The Rotary Club of Huddersfield was founded in 1921, and  was granted its charter in June 1922, with the number 1229, in the now defunct Whiteley’s café in Westgate with 25 members. Alderman Wilfred Dawson, who had instigated the purchase of the town of Huddersfield (known throughout Britain as “The Town That Bought Itself”) from the Ramsden Family, was President with the classification of Stockbroker.

The town of Huddersfield was wealthy with woollen textiles the staple industry. Then, it was said, that there were more Rolls Royces in Huddersfield than in London. It is not recorded how many of the first Rotarians drove such a car! The buildings of Huddersfield were black from the smoke bellowing 24 hours a day from the many woollen mills in the town and valleys. Hence the strap-line “Where there’s muck there’s brass!”

Membership grew steadily during that first decade to over 100. The legendary H. A. Bennie Grey and James Thornton were Secretary and Treasurer respectively for over 26 years. The Club helped many local institutions and charities in the town with physical and financial support.

Practical help was given to the founding of Holmfirth Rotary Club in the Thirties, and similarly helped form a second (daughter) Club in the Town, named Pennine. The formation of Denby Dale Rotary Club as a second “daughter” completed the four clubs in the Huddersfield area.

In the Sixties there were still well over 100 members. The Club Council wanted to invite the Mayor Elect Councillor Mrs Middlebrook Haigh to become an Honorary Member during her two years of office. At the AGM some members protested that the Constitution of Rotary lays down that only men can be elected Honorary Members. The meeting agreed to invite the Mayor for 1963-64 to attend Luncheon Meetings — as a Guest!

Today the Town is very different. It has a mixture of employment opportunities and a thriving University. Textiles are still important but most of the mills have closed. The Clean Air Act enabled the owners of the many fine buildings to clean off the black caused by the soot from the mills. Huddersfield is now free from smoke. There are many handsome buildings and the beautiful countryside is there for all to enjoy.

How times change. The Club now meets in the evenings and a third of the members are women.

One thing, though, has not changed. Huddersfield Rotary is still a club with a full programme of activities centred around raising money to support worthy causes both locally and internationally, and giving our time to improve the lives of others. Indeed one Rotarian, of over 50 years experience, claims the club is far more active with the present much lower number of members than it was when he  was first elected in 1963. WE ARE FOR COMMUNITIES.

Upcoming Events

5:30 pm Club Meeting @ The Foxglove Inn
Club Meeting @ The Foxglove Inn
Sep 5 @ 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm
A business meeting to discuss the future activities of the club, followed by an optional meal. All members Friends and guests are welcome.