|Designated||3 November 1954|
The earliest known reference to the new Piece Hall was a handbill dated 19 March 1774, although this no longer survives. The hall was built for "the purpose of depositing and exposing to sale the worsted and woolen goods manufactured in this town and neighbourhood". It was seen that bringing merchants and buyers together in one place would create a more competitive and efficient market and discourage fraudsters. Initially, two sites were proposed, one at Talbot Croft and the other at Cross Field (which was used in 1948 for the construction of the new bus station). After consideration, Talbot Croft was chosen and was purchased in September 1774.
It opened on 1 January 1779, with 315 separate rooms arranged around a central open courtyard.
The architect of Piece Hall has never been identified, and there is a lack of documentary evidence surrounding its design and construction; F. A. Leyland cited Thomas Bradley as the most likely architect in 1887, although others have suggested Samuel and John Hope and John Carr.
An 1831 description of Piece Hall says:
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 o 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.— Samuel Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of England
The industrial revolution saw a shift away from small producers and traders, with new larger mills in the Halifax area trading directly with merchants and exporters. After years of decline, The Piece Hall was acquired from the trustees in 1868 by Halifax Corporation. They converted it into a wholesale market hall and some of the small rooms were combined to make larger shop units; cellars were created and the south pedestrian gate was enlarged to allow vehicles to enter the courtyard with Iron Gates installed over the entrance (supplied by George Smith of the Sun Foundry, Glasgow for £120). Sheds and latrines were constructed in the courtyard.
In 1971, after The Piece Hall had become seen as unsuitable for a wholesale market, the businesses were dispersed elsewhere throughout the town and demolition of the then two-century-old building was considered. Government grants were made available and the Halifax Corporation received funding to make the building a tourist attraction. The sheds that had been built in the 19th century were demolished and the courtyard landscaped; further, walls were removed from the original rooms to create shops, and a new museum–art gallery was opened on the east side. The new Piece Hall opened on 3 July 1976. The museum–art gallery closed in 1998.
Piece Hall Trust has been set up as a charity responsible for managing The Piece Hall.
- Historic interest: citing the scale and architectural grandeur and its illustration of the wealth of Halifax at the time of its construction.
- Rarity: citing the rarity of surviving purpose built cloth halls.
- Architectural interest: citing its dramatic design, its detailed galleries and courtyard as well as a high degree of craftsmanship and the high quality of materials used
- Architectural layout: citing the courtyard plan but the provision of individual rooms to enable confidentiality in transactions. Despite the combination of some rooms internally the building remains externally unchanged and "visually readable".
- Historic England. "Piece Hall, Westgate, Halifax (Grade I) (1273056)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 24 August 2016.
- Sutcliffe, Robert (28 April 2017). "Watch: Take a tour of new-look Halifax Piece Hall following £19m revamp". Huddersfield Daily Examiner. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
- Lewis, Samuel (1831). A Topographical Dictionary of England. Lewis. p. 296. Retrieved 24 August 2016.
spacious walks leading to arched rooms .Appears to be a close parphrase of Baines, Edward (1822). History, Directory & Gazetteer, of the County of York. E. Baines. p. 186. Retrieved 24 August 2016.
spacious walks leading to arched rooms .
- "Piece Hall, Westgate, Halifax". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
- "Halifax Piece Hall: First look at £19m refurbishment work". BBC News. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
- "Delay to historic West Yorkshire hall's reopening". BBC. 1 June 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
- "Father John Misty and Friends". The Piece Hall. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
- "The Piece Hall Trust, registered charity no. 1156948". Charity Commission for England and Wales.
- Gatje, Robert F.Great Public Squares: An Architect’s Selection, Norton, 2010. ISBN 978-0-393-73173-6
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