Page created 15 September 2001



Part 6.

BUILDINGS 1868-1871.



Connected with the Town Hall these 'landscape' features were advertised for tender in February 1868. The specification called for the ashlar and stone to be from the Summit and Todmorden quarries.


The rapid expansion which came to the town of Huddersfield after the arrival of the railway and the associated opening up of land for development, led the Ramsden family to re-examine the administrative arrangements for their estate. The estate office had for some time been located at the old family home, Longley Hall, which was used by the family only for visits, and those very few and far between. That location would at one time have had a certain convenience for it lay midway between the centres of the family's two main estates, Almondbury and Huddersfield. However, by the 1860s there is no doubt that the great bulk of the estate office work originated from the commercial and trading centre of Huddersfield: from new leases, setting out land, inspecting new works, liasing with the local authority. By contrast the much more rural Almondbury estate would require little more than the quarterly rent collections, the occasional tenancy succession or requests for new farm buildings. In these circumstances consideration was given to moving the estate operations into Huddersfield town centre.

The site chosen was an important one close to the station. A factor which contributed to the choice was the meanness of the buildings which then existed on the site and the narrowness of the road which the Estate planned to be an imposing link between the Cloth Hall and the railway station. As virtually the sole landlord of the town the Ramsden's were able to take broad views of how the town should be developed, and proceed to their objective without resistance. The incorporation of the Borough of Huddersfield in 1868, formalised planning control, but this was no hindrance to the Ramsden's who had early recognised that wide straight thoroughfares of attractive buildings, efficient drainage, good sewage facilities and service access, all united to attract trade and commerce and, most importantly, boost rental income.

Estate Buildings was something of a departure from the Ramsdens's normal practice in that it was to include letting accomodation as well as the suite for the estate office. The Builder described the works as:

  • A new block of buildings just completed for Sir John W Ramsden, Bart. In the central portion towards Railway Street are placed the Ramsden Estate Offices. The Westgate front over shops is wholly occupied by the Huddersfield Club, which, together with the central shop (converted into the club vestibule and entrance hall) is fitted up in an elaborate manner. The remainder of the building is used as offices and warehouses and the cost of the whole is about 35,000.
  • The advertisement for the letting of the building appeared in May 1868, payments to the clerk of works commenced on 4th September 1868 and by July 1869 a dinner was being held for the workmen involved in the erection of both Estate Buildings and St Andrew's Church, when between 300 and 400 were present. The estate cashier recorded that the new offices were opened without ceremony on 14th September 1870. At the end of 1870 Captain Graham was able to enthuse "nothing could be more successful than the [estate office] undertaking has proved."

    The Railway Street front boasts a series of sculpted armorials depicting the Ramsden family’s marriage alliances. The shields were the work of Messrs Farmer and Brindley. It is reputed that one of the sculptors employed on the building was dismissed for including in the decorative work a naked posterior. On the eastern elevation appear the Ramsden arms, their crest and the date 1869.

    The Huddersfield Club which was housed in the Westgate front of the building was a club newly founded, and very select with an entrance fee of twenty guineas and an annual subscription of five guineas. It was reported that all the furniture and fittings of the club "harmonise with the style of the architecture, and have been designed by William Henry Crossland esq., of London." Part of the once elegant entrance to the club survives with oak panelling, windows of painted glass and black and white tiled floor.

    Crossland received fees of 1,927, 5% of the tenders of 38,546 12s 9d, and expenses of 243 7s 9d. The additions over and above the tender price were, at just under 1,000, virtually 3% of the tenders, from which one would have said that Crossland kept a tight rein on the contractors.

    There were two clerks of work, as at St Andrew's Church, J Parsons to April 1870 and Richard Phillips from May 1870.

    Among the contractors were:  
    Masons Benjamin Graham, Huddersfield.
    Slaterer William Goodwin, Huddersfield.
    Joiner James Christie, Huddersfield.
    Plasterer D Tunnacliffe & Sons, Huddersfield.
    Painters Knight & Jackson, Huddersfield.
    Plumber & Glazier George Walsh & Sons, Halifax.
    Fire Proof Flooring Robert Dennett & Co., London.
    Iron Girders Pullin & Co.
    Tiles Minton & Co.
    Sculptors Messrs Farmer & Brindley.


    Tenders were invited for the work in June 1868, and the stone-laying took place in October of the same year. The church cost 12,000, provided 950 sittings and was described as one of the finest churches in the city. It was consecrated on 31st May 1871. The most part of it was destroyed as a result of enemy action in the second World War.


    Contemporary with St Mark's at Broomhall, it was much smaller, seating only 350. The first stone was laid in November 1868 and consecration took place on 21st December 1869. The principal contractor was Mr Chambers of Ripon.



    Advertisements for tenders for this pair of semi-detached villas appeared in August 1868 and the plans received building approval in January 1869. They were built for a local solicitor, Henry Barker, who was a member of the building committee of St Andrew's Church for which Crossland was also the architect. Barker lived at West Mount and his mother occupied Marshfield.

    A nice feature are the gate posts, those on Edgerton Grove Road supporting the original wooden gates.




    The building was put to tender in March 1869 with the stone-laying ceremony on 21st July following. The church, which provided 550 sittings at a cost of 4,167, was built of stone from the local Crosland Hill quarries. Initially the Clerk of Works was Mr Jonathan Parsons but he was subsequently succeeded by Mr Phillips. Consecration took place on 10th August 1880.

    The church is now used by the local Catholic community.


    The contractors were:  
    Masons Thomas and George Rhodes.
    Joiner William Roberts.
    Plumber Henry Garton, Huddersfield.
    Slaterer William Goodwin & Sons, Huddersfield.
    Plasterer William Kitching.
    Painter Mr Knight.
    Carving Mr Stevens, Dewsbury.
    Sculptor Thomas Earp, London.



    Very little is known of this project which was given some consideration by the Ramsden estate. It may have been little more than the floating of an idea, or it may have been shelved, and eventually forgotten or superceded, in view of the heavy estate expenditure on the Estate Building and the subsequent major improvement works in Westgate and Kirkgate.

    The only evidence which has been seen is a letter of 6th May 1869 from Crossland to R H Graham, the Huddersfield agent of the Ramsden Estate. The letter set out "probable costs" of "the proposed New Market at Huddersfield." The site lay at the bottom of the town on land surrounded by Kirkgate, Cross Church Street, King Street and Old Kirkgate, and it was proposed to develop it in four phases as various tenancies became available. The total probable cost was over 33,000.


    Built in connection with St Andrew's church, it was reported in July 1869 that they were to cost 1,323. They still stand but have been much altered and are now utilised as part of an adjoining chemical works.


    Begun in 1869, it cost 1,183.


    This building though still standing is not known as Byram Buildings, having been completely assimilated into the block called Byram Arcade. It was, however, erected before the arcade and stood for some time on its own. The name was taken from the Ramsden family's country house near Knottingley, West Yorkshire.

    In February 1870 Captain Graham wrote to Sir John Ramsden "I shall be glad to receive your sanction to my authorising Mr Crossland to get in tenders for the work." That letter is endorsed "proposed new building Westgate and Station Street." In May of the same year an advertisement called for tenders for "First portion of block of buildings, shops, offices and warehouses at Huddersfield for Sir J W Ramsden." It is clear therefor that it was seen from the start as part of a larger scheme. It seems likely that the reason why the project did not proceed at once as a whole was the question of relocation of, and compensation for, existing tenants of the site. Substantial sums had to be paid to tenants whose premises, erected at their own cost, were to be demolished. The compensation paid for the Westgate improvement scheme was 15,369 and for the Kirkgate scheme 27,635.

    Contracts were accepted in 1871 and the estimated cost, including architect's fees was 7,100. In the event the contract work actually cost over 9,400. Crossland received 416 and expenses of just under 100. The clerk of works was Richard Phillips who was paid for the period 13 May 1872 to 17th March 1874.

    The contractors were:  
    Mason B Graham, Huddersfield.
    Joiner James Christie, Huddersfield.
    Slaterer W Goodwin, Huddersfield.
    Plasterer D Tunnacliffe & Sons, Huddersfield.
    Plumber & Glazier George Walsh & Son, Halifax.
    Painter Knight & Jackson, Huddersfield.
    Ironfounder Henry Brook, Huddersfield.


    The restoration was originally planned in 1867 when Mr H Cockbain was the architect; his later replacement by Crossland may have been related to a difference of opinion regarding the heightening of the tower. The architect apparently insisted that it should be raised whilst the Vicar considered such action would despoil the proportions of the church. If that was the reason behind Cockbains departure the Vicar did not win the day for Crossland too recommended raising the height, and under his restoration the tower was rebuilt and carried up a further thirty feet. The commission no doubt went to Crossland as he happened to be working in the town at the time and had experience of church restoration.

    The "Specification of works to be done in rebuilding tower and partially restoring the Parish Church of St Chad at Rochdale" is dated December 1870. It called for stone from "the finest selected beds of the Todmorden quarries."

    The mason was John Chambers & Son of Bishop Monkton near Ripon, who had been the mason at St Thomas, Sutton, also under Crossland. The masonry cost 461 14s 6d; Earp & Co of London, who were also working on the Town Hall, received 121 14s 6d for carving, and Crossland's bill was for 86.

    The records preserved in connection with these works include a letter from Crossland's office written by his principal assistant, A J Taylor.


    The first sod was cut on 29th April 1871 and the stone-laying took place on 17th July 1871. The movement to erect the church had begun in 1869 but the population of the area was small and fairly poor, and funds were hard won. A subscription had been open some time before an anonymous donation of 1,000 made the project viable. Subsequently Sir John William Ramsden donated the site and 500. It is also recorded that Crossland furnished the plans and specification gratuitously.

    The church provided 410 sittings, cost about 3,000 and was consecrated on 12th October 1872.

    The Clerk of Works was Mr Phillips.

    The contractors were:  
    Masons Mallinson, Gledhill & Brammer, Lockwood, Huddersfield.
    Joiner Joseph Sunderland, Lockwood, Huddersfield.
    Slaterer W Goodwin & Sons, Huddersfield.
    Plasterer J Longbottom & Sons, Lockwood, Huddersfield.
    Painter George Rushworth, Lockwood, Huddersfield.
    Plumber Walsh & Co., Halifax.


    The sanatorium is a result of the munificence of Thomas Holloway, a manufacturer and purveyor of patent pills, potions and ointments. With no family of his own he decided to utilise some of his vast fortune in building a model sanatorium for the insane of the middle classes. The final cost to Holloway, including an endowment of 50,000 was some 350,000.

    The architects who responded to the invitation to submit designs for the asylum were Crossland, Salomon & Jones; Alfred Smith; T Roger Smith; R Phenie Spiers; John P Seddon; J S Quilter; T H Watson; E W Godwin, who submitted two designs; F & H Francis and T C Hine.

    Crossland, Salomon & Jones were awarded the first premium of 200; Alfred Smith the second premium of 100; all the others received 50 for their trouble, with the exception of Thomas C Hine, a Nottingham architect, who received only 25: possibly he had not actually been invited to submit a plan. The moneys were paid out in July 1872, and in the Autumn the plans were placed on exhibition in a Regent Street gallery.

    Work on the building had apparently begun by the Spring of 1873 when a clerk of works was appointed. Crossland received his first commission payment of 300 on 2nd March 1874. Once started Holloway was determined that building should go forward apace. When he decided on the use of Portland stone in place of ornamental bricks work was not allowed to stand, Crossland had to set aside all his carefully planned working and detail drawings, hurriedly drawing up alternatives as they were required by the masons.

    There would be a very large workforce on the site, it is recorded in connection with Holloway College that there were at times as many as 900 masons employed. The building accounts of the sanatorium include costs of advertising for masons, not only locally in Surrey and Berkshire, but as far afield as Birmingham and Manchester.

    By the time the institution was ready to admit patients new regulations had come into force and Crossland had to revise the internal arrangements to comply with the new safety regulations. Interior decoration was lavish: the great hall was decorated by J Moyr Smith of Putney at a cost of 400.

    A contemporary account of the sanatorium is of interest, it is probable that much of the content came from Crossland and Holloway: the latter must have been pleased with the report for he subsequently sent a monetary gift to the author.

  • On alighting at the Virginia Water Station of the London and South Western Railway the traveller becomes aware of a tall tower recalling to his mind the outline of the famous belfry tower of Ypres. In guide-books the magnificent tower of Les Halles in the old Flemish town which is said to have given its name to "diaper" fabrics, is comically referred to as "reminding one of the Victoria Tower, Westminster." As a matter of fact the Ypres tower is of very fine thirteenth-century work and has served as a model for many towers of later construction, including that of the Holloway Sanatorium. The chief difference between the latter and its prototype is that it is of red brick with stone dressing, while the ancient tower which looks down on the grave of Jansenius is of stone throughout. Built on the top of a slight eminence the Holloway Sanatorium, with its tower standing in pleasure grounds 22 acres in extent, is a conspicuous object in the richly-wooded country which inspired Sir John Denham with some of his finest verses. Commenced some seven years ago by Mr Thomas Holloway, the Sanatorium for Curable Cases of Mental Disease was originally intended by the founder as a gift to the nation, perfect and complete as it stood. Mr Holloway has resolved not only to make a gift of the building, but to invest an additional 50,000l. as an endowment, which will raise the cost of the whole foundation to 350,000l. The purpose for which it is designed is clearly defined by the founder to be the succour of persons of the middle-class afflicted with mental disease. In selecting this object he has been guided by the consideration that rich people so unfortunate as to suffer from mental disease need no monetary assistance; and the poor in a similar mental condition are already cared for in public asylums. Put broadly, the scope of the Holloway Sanatorium includes the doctor, lawyer, artist, clerk or any professional bread-winner whose work cannot, like an ordinary business, be carried on by deputy, and whose income ceases absolutely when he is unable to work. This definition has not been arrived at without due care and ample investigation. Mr George Martin, at the instance of Mr Holloway, and sometimes accompanying him, has visited the principal establishments for the cure of mental disease in Europe and America, and the opinion has been gradually formed that many curable cases among the middle class are allowed to become uncurable from lack of means or opportunity to secure proper treatment. Slight cerebal attacks, if dealt with promptly, may, it is well known, be cured, and a recurrence of them guarded against with considerable success, while if neglected they increase in frequency, until the patient becomes entirely incapacitated from pursuing his calling. It is simply as a curative institution that the handsome structure at Virginia Water has been founded, one of the conditions being that no patient will be allowed to remain more than twelve months. By this regulation it will be prevented from becoming an asylum and losing its more important character. It was, as already stated, originally intended to be an entirely self-supporting institution, but Mr Holloway has finally determined to help it with an endowment.

    The extremely handsome appearance of the exterior is amply borne out by the interior decorations and arrangement of the building, which when furnished will be ready at once to receive patients. Built of red brick, dressed with stone, in the style called indifferently Tudor or Early English Renaissance, the effect of the structure is highly creditable to the Architect, Mr W. H. Crossland, whose handsome town hall at Rochdale proves him a worthy pupil of Sir Gilbert Scott. The front elevation recalls in its general features some of the finer models of the Tudor period, such as Littlecote built before the stern dignity of the Gothic had quite yielded to the grace of the Renaissance. The interior decorations have been designed and executed by various hands, under the direction of Mr George Martin. With the exception of the massive grey marble top of the balustrade, the whole of the entrance hall and staircase is painted and gilt over the stone. This was an afterthought of kindness towards the persons for whom the building is intended, and four hundred of whom it is planned to accommodate. Cold grey columns and walls even if enlivened by sculpture, would, it is thought, sit heavily on a mind diseased, and it was resolved to make the principal apartments one blaze of gold and colour. The hall is accordingly lavishly decorated with figures and designs arabesque and grotesque, the latter displaying almost inexhaustible fertility of invention. If it be sound doctrine that surfaces of wood or stone should be gilt or painted, as the late Mr William Burges ARA., and some other authorities have more or less rigidly maintained, the rich decorations of the Holloway Sanatorium are correct enough. They are certainly gorgeous as well as cheerful and ingenious. The great lecture or recreation hall is remarkable for a splendid gilded roof, and for a profusion of gilding and other decorative work on the walls and behind the platform - the latter being very remarkable. Portraits of distinguished persons by Mr Giradot and other artists form part of the decoration scheme, and add interest to it. In the refectory also - a splendid apartment - the adornments consist of a series of paintings in the style of Watteau forming a frieze, above which are smaller groups in lunettes. Here the scheme of ornament, if hardly so coherent as in the hall, has the advantage aimed at throughout this unique building. Dominated by the idea that a cultivated person whose mind is affected will never be cured if surrounded by vulgar idiots or grim accessories, Mr Martin has endeavoured to introduce as many objects as possible to awake and stimulate the trained intelligence for the moment over-strained. In the smaller but still ample parlours and living rooms the same idea of cheerfulness and suggestiveness is carried out. It is endeavoured above all things to avoid leaving a dimmed intelligence opposite to a blank wall. All the internal arrangements are admirably planned as well for maintaining general health as for isolating special cases of disease, for providing that attendants shall live unobtrusively close to the patients confided to their charge and for conveying an idea of freedom combined with active surveillance. The kithcen is a wonder, and deserves a visit from all interested in the mystery of cooking food for five hundred or more persons at once. To make all complete there is a model laundry in an entirely separate building and pretty red brick houses have been built for such of the staff of the establishment as are not obliged to sleep in the main building. Just of late a change has been made in the original plan by which it was contemplated to use the immense and beautifully decorated hall as a place of worship; but Mr Holloway has decided on building a distinct chapel, the designs for which have been prepared by Mr Crossland. Thousands of shrubs and young trees already fill the pleasure grounds. Almost every known hardy variety is represented. Through those well-planted shrubberies winding walks conduct to pleasant points of view and back to an extensive terrace on which patients may sit or promenade, and enjoy the sunshine and pure air.

  • Crossland received commission of 7,620; it had been agreed at the start that he would charge no travelling expenses for himself or his staff. The first clerk of works was J P Featherstone who had been a tenant farmer under Holloway. He was appointed in April 1873 and resigned on 24th December 1876.

    Among the contractors were:  
    Masons Sharpington & Cole, London.
    Joiner W H Lascelles, Finsbury.
    Paving George Burfoot, Windsor.
    Lead Pontifex & Wood, London.
    Heating Wilson W Phipson.
    Landscaping J Gibson, Battersea.
    Furnishings J D Richards, London.

    Ancillary works included the gas works at a cost of 1,950, six cottages and a workshop, and the sewage works which were constructed by John Thompson of Peterborough at a cost of 1,500.

    The building, now much dilapidated, has fallen on hard times: its only use in recent times a location for filming. It has recently been sold and is expected to be converted to residential use.


    Isaac Hordern, the Ramsden estate cashier recorded that after the estate offices had been removed to Huddersfield it had been intended to connect the old offices, at Longley, to the Hall. Hordern, who fancied himself an architect, drew up plans which he relates were then sent to Crossland who enlarged upon them.

    Hordern had drawn up the plans for a barn and stables at Longley Hall in 1855 and modestly recorded "Mr Matthews, Sir William Tite's representative, spoke very well of them." He might not have spoken quite so well of them nowadays when large settlement cracks are evident!

    Tenders for the pulling down and alterations at the Hall, which commenced on 21st August 1871, were in the total of 2,169 7s 10d. Sir John Ramsden who visited Huddersfield only very occasionally appears to have been set on keeping the cost of the alterations as low as possible. Crossland's hand may perhaps be perceived behind some of the subsequent alterations, as when Graham recommended that dormers should be inserted in the attics in place of skylights "although it would increase the cost," or again when Graham wrote "The whole very plain. I directed the adding of a string course similar in character to a little there was in the old building and also label moulding over the windows."

    All the plans were passed to Sir John for final approval. He liked the cellar plans but added a particular request "take care there is plenty of room for me to walk down into the cellar without knocking my head." His response to the attic plans was that more would be an improvement. The Hall stands on an exposed hillside and natives will appreciate Sir John's requirement that the new house be made thoroughly warm. To that end the old walls which had been 30 inches thick were replaced with walls 21 inches thick with an additional inner brick wall. Crossland recommended that the roof be felted to keep the attics cool in summer and warm in winter. In 1872 B Verity & Sons of Covent Garden, London, gave in estimates for the provision of gasoliers: Sir John having been assured that there was no fear of gas leaks or smells wrote "Put them wherever you feel they are wanted except my own bedroom and dressing room."

    There was an attempt again by Graham to have Crossland's plans altered: he felt that a W.C. would be dark and unpleasant as designed. Sir John disagreed, having considered it with Crossland in London, and chose to keep it close to his dressing room.

    The final cost of the alteration was over 6,000, of which the contracted costs were 5,628. Crossland received 280 commission and 31 7s 0d travelling expenses. The cost may have included some terrace walling on which Crossland was consulted, they certainly included an eight foot wall on the right hand side of that part of the carriage drive immediately in front of the Hall, to screen some of the principal rooms. Richard Phillips was again the clerk of works.

    The contractors were:  
    Mason B Graham of Huddersfield.
    Joiner James Christie, Huddersfield.
    Slaterer W Goodwin & Sons, Huddersfield.
    Plasterer D Tunnacliffe & Sons, Huddersfield.
    Painters Knight & Jackson, Huddersfield.
    Plumbers Lidster & Armitage.
    Tiles Minton & Co.
    Carving T Earp, London.
    Gas Fittings B Verity & Son, London.

    William Henry Crossland

    Introduction & Huddersfield origins Training in London & practice in Halifax & Leeds Practice in London, travels & family Buildings: starts 1856-1863 Buildings: starts 1864-1867 Buildings: starts 1868-1871 Buildings: starts 1872-1888

    or return to Homepage.