I am writing after spending several days in Halifax just before the New Year.
Having lived in the town for most of my teen years in the 1990’s I like, now that I live in Scotland, to try and return every now and then for a bout of nostalgia and reminiscence. I have to be honest at this point, apart from the positive pleasure derived from catching up with family and friends many of my visits in the past were usually framed by some sort of negativity and schadenfreude as I looked at the town of my youth and felt a somewhat smug satisfaction that I’d managed to leave. I expected the same again but this visit proved to be a surprise. We stayed at the quite splendid and venerable White Swan hotel where the charming and helpful staff got our visit off to an excellent start. Our wanderings revealed a town centre that has changed for the best. The ‘old’ is intact; the amazing architecture remains largely untouched, empty buildings were few, the streets were clean and the market was bustling. The ‘new’ is working; the covered arcade is a very welcome addition (especially during December downpours) with quality shops and a deli and a cafe that was busy day and night. Also, whilst the Broad Street development is somewhat foreboding it certainly seems to have brought new life to what was a bleak side of the town. In the evening we were delighted by the number of excellent and thriving Real Ale pubs there are on the edges of the centre and, returning to the still busy arcade, we ate the best curry we’ve had for years brought to our table by a series of very friendly waiters. So, thinking back I feel that with the absence of any negativity I should describe our visit as not just a surprise but a super surprise. We will return again.