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Sunday, 13 May 2012

Early Civil Registration - the Huddersfield registrars

In my last post I mentioned a letter from an aspiring candidate, hoping to be appointed registrar of births and deaths for Holmfirth. At the time I had only looked at the first page of the letter, so I didn't know the man's name, and whether or not he was appointed. Well, the wait is over, and I can report that the man in question was Richard Harrison, a grocer - registrars often combined registration duties with their existing occupations, which in his case was that of grocer. He had previously written to the Guardians offering his services in June 1837.

There is a great deal of correspondence in the file (Ref MH 12/15063 - Poor Law Union Correspondence: Huddersfield 1834-1837) including several letters regarding registrars' appointments. Quite a number of people were keen to become registrars, especially for the sub-district of Huddersfield itself. The file contained some letters from the applicants themselves, and many testimonials with long lists of signatures from local residents in support of the candidates. Richard Harrison had written his first application in June 1837, but the Guardians had refused to elect a clerk at their meetings in June and September so may have thought that a reminder was in order when he wrote for a second time in November.

The four men who competed for the Huddersfield registrarship were Joseph Battye, parish clerk, William Reed, linen-draper, Thomas Pitt (occupation unknown) and the successful candidate William Bradley, auctioneer. William Bradley and Richard Harrison were also appointed as the two registrars of marriages for the whole of Huddersfield registration district.

There were nine other sub-districts in Huddersfield, and when the Guardians finally appointed registrars of births and deaths, the following men were the successful candidates:

Almondbury - Joseph Dean, master of the poorhouse
Kirkheaton - George S Dyson, schoolmaster
Kirkburton - James Binns, clothier
New Mill - John Ibberson, wool weaver and spinner
Honley - Charles James Lancaster, relieving officer
Meltham - Joseph Taylor, clothier
Lockwood - Rev Francis William Dyer
Slaithwaite - John Roberts, surgeon
Golcar- John Wilkinson, clothier


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