University of Huddersfield lecturer and sports historian PETER DAVIES looks at a gym which provides practice for Olympic lifting and powerlifting
WANDER down Chapel Hill and along Lockwood Road, then turn right just after the Yorkshire Victoria pub on to Garden Street.
Walk past a row of old terraced houses on your right and follow the road round to the right at the top.
An unlikely setting, perhaps, for one of Huddersfield's most famous sporting organisations.
Huddersfield Weightlifting Club has just celebrated its 50th birthday, and in its day it was one of the top sports clubs in Yorkshire.
It has produced county champions and weightlifters who have gone on to represent Britain at the Olympics.
But today it is a gym rather than a club that competes against other local teams.
"It's a nice place," says Clive Sumpner, at 68 the club's elder statesman.
"I've been here almost since the start and I still come down five nights a week.
"I still do a few weights. It's a good discipline to get into and I like the atmosphere here with the other lads.
"I walk down from Crosland Moor and then have a pint at the Yorkshire Vic on my way home."
The organisation was established in 1956 as the Huddersfield Physical Culture Club.
Mr Sumpner's uncle, Claude Sumpner, founded the club.
Then in 1965 it changed its name to Huddersfield Weightlifting Club.
Its first premises were at Taylor Hill, and then it switched to Mount Street, Lockwood.
But the opportunity soon arose to move to Garden Street.
A two-storey building once occupied by an engineering firm was for sale – and the club saw it as the ideal HQ.
Today Garden Street is home to a happy gang of local fitness enthusiasts.
"We've got 40 to 50 members and they love coming here," says Clive.
"We charge them £1 a week to cover electricity and rates, and that's it."
Visitors to the Lockwood gym do all kinds of weights work, but the two main skills they practise are Olympic lifting and powerlifting.
Olympic weightlifting helps to improve functional strength, using the body's major muscle groups.
`Snatch' and `clean and jerk' are key techniques in this branch of the sport.
Olympic lifts are also used extensively in training for other sports, such as rugby and American Football.
Men's weightlifting has a long history.
It was on the programme of the first modern Olympics in Athens in 1896.
Women took part for the first time at the Sydney games in 2000.
Powerlifting is a slightly different sport, consisting of three events: the squat, the bench press and the deadlift.
It is a relatively modern discipline, becoming popular in the 1980s and 1990s.
The sport is open to both men and women and, in general terms, powerlifting movements are shorter than they are in Olympic weightlifting.
The geography of the two sports is also interesting.
Olympic weightlifting is dominant in Eastern Europe and Asia (Russia, Turkey, Iran, China, and other countries), while powerlifting is more popular in Western Europe and North America.
But powerlifting looks like it is the sport of the future, with more and more people taking it up, both as a hobby and competitively.
From the mid-1960s to mid-1970s the Huddersfield club was the premier weightlifting club in the area and dominated the Yorkshire and North- East League, as well as the Bergson Trophy competition.
It also has its own impressive hall of fame.
Current club secretary Gary Senior was world powerlifting champion in the seniors age group.
Kevin Thorp was British champion and Peter Kilroy became a big name in Yorkshire weightlifting.
And Frank Rothwell, who competed in the Munich Olympics of 1972, used the Garden Street gym as a base.
The club is also proud of the fact that one former member has his name in the Guinness Book of Records - Geoff Chandler, a bench press expert - and that it has produced its fair share of Yorkshire champions.
Today the accent may be on fitness and recreation, but there is no less enthusiasm at the club.
"We're open Monday to Friday," says Mr Sumpner.
"Ours is not a fancy gym. We don't have music or plasma TV screens; we just get on with it.
"It's a club based on camaraderie. The lads who come here can have a good workout and then a shower.
"Everyone gets on; there's never any trouble.
"It keeps some lads off the streets and when it comes to training we all help each other out. Unfortunately, it can get a bit cold in winter, but we just have to live with that!"
Club members come from all over Huddersfield - and many live within walking distance of the club.
"It's cheap and you can come any time," says 25-year-old Daniel Alexis, a regular on the dumbbells.
"I like the banter and the people who come here."