Herbert Hugill, a memorial plaque for whom hangs in Keighley Library, was born on 27th July 1872. He served as Secretary of the Keighley War Savings Association during the First World War and as Secretary of the Keighley Literary Society for 10 years.
Stone plaque commemorating Herbert Hugill, on display in the stairwell of Keighley Library, 9th July 2022. The plaque reads “In memory of Herbert Hugill M.B.E. born July 27th 1872, died February 21st 1919. Death opens unknown doors, it is most grand to die.”
Keighley was proud of its money-raising activities during the First World War. According to the Keighley News supplement of 10th September 1932: “Keighley distinguished itself… in money-raising movements for the national need the War Loan campaign of 1917 realised £2,214,089; the submarine appeal in Business Men’s Week, in March 1918, £556,089; Howitzer Week, of July 1918, £259,390; and Thanksgiving Week, of January 1919, £672,878. The Victory Loan effort yielded over £831,000, and War Savings certificates over £811,000, bringing the total for the town to over £6,000,000, or £140 per head of the people.”
Hugill was awarded his Member of the Order of the British Empire (M.B.E.) in the 1918 Birthday Honours given by King George V, for his work with the War Savings cause. The list of honours recipients was published in The London Gazette in early June 1918. He died on 21st February 1919.
Ian Dewhirst, ‘A History of Keighley’ (Keighley Corporation, 1974): “Two months later the (post-Great War influenza) epidemic recurred for the third and last time and claimed, among others, the Secretary of the Keighley and Craven Building Society, Herbert Hugill M.B.E., who had pushed the local War Savings movement: he died on the day he should have been guest of honour at a dinner celebrating the Borough’s raising of £5,000,000 in war loans.”
Following his death, a trust fund was established in January 1920 to provide an annual prize (The Herbert Hugill Prize) for the Best Student of Mathematics at Keighley Boys’ Grammar School.
The photograph of the memorial plaque, which hangs at the top of the stairs to the Local Studies Library, was taken by Tim Neal in July 2022. The postcard is postmarked 1918 and shows the Town Hall Square before the War Memorial was erected in 1924. The Library is on the far left, with the Temperance Hall alongside. The Mechanics’ Institute with its clocktower, which was also home to Keighley Boys’ Grammar School, dominates the picture.