Hipperholme Urban District Council: 1894 - 1937

The first meeting of the Hipperholme U.D.C. was held on 2 January 1895 after it superseded the Local Board that had run affairs in Hipperholme, Lightcliffe and Bailiff Bridge since March 1869.  Initially the council met in the Congregational Church Sunday school, Leeds Road, but from 1899 they used the new council offices in Hipperholme.  Just over two years earlier councillors had met Newton Brooke regarding land and were soon in a position to appoint Frederick Joseph Walsh as architect, having accepted his plans and awarded him £10 as promised in the advertisement.  Walsh, a local man, whose work includes the old vicarage at Lightcliffe, George Street and Craig Royston on Bramley Lane was also offered 5% commission. The offices were officially opened on 3 August when a fine meal that included, appropriately, council pudding as one of the desserts, was enjoyed by councillors and the many invited guests.  The meal, we read, was followed by speeches that were ‘brimful of interest’.

The building included a council chamber, a committee room, a range of smaller rooms and a surveyor’s house.  The surveyor would have fulfilled a number of roles including responsibility for highways, street cleaning and lighting and refuse collection.

At the first meeting of the council the issues addressed included an influenza epidemic, rabies in dogs and the emptying of ashpits (privies) by Thomas Holgate, a local farmer.  The council’s last meeting was held on 24 March 1937 and it was then incorporated into the enlarged Borough of Brighouse.  One of the Council’s last decisions was to approve the building of twelve council houses, the first in the U.D.C., at Waverley Crescent (situated to the south of these houses at Glen Terrace).  At the final meeting councillors Holgate, Wood, Rowe, Naylor and Denham all drew attention to the history of the council and how it had all begun at the Whitehall Inn where they first met on 24 March, 68 years previously.  The building is still the property of the local authority and much of it is used as Hipperholme Library, which was officially opened on 27 October 1938.
                                                                                                       JMB
                                                                                                                                                 

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