Although a rural area with beautiful countryside, alongside farming Denby Dale has a rich and fascinating industrial heritage.
The Denby Dale archives cover the wider Denby Dale area, with a current population of some 18,000 and comprising the villages of Denby Dale itself; Clayton West, Emley, Skelmanthorpe and Scissett; Cumberworth, Denby, Birdsedge and High Flatts.
Before the formation in 1974 of Kirklees Council (and the current Denby Dale Parish Council), our area had been administered by the Denby Dale Urban District Council, which also covered the whole area; before then from 1898 by the four separate Urban District Councils of Clayton West, Denby and Cumberworth, Emley and Skelmanthorpe; and earlier still by the various Local Boards and Townships.
The records of all these bodies can be accessed on the Denby Dale section of this web-site. The original documents (lodged with Kirklees MBC on its creation) are now held by West Yorkshire Archive Service.
The Kirkburton section contains a variety of records from the neighbouring Kirkburton Parish Council, the Kirkburton district having a similar local government history to that of Denby Dale.
The 559 items in "Farms, Farming & Farmers in the early 1980s" comprise local resident Roy Nightingale's magnificent record of our agricultural heritage
Our industrial heritage is reflected in the Norton and Kenyon sections of the web-site, comprising archives from two former major textile companies: G.H. Norton & Co. Ltd., Cashmere & Woollen Manufacturers of Scissett; and Jonas Kenyon & Sons Ltd., Woollen & Worsted manufacturers of Denby Dale. The originals are again held by West Yorkshire Archive Service.
The Norton archives were compiled by the late local historian Leslie Robinson, the owner of the wonderful Skelmanthorpe Textile Heritage Centre in Queen Street, Skelmanthorpe. This small former weaver’s cottage is featured in the Skelmanthorpe Textile Heritage Centre section of our web-site. You may find further information at: https://fosthc.wixsite.com/skeltexheritage
Leslie Robinson also wrote a series of fascinating local history books, published by Denby Dale Parish Council, and these are described in the Books section of the web-site.
The Clayton West, Scissett,Old Skelmanthorpe, Old Denby Dale, Old Clayton West & High Hoyland, Other villages, Bagden Hall & Local Textile sections comprise selections of evocative historic photos & documents– all from the Leslie Robinson collection, as are the extensive photos and documents in Scissett at War covering both World Wars.
Included in the Skelmanthorpe section is the fascinating & meticulous Stanley Sheead’s Skelmanthorpe Textile History. Born in Skelmanthorpe in 1927, Stanley spent all his working life in the textile industry and is particularly knowledgeable regarding the history of his former employers, the Field family, one of the main driving forces behind the development of Skelmanthorpe. Stanley & the late Tom Wainwright for 35 years researched the history of the village. They formed the Skelmanthorpe Local History Society in 1987 - Stanley was also Chairman of the Huddersfield Local History Society for many years.
The Emley section features another wonderful collection, that of the late John Aspinall, covering Emley places, people, carnivals, sport, school, church and chapel etc; and also includes records of the Emley Consolidated Charities Ledgers between 1882 & 1920.
As well as textiles, our area has a long tradition of mining. The Local Coal Mines section has both fascinating photos and a link to a wonderful video of operations at Flack’s Drift Mine at Hay Royds Colliery, submitted by former owner David Flack.
The U3Asection gives a link to the website of Skelmanthorpe U3A Local History Group, formed in July 2017, whose website offers an increasingly impressive overview of our area’s history.
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