Historic Halifax graveyard’s new lease of life

The 200-year-old railings surrounding the Grade I listed Halifax Minster have been given a new lease of life.

Calderdale Council has restored the wrought iron railings and supporting stonework to their former glory, as they were showing signs of deterioration.

The impressive cast iron gates at the main entrance to the grade 1 listed Minster have also been fully restored using traditional techniques to retain authenticity.

he restoration works mark the completion of the final phase of a long-term project to improve the setting of the important heritage building. The aim of the project was to improve access between Halifax Minster and the town centre, and to encourage greater visitor numbers to the Minster.

Previous phases have seen the Council working in partnership with Halifax Minster and funding partners to re-lay pathways and improve drainage in the churchyard, restore historic headstones, provide new disabled access to the Minster and create better links between the Minster and the nearby cenotaph.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy and Environment, Cllr Barry Collins, says the Minster grounds are now safer, more attractive and more accessible.

“This has encouraged hundreds of extra people to visit Halifax Minster, particularly for primary school education visits, family tree research and to admire the heritage and architecture.”

Revd Canon Hilary Barber, Vicar of Halifax Minster, said:“I’m delighted the grounds of the Minster now look so splendid, and really set the Minster off to great aplomb for the people of Halifax and for the increasing number of visitors coming to the town.

“Thanks must go to Calderdale Council for taking the lead on this project.”

Restoration of the boundary railings, gates and associated stonework has been carried out by Lanstone Conservation Limited and funded by Heritage Lottery Fund via the Halifax Townscape Heritage Initiative. SITA Trust also contributed to the funding of the project.

he railings were repaired using traditional forging techniques. Specialist stone repairs involving letting in new pieces of stone and gluing and dowelling broken stones back together to give solid and long lasting repairs.

Where stonework could not be repaired, it was replaced by locally quarried matching stone.

Repairs to the railings included refurbishing a small, unusual ‘coffin’ gate in the railings on the eastern boundary, which sits at the top of the retaining wall around 10 feet above the road.

The gates will be re-dedicated as part of Halifax Minster’s Patronal Festival on Sunday 24 June 2012.