Huddersfield Highlights

PUBLISHED: 08:33 06 May 2010 | UPDATED: 11:48 28 February 2013

Simon Armitage

Simon Armitage

Take a turn around the West Yorkshire town with poet Simon Armitage

The station

The station was under scaffolding for a long time but its now on full show and its a pretty proud looking building.

I think the station speaks of civic pride it harks back to a time when Huddersfield was a very wealthy town and where the money has stayed it has stayed in the buildings.

I spend a lot of time in Manchester. I went to school with a lot of children from Saddleworth and started going to Old Trafford with one lad from school to watch United. I go to watch Huddersfield Town as well and I am interested in how they are doing but I have a season ticket at Old Trafford.

I have always felt like I am from East Germany and that Manchester was my West Berlin. I am a happy East German, though.

Station buffet

I do a lot of travelling and I have quite a romantic view of trains and stations, I like to travel by train rather than coach or driving. The station is a point of departure and a point of arriving back and the station and its buffet have become significant for me. The buffet at Huddersfield Station is old fashioned and its one of those places that is important to the feel of the station.

The hills

I have always lived in the villages around Marsden and I have never really seen the need to live elsewhere. I always feel uneasy in a town or city without hills on the horizon. Huddersfield is surrounded by fields and woodland and its often possible to become blas about what we have here.

This summer I am walking the Pennine Way giving readings at every place I stop. Ill be walking north to south, heading back towards home. Im going to write a book about it and if people will put me up for a night I will do a reading for them and pass a hat round and see if I can pay my way. It should take just short of three weeks.

Pule Hill

Its right on the watershed and you can look down across Yorkshire and on a very clear day its possible to see as far as the Humber Bridge. There are stepping stones of power stations to the coast. Its an exhilarating place, a quite primitive place with cave systems. Its where I used to go as a child before I knew it was where I was walking because I was going to write poems. Theres a working mens club there where I learned to drink my dad used to tell them not to serve me bitter because I couldnt get up for school after drinking bitter.

The Albert

I dont go drinking that often but The Albert has been a focal point for poetic activity for two or three decades. There have been regular series of readings and spin-off workshops, courses and seminars from the university. About 20 years ago Huddersfield was called a poetic capital and there was a kernel of truth in that. Its a very old fashioned pub, often full of eccentrics and daytime drinkers. The pub has closed down a couple of times but it keeps re-opening and the poetry in the back room seems to be unkillable.

Simons new collection of poetry, Seeing Stars, is out this month, published by Faber and Faber and he will be appearing at the inaugural Bridlington Poetry Festival in June.

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