Our first stop on the Saturday Bus Tour was THE HALIFAX GIBBET. A few of us like DAO, Ryan (Scoobydoofast) and of course Hansi, had to put their heads in the Gibbet for photo purposes. We all had a good laugh, shouting "Off with his 'ead".
The Gibbet was a Guillotine, which was used for the execution of various criminals. It was first used in 1286 to execute John of Dalton. However, formal records did not begin until 1541. The records show that between 1541 and 1650, forty-nine people were executed. On April 30th, 1650, the Gibbet claimed its last victims. Following the last execution, the Gibbet was dismantled and the base eventually fell into ruin. In 1974, a 15 foot high replica was constructed on the original site at the foot of Gibbet Street. The original blade is displayed at Bankfield Museum as part of a replica Gibbet.
The Gibbet's victims were forced to lie with their heads between two upright posts, with the blade hovering above. A horse, yoked to a rope, wrenched out the security pin and the blade crashed down. The deed was done.
The only way the victim could escape, was to withdraw his head before the blade fell and then escape. He could then go free providing he did not return. One John Lacy escaped in this way. He returned seven years later and was duly executed.
Fondest memory: The main pic is of the Gibbet
Second pic: DAO about to lose his 'ead
His Crime: Stealing goods with a value in excess of 5 pence (VT Banner) hehehe! Gotcha!
Third pic: Ryan (Scoobydoofast) about to lose his 'ead
His Crime: Being the youngest member to attend the VT Meet among all of us old folk. Actually Ryan, I do believe you had a great time with all of us.
Robert Holdsworth, the son of a rich Halifax man, became Vicar in 1525 and at the request of his father, built the Chantry Chapel on the south side of the Church. Old furnishings have been collected from different parts of the Church for this Chapel, known as the HOLDSWORTH CHAPEL (pic 1). One of the prayer stools is a 17th century coffin stool. The credence table is early 17th century.
The present organ (pic 3) dates back to 1766, when John Snetzler built an Organ for the Church at a cost of 525 pounds. During the intervening years, several very good Organ builders have effected additions and improvements. In 1928 it was completely rebuilt as a four manual instrument with 52 speaking stops, retaining all the good pipework from the Snetzler instrument. It is one of the finest Church Organs in the country.
Hans and I had the privilege of listening to this wonderful organ being played, as the organist just happened to be at the Church while we were there. I was very interested in the organ and he said "Would you like to hear it?" So he played for about fifteen minutes, starting out softly and then pulling several "stops" to magnify the sound - totally awesome!
THE MUSGRAVE MEMORIAL
The full length white marble figure (pic 4) of Dr. Charles Musgrave is situated underneath the Tower. He was the Vicar of Halifax for 48 years.
One of the most photographed features of the Halifax Piece Hall, are the magnificent cast iron PIECE HALL GATES, located at the south entrance. The gates, weighing several tons, were made in Glasgow in 1871 and replaced the original oak gates. They were cast in sections and brought to Halifax by horse-drawn carts and then assembled on site. The intricate designs on the gates are absolutely wonderful and colourful and embellished with gold. Until the restoration of the Piece Hall in 1976, the gates were painted a plain, dull brown.
The Warren Shield
The blue and chequered shield represents the Coat of Arms of the Earls Warren. The severed head at the centre of the Warren sheild represents that of John the Baptist, the patron saint of the wool weaver's guilds of the Middle Ages, as the town's staple industry was wool weaving. The Paschal Lamb forms the crest and represents the lamb sacrificed at the Jewish Passover.
The Chapel at the south east corner of the Church was adopted by the Duke of Wellington's Regiment and dedicated in 1951 as the DUKE OF WELLINGTON CHAPEL. (pic 1). Some colours of the Regiment (note the flags on the far left side) are laid up in this Chapel. The blue carpet was specially woven and presented by John Crossley & Sons, the local and well known carpet manufacturers. The silver ornaments, were made from Regimental trophies. All the chairs in the Chapel were made my 'Mousey' Thompson and there is a mouse carved on one of the legs of each chair.
Most of the STAINED GLASS (pics 2, 3, 4 & 5) of the Church is from the Victorian period. Only a few fragments of medieval stained glass survived the ravages of the Puritans in the time of Oliver Cromwell.
Designed by Sir Charles Barry in high Victorian style, the HALIFAX TOWN HALL is the headquarters of Calderdale Council. It was opened on August 4, 1863 by HRH the Prince of Wales.
The tower and spire rises to a height of 180 feet and was built with 24,000 tons of local stone.
You can't miss it. I always used it to get my bearings as to where I was in town as I usually just meandered around and didn't worry about how to get back to our hotel.
One of the most remarkable buildings in West Yorkshire and the only remaining square church in Britain, SQUARE CHAPEL was designed by Thomas Bradley and built in 1772.
In 1998, the Square Chapel Trust was formed to breathe new life into the building. It is now a thriving arts centre, including a spectacular auditorium with near perfect acoustics.
Highlights this year include a series of songwriting and dance workshops for young people.
19th century Square Congregational Church, right next to Square Chapel. was built by Joseph James - 1856 to 1858. The Church has an amazing 235 foot spire, but unfortunately the building was closed in 1969 as it was a victim of vandalism and fire and became unfit for use.
To me, the most impressive aspect of the Halifax Town Hall, is the CLOCK TOWER. Above the clock face are four figures, one on each side representing the continents. Also there are four, seven foot angels guarding the corners of the spires.
The clock and bells were installed 1862/63 and updated in the 1920's and electrified in 1963 after a century of being wound by hand.
St. John the Baptist or HALIFAX PARISH CHURCH as it is affectionately called, was right across the street from the Wool Merchant Hotel. Hans and I walked by it many times and one afternoon the doors were open so we thought we would have a look inside. It was absolutely beautiful. Despite the stained glass windows not looking so great from the outside, from the inside, they were colourful and vibrant. Apparently, there is a plastic covering on the outside, to protect these wonderful windows.
Completed in 1450 and comprising nave, chancel and aisles, the present church is thought to be the third church on this site, but has stonework from earlier periods. Windows of the Early English style in the north wall, date from the period 1189 - 1306. After the completion of the building in 1450, a number of additions were made. The tower was built between 1449 and 1482 and the Rokeby and Holdsworth Chapels were completed in 1530
On the first weekend of September 2008 I was luck enough to attend the best organised VT Meeting ever:
FISH, CHIPS AND MUSHY PEAS
Organised by Ricky 52, It was an absolute blast. The weekend included a bus tour, 2 local festivals, clay pigeon shooting, historical sites, great food and a whole lot of fun socialising with other VT members.
Favorite thing: As I needed some stamps, I went to the HALIFAX POST OFFICE located on Commercial Street. As in most towns, it was a very busy place. You could also buy stationery and greeting cards, bubble envelopes in all kinds of sizes and Manilla envelopes.
You must visit Beacon Hill, Halifax. As the name suggests the hill was used as a site for the beacon to ward against invaders, nowadays it affords an excellent view of the townscape and NO tourists!
Fondest memory: I miss the countrside and friendliness of the people when i am away!
Trying to predict the weather can be difficult because of local on the day variations.
This information should be used as a guide only.
Here is the average weather for Halifax for this time of year.
Enjoy your holiday.
High 59f / 15c
Low 48f / 9c