Canadian family take on epic voyage to Castle Hill to discover renowned, long lost relative

Charles Clough was a respected geologist who was brought up in Huddersfield and worked across northern Britain

Renowned geologist Charles Clough

One of Huddersfield’s most prominent landmarks is now causing waves across the globe thanks to a special visit by a Canadian family bidding to find a memorial to a renowned, long lost relative.

It was not the Houses of Parliament or Stonehenge that inspired a 3,500 mile trip for the Hollands family but the plate that has pride of place on top of Huddersfield’s Castle Hill’s Victoria Tower.

Put in place to commemorate renowned geologist, Charles Clough, it was definitely a trip worth making for not just his great granddaughter, Trena, her husband Ken and their daughter, Violet, but Castle Hill ranger, Julian Brown, who said he was not aware of its full history.

The directional dial that shows the distances from Castle Hill to local viewpoints and villages and records the height at 990 feet above sea level was put in place in Charles’ memory, after he was brought up in Huddersfield.

The dial memorial to Huddersfield geologist, Charles Clough, which sits on top of Victoria Tower on Castle Hill
The dial memorial to Huddersfield geologist, Charles Clough, which sits on top of Victoria Tower on Castle Hill
 

He studied natural sciences at the University of Cambridge before working for most of his life in the north Pennines and Scotland but tragically died in a rail accident whilst on an expedition to survey rocks near a railway in 1916 when he was 64.

Julian, who led the family on an emotional journey up the Tower’s 165 steps, said: “It was fascinating to find out more about the memorial dial and to meet the direct descendants of Charles.

“Visitors are always interested in this piece of history and we can now tell them a bit more about it and to link it to Castle Hill’s geology all around them.”

The memorial plate can be found at the top of the tower and also records the height of the structure.

Charles was 23 in 1875 when he joined the British Geological Survey, and quickly became known as an expert field geologist due to deciphering some of the geological problems in very ancient rocks on mountainous terrains.

Ken and Trena travelledfrom Huddersfield on to Edinburgh where they saw his notebooks and other memorabilia which are on display by the British Geological Survey and the Edinburgh Geological Society, to show the importance of his geological research.

The Edinburgh Geological Society now provides an annual medal to promote the study of the geology of Scotland and the north of England, thanks to a £1,000 donation by Charles’ widow in 1934.

A free Castle Hill guided walks leaflet produced by the West Yorkshire Geology Trust is available from Victoria Tower and Huddersfield central library.

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