These were not recorded in the Journal until the 1947-8 session and included, to our eyes possibly, some odd venues. That first season saw visits to the Huddersfield Corporation Sewage Department and to the Huddersfield Corporation Electricity Works. The Huddersfield Corporation Gas Works were visited the following year, together with the CID headquarters at Wakefield. It was also noted that, during that year, some members had visited the newly opened Torridon (“Wool Industries Research Station”). In 1952-3, the Holme Moss television station was visited, in a year when there were 6 excursions. This was cut to 2 in 1954-5 and 3 in 1958-9: poor support by members for these excursions was stated as the reason for the reduction in number. In this latter year, the Daily Express print works was visited in Manchester (46 attended; the attendance at the Machinery and Accessories Exhibition at Belle Vue, Manchester, was described as being disappointingly low). Visits in the 1950s tended to attract 20-40 people; presumably there were restrictions in the numbers that hosts could deal with. The Excursions Secretary bemoaned the fact that, in 1951-2, there were 14% fewer attendees on visits than applications.
It was noted that Thomas Ambler (visit in 1955-6) had opened their factory to the public for one day earlier on that year. Expecting 300 visitors, around 2,000 turned up, many of whom were schoolchildren “and possible future workpeople”.
Most of the visits were to companies in Yorkshire, mainly in the West Riding. However, many visits have been made to Lancashire and some to Cheshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. For most of these, the Society arranged transport by coach.
The 1960s and 1970s saw some very adventurous visits: a 2-day visit to Belgium (leaving Yeadon at 7.30 am on the Saturday, returning at 6.30 pm the following day, the cost being £15-19); a 3-day visit to Basle (leaving Manchester at 3.00 pm on the Friday, returning at 11.40 pm on the Sunday); a 4-day visit to Prato and a 1-day visit to Belfast (leaving Yeadon at 7.45 am and returning at 8.00 pm the same day, the cost being £7-10s-0d). Coaches were arranged to take members to the airport: for the Belfast trip, the coach left Huddersfield 1 hour before take-off – straight off the coach and onto the aircraft. These were the days when passengers did not have to arrive at the airport 2 hours before take-off for security checks and the like.
Visits to ITMA have also been a regular feature, the first one being to Paris in 1971.
It is interesting to note that around half of the excursions in the early days took place on a Saturday.
The annual dinner has been a constant feature of the Society. In the early days, the annual dinner preceded the Annual General Meeting and was held at Heywood’s Café. Following the decision, taken in 1964, to have separate events, the dinner was moved to Whiteley’s Café and then to Greenhead Masonic Hall, the Ladbroke Mercury Hotel and the Pennine Hilton National Hotel (now the Cedar Court Hotel). Traditionally, the dinner has been the occasion when the Society’s industry- and University-based prizes have been presented.
In 1948, the dinner was held at Whiteley’s café, the cost being 4s 9d (about. 24p) per head. In 1952, the AGM and dinner were held at Heywood’s café at 6s 6d (about 32½p) per head, with a £3 3s room charge. This had risen to 7s 6d by 1957, to 8s 0d by 1958, to 9s 6d by 1960 and to 10s (50p) by 1964.
Initially, the dinner was provided at no cost to members. The question of charging members was first raised in relation to the 1955 dinner.
Past speakers at the dinner include Peter Docherty, Ted Moult, Peter Moloney (ex-Trappist monk), Fred Trueman and Billy Thompson (rugby league referee).