Piece Hall & Halifax Visitor Centre
Historic weavers market centre Piece Hall is the heart of Halifax, and a good place to start your exploration of this attraction rich Pennine Town. The Halifax visitor centre with on-site art gallery is here, alongside a superb choice of shops (over 40) around the courtyard including antiques, printing and embroidering, books, beer and wine shops, off the wall clothing boutiques, collectables and fine cosmetics. Plenty of chic cafes, sandwich and smoothie bars and tearooms are here too! Piece Hall is a popular spot for picnics and lunches in fine weather.
Piece Hall has had a selection of names since it first opened as a weavers’ cloth selling courtyard in 1779 including Manufacturers’ Hall and Cloth Hall. Once one of many such market cloth halls scattered across Northern England, Piece Hall stands now as one of the few remaining in existence today. The central courtyard is a Halifax hotspot for events throughout the year including bike rallies, musical events and festivals.
Dean Clough Arts Centre Halifax
As you approach Halifax, Dean Clough – formally the world’s largest Victorian Carpet Mill, fills the skyline. This is Halifax’s colossal centre for the arts. From one end to the other the site measures two-thirds of a mile! It was the Crossley Carpets name that once sat atop Dean Clough. Renowned worldwide, Crossleys employed around 4000 people at one time and it was here that acclaimed inventor/designer George Collier developed a new powerloom for weaving carpets which literally revolutionised carpet production.
The largest of the Dean Clough contemporary art spaces is aptly named the Crossley Gallery and is a hub for cutting edge large scale contemporary art and textile exhibitions. It’s also sometimes used for venue for jazz. Move upstairs to the Mosaic Galleries for smaller displays. A photography gallery is also here, with work by both local and well known photographers.
Originally known as Victoria Hall, the historic Victoria Theatre dates from 1901. Today this Halifax theatre is a popular Calderdale venue for music extravaganzas, concerts and comedy. From the outside the theatre looks deceptively small, it actually seats a huge 1568.
Halifax’s cutting edge theatre – The Viaduct sits within the Dean Clough Mill site. A more atmospheric theatre you’d be hard pushed to find – The Viaduct often sells out its performances which include music concerts, opera, alternative rock gigs, comedy and contemporary drama usually with a twist.
Bankfield Museum and Arts
Halifax’s eclectic mix of historic buildings is simply outstanding. The renowned Bankfield Museum in Halifax is set within a Victorian mill owners house and is home to an exciting exhibition of textiles and contemporary crafts. The Duke of Wellington’s Regiment Museum is also within Bankfield. Admission is free!
The Square Chapel in the heart of the centre, now converted arts centre, dates from 1772 and is a rare example of a Square Chapel designed by Thomas Bradley. Inside the tastefully renovated auditorium has superb acoustics and hosts music performances. The venue also includes a popular bar.
The Wainhouse Tower
The Wainhouse Tower in the King Cross area is a distinct feature on the Halifax skyline. This folly was originally intended as a chimney channelling smoke from a nearby dyehouse. Designed by Isaac Booth the chimney has a spiral staircase leading up to the balcony. Designated tour dates are available up the 253 foot Victorian chimney via the internal spiral staircase which opens out to fabulous views from the top.
The Tower became locally known as the ‘Tower of Spite’ resulting from a feud between Sir Henry Edwards and Victorian Industrialist John Edward Wainhouse. Edwards had boasted that no house in the area could achieve a view of his private grounds, so Wainhouse put an observatory on the top of the tower.