The history of human activity on the hill goes back over 4000 years. The site was developed as an iron age hill fort, surrounded by defensive ditches and ramparts. In the Middle Ages there was a castle on the hill, of which the well remains. The present tower was built to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee of 1897.
Perched on Castle Hill, Victoria Tower was completed in 1899 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Queen Victoria's reign. The corner-stone of the tower was laid on 25 June 1898 by Mr John Frechville Ramsden and was officially opened by the Earl of Scarborough on 24 June 1899. The walls of the tower are four feet thick at the bottom, tapering to two feet at the top. The tower was renovated in 1960 when the top seven feet were removed. It reaches the height of almost 997 feet above sea level. Admission is £1.50 but check opeing times on the website.
There are 156 steps to the top of the tower and if you are able to climb these they are wide and easy to navigate with just a very short spiral staircase at the top. Views from the top are fabulous.
If you would like to spend time watching canal boats pass through the town , or as they stop to re-fuel or take on supplies, Aspley Marina is a good place to do this.
Huddersfield lies on the Huddersfield Narrow and this links to other river and canals in the area.
The marina is next to Sainsburys and easy to find. There is also a pub/restaurant, The Aspley, next to the canal basin where you can sit with a drink or meal and watch the canal activity.
I am not interested in Rugby League but include this for anyone who is - a heritage centre in the George Hotel.
The sport of Rugby League was created in 1895 at The George Hotel in Huddersfield.
The Gillette Rugby League Heritage Centre is a collection of rare memorabilia, ancient caps and jerseys, valuable medals and trophies, old programmes and pictures. Using plasma screens and floor-to-ceiling graphics, this unique visitor attraction charts the game's progress .
An impressive building dating from 1940 - closed on the Sunday we visited and so I cannot give an opinion the the art gallery.
The then Central Library was opened on April 15, 1940 by the Mayor Alderman Norman Crossley. The first book to be borrowed, Phyllis Bentley's "Take Courage", was issued to the wife of Alderman Smailes.
Until the late 18th century Huddersfield was little more than a village winding along what is now the axis of Eastgate and Westgate and it was surrounded by fields.
The centre of the village was the market and some years earlier (shortly after a charter granting the right to hold a market was given in 1671) the Market Cross was built. It bears the coats of arms of the lords of the manor, a family named the Ramsdens, and despite been hundreds of years old is in remarkable condition, although renovation work regularly takes place.
As with most of the town centre the buildings around the cross are a mix of beautiful old buildings and horrible buildings from the 1960s and 1970s.
Harold Wilson was an English primeminister in the 1960s and came from Huddersfield - he never lost his Yorkshire accent despite living in London for most of his life.
He was born in the town in 1916 and died in 1995. This statue was unveiled by the then primeminster , Tony Blair in 1999 - he was accompanied by Lady Wilson. The sculptor was Ian Walters.
The statue stands in front of the railway station in St Georges Square.
Sitting in front of the magnificent railway station, St George’s square is pedestrianized and is a favourite place for locals to have their lunch during the week on a nice day (yes we do have them sometimes).
Huddersfield Railway Station won praise for its neoclassical architectural facade. The station was designed by James Piggott Pritchett and was built in 1850. There are two pubs at the station, 'The Head of Steam' and 'The King's Head' which can be accessed from platform 1.
St George's Square
Built in 1859 following the opening of the railway station. It was recently refurbished in 2009. The square is pedestranised with fountains and there is a statue of Harold Wilson, a former politician and prime minister who was born in the town.
This market is open at weekends. I went in for a look - not much really, the usual junk of old vinyl records, pictures, books, clothes not even your gran would wear, but it killed half an hour anyway :)
The building was designed by John H. Abbey and was built in two stages between 1875 and 1881. The first section of the building opened on 26 June 1878, comprising the Mayor's Parlour, Council Chamber, Reception Room and a variety of municipal offices including the Sanitary Inspector, Inspector of Weights and Measures, Medical Officer, Town Clerk, Borough Surveyor and the Rates Office. The second section of the building was opened in October 1881 and comprised the Magistrates' Court and Concert Hall, which seats up to 1,200 people and hosts various events ranging from classical to comedy and from choral to community events.
A wonderful Victorian building surrounded by some horrible buildings - see the photo.
Even if you are not catching a train it is worth taking a look at what is Englands second most impressive railway station (after St Pancras in London).
Designed by the architect James Pigott Pritchett and built by the firm of Joseph Kaye in 1846–50 using the neo-classical style, the station is well known in architectural circles for its classical style facade with a portico of the Corinthian order, consisting of six columns in width and two in depth, which dominates St George's Square, where it is located, facing out towards Lion Buildings. It is a grade I listed building. The imposing station frontage was described by John Betjeman as the most splendid in England and by Sir Nikolaus Pevsner as 'one of the best early railway stations in England'. It was opened on 3 August 1847.
Huddersfield is notable for its abundance of fine Victorian architecture. It has the third highest number of listed buildings of any town or city in the UK but as I have noted already for every grand Victorian building there is an horrendous one. St Georges Square is impressive at a first glance but look at the buildings in the square - half seem to be unused with empty office or shop space.
The railway station dominates and the George Hotel is also impressive. In the centre is a statue of Harold Wilson.
The whole square was renovated in 2009.
CHURCH OF ENGLAND
The church is dedicated to St Peter, the patron saint of many causes including bakers, butchers and fishermen.
There has been a parish church on this site for over 1,000 years. The first church was built by the De Lacy family who were prominent land owners in Yorkshire.
The church that stands here today is the third to be built on this site. It was built in 1834 by J.P. Pritchard of York, who also built the railway station.
The church has a rare font that displays the Royal arms of Queen Elizabeth I.
St Ninian Comper designed the Alter canopy and the stained glass in the east window in 1921.
A father and son were organists here from 1812 until 1904; there is a plaque to commemorate them.
Huddersfield railway station was built between 1846-1850.
The clock was installed by Wm Potts and sons of Leeds in 1899. Potts clocks can be seen all over the country.
A statue of Harold Wilson stands outside the Railway station. Harold was born in Huddersfield in 1916. He spent his childhood years in the town and he was a supporter of the local football team, Huddersfield town. Harold was a Congregationalist as was Herbert Asquith, another British prime minister who also spent part of his childhood in Huddersfield.