Kirklees Council has celebrated the 40th anniversary of the first ever Pride march through Huddersfield by decorating the route in rainbow colours.

The anniversary is Sunday July 4 and lamp-posts along the route are dressed in Pride colours.

The route starts at the junction of Leeds Road and Bradley Mills Road and ends at Greenhead Park where the march originally culminated with a huge rally of supporters protesting against the treatment of the LGBT community.

Clr Will Simpson, Cabinet Member for Greener Kirklees and Culture, said: “Pride is an important event all over the world. We are proud to be inclusive here in Kirklees and in addition to continuing to fight for equality and challenge prejudice, Kirklees Pride is also a celebration of LGBT+ life and inclusion in our borough.

“Although most physical Pride events could not take place this year because of Covid restrictions, we felt it was important to recognise our incredible history and demonstrate our support for our LGBT+ community.

“We have also lit up Huddersfield Town Hall in rainbow colours and flown the Pride flags at our town halls. 

“We feel that marking the original route as we have is both a celebration of the 40th anniversary and symbolic of the journey we have taken as a country and a borough in our ambitions to be a compassionate, diverse and inclusive place.”

This activity kickstarts a year-long celebration of the 40th anniversary which will feature a series of arts events which will take place from now until July 2022.

There will be three main elements to the celebration:

  1. Photographic Exhibition: Internationally renowned photographer Ajamu X will take a series of 20 portraits of people who marched in 1981 and people who are part of the LGBTQ+ community in Huddersfield today. Ajamu was born in Huddersfield and saw the original Pride 81 march. In February 2022, there will be a Street Exhibition of some of the portraits at key parts of the original Pride 81 route (bus stops, billboards and buildings). The full set will then be displayed at the Lawrence Batley Theatre from June 1 to August 31 2022. After that, they will become a part of the permanent collection at Huddersfield Art Gallery.
  1. Immersive Performance: Inkbrew Productions will create an immersive performance recreating Pride 81. The audience will be participants in the march, co-creating the piece with actors playing activists from 1981, who tell their stories as they march. Ten monologues written by award-winning playwrights Stephen M Hornby and Abi Hynes form the heart of this piece. They will also be performed as a showcase at the Lawrence Batley Cellar Theatre, Huddersfield, and the Kings Arms, Salford, from July 1-3 2022. 
  1. On-line Archive of Pride 81: The West Yorkshire Archive Service (WYAS) & Heritage Quays are making a call-out to capture personal photographs of the 1981 march. Digital copies will become stored as a permanent part of each archive. WYAS will be holding the first of two Pride 81 Submission Days at Kirklees Archives Pop-Up opposite Huddersfield Library on Saturday September 25, 11am-4pm. People can turn up and have their pictures scanned and returned.
Huddersfield Town Hall lit in rainbow colours