboyant use of details and decoration. These demonstrate why Crossland is now considered to be one of the Victorian period’s greatest architects.”
This talk by his biographer Sheila Binns will be at New North Road Baptist Church on New North Parade in Huddersfield town centre at 7.30pm on Monday, September 13. Book from August 28 at https://www.eventbrite. co.uk/e/164730831351.
A new event is called The Irish in Huddersfield and will be on Sunday, September 19, at 2.30pm and led by John Lambe who explores places associated with Irish immigrants who came to work on the canals, in textiles, construction and more recently, to study at Huddersfield University. The walk includes a tour of St Patrick’s Church. After the walk a free short film called The Connemara Connection will be shown at the Irish Centre, 86 Fitzwilliam Street, HD1 5BB at 4.30 pm. Booking is essential via https://discoverhuddersfield.uk/heritage-open-days/
Many of the themes have an edible angle to them including the chance to visit a 7-acre farm in Slaithwaite.
The Barn, Paddock Farm, Park Gate Road, West Slaithwaite, HD7 5XA, will be open on Saturday, September 18 from 10am to 6pm and from 11am to 6pm on Sunday, September 19 with talks and tours at 11am and 3pm each day.
Visitors will get the chance to see vegetable plots, forest gardens and polytunnels, exploring how to use permaculture, ecological and no dig approaches to grow food and create habitats. The farm’s pop-up cafe in the cowshed will serve cream teas and homemade cakes.
In Golcar the Colne Valley Museum will have free admission on Saturday and Sunday, September 11 and 12 from 11am to 5pm and will feature two exhibitions. On the Saturday the Havercake Lads, the military re-enactment group of the 33rd Regiment of Foot, will make oatcakes (havercakes) in the museum’s Victorian kitchen, their staple diet when on manoeuvres. On Sunday, volunteers will demonstrate traditional Colne Valley recipes such as Robin Cake and Ned (Knead) or Fat Cakes.
Across the road, St John the Evangelist Church will be open on Saturday, September 11 from 10.30am to 3.30pm featuring the exceptionally rare Binns organ which will be played during the day along with its outstanding stained glass windows and war memorials. There will be access to the church’s burial records and to family history sites along with access to the churchyard, including its Commonwealth War Graves.
St Bartholomew’s Church in Marsden is known as the Cathedral of the Colne Valley and will be open on Saturday and Sunday, September 18 and 19 until 4pm with tours throughout the day. It will feature a joint exhibition with Marsden History Group called Changing Marsden 1800 – 1950: Population and Textiles.
In the Holme Valley there will be a graveyard walk and talk on Station Road, Holmfirth, HD9 1AD led by Deborah Wyles on Sunday, September 12 at 3pm. Booking is essential via Deborah on 01484 685997 or debhod21@ btinternet.com from August 30. It will give people a chance to learn about the many Holme Valley residents who died between 100 and 200 years ago, their lives and achievements.
Meltham will feature in a Meltham in Focus event at the Carlile Institute, Huddersfield Road, Meltham, HD9 4AE, on Sunday, September 12 from 11am to 4pm. There will be exhibitions of archives and photographs plus a film called Meltham in Lockdown which tells the stories of people in Meltham during the Covid 19 pandemic. The film will be on a loop all day.
* Written by former Huddersfield Examiner Head of Content ANDY HIRST who now runs his own Huddersfield-based agency AH! PR specialising in press releases, blogging and copywriting for business in Yorkshire and across the UK.