I had a sneak preview of The Piece Hall in Halifax before it opened, so I got a close look at how the Georgians’ gargantuan contribution to Yorkshire’s architectural heritage has been upcycled for the 21st century. Verdict: it’s amazing!
The Grade I listed structure was built in 1779 for trading ‘pieces’ of cloth, which were 30 yard lengths of woollen fabric woven on a handloom. Now, thanks to a £19m revamp, it retains all its Georgian elegance but has a new use. It’s a pleasure palace that offers everything from galleries, a museum and history trails to shopping, bars, a cinema and restaurants. The central square is huge and will be used for a variety of events, including Calderland: A People’s Opera (September 29 – October 1), which sounds interesting.
I’m planning to go back and take my family now that it’s officially open. First stop will be the vinyl record shop before I try the gin bar, so that’s at least half a day taken care of. The other half could easily be consumed with a trip to the Yorkshire Gallery – a brilliant shop stocking work by Yorkshire-based artists and makers.
Hannah Nunn’s gorgeous lamps are in there, along with ceramics by the brilliant Katch Skinner, woodland sculpture by David Mayne and fabric planters by Folded Forest, plus many other items that showcase the region’s creative talent.
After shopping I’ll be in need of more refreshment and I know where I’m going for that as I have already tested it out. The Piece Hall connects to the beautiful Grade II* listed Square Chapel, which has a café/bar and a cinema. The coffee and cakes are great and the service is lovely.
It all adds up to a great day out, followed by a night out if you have the stamina. Just one word of warning if you are planning to visit – there is no Piece Hall car park so plan ahead and look at car parks surrounding it or, better still, get the bus or train (this will allow you to drink more gin!)
*The PIece Hall opens Monday – Friday at 7am, Saturday at 8am, Sunday at 9am. Shops open: Monday – Saturday 10am – 6pm, Sunday 11am-6pm. Restaurant, cafés and bars ‘till late. www.thepiecehall.co.uk