Culley, Norman, Archive

Scope and Content

Papers relating to the Architectural career of Norman Culley together with a few personal documents. The bulk of the papers relate to the building in 1909/1910 of 'Orrisdale', a detached house on Long Lane, Dalton, Huddersfield. They include pre-build, plans, mortgage and conveyancing documents, estimates for materials and costings and payments to contractors. A 1954 menu and toast list for the Norman Culley Jubilee Dinner signed by the 76 attendees is also included. There is also a collection of photographs which show his completed Memorial to the victims of Booth's mill fire in 1941 and High Street buildings, together with various black and white photographs of Golcar. Norman Culley's library is also available.

Administrative / Biographical History

Biography of Norman Culley

Norman Culley was born 20 October 1880 and died 2 May 1969. He had an architectural practice in Huddersfield for over 50 years.

He was a leading figure in the art world. Early signs of his artistic talent became apparent when at aged 11, the governors of Huddersfield Technical College gave special permission for him to attend Saturday morning Art classes.

1895-1897 Norman studied at the Huddersfield School of Art and went on to found the Department of Architecture at the School of art, retaining headship until retirement in 1956.

He was the first student in Huddersfield to pass final exams of RIBA.

Norman Culley is regarded as the most notable Huddersfield architect of the mid 20th century. He was articled to William Cooper of Huddersfield from 1897 to 1901, remaining as his assistant until 1904. [Willie Cooper had been articled to Edward Hughes, the well-known Huddersfield architect, and subsequently took over his practice. Cooper was responsible for work on many important Huddersfield listed buildings including Briar Court (Lindley); Lunclough Hall and Waverley (both Edgerton). He designed the public library in Somerset Buildings; the Drill Hall and the Kirkgate Inn. His ecclesiastic work includes the restoration of Christ Church Woodhouse and the west choir and vestry of St Andrew’s Leeds Road].

In 1908 Norman Culley commenced practice on his own account at 13 John William Street, Huddersfield and in 1931 Norman married Gertrude A Schippers in the Halifax Registration District. By 1939 Norman & Gertrude were living at 216 Birkby Hall Road, a house probably designed by Norman.

His architectural works include the official Memorial to the 49 victims of Booth’s factory fire in Huddersfield, 1941, erected in Edgerton cemetery; additions to High Street Buildings, Huddersfield; Orrisdale, a detached house on Long Lane, Dalton, Huddersfield 1909/1910; Strathallan, 16 Allison Drive, Huddersfield 1909; Oakley House, Hungerford Road (alterations) 1913, Slaithwaite Socialist Club 1914; Lindley Adult School 1915; and an extension and store for Benjamin Crook & Sons (Sports Goods Manufacturers) of Viaduct Street, Huddersfield.

During WW11 he was co-opted by the Ministry of Works to survey buildings of interest damaged by the bombing. He lectured for the Ministry of Information on town planning and civic design.

Norman Culley was also active in architecture outside Huddersfield, he served on the council of the RIBA, was president of WYS of Architects and for a time edited the society’s journal. There is an External Examiner's Book Prize given yearly in his name at the School of Art, Design and Architecture, Huddersfield University.

He was a respected member of Huddersfield Art Society and served as its president from 1945. He was a frequent contributor to its exhibitions and published 2 sketchbooks of local scenes - Huddersfeild, A Sketch Book (1938) and The Second Book of Huddersfield, A Sketch Book (1939). In 1960 the Society presented to him a leather bound volume of 50 paintings and sketches contributed by members.

Norman was a former member of Huddersfield Rotary Club and was vice president of Huddersfield Thespians.

Norman was a great admirer of Sir Christopher Wren with whom he shared a birthday – 20 October.

Conditions Governing Access

Original available for consultation by appointment

Geographical Names