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A large market town in West Yorkshire, Huddersfield is known for its role in the industrial revolution, and for being the birthplaces of rugby league (Huddersfield Giants were founded in 1895), Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson, and the film star James Mason. A town of Victorian architecture, Huddersfield Railway Station is Grade I listed and has one of the most splendid facades in England. The town’s most conspicuous landmark is probably the Victoria Tower, constructed to mark Queen Victoria’s 60th Jubilee Year, while St Peter’s Church is situated on a site that dates back to the 11th century. One of the town’s three main shipping areas, the Pack Horse Centre, is so-called because pack horses used to carry merchandise over routes across the Pennines before roads and railway were introduced. Given its proximity to the countryside, Huddersfield also benefits from being close to a number of green spaces including Beaumont Park (a fine example of a Victorian park with water cascades, bandstand and woodland) and Greenhead Park, which was funded by the Heritage Lottery fund.
There are many pubs, restaurants and nightclubs in Huddersfield, the oldest being the Parish (formerly the Fleece Inn) which has been trading since 1720. The Lawrence Batley Theatre presents dance, comedy, music and exhibitions, while the John Smith’s Stadium is a multi-use sports stadium, complete with gym, swimming pool and spa. The town also hosts a series of regular events including the annual Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and Huddersfield Literature Festival, with something to suit all tastes and interests.
Despite the university being the largest employer, Huddersfield remains a manufacturing town. Historically, it produced woollen textiles, along with the chemical and engineering industries that emerged to support the manufacture of textiles. The number of people who work in textiles has declined greatly, but the surviving companies continue to produce large quantities of woollen products with little labour. The town is also home to Brook Motors Ltd, Cummins Turbo Technologies, David Brown Gear Systems, Huddersfield Fine Worsteds, Taylor & Lodge, C & J Antich, Syngenta AG, Pennine Radio Ltd, and a large number of niche manufacturers such as Dual Seal Glass, Ellis Furniture and Andrew Jones Pies.
Huddersfield is connected to the national motorway network via the M1 and M62, while the town’s bus operators reflect the national situation – local subsidiaries of three dominant national operators provide most services in the area. Furthermore, Huddersfield Railway Station has a comprehensive local and regional rail service, but there is no direct service to London (passengers have to change at Manchester Piccadilly or Leeds).
As well as primary and secondary schools, which cover compulsory and sixth form education for the town’s population, Huddersfield has sixth form colleges, Huddersfield New College, Greenhead College and Kirklees College. Huddersfield Grammar School is the only independent school for secondary education up to age 16, and the town’s one establishment of higher education is the University of Huddersfield, whose chancellor is HRH The Duke of York.
House prices in Huddersfield are relatively low. The average for terraced properties is around £120,446, and £165,502 for semi-detached houses, with an overall average price standing at around £171,504. A popular filming location, did you know that BBC TV series Happy Valley was shot in and around the town?