1840s

  • 1846 — Earl Fitzwilliam laid the foundation stone of the Railway Station [9 October].
  • 1847 — Railway from Huddersfield to Cooper Bridge opened, first train arrives at the station [2 August].
  • 1849 — William Wallen began staking out the ground for the new George Hotel [31 January].
  • 1849 — Railway from Huddersfield to Manchester opened [13 July].

1850s

  • 1850 — Railway from Huddersfield to Penistone and Holmfirth Branch opened [1 July].
  • 1851 — George Hotel opened [22 September].
  • 1853 — A Coade stone lion weighing 7 tons was placed on top of Samuel Oldfield’s Royal Arcade, the name of which was changed to the Lion Arcade.
  • 1853 — A large crowd gathered beneath a window in Shaw’s warehouse in the Lion Buildings to hear Lord Goderich, the Liberal candidate speak.
  • 1853 — Parliamentary enquiry held into complaints that the Ramsden estate had entertained voters at the George Hotel.
  • 1854 — John William Street extension of the George Hotel built.
  • 1854 — Lion Arcade, designed by J.P. Pritchett, opened [23 January].
  • 1856 — Tite’s Building built. Originally used as warehouses and offices by woollen manufacturers.
  • 1858 — A pair of cannon from Sebastopol given to the town and placed on the station forecourt.
  • 1859 — Britannia Buildings built, designed by William Cocking for George Oldfield & Sons, woollen manufacturers and merchants as warehouse, offices and showroom.

1860s

  • 1865 — An estimated 18,000 people crammed into the Square to take part in the election hustings [July].
  • 1866 — Thousands of working men and a dozen bands crammed into the Square in support of the Parliamentary Reform Bill which would extend the franchise.
  • 1868 — Work began on the site of the Ramsden Estate Buildings with the demolition of the old Cherry Tree Hotel.

1870s

  • 1871 — Ramsden Estate Buildings opened [September].
  • 1873 — Unveiling of statue of Sir Robert Peel by Lord Houghton attracted huge crowds, estimated at 40,000 people [3 June].
  • 1874 — Laundry and kitchen extension, designed by W.H. Crossland, added to the George Hotel.
  • 1878 — Cannon removed to Longley Hall. In 1942, they were salvaged for the war effort.

1880s

  • 1884 — Demonstration led by Liberal MPs in support of reforms. Described as the biggest and most important political gathering held in the town up to that time.

1890s

  • 1895 — Northern Rugby Football Union established at a meeting at the George Hotel. [29 August]
  • 1899 — George Hotel, further extended.

1900s

  • 1902 — Britannia Buildings, Huddersfield Building Society lease offices to rear of ground floor.
  • 1908 — Britannia Buildings becomes Head Office of Huddersfield Building Society.
  • 1908 — Emmeline Pankhurst led a “Votes for Women” demonstration organised by her daughter Adela with five speaker platforms arranged around the Peel statue. The square was reportedly full with estimates of between 20,000 to 50,000 in the crowd. [27 September]

1910s

  • 1914 — Large numbers gathered to greet the arrival of Belgian refugees at the Railway Station.
  • 1919 — First of a number of attempts to convert the Lion Arcade into a cinema.

1920s

  • 1920 — With the purchase of the Ramsden Estate, the Estate Buildings and George Hotel became the property of Huddersfield Corporation.
  • 1922 — Huddersfield Town return with the FA Cup, greeted by a crowd estimated at between 25,000 and 30,000 in St George’s Square.
  • 1924 — Britannia Buildings sold to Huddersfield Building Society for £24,000.
  • 1926 — Internal alterations to Britannia Buildings made and a new façade added in Art Deco style by Clifford Hickson.

1940s

  • 1949 — Statue of Sir Robert Peel, said to be in a disgraceful condition and removed to depot, October. The Aberdeen granite plinth re-erected in Ravensknowle Park, March 1971.

1960s

  • 1968 — Railway Station bought by Huddersfield Corporation.

1970s

  • 1977 — Lion Arcade, the disintegrating lion sculpture replaced by a fibre-glass copy.

1990s

  • 1992 — Following a £1 million programme of regeneration and restoration, St. George’s Square, recognised as an important example of Victorian civic planning and awarded a Diploma of Merit in the Europa Nostra Awards.
  • 1994 — Britannia Buildings. After mergers leading to the formation of the Yorkshire Building Society, the building proves too small to use as the headquarters of the group and is sold.
  • 1999 — Statue of Harold Wilson unveiled by Prime Minister, Tony Blair [9 July].

2000s

  • 2004 — Performance of Barry Russell’s opera, Snogging Harold Wilson, in the Square in driving snow.
  • 2004 — Revival of the town’s May Day march ending in a rally in St George’s Square ahead of the European elections. Kurdish, Ethiopian and Albanian refugees joined in.
  • 2005 — Yorkshire Building Society’s Britannia Buildings office closed.
  • 2007 — The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visited Huddersfield. She and the Duke of Edinburgh were entertained by the Huddersfield Choral Society performing from a stage in the Square before boarding the Royal Train [24 May].
  • 2008 — Work began on the re-vamping of St George’s Square [March]
  • 2009 — St George’s Square re-ordered with the addition of paving, fountains and a controversial water feature. The work involved moving the statue of Harold Wilson. The project overran by seven months and cost £4million. The original contractors went into administration. Officially opened in October.

2010s

  • 2010 — St George’s Square Revival Project wins RIBA White Rose Award. Design by Whitelaw Turkington Landscape Architects.
  • 2010 — Youth Football Tournament [16 December].
  • 2011 — Huddersfield Youth Opera perform Rimsky Korsakov’s ‘Mozart and Salieri’ [25 July]
  • 2011 — Libyans celebrated hope for a brighter future for their country with song, dance and fireworks [25 October]
  • 2012 — Huddersfield Town launched a new kit [12 June].
  • 2012 — Olympic torch paraded through the Square.
  • 2012 — About 2000 people gathered in a ‘Peace Protest’ to campaign against a film that was considered anti-Islamic [8 October].
  • 2013 — George Hotel closed. Bought by dentist, Dr. Altaf Hussein.
  • 2013 — White Rose Morris Men celebrated Ruby Anniversary in the Square [6 May].
  • 2013 — Businessman Junior Rashid opened Lala’s, a restaurant with 120 covers offering Kashmiri cuisine in the marble surroundings of the former banking hall of the Yorkshire Building Society in Britannia Buildings.
  • 2014 — Tite’s Buildings converted into student accommodation with 40 bedrooms in 19 units. The £1.4 million project was privately funded with a grant from the Government’s Clusters of Empty Homes project. Architects: Aedas.
  • 2014 — In celebration of the Tour de France starting in Yorkshire and passing through Huddersfield, the Square was turned into a French farmyard.
  • 2014 — Children in Need tapathon [14 November]
  • 2016 — Hands off Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, a campaign opposing threatened closure of A&E department in Huddersfield rally attracted large numbers to the Square [23 January].
  • 2016 — David Lammy, MP, addressed an audience in the Square in support of the ‘Remain’ campaign on the EU Referendum [27 May].
  • 2017 — Thousands greeted the Huddersfield Town football team’s open top bus and celebrated their promotion to the Premier League (May).
  • 2017 — Huddersfield’s first ever Winter Festival saw three giant tepees erected in St. George’s Square [November-December]
  • 2019 — Global Climate Strike, organised by Extinction Rebellion, attracted hundreds of protesters to Square [20 September].

2020s

  • 2020 — George Hotel bought by Kirklees Council.
  • 2020 — Crowds gathered in the Square to express solidarity with Black Lives Matter [13 June].
  • 2020 — Rugby League Challenge Cup, Grand Final Trophy and the Men’s and Wheelchair World Cup displayed in St George’s Square [25 August].
  • 2021 — Conservation Architects Bowman Riley appointed to oversee refurbishment of George Hotel.

Created by Brian Haigh, May 2021.

We will be adding to this timeline as new events in the story come to light through research and your memories.