I VERY much enjoyed The Brief History of Heckmondwike feature in the Spenborough Guardian.
The origins of street names in the Spen Valley hold a fascination for me with their historical backgrounds and there are quite a number in Heckmondwike, including Artillery Street.
In the 19th century Sir Charles Henry Firth formed the original Heckmondwike Artillery Volunteers where the Heckmondwike Battery was paraded at the drill hall in Artillery Street.
The volunteers were seen by some as the ‘Dad’s Army’ of their day and sneeringly derided as ‘Saturday night soldiers’, but five days after the outbreak of World War I in 1914 they left the Spen Valley to take up active service in France, where their bravery equalled that of the regular army. In peace-time the artillery carried out their training exercises between Dale Lane and Joan Royd in Heckmondwike.
As well as forming the Heckmondwike Artillery Volunteers, Sir Charles Henry Firth was a pioneer of fire-fighting and in 1868 formed the West Yorkshire Fire Brigade Guards. The Fire Brigade worked in conjunction with the Artillery Volunteers in fire-fighting and protection of premises within the township of Heckmondwike.