Halifax & Huddersfield September 2011
Researched and led by Sue Hayton
Just a few pictures of some of the things we saw on the City Safari to Yorkshire.
The Piece Hall
The Hall is, in fact, an open courtyard surrounded by arcaded walls. It was built in 1779 to replace a 16th century structure to the plans of Mr. Hope. The courtyard covers an area of 110 by 91 yards and the site falls some 17’ from west to east. This can be seen as the top side has two storeys while the lower has three. Pieces of cloth were sold here each week to textile merchants. A ‘piece’ some 27” wide by 24 yards represented what could be woven in a week by a part time weaver/farmer in the days before mechanisation of weaving.
Halifax Permanent Benefit Building Society
This imposing building was constructed in 1873 to the designs of Samuel Jackson of Bradford. It served as their head offices until 1921. The name of the company can be seen carved above the corner entrance to the building.
Halifax Town Hall
There were various proposals in the mid 19th century to build a new town hall after the town had become a borough in 1853. Charles Barry was asked to review the competition designs but disliked the entries and entered his own design which was accepted. John Crossley provided the plot and it is not surprising that many of the surrounding buildings are completed in a similar style. The grand opening took place in 1863 when 358 trains brought 70,000 people to two days of events after the Prince of Wales had declared the building open.
Terrace of back-to-back housing (with later modifications)

VICTORIA THEATRE When the theatre on Fountain Street opened in 1901, it was known as the Victoria Hall.

The architect, W Clement Williams, made the most of the imposing site, despite it difficult shape.

The foyer retains its original features as well as a bust of the late Queen Victoria after who the structure was named
Shaw Lodge Mills were designed by Sir Charles Barry, architect of the Houses of Parliament for John Holdsworth & Co and the complex was built between 1830 and 1880. It is listed Grade II*.

Holdsworths were known for making upholstery fabric, moquette, and by the 1850s they were employing over 2,000 people on the site.
Huddersfield: “the handsomest by far of all the factory towns in Lancashire and Yorkshire by reason of its charming situation and modern architecture ” - Friedrich Engels

The main railway station was built between 1846 and 1850 to the design of J P Pritchett & Sons of York for the Huddersfield and Manchester Railway, later the LNWR, and Manchester and Leeds Railway, later Lancashire and Yorkshire Railways. A central portico with six columns and a large pediment stands proud of the rest of the building. Pritchett also designed the Parish Church. The builder was Joseph Kaye, who was responsible for many fine buildings in the city. Behind were extensive sidings, now gone, but with remaining accumulator tower, goods offices and listed railway warehouse.

Outside the station is a statue of Harold Wilson, a son of the city. This statue, designed by Ian Walters was unveiled by the then PM, Tony Blair and is based on photographs of Wilson in 1964.
A Mechanics Institution was established in Huddersfield in 1841 and by 1859 the building at the corner of Northumberland Street and Friendly Street was constructed to the plans of Travis and Margell of Manchester.

The fine building has now been converted into housing but the cast iron lamp standards cast by the Coalbrookdale Company still remain by the entrance,
Firth Street mill is aligned with the canal rather than the road. It dates from 1866 when it was erected for as a woollen spinning mill. It changed to cotton spinning in 1886 when additions were also made to the building.

The main block comprises 5 storeys with 21 bays. It has now been converted to use by the University.
TURNBRIDGE This unusual vertical lift bridge dates from 1865 when it replaced an earlier swing bridge, the original turn bridge. A combination of wheels, chains and counter weights are used to lift the deck of the bridge out of the way of passing barges.

Its other name of ‘Locomotive Bridge’ presumably refers to the fact that this new bridge could take the increased weight of steam-powered haulage.

Click here to download the scanned in documents from Dean Clough