The Grade I listed Piece Hall, Halifax is a rare and precious thing, an architectural and cultural phenomenon which is absolutely unique. It is the sole survivor of the great eighteenth century northern cloth halls, a class of buildings which embodied the vital and dominant importance of the trade in hand woven textiles to the pre-industrial economy of the West Riding of Yorkshire, from the Middle Ages through to the early nineteenth century.

Dating from 1779, when it was built as a Cloth Hall for the trading of ‘pieces’ of cloth (a 30 yard length of woven woollen fabric produced on a handloom), The Piece Hall was the most ambitious and prestigious of its type and now stands in splendid isolation as the only remaining example. It is one of Britain’s most outstanding Georgian buildings.

It is impossible to overstate the scale and importance of this trade, not just to the history of Halifax and the West Riding, but to the nation as a whole over some 800 years between the twelfth and eighteenth centuries.

When it was built, The Piece Hall was a highly visible statement of the great wealth, pride and ambition of the cloth manufacturers. Although built for trade, it also embodied the most cultured sensitivities of the Enlightenment; these bluff northern manufacturers deliberately chose a design for their building which adapted the neo-classical orders of architecture derived originally from the Romans.

From its inception, The Piece Hall was a stunning combination of commerce and culture, an icon of hard business but also a broader statement about the history, the lives and the values of its surrounding community. This fascinating mix of purpose and idealism – business, arts and people, continues to influence and drive The Piece Hall’s role today. A direct link back over almost a quarter of a millenium of history.





8 Comments CherryPie on Apr 5th 2019

8 Responses to “The Piece Hall”

  1. Hels says:

    I can see that the neo-classical Georgian architecture would have been a perfect style in Enlightenment times, and the importance of the cloth trade probably meant they didn’t have to watch the costs too closely. But I wonder if the cloth men could use all those facilities – the building looks HUGE.

    • CherryPie says:

      The full history of the building isn’t explained. At least in my searches for it…

      I have shared what I was able to find about the building :-)

  2. Anca says:

    It looks wonderful. I haven’t been to Halifax, so I’m enjoying your pictures.

  3. Andrew Scott says:

    That is so impressive. I have never been to Halifax. It is now on my list of places for us to visit on our regular journeys to and from Cheltenham, where my son lives and works.

    • CherryPie says:

      We didn’t have time to explore Halifax in great detail but another place we visited was Halifax Minster. Another interesting building.

  4. What an impressive building. Halifax is somewhere I have never visited. A really interesting post so thank you.