Friday, 9 October 2009


Another good day for sight seeing saw us on the bus from Todmorden (pronounced Tod ma dean) to Halifax renowned for it’s architectural designed buildings. The Town Hall is a 19th century grade II listed building and a classic example of the architect Charles Barry who also re-designed the Houses of Parliament. The Town Hall was a masterpiece with it’s stained glass dome over the central auditorium and tiled flooring.

halifax 004 The spire of Halifax Town Hall.halifax 054Glass ceiling dome in the Halifax town hall main auditorium.halifax 061The balcony around the main auditorium of Halifax Town Hall.  halifax 067 They don't make them like this any more.

The biggest attraction is the 315 room Piece Hall which was built in 1779 for all the handloom weavers of the district to display and sell their wares every Saturday. All the rooms are reputed to be fire proof. These days all sorts of retail outlets occupy the building and the open park like centre is used as a concert venue.

halifax 010 The courtyard of Piece Hall. There are 315 rooms around the square. The courtyard is used as a concert venue.halifax 012Wrought iron gate entry into Piece Hall. Anybody know latin?

Out along Commercial Street there is is the Victoria Theatre building at one end dating back to 1901 and at the other is the old Lloyds Bank building where if you go around the back there are some beautiful stained glass windows. All the buildings in this area are all of the same Victorian era grandeur.

halifax 037 Old Market arcade, Halifax. The Theatre building is on the left.

Across the other side of town is the Parish Church of St John the Baptist. The church is black, not from chimney soot and grime but because of the soft sand stone it has been built with, naturally weathering to this colour giving it a rather evil look. The present building has been there since 1438 but a church has stood on this site for 900 years. The font cover dates back to medieval times and is supposed to be the finest example in England. The 1st battalion, Duke of Wellingtons regimental colours are also stored and displayed here.

halifax 014 Parish church of St John the Baptist in Halifax. It's not dirty just natural weathering of soft sandstone.halifax 020 The Rose window in the Parish Church of St John the Baptist in Halifax.halifax 018 Parish church of St John the Baptist in Halifax. Newly completed cross stitch in the foyer.halifax 023 Regimental colours of the Duke of Wellington's Regiment from the Battle of Waterloo.


Bill Rodgers said...

Thanks for the hints on pronunciation. As an American, I have a hard time with (The Queen's) English. I enjoy your blog, usually a good mix of written word and pictures.

Derek and Dot said...

Hi Bill
Glad you enjoy ou blog, it just comes as we see it.

The Duke of Waltham said...

It's been five-and-a-half years, but I'll make a guess you are still interested in the Latin inscription on the gate at Piece Hall. I'm not much of a classicist myself, but I can at least read that strange Gothic lettering that was so fashionable back then. (By "then" I'm referring to the 19th century, which to me looks more probable a date for the gate than the 18th century, in terms of style alone). So, what follows is the first verse of Psalm 126 in the Vulgate, with your phrase in bold:

nisi Dominus aedificaverit domum in vanum laboraverunt qui aedificant eam nisi Dominus custodierit civitatem frustra vigilavit qui custodit eam

...and here's its translation as Psalm 127 in the King James Version, with the same phrase again in bold:

Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

Such extracts and phrases were popular decorative elements at the time. The first half of the verse (nisi ... eam) can actually be found in the floor of the Central Lobby, the busy crossroads in the heart of the Houses of Parliament, which brings us full circle to Charles Barry and the beginning of this page. Don't you like it when that happens?