The name ‘Lindley’ is argued to be derived from either the Saxon word for a ‘meadow of flax’, or, the Germanic word for linden trees (Ancestry, 2013). What is certain is that this modern English village has ancient roots that date back prior to the Norman Conquest, and is old enough to have been recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book as Lilleia (Open Domesday, 2020).
Historically, unlike much of today’s Huddersfield boundaries, Lindley had not resided within the then de Lacy family controlled Honour of Pontefract, but their rival neighbours the Manor of Wakefield. A joint hamlet known as Lindley-cum-Quarmby, the villages’ holy allegiances were actually situated ‘on the good side’ in the Parish of Huddersfield (Pattern, 2020). A saving grace, I’m sure.
If you are approaching the village from the South, travelling up Acre Street on a summers day, it will not take a cunning eye to notice the dark historic buildings to the right of the road that are only overshadowed in their gloominess by the adjacent structure.
Across the road lies Huddersfield’s dated, drab-looking, yet life-saving hospital. Opened by Prime Minister Harold Wilson in 1967 and visited by Princess Diana in 1987 (Castle, 2017), this place has seen better days aesthetically. Still, given the nature of hospitals and the importance of this one and its amazing staff, I have nothing but love for this NHS establishment, regardless of its exterior.
You may choose to take a left down King Street heading towards what was the old Oakes Baptist Chapel and Sunday School, pass the buildings that hid the old mill ponds and take a right onto School Street West, the location for a long-gone boarding school. Here, as you loop around the site of the former Acre Mill and behind The Old Wire Works you continue on to Plover Road, turning right and heading towards the centre of Lindley from the east. In the autumn months, when our vicious winds have cleared the trees of leaves, you may notice the late Nineteenth-Century gothic style, St Stephen’s Church set back behind a wall on the corner of Plover Road and Acre Street. Perhaps a representation of the purity of lovely Lindley, perhaps.
Crossing over Acre Street and onto Daisy Lea Lane, look to your right as we enter the eastern side of the village. During the spring months, the lazy amongst us may wish to stop off at the Lindley Liberal Club, built in 1887/9, to hear a spot of truth-saying from the locals.
Carry on down Daisy Lea and take a left past the playing fields that homed the mighty AFC Lindley, 2012-13 Huddersfield and District Association Football League Division 4 champions.
Another left onto Holly Bank road heading back toward the village and you will pass the old site of Lindley Church of England school on your right and another place of truth on your left, The Lindley Conservative Club that was established in 1891. You may park up in the little car park on the right, where the villages Zion Methodist New Connexion Chapel used to sit from the 1860s to the 1960s (West Yorkshire Archive Service, 2011).
At this point you may wish to explore the trendy northern side of the village on foot, taking in the fine modern Lindley Tap Bar & Grill or the traditional pub, The Black Bull on its furthest edge. Butchers, florists and beauty boutiques grace this side of the village, and, for those greedy for a bit more history, there is still plenty to discover.
During the winter months, when the northern side of Lindley lights the festive Christmas lights, it might be a good time to marvel at the structure that is now Dress for Less.
Once the former Zion Sunday School, this 1880s construct was built out of the remains of the village’s original Methodist Chapel that had stood on Lidget Street since 1812-13 (West Yorkshire Archive Service, 2011).
Just across the road from this former Sunday School is another structure of interest, the old Mechanics Hall. Established in 1837, Lindley Institute, the company that operated in this hall, was once heralded as a place for equal educational opportunities for boys and girls (Walker, 2013). Now used as the local library for those interested in books, the Mechanics Hall was likely to have supported the workers of the now-demolished Temple Mill just down the road.
Before heading back south and stopping at the Lindley site I came to see, I’ll just point out my favourite part of the village. Simply called, Children’s Bookshop, this little treasure of a store is also my favourite bookshop in the whole of Huddersfield. Step inside and you will find thousands of little rectangular portals ready to transport you to wherever you choose, as well as some friendly staff.
Coming out of the bookshop, take a right and heading back south toward the centre of Lindley. Pass the No10 Bar, formerly the Fleece Inn, and past the historic Manor House Lindley on the left, which is now a hotel. In front, you will return to the crossroads by St Stephen’s Church.
There is much more history to discover while walking about Lindley. But here, at the centre of the former hamlet is a large symbol that not only represents the locals from an age gone by but also – in my opinion – goes a long way to contributing to the village’s modern-day status as a top area, Lindley Clock Tower.
Erected in 1902, this white stone marvel stands at an impressive one hundred feet high. Paid for by local mill owner James Sykes and designed by his nephew, famous architect Edgar Wood, this tower has a décor that is unrivalled by all others in Huddersfield. While much thought had certainly gone into the design of this pagoda-roofed tower, the cynical-minded among the locals believed that the large clock, with its four faces aiming out in each direction, was the mill owner’s subtle way of keeping his employees on time for work. Still, there is an engraving over the door that claims it is a gift to the people of Lindley (Minter & Minter, 2000).
Entering the wonderful wooden door below the splendidly cut statues you may notice a lengthy engraving pertaining to the significance of the tower, and time itself. A keen eye, knowledgeable about Lindley Clocktower, may have noticed some of the information in this engraved text scattered about this article. But, I’ll say no more and leave you to read the engraving and puzzle that one out. The protruding turrets bulging from the side of the tower’s exterior betray the spiral staircase that is inside. Ascending the stairs, you may be privy to the views from the slit windows about the novel shaped building, as well as some of the mechanics that keep this local reminder of the past ticking. If you are lucky enough to peer from the little balconies below each clock face, you will see many of the homes of the local folk that keep Lindley ticking.
For those visiting the splendid village of Lindley, there really are only two faces, the modern and the historical. While a lot of villages can argue the same, this trendy little spot does a unique job of marrying the past and present into a desirable place.
Ancestry. (2013). Lindley Family History. Ancestry.co.uk. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/name-origin?surname=lindley#:~:text=English%3A%20habitational%20name%20from%20either
Castle, G. (2017, December 12). Huddersfield Royal Infirmary over the years. YorkshireLive. https://www.examinerlive.co.uk/news/history/gallery/huddersfield-royal-infirmary-over-years-14027236
Minter, G., & Minter, E. (2000). Discovering Old Huddersfield Part Four. Huddersfield Local History Society.
Open Domesday. (2020). Lindley | Domesday Book. Opendomesday.org. https://opendomesday.org/place/SE1118/lindley/
Pattern, D. (2020). Lindley – Huddersfield Exposed: Exploring the History of the Huddersfield Area. Huddersfield.Exposed. https://huddersfield.exposed/wiki/Lindley
Turner, J. (2001). CHURCH OF ST STEPHEN, Kirklees – 1134994 | Historic England. Historicengland.org.uk. https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1134994
Walker, M. (2013). “The Yorkshire Union has grown to the most extensive educational confederation in the kingdom”: the growth and distribution of the Yorkshire Union of Mechanics’ Institutes, 1838–1890. The Australian Library Journal, 62(2), 125–139. https://doi.org/10.1080/00049670.2013.807487
West Yorkshire Archive Service. (2011). Lindley Zion Methodist New Connexion Church – Off the Record. Huddersfield.click. https://huddersfield.click/offtherecord/index.php/Lindley_Zion_Methodist_New_Connexion_Church