Monday, January 14, 2013

A Piece Of History


Halifax Piece Hall was built in 1779 as a market for the trade in "pieces" of cloth. Over 300 trading rooms were built around a large central courtyard, creating, what is, one of Britain's finest examples of Georgian commercial architecture. During the nineteenth century the large central courtyard was often used for religious gatherings and popular entertainment - the tightrope walker, Blondin, walked on a rope strung from side to side in 1861. By the end of the nineteenth century, the need for a cloth trading market was long gone and, sadly, in 1871 the Piece Hall was turned into a wholesale fruit and vegetable market. It retained this use for 100 years, and my photograph shows it in the 1960s when it was the home of potatoes and carrots rather than woven cloth or revivalist meetings. The wholesale market closed down a few years after I took this photograph and the Piece Hall enjoyed a brief revival as a thriving antique and craft centre. A few of the side rooms are still occupied, but the building is once again in search of a new use. The full history of the building and proposals for its future can be found HERE.

7 comments:

  1. Well, it's been a very useful building and will probably find more uses. A well built building can be useful because it is convenient to operate. A nice photo and history.

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  2. What a beautiful place it was in it's day! I hope it is revived:)

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  3. I hope it can have a new life one day.

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  4. It looks a great place. From reading some old newspapers it does become clear that finding new purposes for existing 'old' buildings is not a new problem.

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  5. Looks as though there are some serious proposals for giving the place a new lease of life. Fingers crossed.

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  6. Well done for making an historical and pictorial record of its transition.

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  7. It's a few years now since I've been to the Piece Hall and I hadn't realised it had undergone such a decline. One of the last times I was there we accompanied Jools Holland in browsing through the vinyl discs in an independent record shop in the corner of the top floor, if my memory serves me right. Glad to see there are new plans for hopefully a new and vibrant future.

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