It was a gloriously sunny day a couple of weeks ago when we took a trip to nearby Halifax. It’s a long time since we’ve been and we wanted to pay a visit to the recently restored, historic Piece Hall.
It’s incredible to think that when the Hall was first opened, trading within was only allowed for 2 hours per week – and only on a Saturday. In his book, A Topographical Dictionary of England, Samuel Lewis writes:
The Piece Hall was erected by the manufacturers and is a large quadrangular building of freestone occupying an area of ten thousand square yards with a rustic basement storey and two upper storeys 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 every Saturday from ten to twelve ‘clock. This structure which was completed at an expense of £12,000 and opened on 1 January 1779 unites elegance convenience and security. It contains three hundred and fifteen separate rooms, and is proof against fire.
The Hall is on 3 floors, now housing a range of little independent shops located along the long, beautiful colonnades. Shops such as Yorkshire Soap Company, Loafers Vinyl & Coffee – there’s even a gin bar in a corner on the ground level. The large central square is now being used for concerts, gigs, markets, workshops and so on. The Antiques Roadshow takes place there this summer.
We couldn’t leave without taking a couple of photos of the impressive, restored cast iron south gates manufactured in 1871.
The white rose of Yorkshire is one of the prominent symbols. The gates are inscribed with the Latin, “Nisi Dominus custodierit civitatem” from Psalm 127 meaning, “Except the Lord keep the city”. They bear a figure of a lamb, a nod to the fact that Halifax was an important centre of the woollen trade in England. The head of John the Baptist is also present, he’s the patron saint of wool weavers’ guilds.