Joseph Kaye, c.1779-1858, Builder
Joseph Kaye was responsible for building some of Huddersfield's most outstanding Victorian buildings,
including the railway station, the George Hotel, the Britannia Buildings, St. Paul's church and several other churches in the town.
Born about 1779 and probably an orphan by the age of seven, Kaye was a builder by the age of nineteen.
Without any formal education, he started work as a mason, perhaps as an apprentice at a much earlier age,
walking to Manchester on Monday morning and walking back to Huddersfield at the end of the working week.
By 1823 he has a double career as an innkeeper, brewer and builder;
in later directories he is registered as architect, builder, brewer, quarry owner, lime burner and lime merchant.
Kaye's first major church building in 1816 was Holy Trinity Church at Greenhead.
As a quarry owner, Kaye had a considerable advantage in competitive tendering for many building projects in Huddersfield.
Quarries at Stainland and Crosland Moor supplied much of the stone in Huddersfield's Victorian buildings.
By the time he built the 'fireproof' mill at Folly Hall in 1844 he had constructed nearly a dozen churches or chapels.
As a builder, he followed the 'fireproof' with, in quick succession, the Railway Station, the George Hotel and the Britannia Buildings, among other projects.
In 1844 he claimed to have built one third Huddersfield.
Kaye was thus responsible for establishing many of the major buildings that define Huddersfield today.
Portrait of Joseph Kaye: Please note the appearance of 'The Fireproof' mill at the lower left of the portrait.
Courtesy of the Kirklees Collection, Huddersfield Art Gallery.