Tour of the town halls: Halifax

Mosaic of the Halifax coat of arms
The decadent entrance

Let’s face it, Halifax cannot be considered a glamorous location, but the town hall reminds us just how important Halifax was in textile manufacture during the Victorian era.  It’s with this in mind that some of the members of Hebden Bridge WI joined other groups in Calderdale for a guided tour.

Calderdale WIs take over the Council Chamber
Victoria Hall

Opened on 4th August 1863, Halifax town hall was designed by Sir Charles Barry, the architect of the Houses of Parliament.  The exterior and interior tell the story of a wealthy mill town more than capable of raising the funds to build an extravagant public building.

Bust of Princess Alexandra

Built with 24,000 tons of local stone from the Swales Moor near Queensbury the building was described as “a masterpiece of the nascent high Victorian style.”

Princess Alexandria and the Prince of Wales with the chair made for the opening ceremony

No expense was spared for the opening ceremony by HRH The Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, as the mill owning families in the town ensured everything was perfect, even down to making sure the prince had his own bespoke chair made for the day.

Queen Victoria
Calderdale WIs in the Victoria Hall
Council Chamber

The Council Chamber is still used for regular council meetings and acts as the coroner’s court.  This room is panelled in dark mahogany.  The original seating and writing desks act as a reminder of why we love craftsmanship.

Seat number 62 in the Council Chamber

The Mayor’s parlour was orginally designed as the main reception room, but is now used for informal meetings with the Mayor and invited councillors prior to main council meetings.

Time for tea in the Mayor’s Parlour
Part of Calderdale’s stunning silver collection

The parlour is now used as an opportunity to celebrate Calderdale’s history with paintings, trinkets and the silver collection on display for public consumption.

Halifax coat of arms decorating the back of a chair

Stood in Halifax town hall you can pretend you’re in a different world, and most certainly different country.  That is until you step back outside.

Written and posted by Amy

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