Like most West Yorkshire towns, Halifax experienced major growth during the industrial revolution as a result of its woollen textile trade and the town centre still has a traditional feel reflecting the fine buildings of its Victorian expansion.
Carpet manufacture occupied Halifax's and, indeed, one of the world's biggest mills at Dean Clough, just outside the town centre. The huge mill complex of John Crossley and Sons Carpets, dating from the mid 19th century, has in recent years been given an inspiring renovation as a business park with offices and a hotel.
Halifax also had, and still has, other industries and business. Toffee and chocolate manufacturer John Mackintosh and Son started with a shop in Halifax in 1890. The firm grew and eventually merged to become Rowntree Mackintosh in 1969 before its takeover by Nestlé in 1988. One of its best-known brands is the Quality Street chocolate and toffee selection which was first produced in Halifax in 1936 and is still made there today.
Halifax is also famous for its banking institutions. The Halifax Building Society was founded in 1853 as the Halifax Permanent Benefit Building Society. This merged in 1928 with the Halifax Equitable Benefit Building Society, which had been started in 1871. The Halifax had occupied the position as the UK's largest building society for many years when it was converted to a public limited company bank in 1997. The futuristic building society headquarters building opened in 1973 is still a dominant feature in the Halifax townscape. The Halifax is now a part of the Lloyds Banking Group. The Yorkshire Bank, now part of Clydesdale Bank plc, was also founded in Halifax, in 1859.
Halifax also has a piece of horrible history in the Halifax Gibbet, an early decapitating machine used to summarily dispense terminal justice, often to petty thieves. It was brought in at an unknown date to streamline beheadings which had been going on in Halifax since the 13th century. It was used until eventually deemed too severe a punishment in 1650. Its notoriety was heightened by the words of a poem by John Taylor in 1622: "From Hull, from Hell, from Halifax .... Good Lord, deliver us."
In recent times Halifax and the picturesque area of the Pennines around it has achieved TV fame in the series 'Last Tango In Halifax' and in the police drama 'Happy Valley', which was filmed around Calderdale, Halifax and Huddersfield.
The town's main Post Office is in Market Street. There are also branch office in some districts.
The town has pharmacies in its town centre and around its districts
Halifax has bank and building society offices.
A broad selection of pubs and bars bring a busy nightlife to the town centre while in the districts and villages around Halifax the selection ranges from local hostelries to village inns.
For theatres and museums in Halifax see below.
The Halifax Central Library is in Square Road. Halifax also has branch libraries in some of its districts.
There are many schools and colleges in and around the town and its districts.
Places of worship: Anglican, Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, Islamic, Buddhist, other.
The Minster Church of St John the Baptist, or Halifax Minster, is at Causeway and near to Church Street. A church is thought to have existed on the site since at least the early 12th century. The current church is a grade I listed medieval church mostly dating from the 15th century although there have been further renovations since that time. Formerly Halifax Parish Church, it was given Minster status in 2009.
Further details at the
Halifax Minster website.
The Hebble Brook flows around the lower eastern edge of Halifax. The town is about 1.5 miles north of the valley of the River Calder at Salterhebble.
The Victoria Theatre
Fountain StreetThe theatre with seating for more than 1,500 provides a stage for top comedy and music acts as well as supporting community-orientated productions and activities.
Square Chapel Arts Centre
Square Road, adjoining the Piece HallThe Square Chapel Arts Centre provides a multi-purpose performing arts venue for theatre, film, live music, family shows, workshops and more in a converted Grade II listed red brick Georgian chapel dating from 1772. The centre has seating for 220 in its main auditorium.
FC Halifax Town'The Shaymen' play at The Shay.
FC Halifax Town official website.
Halifax RLFC'Fax' play at The Shay.
Halifax RLFC official website
Eureka! The National Children's MuseumDiscovery Road,
This modern museum near to Halifax railway station is full of interactive exhibits in themed galleries aimed at inspiring younger children to learn.
More information at
Calderdale Industrial Museum
Square Road, HalifaxSituated next to the Piece Hall, Calderdale Industrial Museum is run by volunteers aiming to preserve and share the industrial heritage of Calderdale. The museum includes a collection of machinery and displays representing a cross-section of industries of the area, including mining, quarrying, cloth and carpet manufacturing and toffee-making. The museum opens on Saturdays.
Find out more at the
Calderdale Industrial Museum website.
Akroyd Park, Boothtown RoadHoused in a Victorian mansion in Akroyd Park, the Bankfield Museum has been telling the story of Halifax since 1887, covering local history and the town's textile industry among its many subjects as well as housing temporary exhibtions. The museum is managed by Calderdale Council museums.
Further information at the
Calderdale Museums - Bankfield Museum web page.
Duke of Wellington's Regiment Museum
Akroyd Park, Boothtown RoadThe museum located within the Bankfield Museum provides more than 300 years of history of the Duke of Wellington's Regiment Museum since it was formed in 1702.
More information at the
Duke of Wellington's Regiment Museum web page.
Places to Visit
The hall, dating from 1420, is located alongside Shibden Park, which was formed from its estate. Exploring the house reveals a variety of architecture from the various periods of its history and an insight into the people who lived there over the years. One of those was Anne Lister, whose diaries in the early 18th century were the inspiration of the recent BBC period drama series "Gentleman Jack", written by Sally Wainwright. Much of the series was filmed in the real-life location at Shibden Hall. The house also has a 17th century barn housing a carriage collection. Shibden Hall is managed by Calderdale Council museums.
For more information see the
Locate on map:
Wakefield Gate, off Skircoat Moor Road, King CrossThis facscinatingly ornate 77 metre (253 foot) tower overlooks the Calder Valley in the King Cross area of Halifax, 1.5 miles south-west of the centre. Although many legendary tales have developed about its construction, it was started as an elaborate mill chimney but finished as a folly. On bank holidays it is open to vistors, who can pay a small fee to climb its internal spiral staircase.
Locate on map:
WestgateThis historic Grade I listed market hall was built in Halifax town centre by the manufacturers and merchants of the Halifax cloth industry in 1779 with classical collonades and a great courtyard. It is now the only surviving cloth hall in the country and is a scheduled ancient monument. The Piece Hall reopened to the public on Yorkshire Day 2017 after a £19m major modernisation by Calderdale Council, supported by the Hertiage Lottery Fund. Modern paving and lighting has provided a town square at the centre of the historic building which has refurbished trading rooms housing small shops and history exhibits. Around the Piece Hall more than £40m is being spent in a Piece Hall Quarter including a modern Central Library and Archive appended to the old Square Church spire.
Horton StreetHalifax railway station is a stop for Northern and Grand Central services.
Calder Valley-bound platform:
Train details from December 15, 2019. Services may serve some intermediate stations in addition to those mentioned.
Station managed by: Northern.
Halifax bus station
Winding RoadMost inter-town buses and many local services operate into the bus station in Winding Road, although there are also stops in town centre streets. Among the services are buses to
The M62 eastbound is 6.5 miles away, reached at junction 26 via the A58. The M62 westbound is 5.5 miles away, reached at junction 24 via the A629. Main roads bypass Halifax town centre around its western edge and northern side, where the tall concrete flyover bridges of Burdock Way tower over the town's older bridges to cross the valley of the Hebble Brook.
Pay and display parking operates on street and in car parks. At The Woolshops Shopping Centre there is pay on foot parking.
The HS2 effect
HalifaxHalifax falls into the 'white elephant' category for the Leeds arm of HS2 only on the basis HS2 will be built first to Manchester. Travelling via HS2 at Leeds would then shave less than 10 minutes off the time of travelling via HS2 from Manchester.
Emergency servicesWest Yorkshire Police
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service
Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust
Metropolitan district councilCalderdale Council
Calderdale Council is centred in
Part of the district includes seven civil parish councils, four of which are small single ward councils.
Calderdale has 51 elected councillors, 3 per ward across 17 wards. Each councillor serves a 4-year term with one councillor per ward elected each year in 3 out of 4 years. An election of one-third of the council due to be held in 2020 has been postponed to 2021.
Calderdale Council website.
The political composition after the May 2019 election was:
County strategic authorityWest Yorkshire Combined Authority
Covers some combined services of the five metropolitan district councils of
Police and Crime CommissionerThe Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire
Fire AuthorityWest Yorkshire Fire Authority
The fire authority is made up of elected members of each of the five metropolitan district councils of West Yorkshire - Bradford, Calderdale, Leeds, Kirklees and Wakefield.
Ceremonial countyWest Yorkshire
HistoricMunicipal borough 1848-
County borough 1889-1974 (within the West Riding of Yorkshire)