Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Halifax, UK

During our visit to Eureka! and the Minster, we also visited some of the city of Halifax. The town has had a long history in the textile industry, thanks in part to the local wool trade in the Pennines. Much of the development in the town comes from the 18th and 19th centuries when cloth merchants were quite wealthy.

A central part of their work is Thomas Bradley's 18th century Piece Hall, where wool merchants did their trading ("piece of cloth" being the origin of the name). The courtyard is amazingly large and hosts the town market.

Entrance to Piece Hall

The courtyard goes slightly uphill, allowing only two stories on one side

The other side with three stories, a stage, and the steeple just outside (more on that below)

The 315 rooms on three levels now contain a few shops. We were there on a Saturday and walked up to the comic shop on the first floor. Walking over to the used book store, we passed several rooms where tabletop miniature war games (like Warhammer 44,000) were in progress. We bought a book at the store. The fellow gave us a plastic bag that happened to be from WH Smith, a stationery/bookselling chain in England. I said, "You're using bags from the competition?!?" He said, "Oh, they're no competition." We had a good laugh.

Just outside the market is a rather tall and isolated structure. It looks like the remains of a church steeple. A little research shows it is the tower of a Gothic congregational church built in the 1850s. The church was closed in 1969 and arson caused substantial damage in 1971, leading to the demolition of the church. The spire remains.

Wreckage from another time

Back of the spire

In the center of town are several covered areas full of shops and restaurants. We had a nice lunch here. I worked my nerve up and had a jacket potato with savory cheese. It wasn't quite blue cheese (which I don't like) and was, in fact, delicious. Adding ham and mushrooms helped it out.

Arcade looking out to a pub across the street

Covered with glass to let the sun in!

Looking across to another set of shops

They had another building from a bygone era.

Don't see very many of these anymore!

The locals must be very patriotic, for we saw this on the hillside.

Yay English flag!

Visiting Halifax was a lot of fun.

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