A project is to be launched to celebrate St George’s Square in Huddersfield – and people are invited to send in their memories and photographs.
Down the years the square has seen mass celebrations – such as Huddersfield Town‘s historic promotion to the Premier League in 2017 – and protests – including when 5,000 people attended a rally against the closure of the A&E department at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary in 2016. It is also home to the popular Huddersfield Food & Drink Festival.
Huddersfield Local History Society has received funding from Historic England’s ‘Regenerating Historic High Streets through Heritage Action Zones’ (HSHAZ) scheme to celebrate the history and heritage of St George’s Square.
The funding will enable the society to produce both a well-illustrated book to be published in summer 2023 as well as a specially created website – oursquare.org – due to be launched at the end of June 2021.
Christine Verguson, who is co-ordinating the society’s Memories of Our Square project together with the society’s vice-chairman, Brian Haigh, said: “Not only will we be looking for eye-witness accounts, images and maps from the past but we are inviting anybody who has their own memories and photos of the Square to share these initially on the project’s website.
“This will allow us to make selections for the book and, where contributors give their permission, these submissions will also be passed on to the West Yorkshire Archive Service to be preserved for future generations.”
The project’s website will also include a timeline outlining the story of St George’s Square and its buildings as well as a series of articles on aspects of its history.
Brian Haigh, who has been researching the history of the Square, pointed to its importance, not only to the town but also in the lives of its citizens.
He added: “Local people are proud of St George’s Square, which has witnessed huge gatherings to hear political addresses, take part in peaceful protest, celebrate local and national events, and enjoy themselves. It lies at the very heart of the town. We all have different memories of the square.”
Cyril Pearce, chairman of Huddersfield Local History Society, said: “The society is delighted to be part of the winning team that has brought a Historic England grant to Huddersfield to support community-led cultural activities here over the next three years.
“As a local history society we are committed to encouraging, exploring and publishing the ever-expanding body of work on the history of our town and its people.
“Our contribution, at the heart of the planned Heritage Action Zone in and around St George’s Square, will build on all of that enthusiasm and experience. We are excited and looking forward to embarking on a new approach to our local history.
“It will be built on the idea of discovering people’s memories, blending them with historical research and then sharing all of that to create a real people’s history of the town’s iconic centre.”
Huddersfield Local History Society is a member of the Huddersfield HSHAZ Consortium which was recently awarded a £90,000 grant from Historic England to create and deliver community-led cultural activities on the high street.
Each year has its own theme: Sports and Well-being to tie in with the 2021 Rugby League World Cup; Arrivals in 2022 reflecting the diverse make-up of Huddersfield; Music in 2023 which is also the Kirklees Year of Music.
It is likely that these themes will be echoed in the reminiscences and images collected by Huddersfield Local History Society’s Memories of Our Square project.
Anyone who would like to find out more about the project should email email@example.com