Halifax Piece Hall

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This is a backup copy of the West Yorkshire Archive Service's "Off the Record" wiki from 2015. The live went offline in 2016 and is currently unavailable. Editing and account creation are disabled.

The following source list was originally available only on paper in one of the West Yorkshire Archive Service offices. It may have been compiled many years ago and could be out of date. It was designed to act as a signpost to records of interest on a particular historical subject, but may relate only to one West Yorkshire district, or be an incomplete list of sources available. Please feel free to add or update with any additional information.


A Cloth Hall existed in Halifax as far back as 1572, and in the 17th century there was a "Linen Hall" near Cheapside. Prior to the Industrial Revolution cloth was produced by the "piece", and many skilful handloom weavers lived and worked in the area around Halifax. The Town's wool merchants grew wealthy trading in "pieces" and decided to build a cloth hall, like their counterparts in other Yorkshire towns, to show off their prosperity and status. The Piece Hall, designed by Thomas Bradley, Engineer to the Calder and Hebble Navigation, was opened on land called Talbot Close on 1 January 1779 and cost over £12,000. 315 rented merchants' rooms, nestled among the Italian style colonnaded galleries, originally surrounded the cobbled courtyard and lawns (on which sheep were allowed to graze). The Piece Hall was originally open for business for just two hours on a Saturday morning and there were severe penalties for anyone who traded after the bell had rung to mark the end of business.

The Piece Hall flourished for three and a half decades, but as the Industrial Revolution gained pace, the cottage weaver became redundant as merchants and mill owners traded directly. By the early 1830s fewer than 200 of the 315 rooms were occupied. In 1836 market day was changed to Wednesday but it proved unpopular. From 1841-1890 it was used for the famous Halifax Sunday School Jubilees or Sings. In 1868 the Piece Hall was given to Halifax Corporation and from 1871 to the early 1970s it served as home to Halifax's Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Market. In 1928 it became a scheduled ancient monument, and in 1972 a Grade One Listed Building. The Piece Hall survived a plan to replace it with a new town centre car park, and in 1976 the restored Piece Hall was re-opened as a unique visitor attraction.

Source List dated 2 January 1992

Catalogue Reference Date Description
FW:12/1 1774 Deeds relating to acquisition by Trustees of land on which the Piece Hall was built
FW:12/3 1774-1778 Receipts for subscriptions towards erecting the Piece Hall
DW:A/16-17 1774-1778 Documents relating to the Piece Hall, including list of rooms
FW:12/4 1774-1865 Miscellaneous rental receipts, notices, assignment of rooms, abstract of title to rooms, etc
MISC:3/72/1-2 1775 Proposal (20th cent transcript) and agreement for building the Piece Hall
RP:3:406 1775 Letter to Robert Parker, Halifax, solicitor relating to Commissioners' Order for the Piece Hall
HAS:B:22/12/2 1775 Memoranda (transcript) entitled an 'estimate of the Manufacturers' Hall by Samuel and John Hope'
MISC:2/39 1775 Building estimates of Samuel and John Hope (see Transactions of the Halifax Antiquarian Society 1905 pp187-194)
RP:2115 1775 Articles of agreement between manufacturers about a room in the Piece Hall 'now actually erecting'
HAS:378/31-36 1788-1825 Receipts for sale of a room in the Piece Hall
RP:429 c1789 Auction bill for property in Burnley, Colne and 2 rooms in Halifax Piece Hall
FW:12/5 1794-1848 Deeds of assignment of the Piece Hall, and appointment of new Trustees
DC:1290 1831 Thomas Turney's receipt for purchase by John Crossley of his room at the Piece Hall (61 Rustic Gallery)
BRA:149 1832 Assignment by Squire Harrison to Joseph Sharp of a room in the Piece Hall
HAS/B:7/7-9 1836-1880 Financial statement and programmes for Sunday School Jubilees at the Piece Hall
SH:7/ML/1025 1838 Letter from Sam Washington, Halifax, to Anne Lister, Tarbes, concerning 3000 guests to dine at the Piece Hall to mark the Coronation
HAS/B:9/6 1853 Ticket for the Halifax Borough Election hustings in the Piece Hall
FW:12/6 1854 & 1867 Draft legal opinion as to the rights and powers of the trustees and lessees of the Piece Hall
OR:338 1867 Halifax Corporation Waterworks Improvement Bill - list of proprietors and tenants of the Piece Hall
FW:12/7-11 1867-1868 Correspondence, lists of proprietors, deeds etc relating to the acquisition of the Piece Hall by Halifax Corporation
HAS/B:5/14 1868 Correspondence, registration certificate, etc, relating to proprietorship of rooms
HAS/B:4/1/3-4 1860s Memoranda from Town Clerk's Office relating to rent of premises in the Piece Hall
MISC:396/65 1871 Sion Sunday School - ticket for the Sunday School Jubilee at the Piece Hall
SH:7/JN/692 1871 Letter from William Farrow, Halifax, to John Lister, asking for the use of Shibden Hall for Sion Sunday School after the Piece Hall Jubilee
HAS/B:8/1 1885 North Parade School - 2 badges for the Sunday School Centenary celebrations at the Piece Hall
HAS/B:21/60 1930s-1940s Papers of W B Trigg, Halifax Antiquarian Society, relating to the Piece Hall. Includes copy proposal for the Hall
RMP:1107/55 1931 Letter from G R Carline, Keeper of Bankfield Museum, Halifax, thanking Mr G T Ramsden for the gift of the old Piece Hall bell
MISC:815/2 1965-1990 Correspondence to the Halifax Thespians (with some copy replies) about the future of the theatre and the official re-opening of the Piece Hall
TU:52/33 1976 Letter to the Halifax Brnach Chairman of the National Union of Journalists relating to the opening of the Piece Hall
NCW:28 1978-1979 Halifax Piece Hall Bi-Centenary - exhibition by the Halifax Branch of the National Council of Women of Great Britain
CIP:5-11 1970s-1990s 7 albums of colour photographs produced for the Calderdale Inheritance Project of various sites in Calderdale, including the Piece Hall
PB/B:72 1975 Correspondence, newspaper cuttings, etc. about the re-opening of the Piece Hall and pageant to be performed, written by Phyllis Bentley
CIV:371-407 1980s 37 slides of the Piece Hall, including market and night scenes
MISC:894/56 [1982] Photographs of the Piece Hall Market
MPH:54 1990 West Yorkshire County Council, Highways Department, photographs of the Piece Hall
HAS/E:K/41 & HAS/E:L/28 no date Slides of the Piece Hall