Looking Down on Holmfirth

 By Ian Goddard, Holmfirth Local History Group

Looking down, not locking down. Here are several pictures of various ages looking down on Holmfirth. The first two seem to have been taken from the Church tower. To see more detail right click on an image, select View image and use your browser’s zoom control.

This is the older one. The building in the lower right with the pyramidal roof is Kayes. Immediately to the right of it are the roofs of buildings such as the Jolly Hatters backing onto the river and narrowing the entrance to Towngate.


This picture was taken from a slightly different angle and Kayes is not visible but the sweeping footpath on the corner between Victoria Street and Towngate can be seen. This only came into existence when the Jolly Hatters and other buildings were demolished to widen Towngate in the 1920s. Compare with the Victoria Square and Towngate pages.

Both these pictures show the Victorian Gothic shops built over the river and the adjacent building on the corner of Victoria Square and Hollowgate which were swept away by the 1944 flood. In the distance Greenfield Rd can be seen running to the top left. Upperthong Lane is less obvious to the right of it but the tower of St John’s can be seen.


This picture must have been taken from the steep hillside above Rotcher. The back of the buildings on the west side of Victoria Street occupy much of the right hand side and the foreground consists of the buildings lining Hollowgate. To the left what is now the Library faces a building resembling that holding WM Sykes and the solicitors but which is now the site of the entrance into the car park. Part of the Free Methodist chapel that became Baddeley’s garage, presently the site of the Market Hall, is visible on the left hand edge.

The next three pictures were taken from Cliff.


This appears to be the oldest. Note the Wesleyan chapel in the lower right and, to the left of it, a mill chimney. This was the chimney of Holmfirth Mill. It would have been near the site of the present day Post Office or the sorting office behind it.


This is later shown by the greater tree growth. Older photographs of our area seem vary bare of trees compared to the later ones and to the present day.

The viewpoint is much further away, the Wesleyan Chapel is now closer to the centre of the picture.


This seems to be from much the same viewpoint as the previous photograph. The Holmfirth Mill chimney has gone. It was taken in the early 1950s and includes not only the first of the full-size TV masts on Holme Moss but also the shorter mast which was demolished later in the 1950s. This can be seen faintly to the right of the main mast.

Documentation on the little mast has not been found. Was it for test transmissions, construction site communication or use by the standby transmitter? It can be seen in some shots in the BBC report linked on this page but seems to be absent in the video from 10 years later linked on this site. (Holmfirth Local History Group is not responsible for the content of external sites.) If you know more about it please let us know on our Contacts page.


The viewpoint of this image is somewhere on the steep slope above Binns Lane, more or less opposite Park View.

The houses in the lower left corner are those at the top of Cooper Lane. This is an image hand-coloured by someone unfamiliar with the view and has treated roofs as if they were covered in pan-tiles. The Church tower can be seen in the middle of the picture but there appears to be a building with a red roof some distance in front of it. This is an illusion of the colouring and it is, in fact, the nave of the Church. To the left of it are the building occupied by Age UK and the building next door, empty at time of writing and formerly occupied by Almonds. Above these are the buildings on Daisy Lane and behind those the buildings on Bunkers Hill. Further up still, separated by a patch of green, are the three Gothic-styled cottages which featured in the early series of Last of the Summer Wine. The chimney above the fore-ground cottages is that of Holmfirth Mill commented above and just to the right of it is Bamforths. Dunford Road runs away towards the top right.

The gable of the Church is partly obscured by a further range of buildings, the Jolly Hatters, etc. backing onto the river whose roofs were mentioned in relation to the first picture. It dates this image to be prior to the widening of Towngate in the 1920s. To the right of these buildings is Victoria Square and below that we can see down the length of Victoria Street. As with the first image, note the relative lack of tree growth.