There is now a brand new page available to ALL members of the public to join. This new page replaces the former page which had not been updated for quite some time. All news updates and any other news Batley & Birstall related will be posted regularly. All you need to do is type in Batley History Group (Public group page) and request to join and we will be glad to add you as a member. From here you can ask anything you like and we will do our utmost to answer your queries.

Final touches are being added to what will hopefully be the first of the four planned be put into place by the history group.

Committee member Peter Connor has overseen this project for a number of months and has finally been allowed to demonstrate where the plaque will be on display.

The photograph shows where members of the public will be able to read the plaque, which should arrive in its completed form very soon.

Other historic buildings awaiting plaques are the Town Hall, Library and Taylor’s Mill on Blakeridge Lane.

The final meeting of 2016 was an absolute delight as Barnsley lad (with links to Batley!) Alan treat members to a variety of ways in which to make us laugh heartily.

From misbehaving animals to hilarious doctor’s notes, Alan had everyone in the palm of his hand. So much so that his talk was extended to the maximum allocated time allowed.

Another wonderful, insightful talk was given by Cyril Pearce at the July meeting on the subject of Conscientious Objectors of Word War I.

Cyril held a well-attended audience captivated as he explained that there were almost 20,000 objectors nationwide with some 120 coming from the West Riding area of Yorkshire.

Concentrating on Huddersfield in particular, the roles or religion and politics went some way to explain, in great depth and detail, for the reasons that men in the area chose to be objectors.

Further tales of imprisonment and the national reaction to how objectors were viewed were also a part of this fascinating insight into this alternative history to the First World War.

We would like to thank Cyril for a wonderfully entertaining evening and Malcolm hoped he would return to follow up on this fascinating story at a later date.

Wow! What en evening we had at the latest History Group meeting where the guest speaker was none other than Batley’s own Sammy King!

Renowned for penning the worldwide smash ‘Penny Arcade’ Sammy delighted in regaling tales of his childhood growing up in Batley Carr.

His early footballing escapades were particularly amusing, especially the poor lad that played in his Grandmother’s draw string bloomers and the lad that ended up scoring a goal barefoot as his Wellies had got stuck in the mud!

Sammy went on to talk us through his long and illustrious career, taking in his long-standing association with the likes of Roy Orbison and the Batley Variety Club.

He later spoke of his pride at reaching the Top 30 in the singles chart recently at the young age of 69 when Penny Arcade was released as a charity single via none other than Rangers Football Club.

His pride was also evident when he spoke of his charity work, especially the one he is currently associated with up there in Erskine, Scotland.

It was also Sammy and his lovely wife Linda’s wedding anniversary so we would like to wish them both all the very best and thank Sammy for treating us to such a wonderfully warm, humour-filled evening.

After consulting members of Batley History Group concrete plans are now in place for the installation of brand new commemorative blue plaques to be introduced.

Thus far there are four new plaques at the development stage. These are: THE ZION CONNEXIONS CHAPEL, THE TOWN HALL, BATLEY LIBRARY and TAYLOR’S MILL.

Designs are currently being undertaken by committee member Peter Connor and hopefully these new plaques will appear in the very near future.

It is also hoped that, funds allowing, more blue plaques can be introduced on an annual basis.

The new plaques will feature the Batley History Group name upon them.

Batley History Group members enjoyed another brilliant day out in the very heart of Westminster itself!

Taking in the delights of the Jewel Tower, which was used not only to pioneer the use of weights and measures over the centuries but the private jewel collection of King Edward III.

Later in the day we were treat to a guided tour around Westminster Palace and witnessed numerous stunning works of art, as well as a vast number of statues. This is exactly what history is all about!

We also got to visit both Houses of Parliament and were given a surprise visit by our very own MP Jo Cox! She said she could not have sixty or more of her constituents there without coming to say hello to us all!

Huge thanks go to committee member Val Mitchell for her brilliant efforts in making this visit a resounding success.

Batley History Group Chairman and Founder, Malcolm Haigh was awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queens Birthday Honours for services to the community in Batley.

Malcolm has done so much good to raise the profile of the town over many years and his reward is richly deserved.

Many of us have witnessed his dedication and commitment to his community and he is an example to us all!

Work has begun on the renovation of the ‘Welcome to Batley’ signs. The first of which is the one approaching Oakwell Hall Country Park as you approach from Gomersal. It is thanks to PPG, as well as our committee member Kevin McQuinn that the ball is now rolling with this long-term project.

PPG have allocated the funding to oversee that definitely five, maybe six of these signs will be done this year and the same has been allocated for next year.

We hope this gives everyone a nice, warm welcome as they approach our town!

Jill Clapham treated members at the first meeting of 2017 to an insightful, informative talk on the history of coal mining in the local area.

Jill works as a librarian at the National Coal Mining Museum at Middlestown and helped to reignite interest in this oft neglected part of Batley’s history.

Birstall based PPG have, in association with the Batley History Group, provided funds to renovate the ‘Welcome to Batley’ signs which were first introduced way back in 1993 as part of the City Challenge project.

Pictured are members of PPG and some of the committee of BHG at the first sign completed, which can be found prior to the entrance of Oakwell Hall Country Park at Birstall.

A further five have already been completed and more are set to get the same makeover next year. Huge thanks goes to committee member Kevin McQuinn for his tireless work arranging this along with all at PPG.

It is with the utmost sadness that we announce the passing of History Group member Carol Pearson on the 3rd of March this year.

Carol played a huge part in setting up and contributing to the ongoing Project Bugle.

She was also pivotal in ensuring the survival of Birstall Library when it was threatened with closure.

On behalf of all at BHG we would like to extend our sincerest condolences to Carol’s family and friends.

A brilliant, fun-filled evening was had at the February meeting of the History Group when Keith Barber delivered his talk, simply entitled ‘A Trip Down Memory Lane’.

Recalling times spent in Hunslet during WWII he had the crowd in the palm of his hand when making comparisons to the past to the present day.

Brand New Batley History Group Facebook Page

Work Begins on Renovation of Boundary Signs

Jill Clapham

Keith Barber

Carol Pearson R.I.P

PPG Celebrate The First Phase of Sign Renovation

Jane Roberts’ Blog Page

An absolute treat for all those present. Pat Osborne was an enthusiastic and brilliantly engaging speaker and the time flew by.


Queen Victoria as I've never heard it before. All the gossip and scandal. And as for our Queen Mother burning a marriage certificate.......Not so strait-laced Victorians. Prince Albert, John Brown & Abdul Karim.

Who said history is boring?

Zion Chapel Blue Plaque Update

Alan Swann

Pat Osborne

Batley History Group member and local genealogist Jane Roberts has recently posted two astonishing tales from Batley of old. The first tells the story behind the town’s water supply and the struggles before, during and after. The second focuses on a local pastor who foretold of his own death! Both are absolutely brilliant reads and showcases Jane’s talent and enthusiasm for her own town.

You can access Jane’s brilliant work by going to the Links page and clicking on the provided link.

Cyril Pearce

Sammy King

Brand New Blue Plaques

London Visit, April 2016

Malcolm Haigh BEM

Another hugely successful Vintage Day took place for the fourth year running on May 27th. Despite there being a huge thunderstorm and the flyover having to be scheduled earlier than announced, the thousands in attendance, in no way let this dampen their spirits! For more pictures from the day head to the gallery page…

 Vintage Day 2017

New Gym opens at former site of the legendary Batley Variety Club

With the closure of the former Frontier nightclub that was once known nationally and further afield as the Batley Variety Club, a new lease of life has been given to the building. JD Gymnasium opened to the public in June and as guest of honour to open the new venture, Maureen Prest was asked to cut the ribbon. A long-time employee of the Variety Club and close confidante of James Corrigan, Maureen has also had her book ‘King of Clubs - With A Twist & Back’ published this year. To view footage of Maureen performing the opening click on the following link which was shot by local film-maker Simon Reed

 More in Common - The Great Get-Together

To coincide with the first anniversary of the tragic murder of local MP Jo Cox a whole host of events have been organised throughout the whole country.

 Noel Moroney

Chairman of the Brighouse History Group Noel Moroney treat members to a wonderful talk entitled ‘Why Do We Say That?’ From words derived from Latin to the origins of phrases such as ‘raining cats and dogs’ Noel’s talk was a delight from beginning to end and had the audience captivated by some of his many examples of how the English language has evolved through time.

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