St George’s Square in Huddersfield will host a double celebration on Sunday (August 21).

There will be music, dance, food, theatre and film in the square to mark the 75th anniversary of independence in India and Pakistan.

And at the station there will be an event to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the first train to arrive at Huddersfield Railway Station.

Curated by Let’s Go Yorkshire, The White Line Celebration in the square will also commemorate the 1947 partition of British India when a line was drawn across the sub-continent resulting in the largest migration in human history.

With almost 15 million people on the move, Hindus and Sikhs exited from West Punjab into the “new” India, while many Muslims departed India into the new state called Pakistan.

Mandeep Samra, who has curated the event for Let’s Go Yorkshire, said: “The human impact of partition was incalculable and has resonated through time and place to where we live now in Huddersfield.

“After the Second World War the UK, in the face of severe shortages in many industries, invited men and women from India and Pakistan to help rebuild the economy.

“In the 1950s and 60s, immigrants who had survived the uncertainties and turmoil of partition came to Britain in search of a better life, taking up employment in factories and foundries in expanding cities and towns including Huddersfield.”

From left to right: Balbir Singh, Kulbir Singh and Mansaf Ali in Huddersfield in 1966.

Jamil Akhtar MBE, from the South Asian Consortium Kirklees, said: “This event is about acknowledging the past whilst also celebrating the huge contributions that the South Asian community has made to British culture and for everyone to appreciate and celebrate South Asian history and culture in Kirklees.”

Huddersfield-born artist Hardeep Singh Sahota who describes himself, first and foremost as a ‘Sikh Yorkshire lad’ will be performing bhangra.

He said: “This event is a special tribute to mark this historic occasion and an opportunity to invite local people to come together and celebrate 75 years of India and Pakistan’s independence.”

As well as bhangra, the event line-up will include: giddha boliyan (traditional Panjabi folk songs) by Balle Balle Sangeet; a new commissioned play by Chol Theatre reflecting partition survivors and their families’ stories of loss, displacement, hope and arrival; and film screenings including ‘A NEW LIFE IN HUDDERSFIELD: MEMORIES OF PARTITION AND MIGRATION’ by Let’s Go Yorkshire, ‘INTERWOVEN soundscape’ and the new video of the ‘INTERWOVEN Ensemble performing Round and Around: The Story of Shoddy in Song’ by Woven in Kirklees.

And, of course, expect to be served authentic Indian street food from local cuisine Dabbawala and delicious chai tea from Mr Bean Coffee Van.

The White Line Celebration is at St George’s Square, Huddersfield on Sunday August 21 between 1pm and 4pm.

The event is funded by Arts Council England and the High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) programme, a Government-funded scheme led by Historic England, in partnership with Kirklees Council.

Sunday August 21 also marks 175 years since the first train pulled into Huddersfield Railway Station and there will be a community-led event running at the station from 12noon to 3pm.

The milestone is also being celebrated by local songwriter Sam Hodgson (aka Samh) and Pedlaz Cycling Club.

They will all be cycling together the 10.5 miles down the Calder Valley Greenway from Dewsbury Railway Station to Huddersfield Railway Station, arriving at 1pm for the start of the White Line Celebration.

Samh will be using the experience of this cycle ride and others to write songs about cycling around Dewsbury and Huddersfield. The song and accompanying video are expected to be released early October with Manasamitra.

Here’s the running order for the station anniversary event:

11.45:                                    Arrivals

12.00 – 12.30:                     Welcomes, speeches and unveiling of artwork.

12.40 – 15.00:                     Artist-led activity to commence on the station, stalls to become available and video loop & exhibits to start in the first-class lounge

1500:                                     Event ends


175 Years of Arrivals: Commissioned artwork commemorating the history of Huddersfield Railway Station and its place in the community. Created by Kevin Threlfall and Jo Blaker, input provided by the Huddersfield community through research and collaborative art sessions during the creation process.

Community Stalls: Stalls set up on Platform 1 allowing community groups from Huddersfield to talk about work they’re doing, involve visitors to the station and raise awareness.

Video Looping: A loop of the Promenade piece “The town that bought itself” to be displayed on the television in the First Class Lounge, interleaved with historic footage of Huddersfield Station.

“The Town that Bought Itself”: Display of “The Town that Bought Itself”, a series of banners detailing the story of how the Huddersfield Corporation purchased the Ramsden estate in 1920, and the impact this had on the development of the town.

Ambulance Records: A collection of records from the Huddersfield Station Ambulance Class (first aid classes), discovered during a recent renovation project and reaching back as far as 1921.

Penistone Artwork Panels: A display of artwork panels which have been reproduced for display which will be available on Platform 2 of the station. Arranged and displayed by The Penistone Line Partnership.

What comes next?  An exhibition stand produced by TransPennine Express and Network Rail, detailing the future look of the station which is to undergo an extensive internal modernisation.