At the beginning of the 19th century Huddersfield was a small but increasingly populous township on the north-west side of the River Colne. Public services were fragmented and mediaeval at best, and accordingly in 1820 the Ramsden family, or some enlightened citizens (it is uncertain which), sponsored an Act of Parliament “for lighting watching and cleansing the town of Huddersfield …”
The Act covered only a part of the town, that within a 1200 yard radius of the market-place, with the River Colne (the traditional boundary between the Huddersfield and Almondbury parishes) forming the boundary on the east and south. Even this relatively small area was contentious, for it intruded into the areas of the self-governing hamlets of Fartown and Marsh.
This was followed in 1848 by another Act, known as the Huddersfield Improvement Act, whose jurisdiction again extended to the same 1200-yard limit.
Two boundary stones from this period definitely survive: one on the road to Halifax (A629) on the right-hand side of the road (leaving the town centre), near the brow of the hill; and on Trinity Street, the road to Outlane / New Hey (A640) on the left-hand side, outside no 163. Both are clearly carved with the letters and date “H. I. B. 1848”.
We believe a third stone exists, on Bradford Road. This is just after its junction with Halifax Old Road, on the left-hand side of the road leaving the town centre. It is roughly the same size and shape as the other two stones, but has no marks on it – and the back is buried under the ground level.
Others may have existed, but will have disappeared with later development; and old maps are unhelpful.
The boundary continued as a ward boundary into the 20th century, but by the 1918 Ordnance Survey map boundaries have been rationalised, and although in places the circular line survived, most now follow streets rather than arbitrarily cutting through houses, etc.
Sources: David Griffiths: Pioneers or partisans? – governing Huddersfield 1820-1848 (Hudds Local History Soc, 2008); information from Milestone Society members. RWH / March 2012.