Friday 29th March 2013
Not many pubs have such an imposing and impressive presence as the outside vista of the King's Head as seen from St George's Square. It is located in the east wing of the neo-classical structure of Huddersfield railway station, probably the greatest exponent of this style remaining.
The foundation stone was laid in 1846 and the building was finally finished off in 1850 with the placement of the clock on the main building. Meanwhile the railway to Manchester and Leeds had opened in 1849.
The station was a joint production between the Huddersfield and Manchester Railway, which was absorbed into the London & North Western Railway in 1847 and the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway.
In complete contrast the situation today, the central building was given over to waiting rooms and administrative offices. The two satellite buildings were the two ticket offices with the east wing, where the King's Arms is found, housing that of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway. Just a few features remain, some of the floor coverings seem to be original, as do the fire places. The architect was J. P. Pritchett whose practice was based in York. All three main buildings boast porticos with Corinthian columns.
Back to the present day; one thing I noticed as I entered was that the pub's sign had been altered. Previously a portrait of Jimi Hendrix was prominent. It had been removed with nothing replacing it. This significance of this sign at this location has never been satisfactorily explained. The pub opened in 1979 as the Railway Tavern.
Once inside I noticed the main room in front and to the left, with the bar on the right. Also on the right, with its own access to the bar, was a small room; a snug, so to speak. This is the more pub-like of the two rooms. The main room has a stage at the opposite end to the bar and there is an access door to platform 1.
This is, above all, a beer-drinkers pub as the following available beers attest: Taylor's (Keighley, West Yorks.) Golden Best (3.5%) and Landlord (4.3%); Bradfield (High Bradfield, nr Sheffield, South Yorks.) Farmer's Blond (4.0%); Magic Rock (Huddersfield, West Yorks.) Curious (3.9%) and Dart Arts (6.0%); Green Mill (Rochdale) Northern Lights (4.5%); Bob's Brewing (Ossett, West Yorks.) Golden Lion (4.5%); Dark Star (Partridge Green, West Sussex) American Pale Ale (4.7%); Church End (Ridge Lane, nr Nuneaton, Warks.) Goat's Milk (3.8%) and Empire (Slaithwaite, West Yorks.) Moonraker Mild (3.8).
For cider afficionados there was Orchard Pig (Glastonbury, Somerset) Explorer (4.5%) and Rosquijean (Rosquijean, Brittany, France) Medium Cider (7.4%). I've never come across this cider before. A little bit of research revealed that it is owned by a British cider maker who has moved from Somerset to France. They use French apple varieties with original Breton equipment and enjoy distribution throughout the UK.
The beer range here is superb and extremely good value so, as such, cannot be missed if you are in Huddersfield.
The King's Arms, St George's Square, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire HD1 1JF
Tel: 01464 511058
Open: Monday to Saturday 11.30-23.00; Sunday 12.00-22.30
The pub is at the east end of platform 1 of Huddersfield station.
Huddersfield station is served by express trains operated by First Trans Pennine Express which connect the town with Manchester, Leeds, York and many other places. Local services are run by Northern Trains and connect Huddersfield with Sheffield, Bradford, Wakefield and other towns in the area.
Many buses call at the railway station and the bus station is not too far way. The two are connected by a free bus.