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Haunted Huddersfield by Kai Roberts
Growing up around the Lancashire/Yorkshire border I was never too far away from Huddersfield and the Holme Valley so I was particularly keen to read this book in the Haunted series, on Huddersfield and the local area.
From apparitions and ancient spirits to poltergeists and phantom dogs, gruesome murders to tragic deaths, this book by Kai Roberts delves into the darker side of this old industrial town and shows us that within the magnificent old buildings there lurks a haunted heritage to be proud of!
The book follows the same format as most in this series, focusing on the central town in one chapter and then the surrounding area in separate chapters. As the author grew up in Brighouse, not far from Huddersfield he's been able to collect stories and tales over time, and with an interest in the paranormal he is able to produce a good book that fits well with the series.
Within the town itself Kai features accounts that range from the ghostly porter seen at the train station which is blamed for various poltergeist activity. Unexplained footsteps have been reported at The Grand Picture Theatre over a number of years although nothing has been found to explain the noise. The once grand Cloth Hall, which no longer remains was reputed to be haunted by several ghosts, including a suicide victim, I'm intrigued by the account of Old Mike, and his spirit that was such a nuisance it lead to the vicar of Huddersfield commissioning an exorcism to take place.
The Beaumont family are long associated with the Huddersfield area, and Kai features the account of the ghost of Sir Richard Beaumont, also known as Black Dick, who is one of the most notorious phantoms in the area. His bloodied hand was supposedly bricked up at Whitley Hall.
Nearby the Iron Age hillfort, Castle Hill is thought to be the lair of a dragon, guarding treasure (having just watched the Hobbit, I'm tempted to rename the hill as Erebor!) Kai also talks about Castle Hill having a Devil legend associated with it and a phantom black dog.
Huddersfield is well known for the Luddite rebellion which Kai mentions, Milnsbridge House is reputed to be haunted by a local magistrate who sentenced many to death. Being a mill town it's inevitable that there will be hauntings and ghostly sightings from the numerous tragic deaths that happened over time, Kai features Atkinson's Mill where a number of children died in a terrible fire. Their bodies were taken to a nearby pub cellar which acted as an impromptu mortuary which has since been associated with paranormal activity including poltergeists and a young girl wondering around the upper rooms.
Within the local area are the Standedge Tunnels, running from Huddersfield through to Diggle. A famous tourist attraction now and an incredible feat of engineering it is unfortunately the site of a gruesome discovery of a young murdered girl whose body was found in in 1836 and who may haunt one of the tunnels. Kai goes on to talk about the railway tunnel at Standedge which also has various unexplained phenomena attached to it
I can't finish the review without a quick mention of the Sovereign Inn at Shepley which Kai features in chapter 5. As it's my brother-in-law's local pub and reputed to be haunted by two ghosts I think I'll be popping in there for a drink next time I visit him!
I've enjoyed reading Haunted Huddersfield. To sum up, the book contains up-to-date accounts supported with photographs throughout, it's easy to read, well written and informative on the local area. Kai Roberts keeps his opinions open, presents the facts of the cases and allows for readers to judge the accounts for themselves which is an approach I prefer to see in these books. Sources are also credited at the end if you want to investigate further.
Paperback: 96 pages
Publisher: The History Press Ltd
Product Dimensions: 23 x 16.4 x 1 cm