Piece Hall

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What do you think of when you hear the word “Halifax”. Most of you probably think of “mortgage provider”, some of you, however, will think of the West Yorkshire town and fewer of you might think of the Industrial Revolution, of which Halifax was at the forefront.

Visiting the town you might arrive at the undistinguished railway station, a shadow of the station which operated up until the 1960s. Or you might arrive at the bus station, built in the early 1990s and incorporating listed buildings dating back to the 1840s. Alternatively you might come by car and spend a long time trying to find somewhere to park, then being overcome by the cost of that parking. Which ever way you arrive, you will have a list of sites to visit.

These will include the town hall, designed by Charles Barry, who had perfected his architectural technique on the Houses of Parliament in London; All Souls Church on Haley Hill designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott; and possibly Eueka! the children’s museum. Top of you list of things “to see” will be The Piece Hall – a Georgian building, opened in 1799 with about 300 separate rooms arranged around a central courtyard. The “piece” of the name refers to pieces of cloth made in the town which cloth manufacturers would showcase in this extraordinary building consisting of ten thousand square yards with a rustic basement story and two upper stories fronted with two interior colonnades which are spacious walks leading to arched rooms where goods in an unfinished state were deposited and exhibited for sale to the merchants.

When standing in the enclosed square, looking up at the colonnades, one could forget one is in Yorkshire and be transported to Venice, such is the architectural beauty of this wonderful and unique building.

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