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

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This is where your stories – in words and pictures – of St George’s Square will appear. Take a look at what others have said and add your own memories.

Beginnings, endings, comfort and a pint.

The Head of Steam pub in St George’s Square has been the backdrop to many of my life’s events. From works outings and jazz bands to birthday parties and a place to wait before trains to Manchester airport. 

It has witnessed the end of romantic relationships and the start of new ones.

And on a more prosaic note, has much better toilets than those at the station.  Plus the door onto Platform 1 means you can time your departures to perfection, downing your drink as the imminent arrival of your train is announced.

At the time of writing (February 2023) it does a smashing pie and peas with a pint – the perfect tea for winter nights when you have no time to cook

janette martin
Photo, Courtesy of Janette Martin

From Lion Buildings to Pride Rock

I have a cherished memory of sitting in deck chairs with my very excited children to watch the film of the Lion King on a big screen in St George’s Square underneath the plaster lion on the Lion Buildings opposite. 


Setting off for the seaside

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I have a happy childhood memory of walking from the bus stop on Lord Street to the train station in St George’s Square holding my mum’s hand. My dad was carrying our luggage, helped by my older brother, and we were setting off on our annual week away. My dad worked at Hopkinson’s engineering works, so like many of the other families waiting on the station platform, we went away during the Huddersfield fortnight, which coincided with the beginning of the six week school holiday. At that time there was a direct train to North Wales from Huddersfield, and Llandudno was our destination. The train had compartments like the Hogwarts Express depicted in the Harry Potter novels. As I looked out of the window, eager to see the first glimpse of the sea, it certainly felt magical to me.

Father and daughter, David and Beverley, in Llandudno c.1969

Thank you for the Memories

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Here are some of the memories shared with us at the Huddersfield Family and Local History Fair on Saturday 15th October 2022

My mum and stepdad got married at the old Registry Office which was on Railway Street in 1967. This is just off the Square. I remember us coming out into the Square after the wedding. It was near the Alassio Coffee Bar, which I then frequented on Saturday afternoons as a young teenager. We went there for milk shakes after the ‘Starlight’ Saturday afternoon sessions.


The long queue in the rain waiting for the taxi home following a night out in Huddersfield.

John Roberts

My mum pushing my brother in a Silver Cross pram. My dad lifting the pram up the station steps on a cold, misty day in 1968. I remember looking up at the lion on Lion Chambers.

Adrian Fraser

When Huddersfield Town FC were promoted to the Premier League in 2017 and we all gathered for the parade in St George’s Square.


In 2007 the Square came to life, buzzing with excitement. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip arrived, following a visit to the university, to listen to the concert set up in the Square and receive flowers. The music and merriment continued after they left.

My mum absolutely loved the Harold Wilson statue. The son of Huddersfield, which made her very proud.

Michelle Kain

St George’s Square reminds me of the George Hotel, where I celebrated my wedding reception almost 40 years ago. We stayed there overnight on our wedding night. The next morning, after checking out, we went to our car parked in St George’s Square to find it had a flat battery. A friend came to the rescue.

Other memories of the Square are of the exciting family journeys by train, starting from Huddersfield Railway Station. Both my grandfathers worked on the railway, so we went everywhere by train. Happy times!

Sally Barber

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 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!

First Arrival and Many Deliveries

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I arrived at Huddersfield railway station in December 1969. I was just 18 and had travelled alone from Penang in Malayasia, arriving in London, and then getting the train from Kings Cross. Huddersfield had been recommended to me by a school friend. In the late 1960s and early 1970s there were dozens of Malaysians like me came to work in the health service (NHS) in Huddersfield. Some moved on to different parts of the country after qualifying while others to different parts of the world and some returned home.

After the tropics of Malaysia the cold weather was a bit of a shock and so was finding out there was no one to meet me at the station. I had to put the unfamiliar coins I possessed into the station telephone and call the hospital, because I had no idea where to go. The call worked and shortly afterwards I was standing in St George’s Square, on the station steps, waiting for the taxi that took me to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.

So began my 46-year career working in the NHS, mostly as a midwife. I have delivered many babies in Huddersfield and Halifax over the years and in some cases have supported women from more than one generation of a family. As a result I am often recognised. When this happens, I am moved by the lovely things people say to me.

Something which made me feel welcome when I arrived in Huddersfield was the friendly way people addressed me. The warden at the nurses’ home welcomed me with ‘Hello Love’ and this was a big contrast to how I had been spoken to in London. Although, I do remember that despite her friendly manner, the warden was strict and would lock out any student nurse who dared to stay out later than 10pm.

Lay Hong Hirst

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

‘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


Where were you when you heard that Elvis had died?

Depending on our ages, many of us remember exactly where we were when we heard that President Kennedy had died, others perhaps of where we were when John Lennon died. Jean Moxon was in St George’s Square, standing on the station steps before getting a train, when she discovered that Elvis had died.

‘Is that Harrogate?’

My association with St George’s Square goes back to 1962 when I went to school in Elland. We caught the West Vale bus from the Square. I remember the concrete and glass brick bus shelter in the Square with a sloping roof. I also remember the ‘scarab’ British Rail vehicles working in the Square.

In a previous life I worked as controls engineer at Ruston Gas Turbines in Lincoln. I was always singing the praises of Huddersfield but other colleagues seemed to take a dim view of the town. One year I has an Examiner calendar on the desk. One month was a picture of St George’s Square in full bloom with the station in the background. One colleague asked, ‘Is that Harrogate’. I smiled and said, ‘No, ‘uddersfield.’

Paul Brooks
Image courtesy, West Yorkshire Archive Service, Kirklees

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