Harry Roebuck constructed Roebuck Memorial Homes in 1932, in memory of his son Leonard, who died during the First World War. The Homes were also a memorial to his wife, Jane who died in 1919.
The homes were built to provide homes for the elderly residents of Huddersfield who were known to three local churches. Huddersfield Town Council provided the land and created a Trust with Harry Roebuck. This Trust was registered with the Charity Commission and the Almshouses Association.
The Cottages and Grounds
They consist of eight two-bedroom cottages linked by a central pavilion which contains a memorial stone, set within terraced Italian style gardens; they are linked by an open loggia, facing extensive gardens and the main Wakefield Road. The cottages and the grounds, including boundary walls and frontage are Grade 2 listed buildings. BritishListedBuildings.co.uk – Roebuck homes
In Memory of Leonard Roebuck
Born in September 1893, Leonard volunteered at 18 to serve in the First World War.
From September 1915 to March 1917, he was a motor vehicle driver and mechanic, in the Army Service Corps he joined the newly formed motorised ambulance convoy, the 13th (Western Division), attached to the First Army in France.
He then made his application to join the Royal Flying Corps and was transferred in July 1917 after passing medical and aptitude tests. He was appointed after training as a temporary second lieutenant in August 1917 when he served as an observer, one of his interests being photography. He was made a full flight lieutenant, effective from the 1st March 1918. Tragically he died shortly after in a flying accident on 4th March 1918. He had been undertaking night flying trials with the 57 squadron.
“The 57 squadron was a fighter-reconnaissance unit,… undertaking long-distance reconnaissance, bombing and photography. They met with strong opposition from enemy fighters and suffered many casualties. Indeed, at one stage during this period, the entire aircrew complement of 57 Squadron was killed, wounded or missing in action, but the Squadron continued to fight with new crews.” The 57-630 Squadron Assoc
His mother, Jane Roebuck who is all so commemorated by the homes died in 1919, aged 59, leaving his younger brothers in the care of his father. It is uncertain whether the death of her eldest son left an unbearable grief or she may have succumbed to the 1918 influenza pandemic, also known as the Spanish Flu.
Harry Roebuck – manufacturer, entrepreneur and public figure in Huddersfield
Harry Roebuck started a company of cabinet makers on Wakefield Road at Asply, Huddersfield in 1877. His Cabinet making involved the making of both domestic and office furniture. In addition to manufacture Harry expanded his business in the 1890’s to include the retail trade in a series of branches throughout South Yorkshire including Huddersfield, Barnsley, Dewsbury, Morley and Heckmondwike. He also had shops in Oldham and Ashton under Lyne. In addition the company was one of the first to use motorised vehicles for delivery and transport. He retired from active involvement with his business in 1922 leaving the management and running of the firm to his two sons, Gilbert and Clement.
The firm employed between 50 and 60 people at its height, but this had reduced to 10 when the company was wound up in 1967.
Clement Roebuck was an avid collector of contemporary art and sat on the acquisitions panel for the Huddersfield
This may have given him the opportunity to add to his personal collection which is now kept at the Craven Museum and Art Gallery, Skipton. Following the gift of the collection on his death at his home in Warfedale. The collection is described as being of national significance. The collection includes an early artist sketch for the Memorial Homes.
Clement was also the President of the Skipton Musical Society.