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9 Reasons We Should All Pack Up And Move to Huddersfield

The bad news first: in a study compiled last year, Huddersfield was named one of the ten worst place to live in the UK. In this clickbait research, it sat languishing among the usual suspects (no offence): Grimsby, Blackpool, Rochdale.

Well, here’s the good news: such nonsense negativity just makes this Yorkshire utopia a more special secret for those in the know. Because, on the contrary, Huddersfield is a giant of a town and well worth relocating to.

1. It Makes The World’s Biggest Pie

denby-dale-pie

(Image credit: Unknown)

Photograph: Huddersfield Exposed (opens in new tab) via Flickr (opens in new tab) (Public Domain (opens in new tab))

If you’re going to leave the big city – the bright lights and late nights, the hustle and bustle, the idea that if you’re tired of this you’re tired of life – you need a pretty good reason. How about the world’s biggest pie? Every generation or so, the nearby village of Denby Dale cooks up the planet’s most ginormous meat-and-potato. This feat of savoury magnificence is transported – via a couple of lorries – to a farmer’s field where it’s cut open and fed to the thousands who turn up for a taste. London what now?

2. The Architecture Is Stunning

If Manchester was once known as Cottonopolis, Huddersfield could have been Textile City. Woollen and cloth goods made in almost 300 mills here were once exported around the world, turning the town into one of England’s richest and giving rise to the legend that at one time there were more Rolls-Royce owners in Huddersfield than any other place in the UK.

Today, that legacy can be seen in the sheer beauty of the Victorian architecture with around 3,000 listed buildings. Many of those mills have become plush apartments and bars, while the railway station – built as the ultimate symbol of the town’s wealth – still retains what the poet John Betjeman called “the finest façade of any such building in the country”.

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(Image credit: Unknown)

Photograph: James Cridland (opens in new tab) via Flickr (opens in new tab) (Creative Commons (opens in new tab))

3. It’s Well Connected

There’s a joke among Bradfordians that the best thing to come out of Huddersfield is the train tracks. A nonsense, of course, but it’s true that it’s easy to escape the charms of Huddersfield for the day. Huddersfield sits just 15 minutes down the line from Leeds, 30 minutes from Manchester and a little over an hour from Sheffield. Put simply, you can reach three of Europe’s great cities in less time than it takes to cross London.

4. Our Shard Is Bigger Than Your Shard

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Think Huddersfield and you don’t necessarily think sky-scraping super-towers. You should. This is the home of the UK’s tallest freestanding structure (and 23rd tallest tower on the planet), Emley Moor Mast – a TV transmitting station that rises more than 330m into the air. It’s a brutal, beautiful skyline shard that glows red by night and is a much-loved symbol of home to locals. If you ever get the chance to visit the top, consider this: if you’re looking eastwards, the next person stood as high as you will be in the Russian Urals.

5. Liberal Minded? You’ll Fit Right In

Huddersfield is the kind of town where being fair and open-minded comes as standard. Don’t believe us? Just look at the statue that takes pride of place in St George’s Square. That’s Harold Wilson, son of the town and one of Britain’s great Labour prime ministers. During his eight years in office in the 1960s and ’70s homosexuality was legalised, capital punishment abolished and education massively expanded. Oh, and he also held a referendum on the UK being in the EU – and won it.

6. We Deserve A Fair Play Award

Here’s a quick sporting history lesson: in 1892 rugby was a game that didn’t really want the working-class lads involved. Clubs in the north were told they weren’t allowed to compensate players who had to miss work for games. Players, the assertion went, should do as they did down south and fund themselves. The solution? Twenty-two clubs met at the George Hotel in Huddersfield and broke off from the toffs. They established rugby league as a separate sport, made it professional and paid their boys to play. Rugby union eventually saw sense and did the same, but it took a whole century.

7. It’s Brewing Heaven

In this day and age when it seems every chancer who ever had a pint is mixing some slop in their bath and calling themselves a boutique microbrewery, it’s not uncommon for towns to crow about their real ale and craft beer scenes. Well, forgive us, but Huddersfield can crow with the best of them.

There are 19 breweries here – thought to be more per head than anywhere else in the country – and more boozers than you can shake an unsteady stick at. Particularly worth sampling is the exquisite work of Magic Rock, Mallinsons and Linfit. Not a drop of slop in sight.

8. It’s Out Of This World

When a man like Jean-Luc Picard, captain of the Starship Enterprise, likes your town, you know it’s, um, out of this world? Patrick Stewart, the legendary thesp who played the galactic explorer in Star Trek: The Next Generation, is from neighbouring Mirfield but his heart and footballing allegiances lie in Huddersfield. Among the local roles he’s taken on over the years are chancellor of the university and president of Huddersfield Town FC Academy.

Oh, and if one globally-popular fantasy character isn’t enough, we’ll take credit for Cersei Lannister too. Lena Headey, who plays the character Donald Trump probably refers to as “that nasty woman” in Game Of Thrones, grew up here.

9. Small Town Feel, Big City Vibes

Actually, Huddersfield isn’t all that small. With 163,000 people living here it’s the 11th biggest town in the UK and that means there’s plenty to do. Deep breath: the Lawrence Batley Theatre (opens in new tab) offers nightly drama, dance and comedy in what was once the world’s largest Wesleyan Chapel; the global food scene runs from Lebanese (Med-One (opens in new tab)) to Brazilian (Botafogo (opens in new tab)); the annual Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (opens in new tab) is the UK’s largest experimental music celebration; and shopping ranges from the high-street chains of the ever-expanding Kingsgate Centre to the boutique and vintage outlets of Byram Arcade (opens in new tab). The best thing? All these are within walking distance of each other.

Colin Drury was born and raised in Huddersfield. He has eaten a slice of the Denby Dale Pie.

Colin Drury

Colin Drury is a journalist who has written for The Independent (opens in new tab), The Guardian (opens in new tab) and Vice (opens in new tab), among others.