Halifax’s history has been shaped by the wool trade, and the town owes many of its finest buildings and features to the needs of the trade, and the wealth created by it. In the 15th century it was probably the most important city in the country for wool – and it continued to hold a crucial role in British industry right through to the middle of the last century.
Halifax nowadays has diversified, and the town’s name is synonymous with financial services and in particular the building society (and latterly bank) with the same name. Halifax has also gained something of a reputation for being the most complete Victorian town in the country, the centerpiece of which is its grade II-listed Town Hall, which was designed by Charles Barry – who also designed the Houses of Parliament.
When Halifax’s Town Hall was opened by HRH the Prince of Wales (the future Edward VII) in 1863, over 70,000 people arrived by train and thousands more arrived on foot or via other transport.
Nowadays, Halifax’s most popular building is probably the Piece Hall. This is another fine building and dates back to 1779. It was a huge trading hall for the textile industry, where merchants would sell pieces of cloth. The building now houses an art gallery, a host of shops, and a Tourist Information Centre. Its courtyard is also the venue for a flea market on Thursdays and an open market on Fridays and Saturdays.
Halifax’s fascinating Parish Church has a long history. The first church was built in 1120, and the present church dates back to 1438 using some of the stones from the earlier church.
There are many things to do both within the town and in nearby towns and villages, and this part of the Pennines has some marvelous walking routes too.
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