celebrating the history of St. George's Square, Huddersfield

Author: Chris Page 1 of 6

Hideous, filthy and inconvenient?

Here the Huddersfield Chronicle is sharing some remarks made in the previous Saturday’s Leeds Mercury by its columnist JACKDAW who, having criticised the state of Leeds Station, goes on to describe Huddersfield

If the Leeds Station is ” hideous, filthy, and inconvenient” then, according to ” Jackdaw,” the Huddersfield Station must be most hideous, filthy, and Inconvenient. An imposing external appearance is the only redeeming feature. The eye, attracted from the outside by Corinthian columns is repelled in the inside by a long and narrow platform crowded with promiscuous throngs, whom it is not rare to see frantically rushing with portions of luggage from the place at which they have been expecting the arrival of some train to the end at which it actually stops. Above is a roof somewhat precariously supported. Opposite the platform are luggage sheds, and engines and trucks that make the air crack with the violent colliding of their buffers. If a passenger wearies of the sight and seeks repass in the wailing room, he Is met with a picture of discomfort which ” Jackdaw ” would describe as filthy, while discordant uproar highly offensive to the sensitive ear proceeds from shrill whistles, shouts of porters, imprecations of rough passengers, and perhaps the hubbub of excursionists and marketing people that crowd the booking-offices and their approaches. 

HUDDERSFIELD CHRONICLE, 2 October 1880

The first people to LIVE in Huddersfield Railway Station!

In 1847 William Padmore was appointed as Huddersfield’s first Station Master. The 1851 Census shows William, aged 27, as living in the station with his wife Ann and their five children. William and Ann’s youngest child, Sarah, was only three weeks old when the Census was taken so it may be that she was born in the station.

Also, living at the Station at the time of the 1851 Census was George Moore, innkeeper, together with his wife Mary, step-son Charles, niece Sarah – described as a ‘house servant’ – and two further house servants, both called Mary. In 1851 George was 27 years of age and Mary 37.

By 1861 William and Ann Padmore with their nine children had moved out of the Station and were living at White Stone Lane, Bradford Road. Their son Francis is described as a ‘railway clerk’ in 1861 and a cousin who was also living with the Padmore family is described as a railway porter. In the following year William was transferred to Crewe.

Presentation — On Saturday last a number of gentlemen met at the Station Hotel, for the purpose of making a very gratifying presentation to Mr. William Padmore, late station-master at Huddersfield. Mr. Benjamin Thornton, auctioneer, was requested by the committee who have had the getting-up of the testimonial, to make the presentation. It consisted of a very neat time-piece, and a purse containing 40 sovereigns. Mr. Thornton said that the testimonial he had the honour to present had been subscribed for by many individuals of the town and neighbourhood of Hudderstield. He could bear his testimony to the very efficient manner in which Mr. Padmore had conducted the management at the Huddersfield Station all the time he held office there. He had watched him very narrowly, and so had the people of Huddersfield, and he could say with confidence that the people of Huddersfield were a discerning people. They liked to see the right man in the right place; and he was sure that if Mr. Padmore conducted the business at Crewe — one of the most important junctions on the London and North Western’s numerous lines of railway — the London and North Western Company had got the right man in the right place…

Huddersfield chronicle, 4 October 1862

George Moore was still the innkeeper at the Station Hotel at the time of William’s Testimonial but he had remarried, following the death of his wife Mary in 1856.

Train greeted at station by ‘loud huzzas’

Morning Herald, 5 August 1847

Huddersfield’s first train – a celebration

From the Bradford Observer, 5 August 1847

Sundays in the Square, and a bit more…

1960s: On Sundays it was empty. Trolley buses from here went down Leeds Road and Bradford Road, there were sheltered stops where we got on the buses for Leeds Road and home. There was a circular taxi office made of wood (between Estate Buildings and the now-Head of Steam). The Alassio Café (in the Tite Buildings opposite Ramsden Estate Buildings) had a great juke box and was one of the few places open on a Sunday. The Italian fountain has since fallen victim to acid rain and all the buildings were black. There were no shops on the Square so people didn’t bother to explore it.

In the 1980s-90s modern jazz bands played at the Head of Steam, with mainly traditional jazz (Cherry Tree Jazz Band) on Sundays at the Station Tavern (now King’s Head). My band, Swing of Things, played at the Station Tavern, for a few months in the early 1990s, but we didn’t bring enough of an extra crowd, so the landlord told us to go! The same pub used to regularly put on rock n roll and rockabilly bands for a good few years.

I think of St George’s Square as a bit of an ugly place (it still is), but I’ve enjoyed the festivals, giants, big balloons and concerts that have taken place there … a good use of all that space! Doesn’t mind the buses going round, it’s a continuation of previous usage.

STAN SAGAN

Stan also told us about his first train trip from Huddersfield – it was probably to New Brighton in 1967 and going on the Mersey ferry but he also remembers going as far as Manchester and back on a platform ticket. Luckily, he says, no inspectors got on!

The last trams to Huddersfield

Many Huddersfield children have never seen a tramcar in our streets. Ten years ago, on the 28th June, 1940, the last two tramcars arrived at the top of Northumberland Street from Brighouse and discharged their passengers.
The Dunkirk evacuation had taken place only a few weeks before and the black-out regulations were strictly enforced. Consequently, we last tram passengers had our ride inside a vehicle with deep-blue tinted electric-light bulbs. At the end of the run souvenir hunters were busy. I recall two flitting away into the darkness of St . George’s Square with the bamboo trolley-pole…

william B. stocks, huddersfield daily examiner, 28 june 1950

St. George’s ’99

Pat Fulgoni looks back to a music event which filled the Square in September 1999

In 1999 I was asked to work with Kirklees Council on a drugs awareness and safer night clubbing event called St George’s 99. We had a big stage and showcased many local acts.

Poster, courtesy Pat Fulgoni

Pat’s own band, Kava Kava, played at the event and you can still catch some of that performance on YouTube: https://bit.ly/3MUWORC

Too late for St George’s Square?

Having ‘flitted’ through Bradford’s Forster Square with its flower beds and walks, the Examiner columnist Ariel in his column On the Bat’s Back was moved to comment:

On leaving this pretty oasis in a desert of stone and mortar, I fell a-wondering why some of our open spaces could not be made use of after the fashion of Forster Square, Bradford. What a glorious thing, if our noble St George’s Square, instead of being converted into a hideous, if useful, street railway terminus and coaling station, had been laid out in flower beds; and grass plots.; of course making all due provision for access to and from the station and its approaches. Alas! it is too late for that now. But why not utilise the Old Market Place. – as I believe it was once proposed to do. The “world menders” and itinerant lecturers, the gossips and street loafers, might find another place in which to air their stale platitudes and course wit.

Schedule to Huddersfield Daily Examiner, 18 June 1892

‘An Overcrowded Tramcar’

SIR, I should like to draw the attention of the Tramways Committee to a practice which, if not stopped, must some day prove fatal – viz. overcrowded tramcars.

Today, the tram leaving St George’s Square at two o’clock for Waterloo was crowded to excess. The lower and upper saloons were full almost to suffocation, four passengers were travelling on the rear platform, seven on the front platform, and two actually on the engine beside the driver; and I will ask any reasonable person if an engine can take this freight round the Green Cross corner, Moldgreen, without damaging the engine? This over-crowding appears to be carried on, the engine drivers have to prepare for it in getting up steam to carry them through, consequently there is more likelihood of the boiler and the engine being damaged by over-pressure, Besides it is not safe for the drivers to have two or three persons on the engines (not cleaners) with them. It is not allowed in other towns – why here? I write in the interests and safety of the public and hope that “a word to the wise is sufficient”. – Yours truly, PREVENTION
July 20th, 1891.

huddersfield Daily examiner, 25 July 1891

‘Meet you at the Harold Wilson statue!’

A mass cycle protest to New Mill

An organised Keep Britain Tidy community litter pick

A day out at the Food and Drink Festival.

An Xmas night out at the Hygge tent

Save Our A & E March (Huddersfield’s biggest post-war march?)

An internet date with a guy from Lancashire

The global warning ‘skip school’ gathering

A walk up to Castle Hill with the Huddersfield Ramblers

A bank holiday Real Ale Trail expedition for a friend’s 60th birthday

And the cherry on the cake, a Local History Society walk to explore the Square’s development and beauty

Katie

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