Two writing competitions have been set up to encourage more people to research and write about Huddersfield’s history.
One is specifically designed to get younger people involved in joining those who are already dedicated to unveiling fascinating facts about the town’s past – and the prizes are named in honour of late Huddersfield historian Edward Law.
Huddersfield Local History Society chair Cyril Pearce said: “Studying and writing the history of Huddersfield and district has been very well served over the years. The town and its Pennine Valleys probably has a richer and more scholarly collection of writings to its credit that any comparable place in Britain. It is an enviable reputation which the Huddersfield Local History Society would like to ensure continues.
“We are convinced there is a great talent and enthusiasm for the history of the place and its people which should be encouraged to contribute to the growing wealth of our local history. This modest competition, open to all ages, and in partnership with the University of Huddersfield, the Historical Association and Huddersfield Exposed, is about tapping into that talent, recognising it and sharing it more widely.”
Cyril says that when the decision was taken to launch the history prize, the society decided it should be named in memory of Edward Law.
He added: ‘Sadly Edward is no longer with us but he was the very model of the local historian. He was a prolific and skilful writer with an eye for detail and a real sense of evidence. He published widely, on the internet and more locally. He was an energetic enthusiast and had the knack of using material from primary sources and weaving them into fascinating stories – the very skills and commitment we are hoping to discover and support in this competition.”
It is intended that the winning entries will be published in the society’s Journal.
Editor Frank Grombir believes that local history has never been so popular in the Huddersfield district yet the number of people sharing their research with others is relatively limited.
He said: “My role as the editor of the Huddersfield Local History Journal is not only to make sure that we get diverse and appealing articles but also that we attract a wide range of authors. It is the latter point which provides the biggest challenge. The prize, therefore, is aimed at two under-represented groups – young people, as well as more mature people who are new to research and whom we are most keen to support through the financial award and the publication of their work in our Journal and on our website.”
The website Huddersfield Exposed is also supporting the new history competition.
Site administrator Dave Pattern said: “One of the aims of the Huddersfield Exposed website is to explore and document some of the more unusual and obscure aspects of the history of the Huddersfield area. As such, the site is proud to have the opportunity of supporting the Edward Law History Prize, particularly since the entrants are being encouraged to seek out the local “hidden histories”.”
The competition is open to anyone who has not previously published any historical research and it will be judged in two categories.
The first category includes all young people who have not reached the age of 25 at the closing date, while the second category includes everyone aged 25 or over. Each winner will receive £100 as well as having their entries published in the Society’s Journal.
The closing date for the 2018 award is January 31, 2018. Candidates should check the society’s website for further details and to ensure that their entries meet the competition’s requirements.
Edward Law (1945-2013)
Huddersfield Local History Society member Edward Law retired early from accountancy to pursue his interests in local history and genealogy.
He was a diligent and meticulous researcher and this was reflected in his prolific and skilful writing.
For the Society he wrote two publications, Joseph Kaye, Builder of Huddersfield c1779-1858 and Huddersfield in the 1820s as well as contributing a chapter in Huddersfield: A Most Handsome Town edited by E A Hilary Haigh in 1992.
All three texts are now considered to be essential reading for anyone interested in the development of Huddersfield in the 19th century but his extensive research notes, deposited at the West Yorkshire Archive Service’s Kirklees office, reflect the wide range of his research into Huddersfield’s history. Edward Law’s website, http://homepage.eircom.net/~lawedd/index.htm , still provides a very useful resource for anyone who is interested in Huddersfield’s history.