Halifax Things to Do

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Most Recent Things to Do in Halifax

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    Town Hall

    by mickeyboy07 Updated Mar 8, 2011

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    The mayor and corporation first proposed they build a new town hall in 1847.They suggested it again in 1853 after the town had become a borough five years earlier but still had no central offices.the first foundation stones were built in 1861 by Whiteley brothers,it was listed on the 31st July 1863.
    In 1958 the film'Room at the Top'was filmed in the Town hall and Halifax Railway station,the bells on the clock tower have not rung at night since 1918 when'Dame Nellie Melba'complained that they disturbed her at the Halifax Princess hotel.the two main contributing Architects were 'Charles Barry and Edward Middleton Barry'.

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    The Piece Hall

    by suvanki Updated Nov 20, 2010

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    I remember visiting the Piece Hall, with my parents, probably in the early 1980's, when there was a Greenpeace/ CND event, so for years- (up until 2008!) I had thought this building was called The Peace Hall!

    So now I know better!

    Halifax and the surrounding towns and villages of the Calder Valley were Englands main centres of cloth production-, Much of this was carried out as cottage industries, with weavers producing pieces of cloth on hand looms. These were often Farmers, and their families, who worked on the cloth between their other duties. These pieces were laid outside to dry, and were therefore open to theft. Cloth production was so important for the country, that theft was punished by be-heading at the towns Gibbet-(Please see my earlier tip for more info)

    A piece took about a week to produce for those doing other work. It measured between 24 to 30yards long , and was about 27 inches wide (Depending on the width of the loom, which had to allow for space available in the small rooms)

    These finished pieces of cloth were then taken to a central hall, which had been built in 1572, for the purpose of trading this commodity. By the late 18th century, there was need for a larger hall to be built to accommodate the amount of trade that was taking place here.

    On 1st January 1779, the present Piece Hall was opened. It covers an area of 110 yards x 91 yards. Although there would have been many Piece Halls at the time, this is the only remaining one. It's size and design indicate the importance of this industry in Halifax.

    The site isn't level- but is on a slope which falls (or rises) 17 feet. So the building at the bottom end have 3 storeys, while the top end are 2 storied. The land was one of 2 sites chosen -This piece of land was offered by one John Caygill, who was a local land owner- If his offer was accepted, he promised to donate an additional £840 - So, despite the sloping land, this was the chosen site.

    The Piece Hall was designed by a Liverpudlian called John Hope. He was influenced by the Roman Classical style of architecture. Each level is of a different style: The lower storey is arcaded, the middle has square jointed rustic columns, and the upper level (Colonnade) has round doric columns. (pic 5)
    Staircases at each corner, and adjacent to the West Gate, lead to the different floors - there is the modern addition of at least one lift too.

    The hall can be entered from the north, south and west entrances. The oak studded door of the north gate is the only original entrance door or gate remaining.(pic 2)
    The ornate South gates were cast in 1871, when this entrance had to be widened to allow for wider vehicles to gain entrance. A cantilever bridge was also added, which has now been replaced by an electrically operated bridge.
    The Halifax Coat of Arms is displayed on the gate. (pic 3 + 4)

    The West Gate wasn't part of the original design, but is now probably the most used entrance

    It had 315 merchants rooms, which were rented at around £28 per year.
    Trading rules were quite strict

    Today, it is a pleasant place to just wander around, visit the Tourist Information office, stop for a coffee/snack or an Ice cream, or visit the small shops. There are live music events too.

    Anyone who's seen 'Brassed Off', will probably recognise this place, as it featured in the film!

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    Halifax Minster

    by leics Updated Sep 9, 2010
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    This is a place worth exploring.

    The minster dates from the late 15th century (1400s) and the four gargoyles you can see next to the entrance have been looking out over the town ever since (light was wrong for me to take photos, sadly).

    It's been much extended since, of course, but if you look carefully you can see where the original building was.

    There was church on the site well before the 1400s. Inside the porch you can see some very early grave covers, one of which (with shears) dates from 1150. There's also a wonderful wooden painted ceiling from (I think) late Medieval times.

    The area outside the minster is paved with old gravestones.take some time to read these, for they tell you much about what life was like in Halifax in past centuries.

    I did not have time to explore the minster as I would have liked: VT meets are very full! But I did manage a quick look around inside, and hope to explore more on a future visit.

    You can hear the minster's bells here

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    Have a look at the architecture

    by leics Written Sep 9, 2010
    Victorian 'prestige' city architecture
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    Halifax is very obviously a mill-town (wool, mainly) which grew massively during the Industrial Revolution (roughly, the 1800s) as people who had lived and worked in the countryside for centuries were forced by economic circumstances to move into the towns.

    Its architecture, apart from the mills and their chimneys,. is very much that of Victorian wealth.......stately civic buildings deliberately create to show the power and prestige of both their owners and the town itself.

    It's worth taking a while to just explore. Remember to look up, because modern shop frontages have often been added to existing (and beautiful) Victorian buildings.

    And when you see the mellow yellow stone covered in black, as you will on some of the walls (most buildings have been cleaned up), remember where the black came from......decades of soot and smoke from the chimneys, not only of the factories but also all the chimneys in people's homes. Think what life must have been like then....

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    Borough Market- The Covered Market

    by suvanki Updated Sep 8, 2010

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    My first visit here was on a Sunday afternoon, when it was closed, but it was still an interesting place for a look

    The Halifax Borough Market is located in the heart of the town centre, in a Victorian, Grade I British Heritage listed building. An earlier Market, that stood on this site, was demolished in 1891

    It was designed by local architects Joseph and John Leeming (who later designed Leeds Market, and parts of The Admiralty and War Office buildings in London.) and was constructed between 1891-1895, opening a year later.. It was opened by the Duke and Duchess of York (who were to be King George V and Queen Mary)

    The design allowed for shops to be built on the outer walls, with accommodation for the shopkeepers above their shops that faced Southgate and Market Street. The Market Hall was the centre piece, with arcades leading off.

    The glass roof allows for light to pass through to the market hall below.

    In 1973, the Building was stone cleaned to remove the grime from that had darkened the walls over the centuries. The interior has been painstakingly renovated, and the central clock (pic 3) and central roof dome remain. The ironwork is by William Macfarlane of Glasgow, and Phoenix Iron Company of Derby -(pic 5) good examples of Victorian architecture.

    The market is open six days a week, from 08.30- until 17.00, Closed Sundays.

    Stalls trade in a variety of goods, and there are currently just less than two hundred units.
    In 2008, the Market won an award for 'The Best Market Hall in England'.

    Many of the stalls have been passed down the generations, maintaining family businesses. However, parking problems - accessability, and parking fees, send busy shoppers to the large supermarkets with their large free car parks and long opening hours. It didn't feel like a place that was 'going under' though. Maybe the recession, is sending people back here.

    A book was written about the market in 1996-"100 years of Halifax Borough Market-History of Halifax Borough Market, 1896 - 1996".

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    Halifax Town Hall

    by suvanki Updated Sep 8, 2010

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    I'd spotted the impressive spire of this building travelling through Halifax, and had assumed it was a church. so, it wasn't until Sunday afternoon when Angiebabe and I were exploring Halifax centre, that I realised it was the Town Hall. Close up, it was even more impressive.

    It was designed by the same architect that had designed the Houses of Parliament - Charles Barry. The purpose built Town Hall was first proposed in 1853. Three designs were submitted. Councillor Barry was asked to decide on the winning design, but he didn't like any of these. The council then asked him to come up with a design.

    Charles Barry sadly died before the foundation stone was even laid, but his son Edward Middleton continued with his fathers design. The Foundation stone was laid in 1861, a year after Barrys death. 24,000 tons of Ringby sandstone from Swales Moor was used in the construction of the building, which covers an area of 148 ft x 90 feet.
    2 years later the completed Town Hall was officially opened on the 4th August (1863) by HRH The Prince of Wales (aka King Edward V11). It was completed at a cost of £50,000.

    A crowd of about 70,000 witnessed this occasion. The opening was followed by a service in the Piece Halls

    I was quite impressed by the engraved inscriptions around the spire, and the many bas reliefs. The panels are carved to resemble tiling or even scales. On each corner of the steeple is an angel, measuring 7 feet high!

    The Town Hall Clocks have mottos carved above them, such as "Delay not to do well Man Proposeth" (pic 4) They were installed, along with the bells, between 1863 and 1863, when they were later updated (1920's) and then after a century of being hand wound, were electrified in 1963.

    Each side of the 180ft tower steeple represents one of the continents of the World.

    Three of the continents statues and facades were created by John Thomas ( Who had worked on statues for the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace and also, the Free Trade Hall in Manchester) ;

    Look above the inscriptions on the clocks, and you might be able to see

    Africa (facing away from Crossley Street, looking down Broad Street), which is represented by an ancient Egyptian figure and 2 boys

    North America (above the tower portico, facing Waterhouse Street) shows a Native American, and 2 figures holding a paddle and a roll of tobacco. Also - on the portico is the old Halifax coat of arms , with the heads of Wisdom, Justice and Mercy.

    Europe (Crossley Street, looking down Princess Street) apparently has symbols of 'civilisation and refinement'

    He died before his work was completed, so Asia (Facing down Crossley Street on the side opposite the portico) was added under the supervision of Daniel Maclise. Here you'll find a Chinese boy, a tea chest and a child with flowers. Having said this, they're not easy to see.

    Above this stone steeple is a metal topping (pic 3)

    The bells have not rung at night - since 1918, when Dame Nellie Melba complained that they disturbed her, when she stayed at the Halifax Princess Hotel , (or was it The Swan Hotel) ?

    The Town Hall is one of many interesting buildings in Halifax-and especially Crossley Street, where all of its buildings are listed

    Group visits by prior appointment. It is a working building, so there is limited public access.

    During our 2nd meet in Halifax, Gillybob and myself managed to have a look around inside - I just asked the lady on the reception desk, who was very friendly and helpful, and said we could also go into the Council Chamber , as no-one was in there - well worth seeing.

    I'll cover the interior in a later tip.

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    Town Hall

    by Balam Written Aug 18, 2010

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    Halifax Town Hall
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    The Town Hall is an impressive building, it was designed by Charles Barry (the same architect that designed the Houses of Parliament) after he was asked to judge a competition that had been held for designs, he did not like any of the three that were submitted and so was asked to submit his own design. It was accepted but he died in 1860, his son Edward Middleton Barry completed the design and the duilding was finnished in 1863.
    It is a grade II listed building

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    Piece Hall

    by Balam Written Aug 18, 2010

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    Piece Hall
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    The Piece Hall is a former cloth hall that first opened on the 1st of January 1779 and was where the trading of woollen cloth pieces was carried out it was originaly open for business for two hours on Saturday morning and contained 315 merchant trading rooms arranged around a central courtyard
    When the cloth Industry was mechonised the Piece Hall became a public market it is now home to some great specialist shops (one if a fantastic model shop), an art gallery, the Tourist Information Centre and other organisations. The courtyard is used for a lot of events from market stalls to Live Music.
    Plans are underway to transform the courtyard into an Italian type plaza.

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    HALIFAX VISITOR CENTRE AND ART GALLERY

    by LoriPori Written Sep 17, 2008

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    Based in the historic Piece Hall, the HALIFAX VISITOR CENTRE AND ART GALLERY will have all you need to know about Halifax and its surroundings. Hans and I visited the Visitor Center to get some brochures on what to do and see while in Halifax. After all, we were here to stay for nine days. Thanks to the great info we received, I don't think there was much we didn't see (didn't get to visit Bankfield Museum and Shibden Hall). Also I got some great material for my scrapbook which is a tradition with me. Actually, my scrapbook gets done, before I even start making my VT tips. And it makes a great referral for when I do get down to business.
    The Art Gallery, which is part of the Visitor Centre, hosts a wide range of temporary exhibitions, photographic work, craft items, prints and illustrations. There are activity events for children, plus a range of events, talks and workshops all year.
    Open daily 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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    THE PIECE HALL HALIFAX

    by LoriPori Updated Sep 17, 2008

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    Entrance to The Piece Hall
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    The Piece Hall is Britain's oldest remaining Cloth Hall. This unique building served as a central market place for the buying and selling of cloth produced by local hand-loom weavers.
    Prior to the Industrial Revolution, lengths of cloth were woven on hand-looms in weaver's cottages. A "piece" was a length of cloth 30 yards long. These pieces were taken to cloth halls to be sold and it is an indication of the size and strength of the woollen industry in Halifax in the 1770's that such a prestigious building was built.
    The PIECE HALL was opened on January 1, 1779. The "pieces" were stored in 315 rooms and trading took place for just 2 hours on Saturday morning.
    The Piece Hall only flourished for about 35 years as increasing mechanization of the textile trade gradually undermined the hand-loom weaver. The Hall began to be used for political and religious meetings and other events. In 1868 it was given to the Halifax Corporation and converted to a wholesale fish, fruit and vegetable market. This use continued until the 1970's when a proposal to demolish the Piece Hall to build a shopping centre was defeatd by just one vote. Instead, a decision was made to restore and reopen the Piece Hall in the form we see today.
    Many events and Festivals take place in the Piece Hall. The Piece Hall is open daily but some of the shops do not open 7 days a week and most are closed on Monday. Market days are Thursday (Second-hand) and Saturday (general). I went to the Thursday (Second-hand) market and I must say I was disappointed as it was pretty frugal and not much there.

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    HALIFAX CENTRAL LIBRARY

    by LoriPori Written Sep 16, 2008

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    Halifax Central Library

    What does one do, when you can't find an internet cafe' and you need a VT fix!!! I told Hans to check out the local library and voila! The HALIFAX CENTRAL LIBRARY was just a short walk from the Wool Merchant and near the Bus Station. Hans signed up for a Library card and then he was able to use one of the Library computers for up to two hours and free of charge. Upstairs in the Library, there are six computers where you can sit down.

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    KEIGHLEY & WORTH VALLEY RAILWAY

    by LoriPori Updated Sep 16, 2008

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    Saturday, September 6, 2008
    Our VT "Mystery Trip" was to go on a steam train. Our bus pulled into Oxenhope at the KEIGHLEY & WORTH VALLEY RAILWAY. The regular adult fare was 9 pounds, but since we were 22 members, we got the group rate of 6 pounds and we even had our rail car reserved for us - cool or what!
    We steamed along a five mile long preserved railway, through the beautiful Bronte Countryside, stopping in little towns along the way - Haworth - Oakworth - Ingrow West - Keighley and then back to Oxenhope.
    I must say, it was smashin'. That is - I loved it!
    The Keighley & Worth Valley Railway is owned and operated by volunteer members of the KWVR Preservation Society.
    The train runs every weekend and daily throughout the summer.

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    KEIGHLEY & WORTH VALLEY RAILWAY MUSEUM

    by LoriPori Updated Sep 16, 2008

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    5700 Class No. 5775
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    The KWVR MUSEUM was fascinating to see. We visited it while waiting for the next steam train to come. Inside the huge facility were old engines such as a 5700 Class No. 5775, No. 118 "Brussels" and a Class 5XP Jubilee No 45596 "Bahamas".
    Also there were many vintage carriages in different stages of restoration.
    As you enter, there were photographs of the history of the railway system throughout the years.

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    THE VICTORIA THEATRE HALIFAX

    by LoriPori Written Sep 15, 2008

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    The Victoria Theatre
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    Originally known as the Victoria Hall, the VICTORIA THEATRE HALIFAX first opened as a concert venue on February 8, 1901.
    The main auditorium has a cpacity of 1568 fully-seated and 1860 part-standing. The Theatre hosts many high profile and international performers and artistes as well as supporting a wide range of the local community events.

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    RUSHBEARING FESTIVAL

    by DAO Updated Sep 11, 2008

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    What is rushbearing? In simple terms it’s a great big street festival, parade, dancing troupes, street performers and general public drinking in aid of a religious/historical ceremony stretching over a weekend. Yep, it’s fun. So, rushbearing?

    OK. Originally the floors of Churches were simply dirt covered in rushes. From time to time, and certainly in the autumn, parishioners brought new & better smelling rushes inside the church and threw out the old ones. In Sowerby Bridge (3 miles from Halifax) this became a symbolic ceremony, especially after the church got stone floors. This ceremony/festival is centered around the rushcart pulled by men who historically drank heavily. In fact some were documented to be so intoxicated that they were not allowed in the church after pulling this huge cart. Records of these bans on drunken men date to 1682 and both the drinking and ban remain today.

    Today the Rushbearing brings together church ceremonies, dancers, musicians, dancers, a charitable market and badge sellers with proceeds going to a roundtable of good causes. Its also a riot of sound, colour and activity. Dogs, children and quite a few revellers take part and watch over a 2-day mega-event. Sowerby Bridge becomes a big city carnival for 2 days every year. Come and join in! It’s the best of British traditional entertainment and village fête.

    By the way, Morris Dancers don’t just run around poles. They play very entertaining music, dance with swords and even carry dragons around on their backs.

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