12 'strange but true' facts from Halifax and other Calderdale towns

Calderdale is full of historic curiosities and nostalgic oddities.

Friday, 2nd October 2020, 4:14 pm
14 'strange but true' facts from Halifax and other Calderdale towns
14 'strange but true' facts from Halifax and other Calderdale towns

Each of these falls into the 'strange but true' category - how many of these are you aware of from the borough's rich heritage and history?

On the sight of Siddal Rugby Club there was once a zoo from 1909 to 1916. But in 1913 residents and visitors were shocked when a bear escaped from the zoo and went on an hour and a half trip down to the canal where it was eventually captured.
We all know the 253ft Wainhouse Tower, but did you know that there was a feud during the building of the iconic landmark between John Edward Wainhouse and his neighbour Sir Henry Edwards over smoke nuisance from Washer Lane Dyeworks.

Sign up to our daily Halifax Courier Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Another fact about Wainhouse Tower is that it was originally commissioned as a chimney for the local dyeworks. The structure was never actually used as a working chimney and as such, is regarded by many as one of Britain's finest follies.
The Halifax Gibbet was an early guillotine that decapitated petty criminals until the mid-17th century. It is said to have been around hundreds of years before the infamous French guillotine.
Another iconic Halifax landmark is The Piece Hall. Opened in 1779 it was built as a cloth hall for local handloom weavers to sell the woollen cloth 'pieces' they had produced.
In the past Hebden Bridge was known for it's clothing manufacturing due to its many weaving mills. This gave it the nickname 'Trouser Town' as its reputation spread across the country.
The bustling town of Brighouse that we know now was once a hamlet of nearby Rastrick. Now the Brighouse ward has a population of 11,195 (taken from the 2011 Census).
Legend has it that English legend Robin Hood is said to have died at Kirklees Priory, three miles away from Brighouse town centre. It is said that he fired arrows and asked to be buried where they fell.
The Old Ship Inn on Bethel Street in Brighouse town centre has an unusual history behind its frontage. It's said that the front of the pub (formally The Prince of Wales) made of timbers that were salvaged from HMS Donegal in 1926.
Did you know Todmorden Town Hall straddles the Walsden Water and was once situated in both Lancashire and Yorkshire until the county boundary was moved on January 1st 1888?
Stoodley Pike Monument was not the first landmark on the site. The monument replaced an earlier structure, commemorating the defeat of Napoleons. It was completed in 1815, after the Battle of Waterloo, but collapsed in 1854.
Hidden above the Halifax borough market, the two secret streets in the sky should be no secret to those who live in Halifax. They run alongside the roof of the market and look out onto the streets of Halifax.