ornate memorial stones have been salvaged from the ruins of a historic Huddersfield building, thanks to the town’s Civic Society.
The 10 mini works of art used to be emblazoned above the Northumberland Street Primitive Methodist Sunday School building but were put at risk when the St Peter’s buildings complex they were contained within was razed in January.
Inscribed with monogram initials by Lindley mason Solomon Bates in 1889, they were laid in memory of former teachers and residents who donated money to fund the school, which opened in 1890.
The society hopes to have them re-used when the site is redeveloped and is now on the hunt to find out who the mystery initials refer to and wants people who relatives may have contributed to the school by buying a memorial stone to get in touch.
Only two people referenced in the engravings are known – former teachers George Wigglesworth of Hillhouse Lane and Mrs William Shaw of Montreal, whose stones were laid on 5 June 1889.
The others read CE, CG, CS, EH, JJ, JJR, NT and SS.
Mallinson Recycling donated the stones after being contracted by the site’s owners, the Homes and Communities Agency, to demolish the building after deciding the St Peter’s complex in which it was housed was too economically unviable to redevelop.
It will be used as a car park until plans for its future use are proposed.
Huddersfield Civic Society chairman, Chris Marsden, said: “We are delighted to have saved the stones and are grateful to Mallinson Recycling Ltd.
“We aim to keep the stones safe until a proposal to redevelop the site is made. Then we hope the stones can be incorporated as decoration and in remembrance of the site’s former use.”
At the school’s opening on January 4, 1890, Alderman Godfrey Sykes said it was an ‘ornament to the neighbourhood, and to the town and a credit to the architect who designed them and to the church and congregation to whom they belonged.’
The old building also housed the YMCA and was adjoined by a 1960s extension.
Mallinson Recycling owner Sam Morris said: “We wanted to keep some of the stone in Huddersfield because we are sympathetic to the old building and want to help safeguard some of its heritage by salvaging it.”
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