A BRIEF HISTORY OF LOCKWOOD PARK

Published: 09/04/2018

Club President Richard Sykes has had this very interesting email exchange with ex-Bass Brewery manger Kevin Mutch which may be of interest to members.

Hi Richard,

Thanks for the note.

I indeed did hand over the keys to back in September 1996 -  remember the occasion well, if not the exact date as I nipped back to Lockwood Park for a formal photo of your President formally receiving the site keys for the Huddersfield Chronicle. It was, unfortunately, my last visit to Lockwood Park. 

We were moving the last of the Bass Technical Service equipment to the new premises in Dukinfield on Friday 30th August 1996, two 40’ articulated wagons to finish filling before we were done, ready to hand the keys over the following week. At about 12:30, I got a phone call from my wife urging me to get home asap, as my wife was well and truly in labour, something which wasn’t evident when I left home at 06:00! Anyway, It was a quick exit, and my staff continued with the move, whilst I was welcoming our daughter into the world.

The Bass Brewers operation at that time was purely as a Technical Services operation, with my department being the Equipment Supply Centre and a ‘sister’ operation of installation technicians ‘based’ in the offices upstairs.

I’m sure you already know that the original brewery was founded in 1795 by Timothy Bentley, which later became belonged to Bentley and Shaws, which itself was acquired by Hammonds in 1944. This then became Hammonds United Breweries in 1960, and merged with Charrington’s & Co. breweries in 1962 to form Charrington United Breweries. Beer production at Lockwood Park stopped in 1963, and the site remained just as a maltings and offices right through the next acquisition in 1967, when Charrington United Breweries breweries merged with Bass Mitchells & Butlers to form Bass Charrington,

At some point in the 1970’s, in a bid for centralisation of the offices, Lockwood Park was identified as the obvious choice for the headquarters for the five regional companies encompassing ‘greater Lancashire’ and ‘greater Yorkshire’. Application was made to Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council to demolish what was left of the old production site (the maltings), who agreed, recinded, agreed, delayed, etc. for several years. Bass thinking that they had got permission, then demolished the maltings in the early 1980s, in order to build the new offices. The Monday following the week of demolition, Kirklees listed the malting buildings. As Bass has already demolished the buildings, Kirklees and Bass ‘fell out’, and Bass took their offices to Headingly Office Park in Leeds, employing at its height some 300 plus. Surely, it must have been a major loss for Huddersfield & Kirklees.

When I first visited Lockwood Park in 1989, the top floor of the gym building, and the ‘House’ were occupied by a handful of Free and Tied Trade sales office staff, and Bass North Personnel Dept respectively. The site of the old maltings contained several prefabricated buildings containing a kitchen, restaurant, canteen and some offices used for training courses. 

The site of the maltings was a lovely manicured garden area, as was the ‘House’ side of the current gym building.

I took over responsibility for the site on 1st October 1995, all 20+ acres, the ponds, the bowling green, the stables (which I assume are now the changing rooms), the houses at the top and bottom of the drive (the house at by the bowling green being occupied by a member of my staff), the 15’ plus icicles hanging from the viaduct during the cold snowy snap in January 1996, and the fields the other side of the viaduct. A great place to wander around a lunchtime for some peace & quiet.

The technicians installed beer raising equipment in pubs and clubs from the Scottish borders to the Midlands, what I called ‘greater Lancashire’ and ‘greater Yorkshire’! There were 12 field based technicians, and the manager and his administrative assistant based in a large office on the top floor of what looks like the gym building.

My operation had 16 operators and 6 administrative staff, and was split into ‘equipment supply’ and ‘returns and refurbishment’.
For the supply side of the operation, we used about two thirds of the gym area, with a huge mezzanine landing, giving us about 800 sq ft of equipment storage from which we supplied equipment to all installation technicians and the 20 or so contractors in ‘greater Lancashire’ and ‘greater Yorkshire’, and we also delivered an overnight equipment supply to the 200 ‘service’ technicians across the whole of the UK.

For the returns operation, most of the equipment was delivered to the back of the gym area, where it was sorted for on site repair, or delivery to various companies for refurbishment. On site the equipment we refurbished in the largest numbers were under counter coolers, beer meters, and keg couplers. We then arranged delivery of the repaired equipment back to Lockwood Park, or any of the other supply centres in Cardiff, Glasgow or Belfast.

Since taking over the site, your first team pitch now occupies the site of the old maltings or manicured garden area when I was there!
Hi Richard,

Thanks for the note.

I indeed did hand over the keys to back in September 1996 -  remember the occasion well, if not the exact date as I nipped back to Lockwood Park for a formal photo of your President formally receiving the site keys for the Huddersfield Chronicle. It was, unfortunately, my last visit to Lockwood Park. 

We were moving the last of the Bass Technical Service equipment to the new premises in Dukinfield on Friday 30th August 1996, two 40’ articulated wagons to finish filling before we were done, ready to hand the keys over the following week. At about 12:30, I got a phone call from my wife urging me to get home asap, as my wife was well and truly in labour, something which wasn’t evident when I left home at 06:00! Anyway, It was a quick exit, and my staff continued with the move, whilst I was welcoming our daughter into the world.

The Bass Brewers operation at that time was purely as a Technical Services operation, with my department being the Equipment Supply Centre and a ‘sister’ operation of installation technicians ‘based’ in the offices upstairs.

I’m sure you already know that the original brewery was founded in 1795 by Timothy Bentley, which later became belonged to Bentley and Shaws, which itself was acquired by Hammonds in 1944. This then became Hammonds United Breweries in 1960, and merged with Charrington’s & Co. breweries in 1962 to form Charrington United Breweries. Beer production at Lockwood Park stopped in 1963, and the site remained just as a maltings and offices right through the next acquisition in 1967, when Charrington United Breweries breweries merged with Bass Mitchells & Butlers to form Bass Charrington,

At some point in the 1970’s, in a bid for centralisation of the offices, Lockwood Park was identified as the obvious choice for the headquarters for the five regional companies encompassing ‘greater Lancashire’ and ‘greater Yorkshire’. Application was made to Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council to demolish what was left of the old production site (the maltings), who agreed, recinded, agreed, delayed, etc. for several years. Bass thinking that they had got permission, then demolished the maltings in the early 1980s, in order to build the new offices. The Monday following the week of demolition, Kirklees listed the malting buildings. As Bass has already demolished the buildings, Kirklees and Bass ‘fell out’, and Bass took their offices to Headingly Office Park in Leeds, employing at its height some 300 plus. Surely, it must have been a major loss for Huddersfield & Kirklees.

When I first visited Lockwood Park in 1989, the top floor of the gym building, and the ‘House’ were occupied by a handful of Free and Tied Trade sales office staff, and Bass North Personnel Dept respectively. The site of the old maltings contained several prefabricated buildings containing a kitchen, restaurant, canteen and some offices used for training courses. 

The site of the maltings was a lovely manicured garden area, as was the ‘House’ side of the current gym building.

I took over responsibility for the site on 1st October 1995, all 20+ acres, the ponds, the bowling green, the stables (which I assume are now the changing rooms), the houses at the top and bottom of the drive (the house at by the bowling green being occupied by a member of my staff), the 15’ plus icicles hanging from the viaduct during the cold snowy snap in January 1996, and the fields the other side of the viaduct. A great place to wander around a lunchtime for some peace & quiet.

The technicians installed beer raising equipment in pubs and clubs from the Scottish borders to the Midlands, what I called ‘greater Lancashire’ and ‘greater Yorkshire’! There were 12 field based technicians, and the manager and his administrative assistant based in a large office on the top floor of what looks like the gym building.

My operation had 16 operators and 6 administrative staff, and was split into ‘equipment supply’ and ‘returns and refurbishment’.
For the supply side of the operation, we used about two thirds of the gym area, with a huge mezzanine landing, giving us about 800 sq ft of equipment storage from which we supplied equipment to all installation technicians and the 20 or so contractors in ‘greater Lancashire’ and ‘greater Yorkshire’, and we also delivered an overnight equipment supply to the 200 ‘service’ technicians across the whole of the UK.

For the returns operation, most of the equipment was delivered to the back of the gym area, where it was sorted for on site repair, or delivery to various companies for refurbishment. On site the equipment we refurbished in the largest numbers were under counter coolers, beer meters, and keg couplers. We then arranged delivery of the repaired equipment back to Lockwood Park, or any of the other supply centres in Cardiff, Glasgow or Belfast.

Since taking over the site, your first team pitch now occupies the site of the old maltings or manicured garden area when I was there!

I’ve managed to find some old phots of the site and have attached them below.

As for the rugby, I’ve been a member of Sheffield Tigers since 2002, when I introduced my son to the game, and ended up as most dads, coaching his team through the age groups. However, last season, I was coerced into putting my boots back on, and help with our U16s, which consisted of midweek coaching and refereeing all the home games.

I’m not a committee member, but visit the club most week ends, and on the occasional away game to places such as Luctonians, South Leicester, Blaydon -  my son is a student at Newcastle Uni, so every bit of away support helps! I have every intention of coming back to Lockwood Park, and would again be jumping on the team bus.

I hope to catch up with you there.


I’ve managed to find some old phots of the site and have attached them below.

As for the rugby, I’ve been a member of Sheffield Tigers since 2002, when I introduced my son to the game, and ended up as most dads, coaching his team through the age groups. However, last season, I was coerced into putting my boots back on, and help with our U16s, which consisted of midweek coaching and refereeing all the home games.

I’m not a committee member, but visit the club most week ends, and on the occasional away game to places such as Luctonians, South Leicester, Blaydon -  my son is a student at Newcastle Uni, so every bit of away support helps! I have every intention of coming back to Lockwood Park, and would again be jumping on the team bus.

I hope to catch up with you there.

Cheers Kev

lp1

lp2

lp3

lp4

lp5

 

Back to news list

Team results

View match results and reports for all HRUFC teams
» View

FREE ROOM HIRE

Whether it's a family gathering or a corporate event, the Waterloo Suite is the perfect party location!
» Find out more

Sponsorship

Find out more about our sponsorship packages, a great way to advertise within the rugby world and beyond!
» View