About Townsounds

A celebration of Huddersfield’s musical heritage

Since Victorian times, in terms of musical organisations per head of population, Huddersfield and its environs has been one of the most intensely musical communities in the country. A music journalist claimed in the Musical Home Journal in 1908 that: ‘The casual visitor to Huddersfield would hardly imagine that [they were] amongst some of the greatest music lovers in the country…In an unpretentious way the people of Huddersfield give probably more time to music than do those of any town of a similar size in England.’1 Similarly, J. Sutcliffe Smith wrote in A Musical Pilgrimage in Yorkshire (1928), that: ‘A stranger no sooner comes among you that [they find] in a hundred ways they are in the land of song.’2 Brass bands, choirs and orchestras thrived in and around the town, often using Huddersfield Town Hall as a venue to showcase their talents.

Key music festivals were established in the nineteenth century, and, from 1978, Huddersfield has been home to the celebrated Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. The first jazz clubs emerged in the 1930s, and through the 1950s and 1960s rock and roll, folk and pop bands performed in the town’s pubs and clubs. With immigration new musical styles such as steel bands, bhangra and reggae music appeared and added to the musical landscape. Phil Wood, of the North Stars Steel Orchestra, noticed: ‘If anybody new came to the town from a different land they found that if they talked about music, local Huddersfield people would be interested in them – they got a sympathetic reception – you can’t say that about everywhere.’3

TownSounds is a snapshot of Huddersfield’s musical heritage – past and present – charting how music-making in the town strengthened not only the town’s civic identity, but also social networks and notions of community.

The project has been a team effort – thank you to everyone who has been involved.

Project Lead: Mandeep Samra

Research: Dr Stephen Etheridge and Mandeep Samra

Illustrations: Peter O’Toole

Website: Browndog

TownSounds is a partnership between Kirklees Council and the University of Huddersfield. The project has been funded by Kirklees Council’s successful bid to the Leeds Local Enterprise Partnership’s Business Rates Pool fund, part of an ambitious project to make the most of Kirklees’ rich and diverse musical heritage.

North Stars Steel Orchestra at Deighton High School

Huddersfield HD2 1JP, UK

Steel Bands

Sunrise Melody Steel Band at ICI on Leeds Road

Leeds Road, Huddersfield HD2 1YZ, UK

Steel Bands

Matamp Founder Mat Mathias

King Street, Huddersfield HD1 2QT, UK

Matamp Founder Mat Mathias

The Cobbles, Meltham, Holmfirth HD9 5QQ, UK

The Reggae Sound System Scene Today

Wood Street, Huddersfield HD1 1DU, UK

The Reggae Sound System Scene Today

Saint Thomas' Road, Huddersfield HD1 3LG, UK

The Reggae Sound System scene back in the d1ay

King Street, Huddersfield HD1 2QT, UK

The Reggae Sound System scene back in the day

Upper Brow Road, Huddersfield HD1 4UF, UK

The Reggae Sound System scene back in the day

Market Street, Huddersfield HD1 4SH, UK

The Reggae Sound System scene back in the day

Chapel Hill, Huddersfield HD1 2RR, UK

The Reggae Sound System scene back in the day

Halifax Old Road, Huddersfield HD2 2RP, UK

The Reggae Sound System scene back in the day

Halifax Old Road, Huddersfield HD2 2RP, UK

The Reggae Sound System scene back in the day

Norfolk Avenue, Huddersfield HD2 1GS, UK

The Reggae Sound System scene back in the day

Ball Royd Road, Huddersfield HD2 1AN, UK

The Reggae Sound System scene back in the day

Mount Street, Huddersfield HD1 3QP, UK

The Reggae Sound System scene back in the day

William Street, Huddersfield HD1 6BG, UK

The Sex Pistols at Ivanhoe’s Night Club

Manchester Road, Huddersfield HD4 5AA, UK

Pop & Rock

The Beatles at the ABC Cinema

Market Street, Huddersfield HD1 2ET, UK

Pop & Rock

Denny and the Witchdoctors

1 Kirkgate, Huddersfield HD1 1BA, UK

Pop & Rock

Arthur Butterworth and Mill Town

University of Huddersfield, Queensgate, Huddersfield, UK

Orchestras

Huddersfield Jazz Guitar Society at the Rat and Ratchet Pub

Chapel Hill, Huddersfield HD1 3EB, UK

Music Festivals

Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival

Queensgate, Huddersfield HD1 3DH, UK

Music Festivals

The Mrs Sunderland Festival

Huddersfield Town Hall, Corporation St, Huddersfield HD1 2TA, UK

Music Festivals

Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Springwood

Prospect Street, Huddersfield HD1 2NX, UK

Kirtan

Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara in Fartown

Hillhouse Lane, Huddersfield HD1 6JT, UK

Kirtan

Guru Tegh Bahadur Gurdwara in Sheepridge

Huddersfield HD2 1NH, UK

Kirtan

The Bar in Fartown

Fartown, Huddersfield HD2, UK

Jazz

Huddersfield Jazz Club on Station Street

Huddersfield HD1 1LY, UK

Jazz

Whitefield’s basement on Ramsden Street

Huddersfield HD1 2TH, UK

Jazz

Bop Club – formerly known as the Sixty-Six Club

Market Place, Huddersfield HD1 2AL, UK

Jazz

The Rising Sun

Leymoor Road, Golcar, Huddersfield HD7 4QF, UK

Jazz

Parochial Hall on Sparrow Park

Huddersfield HD1 4HS, UK

Jazz

The Friendly on Northumberland Street

Northumberland Street, Huddersfield HD1 1RL, UK

Jazz

Trades Club on Northumberland Street

Northumberland Street, Huddersfield HD1 1RL, UK

Jazz

Dyer’s and Finisher’s Club on Fitzwilliam Street

Fitzwilliam Street, Huddersfield HD1 5BB, UK

Jazz

The Father Willis Organ

Huddersfield HD1 2TA, UK

Huddersfield Town Hall & The Father Wills Organ

Huddersfield Town Hall

Huddersfield HD1 2TA, UK

Huddersfield Town Hall & The Father Willis Organ

Holmfirth Anthem

Holmfirth, UK

Holmfirth

Mirfield Hand-Bell Ringers

Mirfield WF14 8DU, UK

Handbell Ringing Bands

Huddersfield Prize Hand-Bell Ringing Band

Trinity Street, Huddersfield HD1 4DT, UK

Handbell Ringing Bands

Crosland Moor United Hand-Bell Ringers

Crosland Moor, Huddersfield, UK

Handbell Ringing Bands

Lindley Prize Brass Band

Lindley, Huddersfield, UK

Greenhead Park & Brass Bands

Honley Brass Band

Holmfirth, UK

Greenhead Park & Brass Bands

Batley Old Brass Band

Market Place, Batley WF17 5DA, UK

Greenhead Park & Brass Bands

Greenhead Park

Huddersfield HD1 4HS, UK

Greenhead Park and Brass Bands

Huddersfield Choral Society

HD1 2TA

Choirs & Choral Societies

Folk Music

Wood Street, Huddersfield HD1 1DU, UK

Folk Music

Colne Valley Male Voice Choir

Britannia Road, Slaithwaite, Huddersfield HD7 5HF, UK

Choirs & Choral Societies

Boliyan

William Street, Huddersfield HD1 6BG, UK

Hudawi Centre

Blues Parties

Bradford Road, Huddersfield HD1 6LJ, UK

Blues Parties

The Huddersfield Singers

Huddersfield, UK

Choirs & Choral Societies

Bhangra and Daytimers

Queensgate, Huddersfield HD1 3DH, UK

Huddersfield University’s Students’ Union

Bhangra and Daytimers

Northumberland Street, Huddersfield HD1 1RL, UK

Beyond Beach Babylon

Huddersfield Open Market

Brook St, Huddersfield HD1 1RY, UK

Atmospheric Sounds

Parish Church

Byram St, Huddersfield HD1 1BU, UK

Atmospheric Sounds

Huddersfield Train Station Tannoy

Huddersfield, St George's Square, Huddersfield HD1 1JB, UK

Atmospheric Sounds