Evening Walk Around Golcar

Huddersfield Civic Society members with Colne Valley Museum volunteer Ray Ellis. Photo by Chris Marsden

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Twenty-one Huddersfield Civic Society members and friends enjoyed a sunny evening walking tour around this historic village.

Guided by Betty Taylor and enthusiastic volunteers from various local organisations, the evening began at the Providence Methodist Church on Knowl Road.

This Grade 2 listed church opened in 1879 and has been adapted to meet current requirements and to improve heating and insulation while retaining the key architectural  and historical features including the gallery, stained glass windows and a magnificent Conacher organ installed in 1901 and still in full working order.

From here the group was led along part of the Golcar Ginnel Trail, the series of alleyways and passages that connected the weavers’ cottages on the hillside and allowed access to the woollen mills in the valley below.

The trail provides a clear insight to the development of the village, particularly in the early 19th century when the domestic weaving industry flourished on the upper floors of the cottages.

The next stop was St John’s Church, another distinctive landmark in the village. A ‘Waterloo’ church built after the Napoleonic wars from funds allocated by the government to build Anglican churches in areas of growing population. It was designed by Peter Atkinson and built by the renowned Joseph Kaye. Like the Providence Methodist, it has undergone adaptation and repair and is well maintained with some fine woodcarving, memorials and stained glass. We were joined by the vicar, the Rev Simon Crook, who shared interesting information about the church.

From here the group made their way to the Colne Valley Museum at Cliffe Ash, housed in a group of former weavers’ cottages. The museum is run by an extraordinary group of volunteers who not only organised a supper of pie and peas with the unexpected addition of home-made cake, but demonstrated the skills on the weaving loom and Spinning Jenny. They also revealed the building’s living quarters and reconstructed cloggers’ shop. The museum provides the perfect introduction to the area’s domestic weaving industry and I highly recommend it to all.

We would particularly like to thank Betty Taylor for the walk, Sue Starr from St John’s Church who had organised the whole evening with Sylvia Johnson, the group from Providence and everyone at Colne Valley Museum.