The birth, the life and the legacy of Huddersfield History Society

It was a warm summer’s eve in the field of Hudds. A rarity to say the very least but I assure you it is true. After a solid days work dredging through the wealth of historical knowledge available from the emporium that is floor two of the library, a well-deserved crisp pint of beer with friends was required. Martyn Richardson, third year History student explains the origins of the Huddersfield History Society and calls for volunteers to get involved.

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Location, Location, Location: The Gott Collection, Yorkshire landscapes and Connected Communities PhD studentship at the University of Huddersfield

History at the University of Huddersfield and The Hepworth Wakefield invite applications for a fully-funded AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award 3-year full-time PhD studentship entitled Location, Location, Location: The Gott Collection, Yorkshire landscapes and Connected Communities. In addition to fees (at Home/EU rate), the studentship will be funded at RCUK rates, £14,002 in 2015-16. The University also has a generous package of research development funds to enable attendance at conferences and to support public engagement activities. History has about 20 research students and has an energetic and sociable research culture, in which the successful applicant would be expected to participate.

“Wakefield Bridge and Chantry Chapel,” oil on canvas, by the British artist Philip Reinagle, R.A. Dated 1793. 153.5 cm x 245.5 cm. Courtesy of the collection of the Hepworth Museum, Wakefield.

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A Conference on Education, Peace and War

Between 23 and 26 July I attended the International Standing Conference in the History of Education at the Institute of Education in London. I found it really useful – and enjoyed it – it for a number of reasons.

First, it gave me the chance to work on the new archival material I gathered in the Creuse in February 2014. I gave a paper on the Saturday morning of the conference in a panel with Rebecca Gill and Daryl Leeworthy, as well as a colleague from the University of Sweden, Ann Nehlin. The panel dealt with separated children and emergency schooling. I focused on the children evacuated from the Parisian suburbs during 1943-1945 who ended up in the Creuse. Continue reading

That moment when history students become historians

On 13 December 2014, about thirty students taking the first year module ‘Twentieth Century Britain’ visited Heritage Quay, the University of Huddersfield’s brand new archives centre. The visit was an integral part of the module, taught by Paul Ward and Liz Pente, to look at a scrapbook of primary source materials from the J.H. Whitley collection. Whitley was the MP for Halifax and Speaker of the House of Commons in the 1920s who in 1929 he chaired a Royal Commission on Labour in India. The commission explored issues of Indian poverty and working conditions in the textiles, jute and mining industries.

A newspaper photograph of the members of the Royal Commission. Whitley is the man in the white suit in the middle at the front.

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Temple Newsam Chapel Reconstruction: Angels and Pulpits.

Despite the scriptural warrant for their existence, early Protestant reformers were ambivalent about the visual representation of angels in places of worship, due to a fear of falling into the sin of idolatry. By the seventeenth century, however, a move to express the ‘beauty of holiness’ began to soften attitudes towards such images, and angels were once again used by Protestants in religious decorative schemes. Continue reading

Town and Gown: A film by Tomi Zelei

As part of his second year work placement, History and Film student Tomi Zelei made a film about the relationship between the University of Huddersfield and the community in which it is located. Tomi’s film explores the links between the town and also the idea of a university community.

History at Huddersfield uses research-led teaching and a commitment to public engagement to ensure that what we do is both useful to society and beneficial to the employability of our students. We see our students as researchers  –  partners in the development of knowledge with academic staff, often through co-production of knowledge with community partners. For more information see  and

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The Hepworth Wakefield, the Gott Collection and Heritage Open Days

My name is Adam West currently in my final year studying history at the University of Huddersfield. Along with 4 other fellow students and post-graduates I took part assisting at The Hepworth Wakefield’s heritage weekend, which was part of the national Heritage Open Days programme. Over the weekend of the 13th and 14th September 2014 the Gott collection was being featured as a special collection at the gallery in terms of its importance to Wakefield and Yorkshire as a whole.
The Gott collection itself comprises over 1200 images of places in Yorkshire past and present, sometimes being the sole surviving image of places that no longer exist. Collected during the 18th and 19th Century by William and John Gott the 10 volumes, full of water colours, prints, drawings and letterpresses eventually made its way to Wakefield as a gift from Frank Green.

The Hepworth Wakefield

Coinciding with the Volumes restoration project sponsored by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, the Hepworth displayed the volumes with other paintings of places in Yorkshire to finally make them available to the public. Now back to university of Huddersfield’s role in this. The Hepworth were having talks given on the Gott collection twice at 11 am and 2pm on both the Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th. Additionally they wanted 5 students on hand to converse with the audience afterwards and find out their memories of places that were inspired from the paintings and the collection itself. In doing so the gallery would then not only have an online database of the collections but also have the memories and thoughts from the people that live and lived in the places featured.


Black History Month: What’s happening in Black British History?

Paul Ward, Professor of Modern British History, and Milton Brown, founder of Kirklees Local TV and Kirklees African Descent Community Media Productions, gave a joint paper at a workshop at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies in London on what’s happening in black British history.

What's happening in Black British History?

We argued that the future of black British history lies in the co-production of historical knowledge – through collaboration between community partners and universities, to ensure that people of African descent are ‘writing’ their own histories and contributing to the discussion of British history taking place in universities, which in turn has an impact on school education and media representations. Continue reading

A Summary of ‘Oral History and New Technology in Museums, Galleries and Communities’ Conference

Our Day started at 4 am on Monday 30th June -luckily the day was bright enough to almost wake us up and following a relaxed, caffeine fuelled, train journey we arrived ata a frantic, peak commuter-time, Kings Cross Station. In route to Queen Mary University’s East End campus, where we were to learn all about new technologies and how they are applied in oral history and in gallery environments. The conference organiser, Eithne Nightingale, a PhD candidate based at Queen Mary’s and the V&A Museum of children had collaborated with the AHRC and Creative Works, London, in order to stage this most informative of events.

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History in Practice: Reconstructing a Lost Seventeenth Century Chapel at Temple Newsam House, Leeds.

Maggie Bullett, PhD student, tells us about an exciting project in which third year history and computer games design students are working together to create a digital reconstruction of a four hundred year old chapel.

When Sir Arthur Ingram rebuilt Temple Newsam House in the 1630s, he included an internal chapel so that his family and staff could attend religious services.  One hundred and fifty years later the chapel was turned into a kitchen, and today only a few of the original furnishings and objects survive. Continue reading