Between Milford Lane and Essex Street at 200 Strand stands a building with an interesting coat of arms with a ram’s head as the crest. It transpires that the building belonged to the Huddersfield Building Society that was established in 1864 in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, as the Huddersfield Equitable Permanent Benefit Building Society, not to be confused with the short-lived Huddersfield District Permanent Benefit Building Society (1863-1888). In the annual meeting of November 1918, it was – fortunately – decided to shorten the name of the society to the Huddersfield Building Society.
That same meeting saw the introduction of several ‘Rules’ of which number 5 was that “the Seal of the Society shall bear the name of the Society and the device of the coat of arms of the County Borough of Huddersfield”.(1) The motto under the Huddersfield coat of arms is ‘Juvat Impigros Deus’ (God defends the diligent) and the sheep – or more precisely, their wool – refer to the source of market town Huddersfield’s wealth. At the board meeting of 2 January 1922, the directors were shown the coat of arms, “mounted and in oxydized silver at a cost of £3.3.0d., to be hung in the Board Room”.(2)
From 1924 onwards, the Society employed London agents and from 1929 they had their own London offices, not yet on the Strand, but in Holborn Viaduct.(3) A plaque inside the Strand building tells of the destruction by enemy bombs in WWII and the subsequent rebuilding and re-opening in 1959.
In 1975, the Huddersfield Society merged with the Bradford Building Society and in 1982 with the West Yorkshire Building Society to form the Yorkshire Building Society. The building on the Strand used to be called Huddersfield House, but is now called Yorkshire House.
(1) Trevor H. Hall, The Early Years of the Huddersfield Building Society (1864-1928), Huddersfield, 1974, p. 117.
(2) Idem, p. 123.
(3) Idem, p. 128.