Meltham is a small town and civil parish within the Metropolitan Borough of Kirklees, in West Yorkshire, England. It lies in the Holme Valley, below Wessenden Moor, four and a half miles south-west of Huddersfield on the edge of the Peak District National Park. It had a population of 8,089 at the 2001 census, which was estimated to have increased to 8,600 by 2005.
The valley has been inhabited since pre-historic times and there are two Iron Age sites overlooking the town. Meltham also includes the small village of Helme which has its own school and church. Meltham is situated within close reach of several major cities. Bradford is 14 miles to the north, Leeds is 19 miles north-east, Manchester is 19 miles to the south-west and Sheffield is 21 miles to the south-east.
Meltham Mills was the former site of Jonas Brook and Brothers, a silk mill complex that employed over 1,000 workers during the late 19th century. The Brook family originally came from New House Hall in Sheepridge, moving to Thickhollins towards the end of the 18th century. William Brook married Martha Smith at Bradford Parish Church - the daughter of a prominent Mirfield banker. Their sons Jonas, James and Joseph established their business in Meltham Mills, using a goat's head - the crest from the Brook's coat of arms - as their brand. The goat's head can still be seen on the old office building to the mill complex and their arms are emblazoned in St. James' Church, in Meltham Mills (which the family built) - a hawkes lure: motto "en dieu ma foy" (in God my trust). Meltham Mills Band also carry the Brook family coat of arms as their official logo. Edward Brook died in 1904 at Hoddom Castle, the house near Ecclefechan, south-west Scotland, which he had purchased in 1878. The Brook family were philanthropists and built housing in Meltham Mills for their employees, including the convalescent home. They also built Meltham Hall, Helme Church and owned an estate at Enderby in Leicestershire. William Brook is buried with his wife Martha in Meltham Church, but his descendants are buried in the crypt underneath St. James Church, Meltham Mills.
Jonas Brook and Brothers became United Threads in 1890 and Sir Hildred Carlile of Ponsonby Hall, Hertfordshire was a Director of the business. United Threads was closed in 1939 - the business was transferred to Paisley as part of J & P Coats - now Coats Viyella. The factory site was taken over by David Brown Tractors.
John Charles Brooke, who originated from the Silkstone branch of the Newhouse Hall family was Somerset Herald during the 18th century. He was crushed to death at the Haymarket Theatre in London following the crowd's clamour to see King George III in 1794. He is buried in St Benet Paul's Wharf in London.
Meltham Mills was also the former base of the David Brown Tractors factory opening in 1939 and closing operations on the site in 1988. The various building have now been converted into a diverse number of industrial units, one housing a Tractor museum and other large sections containing an indoor Kart racing track.
Durker Roods, the former home of Sir David Brown was converted into a hotel and the grounds were sold for private housing.
The town has its own joint Scouting and Guides Association buildings.