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.

Food and Drink Festival 2001

The first Huddersfield Food and Drink Festival took place in St George’s Square in August 2001. It was organised by David Wyles who was then Huddersfield Town Centre Manager and the Town Centre Association. The Festival became an annual event although sadly it had to be cancelled in 202o and 2021 because of COVID.

David looks back at the very first Festival:

I organised the first Food and Drink Festival in August 2001, which grew from strength to strength over the following years. The first years were a little chaotic with such events as pizza tossing which the mayor of Kirklees at the time, Cllr Margaret Hall, gamely participated. Unfortunately, my attempt at tossing the uncooked, flour covered pizza was a little ambitious. It narrowly missed the Mayor and hit her attendant. My career survived and I had many enjoyable incidents at the festival, especially in the demonstration theatre, with cook-offs between BBC Look North presenters, football and rugby league players and some of the area’s best chefs.

david wyles
Huddersfield Food and Drink Festival with chef Barrington Douglas, and David holding the microphone (Image, courtesy David Wyles)

Footballers’ autographs…

I can’t believe I’m admitting to this but I once asked four Leeds United players for their autographs! In my defence it was before they became known as “Dirty Leeds”, but still! Checking Terry Frost’s “Huddersfield Town : A Complete Record 1910-1990” the date must have been October 12th 1963 and Town lost 2-0.

The players – Johnny Giles, Ian Lawson, Bobby Collins and Grenville Hair were walking around St. George’s Square at they same time as we, schoolboys, got off the Baddeley’s coach that had taken us to a Saturday morning sports fixture at somewhere like Heckmondwike or Hipperholme. I assume they’d been in a team meeting at the Hotel and were killing time before moving off to Leeds Road. 

Later, that dinnertime amateur sportsmen would be meeting in front of the Bank ready to go to their afternoon matches. It was rumoured that anyone wanting a game could go round asking if any team was short of a player. 

Richard hobson
From Richard Hobson’s autograph book

A home of one’s own…

In 1979 I was newly engaged. My fiancé and I wished to buy a house, but we would need a mortgage. We had savings accounts with The Huddersfield and Bradford Building Society, Britannia Buildings, St George’s Square, Huddersfield. We approached the building society to enquire about mortgages. We were disappointed to hear that there was a shortage of mortgages, but would we like to join the waiting list? Yes, please. Most Saturday mornings you would find us in the building society, enquiring about our position on the list.  Progress up the list was slow. we would have to wait our turn. I can still remember the delight and excitement, when, one Saturday morning, we were told that we were sufficiently near the top of the list to start house hunting. We bought our first home in April 1980, with the aid of a mortgage from The Huddersfield and Bradford Building Society.

val Davies
Val’s mortgage pass book

A ‘lovely’ spot for a lockdown engagement

So me and my fiancé got engaged at St. George’s square on the 14th August 2020. We had been to Gringo’s for a meal as his birthday is on the 16th August and afterwards he led me to St. George’s Square where we sat on one of the benches. It was during one of the breaks of covid lockdown so it was still very quiet. He then passed me a piece of paper. When I opened it, it said ‘Will you marry me?’ and as I turned to him he opened the box with the ring in it. Of course I said yes and we hope to get married on 16th November 2022! St. George’s square is such a lovely space with so much history and beautiful architecture it really was a lovely spot for a lockdown engagement

Jessica Herrett

Su and Gorden at the George

Back in the eighties I was out for a meal with my mum at the George Hotel when Gorden Kaye and Su Pollard walked past our table. They must have been dining in the restaurant and were leaving. Both were actors in successful sitcoms at the time, Su Pollard in Hi-De-Hi! and Gorden Kaye in ‘Allo ‘Allo! I remember Su Pollard was very friendly and was speaking to people who recognized her, but Gorden Kaye was quieter. My mum had known Gorden when he was a child and they lived on the same street in Moldgreen.

STEPHEN CLEGG

As the clock strikes 12!

My grandma Peggy Mackay used to tell me that her Dad, Arthur Holt, used to tell her that when the clock struck 12, the lion on Lion Chambers would climb down and walk around St George’s Square. She then told me that the clock never actually struck.

Catriona swindells

Feeding the pigeons

I remember the lovely flowers on the roundabout and the fountain at St George’s Square, the long row of bus stops and once feeding pigeons with my mum. You can’t do that anymore.

Tracie hemphill

Catching the trolley bus

I was brought up in Meltham. If I arrived at Huddersfield station after the last Hanson’s bus (11pm from the bus station) I would hurry out of the station across St George’s Square to catch the trolley bus to Crosland Moor – last bus 11.55pm, then walk the rest. The line up of trolley buses at 11.55 was an impressive memory.

Although I liked the floral display in the Square, and the parked trolley buses between duties in the circle made for them, I think that its redesign to a more open pedestrian area was an improvement. I look forward to the newly restored buildings around this area.

john sheppard

Getting the sports results

Subject to memory fallibility! My father stopped his car on a corner (Lion Buildings?) in the mid 1950s to buy the sporting results newspapers – pink, green (and yellow?) on a Saturday evening

BILL JAGGER

Town triumphant! 2017

What a day in the history of St Georges Square! Town against all the odds had gained promotion to the Premier League. The team with a meagre budget had amazed the pundits. We believed and yes there we were massed in our thousands, shoulder to shoulder. The triumphal open top bus, the jubilant Terrier team, manager Wagner and owner Dean Hoyle came into view amidst the deafening chants and cheers. The trophy was visible for us all to see.

The atmosphere was electric; a blue and white army, chanting, cheering, celebrating, welcoming our heroes back to a Northern town – the birthplace of Harold Wilson, whose statue draped in Town colours looked on in the midst of the square. There was a sea of blue and white; children on parents’ shoulders, fans adorned with scarves waving flags and with the proud stone lion on Lion Chambers draped in a blue and white scarf. Even the rain later didn’t dampen our enthusiasm. It was a day that will go down in the history of the Square and one I certainly will never forget.

SHARON KELLY

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