Then and Now: Marking WW1 in Huddersfield village

Then and now : marking WW1 in Huddersfield   

A Huddersfield Church was at the centre of events and exhibitions looking at local life 100 years ago and how this was affected by the experience of war.

The idea is the brainchild of Lindley History Research Group as part of its Then and Now Heritage Lottery-supported project looking back at life in the village during World War One and St Stephen’s opened its doors over the weekend for a commemorative Then and Now exhibition – part of a series of events in the village and guided walks.

The memorials still to be found in churches and chapels show that at least 160 Lindley men died as a result of the war and their stories formed an important part of the exhibition.

The vicar of Lindley, the Revd Rachel Firth said: “People came together who hadn’t seen each other in 50 years.  Community memories were flowing – the researchers from the Lindley History Research Group had amazing detailed information about the community here in Lindley which they were able to share with families.

“There was a great warmth to the event – and a strong sense of our connection to those who have gone before us in this place. 

“St Stephen’s is here to serve the local community – people of all faiths and none – and this event allowed us to live that hospitality for nearly 600 people from near and far," she added.

At the heart of the Then and Now project is a blue plaque scheme for the village to show what shops were there in 1915 - this involved all the shops on the High Street. Lindley History Group member, Dave Verguson says that while Lidget Street had changed considerably since 1915, many of the same sorts of shops – butchers, hairdressers, a grocer, a newsagent – continued – and some, like the chemist, were even in the same building.

Other events included guided walks round the village and groups of children in church with art work and a moving theatre piece devised by the Lindley Junior School children with CHOL theatre, the 170-year-old Lindley Band played with newly formed young brass players, Tower Brass.

And a set of handbells have been re-found, along with history of those who rang the bells in the early 20th century before going off to the war. 



Said Dave Verguson: “We couldn’t believe our luck when we came across Peter Fawcett’s history of hand-bell ringing, Ringing for Gold, and found it contained a photograph of the Lindley Parish Church hand bell ringers from 1907.

“The band members shown in the picture were all young men and would most likely have enlisted or have been called up at some point during the First World War,” he added.

Vicar, Rachel said: “St Stephen’s holds a lot of history for families in this area and from far and wide too.

“What is wonderful about this project is that we can see the heritage links right across the community here in Lindley and hear, see and experience something of the lives of Lindley’s ancestors.”


Lindley Parish Church Hand-Bell Ringers 1907

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