In the early days in the village there was always support for the various political parties, the Liberals, the Conservatives and Labour. There were also many other organisations and associations which attracted members.The ones in this chapter are listed below as they appear.
1. Working Men’s Club.
2. Band of Hope Union.
3. Ratepayers Association.
4. Liberal Party.
5. Conservative Association.
6. Labour Party.
7. Women’s Unionist Association.
9. Men’s Fellowship.
10. Women’s Institute.
11. Civic Action Group.
12. Junior Imperial League.
13. Economic League.
14. Community Association.
The Working Men’s Club ( WMC ) was established in the village in 1874, and its main function was as a social club without any political connotations. For more details please read the chapter in this history on the WMC.
The Band of Hope Union was a Temperance organisation for working class children which was formed in 1847 by the Rev.Jabez Tunnicliff, a Baptist Minister in Leeds. Its objective was to teach children the importance and principles of sobriety and teetotalism. In 1855 a national organisation was formed and meetings were held in churches. The Movement grew to nearly three million by 1935 but, by the early 1950s, it had all but succumbed to changing habits and it transformed itself into Hope UK. In August 1915 an open-air summer campaign by the Holmfirth & District Band of Hope Union was held in Netherthong where Mr.Chas. Smith, secretary of the British Temperance League, delivered an address.
The most important people in the village were the Ratepayers and although they elected members to various Councils, there were instances where Ratepayer Power was needed. The first instance was in February 1866 when a number of Ratepayers in the Township of Netherthong, who were opposed to the projected road to Bridge Mill, wrote to the Chief Constable for him to call a Public Meeting. In compliance with the Requisition he called a Meeting to be held in the School on Wednesday , 21st. February at 7.30pm. A copy of the notice for the meeting is given below. I still have to find what the outcome of that meeting was but eventually the road was built and called New Road.
The Huddersfield Chronicle reported in February 1871 that a vestry meeting of the ratepayers had been held in the Parish Church for the purpose of making out a list of persons qualified to serve the office of parochial constables for the ensuing 12 months. The following persons were selected and put on the list for approval by the Magistrates – Jonas Mallinson, farmer and butcher of Netherthong. Edward Eastwood – whiskmaker of Hagg. James Turner – clothier of Greave and John Hinchliffe – farmer and cow jobber of Netherthong.
The Netherthong Ratepayers Association held a meeting in November 1913 in the Methodist schoolroom. Mr. Harry Mellor was in the chair and local councilors, County councilors and many women householders attended. The meeting was about the education rate and the wish of Wooldale, Scholes and Cartworth that there should be a uniform rate for the whole of the Holmfirth education area. Cllr. Hinchliffe moved that the meeting protest against any extra education rate on Netherthong and this was carried. After further discussions the meeting decided to ask for repairs to Moor Lane and that the houses in Netherthong to be numbered. It was also approved that women ratepayers be admitted to free membership of the Association.
I found a reference that a Liberal Club was started in the village in 1880 but the first report in the local paper was of a Liberal meeting held in October 1887 in the Methodist Free Church school to elect members to the Holmfirth Division and to the local District Council. Ramsden Mallinson, George Dearnley and Ben Eastwood were elected for the Division and Joe Lancaster, Jonas Hobson and John Hobson for the local Council. The next report was of a campaign meeting in January 1888. However I have since come across an earlier report in the Huddersfield Examiner for 1885 which said that the Liberals had had a very successful field day in January. It had consisted of a substantial knife and fork tea with an attendance of just over 200, which was followed by a ball when both young and old enjoyed themselves singing and dancing until 11pm. The sum of £8 9s was handed to the treasurer in aid of furnishing for the new room.
In February 1890, a lecture entitled “ The land questions from the standpoint of Lloyd George “ was given to the Netherthong Liberal Club by Edmund Crosland. Another reference I found was of a Liberal Association in 1891 which was located at No. 11 Outlane which was named Whig Cottage. There was also a report of them buying property in Giles Street.
In March 1908 there was a Liberal meeting at the United Methodist Church with Mr.B.Dyson presiding. He said that the Conservatives and Labour had held a number of meetings in the village and this was the first Liberal meeting since the General Election.
The first reference was in the Huddersfield Examiner for April 1887 when it reported that J.H.Turner and John Wilson of the Netherthong Conservative Association were elected to be the representatives on the Central Council of the Division for the Holmfirth Conservative Association. The next report was in December 1888 when a lecture, under the auspices of the Association, was given at the Clothier’s Arms by F.Turner of New Mill. It was entitled “ The political career of Mr.Gladstone “
In November 1907 about 20 members of the Conservative & Unionist Association had an outing to Clayton West at the invitation of their Conservative Association. They had a great tea, followed by a tour round the village and finished off with songs and talks. In March 1908 it was the turn of Clayton West Conservatives to visit Netherthong, and the meeting was held in the Clothier’s Arms. There was a lecture on “ Land Agriculture and the Land Laws” which provoked lots of discussion.
The Netherthong Conservative & Unionist Association held a meeting in the National School in September 1908 and Dr.Eastham, the party’s prospective candidate for Holmfirth, was the principal speaker. In December they held their 2nd. annual tea, concert and meeting at the National School and about 120 partook of a sandwich lunch. Captain Boyd-Carpenter, the prospective candidate for Colne Valley, was present and the president of the association, E.G.Floyd, was in the chair. It was reported to have been a very long meeting with lots of discussion.
The Conservative Association organised a very successful smoking concert in February 1909 in the National School and December of the same year was the occasion of their annual tea and concert when 200 supporters attended. The superb concert was rated as one of the best in the school for a long time. Mr.T.Wood introduced Mr.G.Ellis ,their prospective candidate. The next reference was not until December 1927 when they held a very successful whist-drive and dance with music by Harold Preston’s band.
In November 1930 the Church School was well filled for a Conservative meeting followed by a whist-drive which was the opening event of the local branch of the Colne Valley Association for the winter season. Much discussion was given to the “failings ” as a result of the 18 months of Socialist Government. Mr. Harry Horncastle was the MC for the whist and the secretarial duties were performed by Mrs.T.Wilson. The following year they organised another well attended whist drive. A speech was given by Mr. R.Steele, who was introduced by the chairman, Mr.C.S.Floyd. Music was by the aptly named Imperial Dance Orchestra.
The next recorded meeting of the Association was in October 1933 with Mr.R.Ricketts presiding and members listened to a talk on the History of Conservatism. The following week they organised a whist- drive, supper and dance in the Church school with music by the Imperial Dance Band.
An Independent Labour Party ( ILP ) meeting was held in Netherthong in June 1907. John Penny was the speaker and Comrade George Castle presided over a very large meeting. The only other report was in May 1955 when Mr.Glenville Hall, the Labour candidate for the Colne Valley Division, spoke at Netherthong and among the items he discussed were guaranteed prices to farmers, exporting difficulties, education and the standard of living.
Women’s Unionist Association.
The Netherthong branch of the Holmfirth & District Womens’ Unionist Association held their first meeting after inauguration in November 1912 in the Church School – it consisted of a whist- drive, supper and dance. There was a large attendance and Miss M.Buchanan was the secretary. The following year they held their second annual social in the Church schoolroom when 166 sat down to eat and the entertainment was a whist-drive and dance.
In May 1914 they held an open-air meeting in Netherthong to discuss Home Rule and housing, and the following month, 25 members had their first social outing and went to Harrogate and Knaresborough, conveyed in a luxurious char-a-banc.
A whist- drive and dance was promoted in October 1926 and held in the National School. After the whist, agents of the Colne Valley Unionist Association addressed the gathering and hoped that members would continue their efforts to send a Conservative to represent the Colne Valley Division at Parliament. Dancing to the music of Harold Preston’s Band followed supper.
They held a gypsy ball in January 1931 which took the form of a whist-drive,supper and dance promoted by Mrs.T.Wilson and held in the National School. The music was played by the Philharmonic Five Dance Orchestra.
The first sentence of this section refers to the Netherthong branch of the Holmfirth District Womens’ Unionist Association, but in the Express report for February 1931 ,they were referred to as the Netherthong branch of the Colne Valley Womens’ Unionist Association. ? It reported that the Association had held another of their monthly whist- drives as well as their AGM. Mrs. Thomas Turner of South View, Mrs. Thomas Wilson of West End and Miss H.Floyd of Roseleigh were re-elected. The new committee members were Mrs.Wimpenny, Miss Saunderson ,Mrs.Chambers, Mrs.Jim Mallinson, Mrs.Goddard, Mrs. Richardson, Miss E.Brook, Miss M.Eastwood, Miss Davies and Mrs.E.Dyson. Mrs.Davies of Manor House and Mrs.Hampshire of Deanhouse were elected as delegates. To add further confusion, the Express reported in April that the Women Unionists and Empire League had held a whist- drive, supper and dance with music by the Imperial Dance Band.
Mr. P.N.Ricketts of Netherthong was one of the speakers at a public meeting held on February 1938 at Victoria Street, Huddersfield under the auspices of the British Union of Fascists.
At an inaugural meeting in September 1954, it was agreed to form a Men’s Fellowship in the village. It would be non-political and non- denominational and membership would be available to any man living in the township. The meeting was well attended and the Rev.S.Black was in the chair. The following officials were elected . Chairman – Mr.W.Wood ( a solicitor in Holmfirth ). Vice – chairman – Mr. Stangroom ( administrator of Deanhouse Hospital ) . Treasure – Mr.W.Lax ( worked at Midland Bank). General Secretary – H.Webb ( Headmaster of the local school ). Programme Secretary – Rev. S.Black. A committee was also formed. The intention was to hold monthly meetings during the winter season.
In August 1962 ,at a meeting in the Day School, a Women’s Institute for the village was formally inaugurated by two voluntary County Organisers for the Yorkshire Federation of Women’s Institutes. It was in fact the 624th. Institute to be formed in Yorkshire. Miss J.Grainger of Wilshaw was in the chair and 83 members were enrolled and the following officers were elected by ballot. Mrs. A.Stangroom – President. Vice-presidents – Mrs.R.Stephenson and Mrs.E.Mosley. The secretary was Mrs.W.Wood with Mrs.W.Lax as treasurer. Committee members were Mrs.D.Binstead, Miss S.Brook, Miss E.Dickenson, Mrs.A.Fallas, Mrs.A.Swallow and Mrs.R.Whittaker. The WI played an important role in village life and I have given it its own chapter.
Civic Action Group
At a meeting of a group of villagers in March 1975 it was unanimously decided to set up a Netherthong Civic Action group and various officers and members of the executive committee were elected. At the meeting, held in Westfield House, it was stated that one of the main reasons for creating such a group was because of the concern felt by most of the residents of the village about the amount of development. It appeared that there was a plan approved for 70 bungalow type dwellings and it was understood that a further 80 houses were being contemplated and 24 acres of land was earmarked for residential developement bringing the total to over 400 houses. The Group felt that the influx of such a large proportion of residential property would completely wipe out the existing village. The action proposed by the Action Group was to send a letter to the Department of the Environment with a copy to Kirkless Council, Kirklees Civic Society and the Civic Trust for the North West.
At a meeting of the committee held in October the main topic was the tidying up of the village. Targets included the surrounds to the well at Wells Green and the footpath from Deanbrook Road to Deanhouse Chapel. They were also being active in seeking information about a possible weight restriction being imposed on vehicles passing through the village. They pledged their full support to the efforts of the steering committee set up to investigate the possibility of having a village hall.
Junior Imperial League
The National Junior Imperial League was formed in 1906 with the objectives to encourage practical political work and organisation among young people. They were set up in each Parliamentary Division.
The first social and dance of the newly formed Netherthong branch of the Colne Valley Junior Imperial League was held in January 1931. Miss Thelma Sykes the divisional vice – chairman referred to the great growth of the League throughout the Colne Valley. The music was provided by Oswald Collins.
At their monthly meeting in May, Mr.Gooch was the speaker. He said the Socialist Party had no Empire policy and they were a heartless fraud on the people of the country. He finished his talk by saying that the whole country was languishing for Conservatism. The first half- yearly meeting was held in the National School when Mr.R.Garside gave an address titled ” Present day politics. Why we need a Conservative Government”.
At the meeting in November with Norman Hampshire in the chair, Mr.Ricketts, the secretary, announced that Col. Lascelles had consented to open their forthcoming Christmas Fayre. No report of the Fayre appeared in the paper.
The annual meeting was held in January 1932 and Captain Apperley , president of the Colne Valley Junior Imperial League, gave an address and traced the history of the JIL throughout the country and the Colne Valley and the great strides it had made during the past five years. The following officers were elected for the ensuing year. Chairman – Mr.C.S.Floyd, Treasurer – F.Butterworth, Secretary – R.Ricketts, magazine editor – Miss Ricketts. A further six members were voted onto the committee. A few months later they held a successful dance in the National school to celebrate the winning of the Baldwin Cup. Music was by the Roses Band. They held a Recruiting Ball combined with a fancy-dress competition in October with music by The Majestic Dance Orchestra. Earlier that month many of their members attended a meeting of the Netherthong Unionist Party.
The monthly meeting in December 1932 was addressed by Mr.D.Graham on the subject of ” The Crisis, the Election and Afterthoughts”. Mr.N.Hampshire presided and F.Butterworth reported a handsome profit on the recent Christmas Fayre. They organised a ‘cinema’ entertainment in the Wesleyan school in December 1936 and the films were shown by Mr.Preston of Honley to a packed room. They were ‘ The White Hell of Pitz Palu’ and ‘Across Alaska’ and were followed by a Mickey Mouse cartoon ‘ The Haunted Hours ‘ with the ‘Pathes Gazette’ finishing off the evening.
This is the first and only reference that I have found about this League.
In December 1930 there was a large attendance at a whist- drive and rally that the League organised in the Church School. Mr.Walter Brookbank was the main speaker and Mr.Butterworth presided.
Over £800 was raised in December 1986 from a Grand Christmas Draw organised by Netherthong Community Association which was raising money to provide a Community Centre. The winner of the draw was June Edinboro, who won a video recorder and the presentation was made at a family Christmas disco held in the schoolrooms. The Association plan to build the centre next to the school and they have raised about £3,000 and need £100,000 to build it.