The biggest event of its kind to take place in the town in the Heritage Weekend’s 20 year history, it led inquisitive folk on eye-opening journeys around iconic and little before noticed sights.
A total of 27 free walks and activities were on offer in the specially decorated town centre and villages and other hubs in Kirklees from Thursday until Sunday, which uncovered all aspects of the area’s pasts.
One of the highlights was the first-ever public tour of the landmark Northumberland Street post office delivery office, an event that was hailed as a very belated celebration of the opening of the building, which began operations in 1914.
Plans for an elaborate opening ceremony were scuppered after emergency wartime conditions were declared.
Post office manager, Andy Scott, and Huddersfield Civic Society chair, Chris Marsden, led groups of ex-workers and residents through the sorting rooms, where they talked about its past use as a telephone exchange, telegram and sorting office and allowed them to see the fusion of prosaic 1914 architecture with more industrial additions.
Andy said: “It’s great to finally let people see behind the scenes and I’ve learnt a lot that I didn’t know from the stories of those who came on the tours.”
Also open to those with cast iron nerves was the little known jail and mortuary in Holmfirth, Th’Owd Towser, 17th century Holy Trinity Church and Dewsbury Town Hall, which this year will celebrate its 125th anniversary.
Meanwhile, insights into the lives of early Jewish and Polish settlers, radicals and the formation of one of the county’s arguably best sports, rugby league, paid homage to the area’s vibrant and ethnically diverse heritage, alongside to demonstrations of traditional Pennine crafts such as clog making and spinning at Colne Valley Museum and textile weaving at Skelmanthorpe.
One of the weekend’s organisers, Chris Marsden, said: “It’s been a fantastic weekend and I’m so glad that so many people from across Yorkshire have come along-it’s a real boon to the town.
“I’ve got even bigger hopes for next year’s event and hope it encourages more people to open their premises.
“Even the most unsuspecting places will contain interesting histories.
“And following the tours of the delivery office we now plan to host an actual mayoral opening of it on October 31, 100 years after it opened.