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Photographs from Yorkshire, England

Huddersfield and Marsden   Honley   Slaithwaite, Linthwaite, and Meltham   Bradley, Newsome, Lockwood and Shepley

    Colne Valley in Winter    Village of Emley   

Window on the Valleys
by Sheila (Sykes) Stanley

      I first became aware of the Sykes Society through the testing of my uncle's DNA.  I am a Sykes by birth, not only through my father but my maternal grandmother was born a Sykes also. So Sykes genes are doubly in my blood.

      Through correspondence with David Allen Sykes, of upstate New York, I became aware how intimately these places round Huddersfield have been studied by my American "cousins" (many times removed, of course) in the quest for  knowledge of Sykes ancestors and found it fascinating that places which I have known all my life, " in my backyard" as it were, held such interest.  I also became aware that these places--Lockwood, Paddock, Honley, Slaithwaite--to name but a few, were being called towns when in fact they are really villages within the Huddersfield boundary area.  It may seem confusing to people who are totally unfamiliar with our area, but this is where history holds the key.

      Little settlements became established a thousand and more years ago, nestling in the valleys and on hillsides of what became known as the Holme and Colne valleys. Eventually settlements became villages and from the plentiful natural resources of wool (from sheep reared on the hills around) and clean "soft" water running down from the surrounding  hills, the inhabitants developed their skills in yarn and cloth making.  Thus a textile cottage industry was born in these valleys.  Small mills were eventually erected near the streams, harnessing water power.  Then, with the advent of the Industrial Revolution, these skills were further developed when larger mills were built on the valley floor; waterpower to drive the machinery being replaced by steampower as coal was brought in by the newly built canal system which was then used to take out the finished products to the wider world.

      The revelation of such overseas interest in my native area set me thinking: my husband and I are serious amateur photographers, so why not give members of the society a visual window on the valleys of our forefathers. I want people to understand that these places, known only by name to so many, began life as village communities, each with its own identity but often joined by the common skill of cloth making, whose inhabitants' lives have changed over the centuries with industrial urbanisation. Huddersfield is not just an industrial town, it is also a collection of villages like a string of pearls making up a unique necklace.
      Whilst researching my own Sykes ancestry I learnt just how many of my forebears had been involved in textiles, from clothiers to cardnailers to weavers to tailors, a fact I was  previously totally  unaware of, given that I myself had trained in textiles and therefore unknowingly had continued my own Sykes family history in the very proud tradition we have here in Huddersfield of producing world-class and world renowned cloth. Sadly the textile  industry has declined in this area from its heyday, affected by the advent of synthetic fibres and competition from cheap imports from the Far East but I am very proud to say our tradition of producing world-class cloth still continues.  One Huddersfield company, Bower Roebuck at Scabal Mills, New Mill in the Holme Valley, still supplies cloth for the very rich and famous, from presidents to pop-stars, their cloth selling on London's Saville Row for £4000 ($8000) per metre.

      With our visual images I hope to give members a general feel of the area, hills and valleys, weavers' cottages and gigantic mills, scenes our Sykes ancestors would have witnessed in their day to day lives.
    Thanks to Evald Sotnik and George Dixon for the loan of the old Hudderfield images.
    Yorkshire Post newspaper for information on Bower Roebuck.
    My husband, Peter, for the photographic editing, scanning and digital production of the images.

Click here to see a map showing the villages as they are situated in relation to each other.
Click here to see an Ordinance Survey Map of the Kirklees District. 
The Ordinance Map is reproduced, with added notations, from the 1854 First Edition Ordnance Map
with the kind permission of the Crown. -- D.A.Sykes, Upstate NY)

Images below are Copyright by Peter and Sheila (Sykes) Stanley, 2008 - Present,
with the exception of those noted in the Acknowledgements,
and used with permission.
Viewers interested in purchasing any of these images are invited to contact the Stanleys for details.


Information Board
Huddersfield Narrow Canal

Read Holiday Turnbridge, 1914
Chemical complex est. 1839,
later merged with 
British Dyes which later
amalgamated with ICI.

John William Street,
central Huddersfield
St. George's Square to the right.

Herbert, Beatrice,
Sheard, & Kenneth Sykes
about 1930.
Grandparents, father and
uncle of Sheila (Sykes) Stanley

Old Huddersfield Parish Church

Huddersfield Parish Church,
Rebuilt 1506

Huddersfield Parish Church, 1890's
(church was rebuilt 1835)

Huddersfield Narrow Canal at
looking down the
Colne Valley toward Huddersfield.

Huddersfield Station, 1904

Huddersfield Station Facade, 2006


The Huddersfield Narrow canal was constructed
between 1794 and 1811.  It extended
from Marsden to slightly north of
Huddersfield, paralleling the river Colne.
West of Marsden, it passes through
a long tunnel and reaches its highest
point at Tunnel End and enters the longest
and highest canal tunnel in the UK at the
Standege Tunnel.

Marsden, Tunnel End.

Tunnel End opened in 1811.
A parallel tunnel was built for the railway
 and opened  in 1849.  It is still
used for an interesting  trip between
the Manchester Airport and the
Huddersfield  Railway Station.

Marsden, Situated at the head of the Colne
Valley; seven miles from Huddersfield.
View from upper Slaithwaite

from Butterley Reservior Bank

Marsden-Derby Terrace
showing the close proximity of
workers' houses
to the mills with industrialization.

Marsden Mechanics Hall
Peel St., Landmark building in the
village, used for the education
of manual workers in the mills.
Opened 1861; clock tower added later. 

Marsden, River Colne.

Cottage, Towngate,
Marsden, dated 1738

Close Gate Bridge
Old Packhorse Bridge, Marsden

Close Gate Bridge,
Packhorse Bridge, Marsden

Packhorse Track
from Close Gate Bridge
to Lancashire

Church of St. Bartholomew
Lychgate & Marsden

Mellor Bridge, Marsden.
Packhorse Bridge

Mellor Bridge, Marsden

Blakely & Butterley Reservoirs,
Marsden Moor

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Web Page Copyright 2008 - Present by The Sikes/Sykes Families Association.
Photographs Copyright Peter and Sheila Stanley except as noted in the acknowlegements.
Material or data obtained from these pages may be used only when permission is requested and credit is given to The Sikes/Sykes Families Association.
This Web Site was created for The Sikes/Sykes Families Association by Diane Scannell.
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