Heritage chiefs in awe at how Halifax's historic buildings have been transformed

Members of the Piece Hall Trust and Calderdale Council teams with Historic England commissioners at the Piece Hall. Picture: Ellis Rob
Members of the Piece Hall Trust and Calderdale Council teams with Historic England commissioners at the Piece Hall. Picture: Ellis Rob

They are hot just historic but living buildings with a role to play – a national heritage champion came to Halifax to see how treasures are not only being celebrated but used.

Trustees and senior managers from Heritage England spent the second part of a two-day visit to the north in the town, where they saw how heritage buildings from the past are driving the economy today and into the future.

Arriving at the end of a first day earlier spent in Wigan, they dined at the Grade I listed Piece Hall before spending much of the second day exploring heritage assets.

Working buildings they visited included Halifax Town Hall, The Piece Hall, Halifax Borough Market, Dean Clough, The Piece Mill with its Leeds Beckett University presence and Square Chapel Arts Centre.

They also had the recently refurbished Organgebox youth centre pointed out to them along their route.

Trevor Mitchell, Historic England’s Regional Director for the North East and Yorkshire, explained the reason for their visit.

“We are a national organisation so it’s important for our trustees and senior managers to see and hear what is going on around the whole country.

“The future of our town centres and our textile mills are national priorities for us, so Halifax was an ideal place to come to see how the creativity of local people can transform the fortunes of both.

“Our commissioners were amazed by the quality of the buildings and spaces of the town centre.

“They were particularly impressed with the passion and energy of the people they met, who have transformed the fortunes of the Piece Hall and Dean Clough.”

Nicky Chance-Thompson, Chief Executive of The Piece Hall Trust, said her team were incredibly proud to welcome the commission to The Piece Hall.

“As one of Historic England’s top ten most important industry, trade and commerce buildings in the country, and with more than five million visitors to date, we are delighted at how The Piece Hall is making its mark firmly on the map.”

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet member for Regeneration and Resources, Coun Jane Scullion said the council was delighted to welcome the visitors on behalf of the borough.

“They came to the North of England to see how heritage buildings in town centres play a role in reimagining our high streets for the 21st century.

“As lovers of beautiful heritage buildings, how could they not choose Halifax as one of their two destinations?

“They visited Halifax Borough Market, The Piece Hall, Square Chapel, the Central Library, Leeds Beckett University Business Centre, Dean Clough and our stunning Town Hall, to see first-hand how the council and our partner organisations are harnessing the potential of heritage to breathe new life into the local economy and improve the quality of life for residents and visitors.

“The visit came shortly after the exciting news that our bid to Historic England’s new High Streets Heritage Action Zone scheme for Sowerby Bridge had been successful.

“They complimented our respectful and creative approach to capitalising on the distinctiveness of our heritage assets, and on weaving heritage into our Vision2024 for Calderdale.”