Tag Archives: Huddersfield

Unnatural Events In Downtown Huddersfield

I am no animal expert, but that doesn’t look like a deer to me. If it is, it is the most unnatural deer to trot around the deer parks of Huddersfield. And whilst we are talking about unnatural, this photograph was taken in February when the weather is supposed to be cold, dark and dismal. Something is very wrong with the world.

Stop ‘n Snap ‘n Ride

George Hotel, Huddersfield

Like many people who take photographs, I can be pretty annoying to walk around with, due to an inability to walk in a straight line from A to B without stopping to take photos at A1, A2, A3 etc. It is not too bad if I am by myself, as long as I leave myself plenty of time to stop ‘n snap. So yesterday, when I needed to catch a train from Huddersfield to Penistone, I left myself time enough to try and capture some of the grandeur of Huddersfield in the winter sunshine.

Huddersfield Railway Station and Statue of Harold Wilson
Huddersfield Railway Station

I had intended to keep snapping away as the train rattled its way from Huddersfield south towards Barnsley and Sheffield, but the sheer beauty of the scenery got in the way. No blink of my smartphone lens could hope to capture what was on view through the carriage window, as the train snaked it’s way through villages that probably don’t exist in real life. The journey took thirty minutes and cost my something around £6.  The railway companies are missing a trick; anyone with blood in their veins and a functioning imagination would happily pay twice as much to experience what must be one of the Great Railway Journeys of the World. Alas, I couldn’t bring myself to take any photographs once I was on the train, so you will just have to imagine what it was like. Or make your way to Huddersfield and experience the journey yourself!

Random History : Giving Way To The Enjoyment Of The Conservative Ball

This week, our random-number-driven time machine takes us back to the year 1893 and to Huddersfield, where someone has been giving way to the enjoyment of the Conservative Ball. It resulted in ten bob fine plus expenses! Serves him right is all I can say.

OBSTRUCTING A POLICE OFFICER AT THE CONSERVATIVE BALL : Joseph Crow Taylor, innkeeper, Crosland Moor, was charged with having, on the 26th inst., obstructed a police-officer whilst he was in the execution of his duty. Defendant did not appear. The Chief Constable (Mr. Ward) said that on the morning, which would be stated by the officer, in accordance with orders, the officer went to the Town Hall, where the Conservative Ball was being held, to see that proper order was being kept and that the sale of drink had been stopped at the hour fixed by the license. The officer was met by the defendant, who said he should not go up. He said he should, and the defendant used bad language, and tried to prevent him going up. This was not the first time that sort of thing had occurred at balls. The defendant had been to see him and said he was very sorry, and that he had given way to the enjoyment of the evening more than he should have done, and that, perhaps. caused him to do what he did. But it was his (Mr. Ward’s) duty to protect his men, and to see that the orders of the magistrates were carried out. Police-sergeant Jagger proved time facts as stated by Mr. Ward, and the Bench inflicted a fine of 10s. and the expenses.

Huddersfield Daily Examiner 6th February 1893

A Telephone Call Interrupts A Night At Huddersfield’s Microscopical Soiree

This description of a meeting of the Huddersfield Literary and Scientific Society’s “Microscopical Soiree” is taken from a copy of the Huddersfield Chronicle of the 9th January 1879 – 140 years ago. Old newspaper articles can paint pictures just as well as any art school graduate, and as you read through the list of microscopic treats on offer – spores of a truffle, trout’s ova, section through a coal miners’ lung – you begin to picture a body of frock-coated, heavy bearded Victorian gents fussing over the specimens and speculating about the future of mankind. The youngsters are deriving considerable amusement from Mr Wood’s patent atmospheric stereoscope, and the women – one presumes – are at home supervising the scullery maid.

But history has a habit of catching you out and challenging your perceptions, because in walks Mr Dammann and what has he got with him but a telephone! Logic tells me he has somehow got lost in the time warp that exists near Ainley Top and arrived fifty years too early. Old newspapers, however, never lie …. unlike their modern counterparts!

A Genius Too Great For Slaithwaite

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Unknown Man In A Check Suit : J J E Mayall

I have a large box of Victorian studio photographs at home, and I am slowly working my way through them: looking at them, scanning them, and seeing where they take me. Today they took me on a fascinating trans-continental journey in the company of John Jabez Edwin Mayall, pioneer photographer, trans-Atlantic entrepreneur, and friend of the rich and famous. If that wasn’t enough he was brought up in Slaithwaite, near Huddersfield and for a short time he was landlord of the local Star Inn!
He was born in 1813 in Oldham, just over the border in Lancashire, but the family moved to the Linthwaite and Slaithwaite area of Huddersfield when John was still a young child. His father was a manufacturing chemist who specialised in producing dyes for the textile industry, and young John moved into the business and built up a degree of expertise in chemistry. It is said that by his mid 20s he had made a fortune, and by his early thirties he had lost it. He fell in love with the daughter of the local innkeeper and married her, and eventually took over the running of the inn, but this turned out to be an unsuccessful enterprise as he seems to have directed his energies primarily to teaching his customers mathematics and latin rather than selling pints of ale.
It appears that neither the role of a manufacturing chemist nor that of a publican in the Colne Valley was for him, and writing in his memoirs some years later, the local vicar, Cannon Charles Hulbert, commented: “Slaithwaite was scarcely a sufficient sphere for his genius and he emigrated to the United States, where he took up the then infant Art of Photography; which he much improved by his experiments and discoveries“.
Mayall first went to America in 1842 and for the next few years he seems to have split his time between Britain and America, establishing photographic studios in both Manchester and Philadelphia, and being in the forefront of technological development in the infant science of photography. He lectured, he wrote articles, and he saw himself as both an artist and a photographer, exploring the boundaries between traditional art and the new daguerreotype process. By the end of 1846 he was back in Britain establishing a daguerreotype studio and institute on the Strand in London.
Mayall became a friend of the famous painter, J M W Turner, and they shared an interest in the artistic potential of photography and, in particular, its ability to portray light variations. During the 1850s,  he embarked on a series of daguerreotype portraits of the rich and famous (including Charles Dickens) and also began to experiment with the new Carte de Visite format. In 1860 he was invited to photograph the Royal Family, and he was able to publish the first ever series of Carte de Visites featuring Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their children.
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In 1864, Mayall moved from London to Brighton – leaving the London Studios under the direction of his son – and established a new photographic studio in King’s Road. It is from this period that the small Carte de Visite of an unknown man in a check suit dates. Mayall spent the rest of his life on the South Coast before dying early in 1901 – within a few weeks of the Queen he had famously photographed forty years earlier.

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My thanks to the unknown man in the check suit for taking me on such a fascinating journey.

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