A history day celebrating St George’s Square is to be held in Huddersfield next month and will include the launch of a new book.

The event, hosted by Huddersfield Local History Society, will be held at Brian Jackson House on New North Parade on Saturday, November 4 from 9.30am to 4.15pm.

The packed programme features talks and will also include the launch of a book full of stories and photographs from the Square called: ‘Meet Me at Harold Wilson’ Stories from St George’s Square, written by Christine Verguson and Beverley Norris.

Speakers on the day are: David Griffiths on A Contested Space: Struggles over the Square; David Wyles on Building the Square: The Power and the Glory; and Susan Major – The Million go Forth: Early Victorian Railway Excursions.

The book is the culmination of the society’s ‘Memories of Our Square’ project and tells the story of the Square from its creation in the 1850s – it almost didn’t happen – to the present day.

The project, which has also included the creation of a dedicated website and a photography competition, has been co-ordinated by Christine Verguson and Beverley Norris who have also compiled the book.

Huddersfield Town’s then owner Dean Hoyle with the play-off trophy

Christine said: “The title for the book, ‘Meet Me at Harold Wilson’, came from the stories that people have shared with us.

“What has surprised me is the wide variety of events that have taken place in St George’s Square over the years and the way in which they reflect the history of the town, and even beyond.

“And, while searching through the archives, I’ve been struck not just by the way music, sports, politics and religion have played their part in the history of the Square but in some of the more surprising things that have happened there: 77 bands in the Square at the same time, a boat launch and a daring aerial display, to name just a few.”

Beverley added: “We set up the Memories of the Square website (www.oursquare.org) as a way of telling people what we were doing and of inviting them to take part.

“In addition, we’ve been present at several heritage and history events over the last couple of years, providing us with a great opportunity for people to tell us about some of their own memories of the Square and its surrounding buildings.

“Those who contributed often under-estimated the value of what they saw as unremarkable memories but, as time passes, things change and these memories have become a fascinating record of our collective experience of the Square.

“Last year we held a photo competition where we invited people to send in photos taken after 2020 and all the prize-winning and specially commended entries have been included in our book.”

Huddersfield Local History Society has been able to produce this book as part of their Memories of Our Square project thanks to financial support from the Huddersfield High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ). The society has been part of a three-year cultural programme funded by HSHAZ, a Government-funded scheme in partnership with Historic England and Kirklees Council.

History never stops being made, of course, and Christine added: “We had to decide when we would call time on collecting material for the book – and what better day could there have been than July 16 2023, when it’s been said that 15,000 people – and 23 singing sheep! – gathered in the Square to take part in the HERD musical extravaganza?”

Society chair Cyril Pearce said: “Discovering people’s memories and blending them with more traditional historical research has created a real and innovative people’s history of this much-loved part of the town.

“I confess that I never imagined that the Square had been the theatre in which so much of the last 150 years – and more – of Huddersfield’s history had been played out or that it had been such an important part of so many people’s lives and memories.”

The charge for the day is £10 (free to HLHS members) plus £11.50 for a two-course lunch. Anyone is welcome to attend the book launch at 3.30pm.

To reserve your place, please click here and book by Monday, October 30 if booking lunch. Cheques should be made payable to Huddersfield Local History Society.

‘Meet Me at Harold Wilson’ Stories from St George’s Square, with 164 pages and over 100 illustrations, has to be a bargain at just £5!

It will be available at the launch event at Brian Jackson House and then from bookshops or from the society’s website (plus postage and packing).


Harold Wilson statue (main image) by Martin Shaw

‘Meet me at Harold Wilson’, front cover (images courtesy Christopher R. Marsden, John Lambe, Christine Verguson) 

Postcard (top) – electric tram crossing the Square. 

Postcard – St George’s Square with Peel statues and Lion Buildings.

HERD musical event in July 2023.

A ‘UFO’ hovers above Harold Wilson – by Martin Shaw

Dean Hoyle image by Huddersfield Town FC