Halifax Town History
Other Local Sites: Sowerby Bridge, Mytholmroyd, Hebden Bridge, Brighouse, Heptonstall
Halifax is a town in the county of West Yorkshire, northern England, with a population of about 90,000. It is well known as a centre of England's woollen manufacture from the 15th century onward.
Except The Lord Keep the City
The name Halifax is said to be a corruption of the old English words for Holy and Face, part of the local legend that the head of John the Baptist was buried here after his execution. The legend is almost certainly mediaeval rather than ancient, though the town's coat of arms still carries an image of the Saint. Halifax Parish Church, parts of which go back to the 12th century, has always been dedicated to St John the Baptist. (The church's first organist, in 1765, was William Herschel, who later discovered the planet Uranus.)
Halifax Piece Hall was the cloth hall where the trading of the woollen cloth pieces was done. It was opened on January 1, 1779, was only open for business for two hours on a Saturday morning, and contained 315 merchants' trading rooms. After the mechanisation of the cloth industry, the Piece Hall was used as a public market and still is today. The Calderdale Industrial Museum (now closed) was housed within the Piece Hall.
The 'Eureka!' family science museum, which was inpsired and opened by Prince Charles in the summer of 1992 is also located in the town.
The Town Hall built 1863 was built by Charles Barry who also built the Houses of Parliament.
Wainhouse tower is the tallest folly in the world standing at 275ft. It was designed by Isaac Booth for John Wainhouse as the chimney for his dye works but in 1874 Wainhouse sold the dye works to his manager who refused to pay to complete the oversized chimney so John Wainhouse kept it for himself. It has a decorative cap with an observation platform reached by an interior spiral staircase containing 403 stairs. It is now only open to the public on bank holidays.
The Duke of Wellington's Regiment Regimental Headquarters was once based at Wellesley Park, on the junction of Gibbet Street and Spring Hall Road, in the old Museum Building. The Regimental Museum has been rehoused in Bankfoot House Textile Museum (Bankfield Museum) on Haley Hill. The Barracks was converted into an Educational school in 2005.
Victoria Theatre Halifax
Since 1974 Halifax has been the centre of the metropolitan district of Calderdale, part of the metropolitan county of West Yorkshire. Halifax has given its name to a bank Halifax plc which started as a building society in the town. Halifax is a twin town with Aachen in Germany.
Halifax was also notorious for the 'Halifax Gibbet', an early form of the guillotine used to execute criminals by decapitation, and last used in 1650. A replica of the gibbet has been erected in Gibbet Street. Law-enforcement in Halifax was notoriously harsh, as remembered in the Beggar's Litany, a prayer whose text was "From Hull, Hell and Halifax, Good Lord deliver us!"
Halifax is also home to a vibrant South Asian community mainly of Pakistani Muslims from the Azad Kashmir region. Most of the community lives in the West Central Halifax region of the town, which was previously home to immigrant Irish communities which have since moved to outer suburbs.
North Halifax is a collective of suburbs of Halifax physically divided from West Central Halifax by Dean Clough. North Halifax is noted for its local support of the far-right British National Party; the suburb of Mixenden became the first area in West Yorkshire to popularly vote in a BNP councillor. It is also home to the prestigious North Halifax Grammar School, one of the last of two remaining selective schools in Calderdale District. North Halifax in constrast with West Central Halifax's ethnic diversity, houses mainly white Protestant residents. West Central Halifax has older stone terrace houses which have stood the test of time and are still standing, while North Halifax has many ex-council houses built in the 50s and 60's of varying standards; in recent years many houses in North Halifax have been demolished due to their uninhabitable conditions. A notable example of this is the the Jumples block of flats, which lay empty for over 15 years before finally being condemned and razed to the ground. Abbey Park, an award winning development in the 1960s was demolished in the late 90s because the houses were unfit to live in. North Halifax is also known for its high levels of social deprivation and associated high crime rates. West Central Halifax is also notorious for social deprivation and high crime rates.
The above mentioned North Halifax Grammar School in Illingworth, Halifax, is a selective 11-18 school that is highly ranked nationally. Recently selected as a "Specialist Science College" under Educational Reforms, it produces excellent GCSE and A-Level results in Arts and Sciences.
While certain areas of Halifax are in relatively poor condition, it is not without its desirable locations; Wheatley, Bradshaw, Holmfield and Illingworth Moor. Savile Park, Skircoat Green have many higher-priced, privately owned residences.
In addition to the two previosly mentioned districts there are many other areas stretching primaraley down two valleys the calder and the hebble valley. Both areas begin with lower class council housing close to the town centre and improving in value, quality and age as you progress down the valley away from halifax. The main area in the calder valley is Sowerby Bridge where as in the hebble it is Mytholmroyd, Luddenfoot and Hebden bridge. Halifax also has a large area heading south consisting of 3 main areas called Siddal, Greetland and Elland. All three are well known for there rugby intrests with Elland and Siddal been rugby league (like most of yorkshire) and Greetland been rugby union (Heath RUFC).
A metropolitan district in West Yorkshire, England. Its major settlement is Halifax.
The district is mostly rural and covers part of the Pennines, but there are some industrial towns in the east and some river valleys. Calderdale is named after the River Calder, which runs through it.
The district was formed on April 1, 1974 by the merger of the county borough of Halifax, the boroughs of Brighouse, Todmorden and the urban districts of Elland, Hebden Royd, Ripponden, Sowerby Bridge, and part of Queensbury and Shelf urban district.
Places in Calderdale include:
- Chiserley, Cornholme, Cragg Vale
- Halifax, Hebden Bridge, Heptonstall, Holywell Green
- Luddenden, Luddenden Foot
- Midgeley, Mill Bank, Mixenden, Mount Tabor, Mytholm, Mytholmroyd
- Ogden, Old Town, Ovenden
- Ripponden, Rishworth
- Savile Park, Skircoat Green, Sowerby, Sowerby Bridge, Sowood Green, Stainland
- Todmorden, Triangle
- Wainstalls, Walsden, Warley Town, West Vale, Wholestone Hill
Brighouse is the second largest town in the metropolitan district of Calderdale in the county of West Yorkshire, England. The 2001 census gave the town's population as 32,198.
The town is situated on the River Calder, 4 miles (6 km) east of Halifax in the Pennines. It is served by Junction 25 of the M62 and its own railway station on the Caldervale line.
The name Brighouse (or "Bridge House") originates from a building on (or close to) the bridge over the River Calder. In its early history, it was a hamlet of the nearby town of Rastrick.
In prehistoric times, there was a ford called Snake Hill Ford across the Calder - this was part of the Roman route between Wakefield and Manchester.
A wooden structure called Rastrick Bridge was recorded as being present in 1275. The bridge was replaced by one built with timber donated by John Hanson in 1514. Hanson's son funded a stone replacement for this bridge in 1558.
The river provided power for the flour milling industry and the textile mills. Brighouse's industry received a boost through the construction of the Calder and Hebble Navigation, started in 1757 by the engineer John Smeaton.
The Halifax and Huddersfield Turnpike Act of 1823 allowed for the building of Calder Bridge over what was to become the A641 road ; tolls were abolished on the bridge in 1875 and extensive widening work in was undertaken in 1905 and 1999 (both of these latter dates being commemorated in dedication stones on the bridge)
Elland is a town in the county of West Yorkshire, England, south of Halifax, by the River Calder and the Calder and Hebble Navigation. Its name comes from "ea-land", land near the water.
Elland was famous for its durable flagstones which, thanks to the nearby canal, could be transported very economically all over the county. Elland is also the home of the "Gannex" raincoat and of a particular type of boiled sweet.
The town is also home to the Rex Cinema, one of the few remaining independent cinemas in Britain.
Mentioned in the Doomsday book as being of more importance at that time than the nearby towns of Halifax and Huddersfield, Elland was a centre of wool production. The decline of the woolen industry has had a significant effect on the town, with many of the mills having been demolished or turned over to other uses. Significant buildings of interest in the town include St Mary's church, The former Rose and Crown in Northgate and the Fleece Inn (reputedly haunted) at the top of Westgate.
Hebden Bridge is a town in the county of West Yorkshire, England, 8 miles west of Halifax, at the junction of the River Calder and Hebden Water.
The original settlement was the hilltop village of Heptonstall. Hebden Bridge started as a settlement where the Halifax to Burnley hilltop packhorse route dropped down into the valley, crossing the river Hebden.
The rise of Hebden Bridge as a town
The steep wet hills and access to major wool markets meant that Hebden Bridge was ideal for water powered weaving mills and the town developed during the 19th and 20th centuries. Drainage of the marshland which covered much of the Calder Valley prior to the Industrial Revolution enabled construction of the road which runs through the valley. Prior to this, travel was only possible via the ancient packhorse route which ran along the hilltop, dropping into the valleys wherever necessary, as was the case with Hebden Bridge. The wool trade also brought the Rochdale Canal (running from Sowerby Bridge to Manchester) and the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway (running from Leeds to Manchester and Burnley).
Hebden Bridge also grew to include a cinema and substantial offices for Hebden Bridge Urban District Council. There was some controversy about this as the land was originally intended to be the site of a swimming pool. Hebden Bridge still has no swimming pool, although for some years there was a small training pool for children in the adult education centre on Central Street. Hebden Bridge also had its own cooperative society. However, during the 1960s, it was defrauded and went bankrupt. The old co-op building became a hotel and was later converted into flats. The Co-op returned in the 1980s with a supermarket on Market Street on the site of an old mill.
Luddenden is a district of Calderdale west of Halifax on the river Ludd in the county of West Yorkshire, England.
The name means Ludd valley, or valley of the loud stream and refers to the Luddenden Brook.
The community is first mentioned in 1284.
In 1375, a corn mill was moved from Warley Town to exploit the Luddenden Brook. With the introduction of water power, many textile mills were established in the district.
The area was used for filming external scenes in the 1980's ITV comedy series In Loving Memory, starring Thora Hird.
Mount Tabor, may be named after a hill in the Israel near Nazareth. It is believed by many to be the site of the Transfiguration of Christ.
Mytholmroyd is a town in the county of West Yorkshire, England, near Hebden Bridge and west of Halifax. It is in the borough of Calderdale. It is the birthplace of the English poet Ted Hughes. He became the Poet Laureate and married the American poet Sylvia Plath who is buried at nearby Heptonstall. Its population is roughly 4,200.
Mytholmroyd is the home of Calder High School, the largest Comprehensive School in the Calder Valley. Mytholmroyd Community Centre hosts the annual Dock Pudding Championships in April, and the Mytholmroyd Gala takes place every August.
During the late 18th century, the valley to the south, known as Cragg Vale was home to a gang of counterfeiters known as the Cragg Coiners. The gang's leader, David Hartley, or King David as he was known, was found guilty of the 1769 murder of excise official William Dighton and was hanged at Tyburn near York, on April 28 1770. Two other gang members were also executed for their part in the murder.
At a district level Mytholmroyd Urban Distrct Council was set up in 1894. In 1937 it merged with Hebden Bridge Urban District Council to become Hebden Royd Urban District Council. At a county level Mytholmroyd was administered by the West Riding County Council. Both of these were abolished as part of the reforms introduced in the Local Government Act 1972. They were replaced with West Yorkshire Metropolitan county Council, Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council, and Hebden Royd Town Council. From a legal point of view the Town Council is a parish council. West Yorkshire County Council was abolished in 1986, leaving Mytholmroyd with just a borough and town council.
Ripponden is a village in the county of West Yorkshire, England, near Halifax, on the River Ryburn. It is the site of a Roman settlement, and there is a Roman Road over nearby Blackstone Edge, a rocky ridge of millstone grit.
Ripponden is the main settlement in a small group of villages, each with its own identity: Barkisland, Ripponden, Rishworth and Soyland. The citizens of Ripponden are represented on Ripponden Parish Council, whose embryonic website (see external links) includes further information about the village and surrounding settlements. The area is a substantial part of the Ryburn Ward (see external links), itself part of Calderdale Council.
Skircoat / Skircoat Green
A district of Calderdale to the south of Halifax. In the 13th century, the land was granted to the Earl Warren, and then passed to the Savile family. This was an independent township before being absorbed by the Borough of Halifax in 1892. The name was originally Schircotes and means building on the rocks
Sowerby & Sowerby Bridge
Sowerby is a village in the Calderdale area of West Yorkshire, near the larger village of Sowerby Bridge, to the south-west of Halifax. Sowerby was the centre of a parliamentary constituency of the same name until 1983, when the constituency was expanded and renamed Calder Valley.
Sowerby Bridge is a town in Calderdale within the county of West Yorkshire, England. Situated around three miles southwest of Halifax, the town is at the junction of the Rochdale Canal and the Calder and Hebble Navigation. The town had a population of 9,948 at the 2001 Census.
Rushbearing, the ceremony of taking rushes to churches for covering the floors throughout winter, still takes place here over the first weekend of September.
Todmorden is a town in the county of West Yorkshire, England. It is part of Calderdale Metropolitan Borough. Although now usually considered to be entirely in Yorkshire, the historic border between Yorkshire and Lancashire runs through the town, and the area comes under the Rochdale phone prefix of "01706".
The town centre occupies the confluence of three steep sided valleys in the Pennines. The main valley is that of the River Calder; the valleys constrict the shape of the town. Streams from the surrounding hills provided water for corn and fulling mills, and later, power for cotton spinning and weaving. Communications were provided in their turn by the building of roads, the Rochdale Canal, and then the main line of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway between Manchester and Leeds; now the Caldervale Railway line. Each occupy the gap through the hills via Hebden Bridge and Halifax. Harold Shipman, the G.P. who is believed to have killed over 200 patients in the 1970's, 1980's and 1990's, claimed some of his victims while working as a doctor in Todmorden.
In December 1984 a freight train carrying petrol derailed in the summit tunnel between Todmorden and Littleborough causing an underground fire on the Yorkshire/Lancashire border. More than 200 firefighters from both West Yorkshire and Manchester were employed to tackle the blaze, which burned for several days. Fortunately, no-one was killed or injured in the incident. TV footage of the fire showing flames shooting out of the ventilation shafts on the hillside was beamed all around the world as the derailment quickly turned into a major transportation disaster. The build up of heat in the surrounding ground led to the phenomenon of a 'false spring'. Many plants were seen to be producing flowers and buds as the warm soil triggered a period of new growth.
Although its industrial base is much reduced (at one time Todmorden had the largest weaving shed in the world), it is now more of a commuter town for people working in Manchester, Leeds, Bradford, and other large cities. It also attracts visitors in connection with its locality: heritage and the countryside being its selling points.
Todmorden is twinned with 2 towns, Roncq in France and Bramsche in Germany
The population of Todmorden in the 2001 UK census was 11,826.
Warley Town is a town near Halifax in the county of West Yorkshire, England.
It was listed in the Domesday book as Werlafeslei.
Warley township, one of 23 townships in the ancient parish of Halifax, was also one of the biggest, stretching as far as Luddenden and what was to become Sowerby Bridge. The township consisted of many tiny settlements essentially based on the local farmsteads, places such as Lane End, Warley Edge, Winterburn Hill, Cliff Hill and Warley itself.
Warley remained a small settlement until the beginning of the 18th century. Then the consolidation of the Cliff Hill estate into a major land holding, coupled with the establishment of the Congregational chapel, formed the core round which the present village grew.
In front of the chapel, cottages were built for agricultural workers as well as larger houses for local businessmen who preferred to live in the country away from the smog of Halifax.
© 2006 This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Calderdale