Huddersfield is a large market town in the Metropolitan Borough of Kirklees, in West Yorkshire, England, halfway between Leeds and Manchester. It lies north of London, and south of Bradford, the nearest city.
Huddersfield is near the confluence of the River Colne and the River Holme. Located within the historic county boundaries of the West Riding of Yorkshire, according to the 2001 Census it was the 10th largest town in the UK and with a total resident population of 146,234. It is the largest urban area in the metropolitan borough of Kirklees and the administrative centre of the borough. The town is known for its role in the Industrial Revolution, for being the birthplace of rugby league and birthplace of the British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson.
Huddersfield is a town known for sport, home to the rugby league team, Huddersfield Giants, founded in 1895, who play in the European Super League and Football League Championship football team Huddersfield Town F.C., founded in 1908. The town is home to the University of Huddersfield and the sixth form colleges Greenhead College, Kirklees College and Huddersfield New College
Huddersfield is a town of Victorian architecture. Huddersfield railway station is a Grade I listed building described by John Betjeman as 'the most splendid station facade in England' second only to St Pancras, London. The station in St George's Square was renovated at a cost of £1 million and subsequently won the Europa Nostra award for European architecture.
Huddersfield was incorporated as a municipal borough in the ancient West Riding of Yorkshire in 1868. The borough comprised the parishes of Almondbury, Dalton, Huddersfield, Lindley-cum-Quarmby and Lockwood. When the West Riding County Council was formed in 1889, Huddersfield became a county borough, exempt from county council control. Huddersfield expanded in 1937, including parts of the Golcar, Linthwaite, and South Crosland urban districts. The county borough was abolished in 1974 and its former area was combined with that of other districts to form the Metropolitan Borough of Kirklees in West Yorkshire.
Attempts by the council to gain support for city status were rejected by the population in an unofficial referendum held by the Huddersfield Daily Examiner. The council did not apply for that status in either the 2000 or 2002 competitions.
There has been a settlement in the area for over 4,000 years. The remains of a Roman fort were unearthed in the mid 18th century at Slack near Outlane, west of the town. Castle Hill, a major landmark, was the site of an Iron Age hill fort. Huddersfield was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Oderesfelt and Odresfeld.
Huddersfield was a centre of civil unrest during the Industrial Revolution. In a period where Europe was experiencing frequent wars, where trade had slumped and the crops had failed, many local weavers faced losing their livelihood due to the introduction of machinery in factories, which would have condemned them to poverty or starvation. Luddites began destroying mills and machinery in response; one of the most notorious attacks was on Cartwright — a Huddersfield mill-owner, who had a reputation for cruelty — and his Rawfords Mill. In his book Rebels Against the Future, Kirkpatrick Sale describes how an army platoon was stationed at Huddersfield to deal with Luddites; at its peak, there were about a thousand soldiers in Huddersfield and ten thousand civilians. In response, Luddites began to focus attacks on nearby towns and villages, which were less well-protected; the largest act of damage that they committed was the destruction of Foster's Mill at Horbury — a village about east of Huddersfield. The government campaign that crushed the movement was provoked by a murder that took place in Huddersfield. William Horsfall, a mill-owner and a passionate prosecutor of Luddites, was killed in 1812. Although the movement faded out, Parliament began to increase welfare provision for those out of work, and introduce regulations to improve conditions in the mills.
The far left is represented by Revolution, the Socialist Workers Party and the Socialist Party of England and Wales active groups involved in campaigns such as Stop the War, Save Huddersfield NHS, Socialist Appeal and the Communist Party of Britain. The town has substantial Conservative Party and UKIP presences, with other centre-right and rightist groups also represented.