Local Historical Murder Re-investigated

Wednesday 28 February at 9:15

BBC 1 – Murder, Mystery and My Family

Top criminal barristers Sasha Wass and Jeremy Dein reinvestigate the historic murders of two policemen, and the mysterious case, conviction and execution of Alfred Moore.

Huddersfield, 1951. Two policemen are shot dead in cold blood while staking out the farmhouse of suspected burglar Alfred Moore. Now, nearly 65 years later, Moore’s daughter Bronwyne is convinced of her father’s innocence and teams up with Jeremy and Sasha to investigate the case.

With no murder weapon and a number of other suspects in the frame, notably a local gangster, Jeremy and Sasha have some serious concerns over the conviction. But will it be enough to clear the family name?


Colne Bridge tragedy commemoration week comes to a close

The Colne Bridge mill fire commemoration.
Richard Heath , who is the brains behind the Commemoration events, writes:I

Following the church service on Saturday 10th Feb, many people have voiced their appreciation for a poignant and moving event marking the bicentenary of a disaster that took the lives of 17 young girls.
Whilst I truly value their comments I am keen to stress that all made possible through the mutual cooperation of many groups and individuals, the community of Kirkheaton and the many visitors who came from far and wide.
The service, which attracted nearly 200 people, was attended by the Mayor of Kirklees Cllr Christine Iredale and the Shadow Fire Minister, Karen Lee, Labour MP for Lincoln.
Karen Lee addressed the congregation and spoke of how fire safety has greatly improved over the years but added also that new lessons can be learned and improvements made. Cllr Iredale also gave an impassioned speech on the tragedy.
In the following week on Wednesday, the 14th, the precise date on which the anniversary fell, the Mayor held a minutes silence before the Council prior to the opening of business.
On the same day   a ten strong candle lit vigil took place at the former site of Atkinson’s mill. At exactly 5am, the lighted candles brought a comforting glow to a place as dark and lonely as it would have been on that same hour when the fire broke out 200 years ago.
Rev Ian Jones who led the Saturday service said that it would be difficult to name all those who had worked so hard to make this most memorable day, but he rightfully commended the Fire Service and the Service Band who made the occasion so special.
In the churchyard, wreaths were laid at the memorial by UNISON, and Huddersfield TUC. The Fire Service also placed one on the communal grave.
The large gravestone which bears each of the girls’ names alongside those of their parents was recently cleaned by Monumental Mason, Robert Morphet, who took great pride in making the inscriptions legible again.
As in many events, much credit is owed to those who were out of the glare of publicity.
Following the eleventh hour closure of the Beaumont Arms, caterers Tracey Sharp and Paula Priestley were drafted in and worked like Trojans early that morning to provide a freshly made buffet which was enjoyed by all.
Out in the field the conservation group CLEAR, which is a part of Community Links are working on a memorial garden on the canal towpath at Colne Bridge. This dedicated work will continue into the summer. Later in the year it will be complimented by an artwork created by the schoolchildren of Salendine Nook under the leadership of locally based, Artworks Creative Communities and Canal & River Trust.
On Saturday 17th Feb, the Colne Bridge mill fire commemoration week drew to a close with a supper and music at an enjoyable informal evening at the Royal & Ancient, Colne Bridge, courtesy of managers Craig Lloyd and Steve Jones. A plaque was unveiled by Roger Armitage of the Kirkheaton History Society.
I have no doubt that the memory of this commemoration will live on forever in the minds of those who attended. Come the Tricentenery, one hundred years’ from now, historians might look back in wonder of what was achieved by a small team backed up by great community.

Richard Heath.

Commemoration of Bicentenary of fire tragedy

Commemoration of Bicentenary of Atkinson’s cotton mill fire tragedy.

Almost two hundred years to the day approximately 200 people attended a service at the parish church to commemorate the bicentenary of the tragic mill fire at Colne Bridge on February 14th 1818 when seventeen young girls aged between 9 and 18 died. The girls had worked throughout the night and were nearing the end of the shift when a misplaced candle on the lower floor started a blaze that destroyed their workplace and took their lives.*
A plaque was unveiled by Kathy Butterworth, a descendant of one of the few survivors, Sarah Moody [11 years old when she escaped from the blaze]. It will be displayed at the Beaumont Arms, just opposite the memorial when the pub is reopened.

The event was also attended by the Mayor, Christine Iredale, original from Kirkheaton. Other speakers included Cllr Judith Hughes, Chair of West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority.

During the commemoration 17 candles were lit as the names of the victims were read out. Following the service members of the TUC laid wreaths at the Fire Memorial. An official of the Fire Brigade laid another on the headstone of the communal grave where the remains of 15 of the girls were interred.

There are a number of other ways that the bicentenary is being marked.
A group of volunteers under the leadership of Lucy Dockray of the Canal and River Trust,  are battling the weather to produce a memorial garden on the canal bank next to the site where Atkinson’s mill stood. They are hoping to complete it for the anniversary day, 14th Feb. Another plaque is due to be unveiled on the 17th February at The Royal and Ancient pub which stands on the site of the original Spinners pub where the inquests were held.

A public artwork has also been commissioned to create a lasting memorial to the 17 children. Seventeen birds have been designed by pupils from Salendine Nook High School, under the leadership of artist, Ged Walker. The birds themselves were cut from sheet steel and have been individually decorated by the children. As well as undertaking the art sessions they went on  a trip to a mill museum in order to understand the conditions that children their own age, and younger would have endured 200 years ago.
If permission is granted they will be mounted on what is the old boiler house of Thomas Haigh’s mill.  The bricked up wall to the right is where Atkinson’s cotton factory stood in 1818. The group has also adopted a stretch of canal a short distance from the site of the fire.

* Search ‘Colne Bridge fire’  to read more about the tragedy


History Group’s talks programme for 2018

Kirkheaton Family History Group Talks Calendar
Date   2018 Subject Presenter
25 January 2017 Kayes Worsdell Pills-Herbal Remedy or Medical Fraud? John Taylor
15 February 2017* The Colne Bridge Tragedy Richard Heath
29 March 2017 The Huddersfield Chemical Industry Mike Paige
26 April 2017 Whitley Willows as was Margaret Brier
24 May 2017 The Denby Dale Typhoid Tragedy 1932 John Brooke
28 June 2017 Normans in Kirkheaton John Lindop

All at Kirkheaton Community Centre, Fields Rise on the last* Thursday of the Month – 7.30pm    [except February]   £2.50 on the door, includes Light Refreshments

Kirkheaton History Group Newsletter 1 Feb 2017

This is the first of our regular Newsletters with the aim of keeping you updated on our activities.
In the past Kirkheaton Family and Local History Group (KHG) have successfully organised and staged three exhibitions,

  • WW1 – researching over 146 men who lost their lives during this conflict’
  • WW2 – researching over 40 who lost their lives
  • Queen Elizabeth’s 90th Birthday Celebration

Moving forward, KHG will be providing monthly talks with an historical theme.  These will be held on the last Thursday of every month at  Kirkheaton Community Centre.

The first of our series of talks  will be at 7.30pm on Thursday 23 February 2017 at the Kirkheaton Community Centre.  Entrance £2.50 (including light refreshments).
From Mountain to Sea – John Taylor will take you on an historical, pictorial journey down the River Severn.

Future events planned include talks on :
Broadhead & Graves Mill
A number of former employees have been in touch, contributing a number of photographs.  This is on going.
Kirkheaton Workhouse
Research has included the Huddersfield Board of Guardians Minutes of Meeting and Newspaper Articles.
History of Ravensknowle Hall (Tolson Museum)
To commemorate the 95th years as Tolson Museum, KHG research includes the West Yorkshire Archives, and Newspaper Articles.
We are also researching the various families who have owned the Ravensknowle Estate.

Family History
The group meets every Thursday from 6.00pm at the Kirkheaton Library.  Help is available for those just starting through to cracking that Brick Wall.
A few weeks ago, we were contacted by someone who had come to a dead end trying to find their elusive Great Grandfather. A family story was that there was a Scottish connection. One of our members gladly agreed to take on the challenge and in the process of finding the elusive Great Grandfather discovered not a Scottish but an Irish connection.

Audio/Video Interviews
With the aim of compiling history/experiences of Kirkheaton a number of residents have agreed to an audio/video interview.
Our aim is to include people of all ages and backgrounds.

Please get in touch if you

  • Would to help or provide information on any of the above
  • Know someone who would like to be interviewed.

Please help by circulating this newsletter.

 Regards                Colin Beaver     on behalf of the Kirkheaton History Group


Memories of Whitley Willows

15 Nov Whitley WillowsMargaret Brier has written a book about Whitley Willows – home of her grandparents Lucy and Harry Bates. Harry was the engineer for the mills there for over 40 years.
The book contains  photographs of a bygone age and many snippets of local history.
It can be bought from Margaret Brier 11a Towngate Upperthong HUDDERSFIELD HD9 3UX for £7 + £3 p&p or margaret.brier@btopenworld.com for more information

New web page – Yettoners United!

Occasionally people who have lived in Kirkheaton in the past contact the website to try and get in touch with old friends and collegues or to seek information about their family history. So we have decided to dedicate a section of the website where people searching for information can post their queries etc.
Please contact us through info@yettontogether.org and we will put up your request.
Dates, full names and where your family lived would be useful alongside any other relevant material or even photographs.

Please click here to go to the web page Yettoners United! which will be added to when we receive any requests.

From: william geoffrey coates <billycoates19@gmail.com>Subject: searching for friends

I am trying to trace anyone who lived in Kirkheaton who might know me and/or my family. In 1960s we lived at 16 Moorside Terrace. My father was called Alexander Coates and my mum Sylvia. I have a sister called June and a brother called Allan. I went to Kirkheaton C of E school and remember the fair ground by the church. Sadly my parents have passed away. Now just hoping someone out there remembers me. I knew the Brooks family and the Kranks – she had 12 boys. Hoping to hear from anyone.

Regards William Geoffrey Coates.


Broadhead & Graves mill project

Roger Armitage of the Kirkheaton Family History Group,writes:
“Our Broadhead & Graves mill project has had a very positive response from many past employees. However we would welcome further contributions and any photos you may have, such as the fire in 1964, or maybe you have some from the many parties and outings that you went on. We now have the use of a portable recorder, so we would love to record your memories and stories of life working at the mill.
The group are to organise a Christmas dinner/buffet at the Beaumont Arms at 1pm on 7th December which is open to former employees and their spouses. This will give fellow workers time to reminisce and meet old friends again. If you would like to attend, please leave your name and contact details with a member of the Library staff.”
Or phone Roger on 07837412070

Broadhead & Graves – appeal for information

Can you help? Kirkheaton Local & Family History group are investigating the history of mill life in Kirkheaton and would like to collect as many memories as possible for their project.
Colin, a spokesman for the group says
Mill house ‘The house and gates are all that is left as a reminder of more than 125 years of textile industry which came to an end when weaving stopped at Huddersfield Fine Worsteds (formerly Broadhead and Graves) in February 2005. At its height every one in Kirkheaton worked at the mill or if they didn’t they had a relative or friend who did. If you are one of these or have any information about the mill’s history then we would love to hear from you. There  will an open evening at Kirkheaton Library on Thursday 11 June 6.00-8.00pm so come along and bring your memories.’
For more information contact Colin on 07824 499 600 or at kfhg@outlook.com

Victory in Europe Exhibition

WW2 artefact WW2 artefacts 2 WW2bKirkheaton Family History Group has put on yet another successful exhibition in the parish church. This time it was to celebrate the 70th anniversary of VE [Victory in Europe] Day at the beginning of May. Visitors from as far afield as Canada and New Zealand have been able to find out about local men and women who fought in WW2. Also included were civilian casualties. Some artefacts were on display including soldier’s pay book, ration books and a rather delicate gas mask.

Members of the group have been on hand to answer questions and help visitors trace their relatives. Roger Armitage [KFHG] said it was gratifying to be able to give people information about lost relations and hopefully encourage them to find out more.

WW2 – request for information

70 Years ago the German armed forces surrendered unconditionally on May 7. Hostilities in Europe ended officially at midnight, May 8. 1945.
 The Kirkheaton Family History is planning to commemorate this event with another exhibition and would like some help

 Click on this link to see a list of the people they are presently researching.
They would welcome

  • Any information on these names
  • Names which are missing from the list
  • Names of those who served and survived.
  • Copies of Kirkheaton Parish magazines (1939 -1945)

    Contact : familyhistory@yettontogether.org or Colin 07824 499 600