Huddersfield Local History Society and the University of Huddersfield present the seventh in a series of annual lectures focusing on aspects of the history of radicalism. This year’s event will be held in memory of social historian Prof Malcolm Chase who died in February last year, aged 63.

These lectures have provided an opportunity for a succession of distinguished historians to share their thoughts not only on the Luddite disturbances of 1812 in the Huddersfield district but on 19th century radicalism in the West Riding, and beyond.

This year’s lecture is no exception. Edward Royle, Emeritus Professor of History at the University of York, looks at the varieties of radicalism to be found in the West Riding during the century following the French Revolution as well some of the social and religious radicalisms that emerged during that century which he describes as ranging “from the mainstream to the exotic.”

Professor Royle is no stranger to Huddersfield. He grew up in Linthwaite, attended King James’ Grammar School in Almondbury and was a founder-member of Huddersfield Local History Society.

He has published widely on 19th century history and as Cyril Pearce, chairman of the society, says of Professor Royle: “Throughout his career, and in his first major publication on Radical Politics – Religion and Unbelief 1790-1900, he has drawn heavily on his research on the history of Huddersfield.”

Most recently Professor Royle has not only contributed to but edited Power in the Land: Essays to commemorate the centenary of the purchase of the estate by Huddersfield Corporation in 1920, published by the University of Huddersfield in association with Huddersfield Local History Society.

The Luddite Memorial Lecture is introduced by historian Professor Tim Thornton, the University of Huddersfield’s deputy vice-chancellor, who says that this annual lecture series “represents an important partnership for the university, allowing us to represent an important aspect of local heritage alongside the leading local historical organisation in our area.”

He describes Professor Royle as “unsurpassed in the committed and rigorous scholarship which underpins all of his contributions to the subject.” 

Professor Thornton added: “This year marks the first of these annual lectures since the death of Professor Malcolm Chase. Malcolm was a great supporter of these lectures and himself gave one of the lectures on the subject of York Castle and its role as a political prison for those involved in Luddite and kindred movements. Many of us will be thinking of Malcolm this year.”

Malcolm Chase, to whom the 2021 Luddite lecture is dedicated, was Head of the School of History at the University of Leeds and a former student of Professor Royle who describes Malcolm as a “leading exponent of British Radical History and a prolific writer.” He was a leading authority on the history of Chartism.

Cyril Pearce explained why Huddersfield Local History Society decided to dedicate the 2021 Luddite Memorial Lecture to Professor Chase’s memory.

He said: “Malcolm died far too young, a little over a year ago. Malcolm was a good friend to the society and a generous colleague. To individual members he was a friend and a supportive champion of their work. He is sorely missed. This year’s lecturer, Professor Edward Royle, was one of Malcolm’s many good friends and colleagues.”

Professor Royle prefaces his lecture with his own tribute to Professor Malcolm Chase.

The Luddite Memorial Talk 2021 talk has been recorded on YouTube by Huddersfield Local History Society and is free to view from Monday April 26. The link can be found at