SPEN VALLEY – Local History – Cleckheaton – Heckmondwike – Liversedge

BIG Ears in the Kingdom of Kirklees

“A jaundiced look at our Lords and Masters – Yorkshire Politicians and Bureaucrats through the eyes of Big Ears” 94 page illustrated book soft bound. Through the post to UK addresses or sometimes by bicycle if in the Spen Valley


Churches and Chapels of Kirklees – A Ronald Bielby

Published in 1978 by Kirklees Libraries and Museum Service this 116 page book is well illustrated. This is a clean tight copy with no inscriptions. Through the post to UK destinations.


Cleckheaton Rugby Union Football Club

20 glossy pages of photographs and facts A4 size. Through the post to UK address, or delivered by hand in the Spen Valley. £8.00


Rail Centres: Leeds/Bradford by Stephen Batty

The Usual Ian Allen Quality 160 pages well illustrated well written and well indexed. Quality paper and quality reproduction of photographs. A fine hard back and a fine (clipped) dj Through the post to any UK destination £9.00


I have collected books and ephemera of Spen Valley, and Yorkshire for many years. A number of these publications are difficult to find. Some I am more than reluctant to part with so I have decided to compile a reading list and to mention when I have copies for sale.

Times Past In The Spen Valley

A4 size 16 pages of snippets of Spen Valley History Posted to UK address £2.50


The Brightest Star – A Century Tribute to Leslie Heward – born in Littletown 1897

A Century Tribute to LESLIE HEWARD b1897 d 1943 born in Littletown, Liversedge West Yorkshire 1897 – 1997 by Margaret Mitchell. A 32 page booklet published Christ Church Liversedge 1997 Price includes UK P&P


Heckmondwike Urban District Official Handbook 1967

46 pages of adverts, photographs, history and facts and stuff


Heckmondwike Urban District – Official Handbook 1973

42 pages handbook. Adverts, photographs and official information


Heckmondwike in Times Past – Margaret M Wood

Heckmondwike in Times Past – Margaret M Wood. Undated Countryside Publication 48 pages of very interesting but poor quality illustrations. £5.00 The Price below includes UK Postage


Images of England SPEN VALLEY compiled by Norman Ellis

First printed in 2001 by Tempus 23cm X 16cm a 128 page soft cover book with two illustrations per page and accompanying text. Obviously as the images of the title are photographs the history it covers are mainly from 20th century. Though it is crammed full of photographs, many of which I have not seen in any other publications, there are copious notes that add much to the illustrations. A well put together addition to any Spen Valley collection. The Price below includes UK P&P In the shop £10.00


A Short History of Hartshead Church by Mabel Ferrett

A 16-page booklet undated but well-illustrated with line drawings. A good very brief, but comprehensive local history start. I have a copy available for £2.50 through post to UK address £4.00


A History of Hartshead by Mabel Ferrett

Printed in 1967 by Huddersfield Examiner this small (but perfectly formed) little booklet, has photographs and line drawings. Only 14 pages but covers Robin Hood, Hammond Roberson, Patrick Bronte, Luddites, Chartists and World Wars. This can be delivered by our privatised Post Office (National asset sold off for private profit) for the modest sum of £4.00 (That is the total cost not just £4.00 delivery cost)


History of the SPEN VALLEY 1780 – 1980 – Douglas Hird

Hird Douglas - History of the Spen Valley

An essential book for any Spen Valley collection. Published in 1985 written by Douglas Hird who spent 25 years as a reporter in the Spen Valley.  Up until being nine year old he attended Brighton Street Junior and Infants School, but moved out when his family emigrated (to Dewsbury).

The book is well illustrated and has an index. Overlaps a bit with Peel but brings us well into 20th century. Unlike Thompson, this is a very entertaining read (written by a journalist and not a Librarian, not that I have anything against librarians that is). It does have many interesting facts that you will not find elsewhere. Not as detailed as some of the SV personal memoirs, but in some way more entertaining for that.

It is getting much harder to find. I only have one copy for sale, at £30.00

SPEN VALLEY – Reading list

The SPEN VALLEY a local History by Thomas William Thompson

Published in 1925 it originally appeared in the Heckmondwike Herald in column format, the deal done was to not take payment for in cash, but the type should be used to publish a limited edition in book form. That is why the book has very wide margins.
Thompson was the Librarian in Heckmondwike Library I don’t think he had any formal training as an Historian. The book is 355 pages long and usefully has an index but no illustrations. Overfull of lists of men, in some cases with questionable merit as to the reason for inclusion. The book for the most part looks to the History of the Spen Valley through the lens of the History of England with not a great deal of real “local” content, unless you count the lists of men.
I must admit I didn’t get off to a good start when he seemed to imply that prior to the Roman Conquest the Valley was inhabited by tribes of Hunter Gatherers, he seems to have missed the Bronze and Iron age altogether. I must excuse a lot of his opinions as writing in the 20’s the “Dark Ages” were still dark. He is very skimpy on two themes that are very much of Spen Valley History, the Luddites and Chartists.
Whatever my views, if you are seriously into Local History you need to read this book. If you are building a Spen Valley Book collection you need to own one.
I currently have a copy for sale for £45

SPEN VALLEY in old picture postcards by Gillian Cookson

Published by European Library, Netherlands written Gillian Cookson in 1988 this a 8”X6” hard back is much more than it says on the tin. Yes, it is based on 76 postcards, but each is backed up by research from a highly skilled professional historian who adds commentary to each card that is readable informative and interesting.

The Gate Hangs High – Mildred Coldwell

Published in 1987 by Kirklee s Council an account of her growing up in the Spen Valley between the Wars. Well written illustrated by Barbara Ellis.

The Brontes in the Spen Valley – Mabel Ferrett

Originally published as Shirley Country in 1973 revised in 1997 102 pages Illustrated by Stanley Chapman with an index. My irrational antipathy to the cult of the Brontes has prevented me from reading this but having read other works by Mabel I have no doubts about readability.

Spenborough Official Handbook 1947/48

96 pages, water damage to the bottom of all the pages, does not obscure text or photographs just distracts from the booklet. Price includes P&P for UK destinations


Borough of SDpenborough

Borough of Spenborough – Souvenir of the Charter of Incorporation 1955

40 pages printed on quality paper with descriptions of Spenborough, illustrated with photographs and line drawings of places and people. I have never seen another copy.


BBA Digest October 1955

48 page 10X8 on quality paper with photographs of the factory, people, process, history and products including motorsport. Price includes postage or delivery within the UK


BBA Digest October 1953

48 page 10X8 on quality paper with photographs of the factory, people, process, history and products including motorsport. Price includes postage or delivery within the UK


Garnett – opening cleaning and carding machinery

36 page 11X8 booklet with illustrations and descriptions of machines produced in Cleckheaton by P & C Garnett Ltd. Undated but does say the firm is over 100 years old and the phone number is 3306. Mailed (or delivered) to UK locations £5.00


Pennine Journey by William B Stocks

Being the History of the Railways, Tramways and Canals in Huddersfield and District. Printed and Published by THE ADVERTISER PRESS LTD> Huddersfield 1958. Card covers 98 pages tight clean copy no inscriptions. Posted to UK address


Call Back Yesterday by Mavis Roberts

This book is a collection of memories of growing up in the Spen Valley (Cornmill Lane) in the 1930’s. I started reading it and read it in one sitting, not because it is short (158 pages) but because it is well written and fascinating. Delivered, or posted to any UK address



Executioner The Chronicles of James Berry – Victorian Hangmen by Stuart P Evans

Published by Sutton Publishing in 2004, 356 pages indexed and illustrated I can despatch (no pun intended) a hardback copy to a UK address for


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