EPW057282 ENGLAND (1938). The town centre, Halifax, 1938

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Title [EPW057282] The town centre, Halifax, 1938
Reference EPW057282
Date 25-May-1938
Place name HALIFAX
Easting / Northing 409512, 424845
Longitude / Latitude -1.855841018627, 53.719704387488
National Grid Reference SE095248


THE DIGGINGS. This area, which was behind the Druids pub, known to us locally as the diggings ? It was here where we always had our bonfire in November. When the Electric Theater was being demolished inside we as kids carted all the seating down to the diggings along with anything else the builders would let us take. Sadly we were instrumental in destroying artifacts of the cinema, unaware of their possible future value.

Wednesday 13th of January 2016 06:56:47 PM
Hope Hall, built in 1765 for the Stansfeld family. It was later acquired and lived in by Henry William Pohlmann, a pioneer piano maker. The Pohlmann family business in the 20th century became a local radio, TV & electrical busines and lasted until the 1960s. One member of the family, Reginald Peel Pohlmann, joined the British Expeditionary Force in 1917 and became involved with areial photographt and reconnaisance. He was shot down over France and died in February 1918. Hope Hall Became the Albany Club, a private members' club in 1909

Sunday 15th of December 2013 11:22:54 PM
The building still stands, much altered (2013).

Sunday 15th of December 2013 11:23:41 PM
The Territorial Army Drill Hall built around 1870. The T.A. moved out in 1999 and the building is now (2013) apartments.

Sunday 15th of December 2013 10:56:47 PM
The Drill Hall was built between 1868-1870 as HQ for the 4th West Yorkshire Rifle Volunteer Corps and was in use until 1998.

Lynda Tubbs
Wednesday 5th of March 2014 11:26:38 AM
Trinity Garage - a dealer for Rootes Group cars (Hillman, Humber etc.)

Sunday 15th of December 2013 10:49:52 PM
Skircoat Road, the main road into Halifax from Elland, Huddersfield and other places South of the town.

Sunday 15th of December 2013 10:47:23 PM
Entrance to Halifax Town Football Club. At the time of this picture the ground was called The Shay. Nowadays (2013) it is officially the Shay Stadium but still always known locally as The Shay. This was the site of the Shay Mansion built in 1770 for the local merchant John Caygill. As traffic from the South increased in the 19th century, Halifax Corporation saw the need for a new road to improve access to the town centre and they bought the Shay Mansion, demolished it in 1908 and constructed Skircoat Road, the main road into Halifax from the South. The site was used as a tip and a Territorial Army Training Ground before becoming The Say Football Ground in 1921.

Sunday 15th of December 2013 10:46:06 PM
The Electric Cinema. Converted from an old riding school/stables into a theatre around 1910. It became a cinema in 1929 and the building underwent several changes of ownership, capacity and frontage before being closed as a cinema in 1956. Since then it has been a car showroom, a snooker hall and is now, having been completely rebuilt in a modern style, a bowling alley and snooker club.

Friday 13th of December 2013 11:31:44 PM
Interstingly, there appears to be only one cooling tower here at the time of this picture. Another one next to it was built later that year and the pair became a distinctive sight on the local horizon, known by many locals as 'Salt & Pepper'. In the 1970s it was decided to demolish them and a date was set (March 24th 1974) for their explosion. On that date thousands of spectators crowded on to the hills overlooking the town to witness the explosion. However, when the explosive charge was set off under the first one with a huge noise, the cooling tower dropped just a couple of feet then settled just a little out of line. The cooling towers were then demolished gradually by an iron ball swung from a crane in October 1974.

Friday 13th of December 2013 11:19:32 PM
Square Independent Chapel. Unusually for Halifax this is a red brick building! It was built in 1772 and John Wesley, the father of Methodism, visited later that year. At that time it had the largest unsupported roof span in the country. The chapel fell out of use in the 19th century and the last service was held there in 1857. The bulding then became the Sunday School for the congregational church next door. The building is still in place , much restored and is a thriving arts centre. It, and the church next door, took their names from the district of the town which surrounded them - The Square. This was very much the 'posh' end of the town in the 18th century.

Friday 13th of December 2013 11:03:43 PM
Square Congregational Church. Built in the 1850s it was said to be the country's finest Congregational Church. The body of the church was destroyed by fire in 1970 and was pulled down in 1976 leaving only the foundations and the distinctive Gothic spire visible.

Friday 13th of December 2013 10:52:44 PM
Ramsden's Brewery. Ramsden's brewed 'Stone Trough' Ales and were closed by Tetley's in the late 1960s. The building was demolished and replaced by the HQ of the Halifax Building Society (later Lloyd's).

Friday 13th of December 2013 02:16:14 AM
My mother worked for Ramsden's in the 50's and 60's in the bottling department. Father after the Army was a PSV driver for Halifax Corporation Buses then later for Hebble Motors, also a bus company. we lived in Prescott St, next to the Drill hall.

Tuesday 5th of January 2016 11:07:26 PM
The Theatre Royal. This replaced an older theatre in 1904 and seated almost 2000 customers. In the mid-20th century it became a cinema and later a nightclub. In 2013, the building still stands but is empty.

Friday 13th of December 2013 02:09:30 AM
The Palace Theatre. Built in 1902/03, sugar was added to the mortar during a very cold winter to enable it to set more quickly. Because of this the Palace became known as 'The Sweetest Little Theatre in the North'. Big stars who appeared there included Charlie Chaplin, George Formby & Sandy Powell. The theatre was demolished in 1959 after a performance of 'The King and I' by local companies. Southgate House, the building which replaced it, contained Halifax's first Wimpy Bar and the government offices of the Ministry of Pensions & National Insurance. That building still stands (2013).

Friday 13th of December 2013 02:01:50 AM
The Regal Cinema, newly completed in this photo. It later became the ABC Cinema.

Friday 13th of December 2013 01:30:09 AM
The Ministry of Labour built and opened this building as an Employment Exchange ( often known as a Labour Exchange) in 1928. It is now (2013) commercial offices.

Friday 13th of December 2013 01:27:44 AM
Halifax County Court. This court deals with 'civil' rather than criminal law so heard cases involving debt, damages, negligence, divorce, adoption etc. the building remains unchanged (2013) and is still a County Court.

Friday 13th of December 2013 01:18:10 AM
Clare Hall, built and used as a residence by a number of prominent individuals and families, perhaps most notable being J.H. Whitley who became M.P. for Halifax and later Speaker of the House of Commons. Mr. Whitley became a notable local philanthropist and donated Clare Hall to be the local YMCA HQ which it still was when this photo was taken. The Halifax Swimming Pool was built on this site in the 1960s.

Friday 13th of December 2013 01:13:52 AM
The Piece Hall. This is the country's only remaining intact 'cloth hall' opened in 1779. Before the development of the factory system in the 19th century, local cloth weavers worked in their own homes in the hills and valleys surrounding the town and then, on a weekly basis, took their 'pieces' of finished cloth to the Piece Hall to sell. There they rented rooms around the balconies to display their cloth. As the cottage system of weaving died off and cloth was, more and more, made in factories, the Piece Hall died off in popularity. In the early 20th century (as in this photo) it was being used as a wholesale fruit and veg market. This continued until the 1960s. In the mid-1970s the unique building was developed by the local council into a retail and tourist attraction with a museum , lots of small retail outlets and an open-air markets. In due course a stage was erected and the hall was used from time to time as an open air concert venue. Sadly, this 1970s attraction was allowed to decline and at present (2013) the hall is once again in a fairly under-used and depressed state awaiting a further renovation in 2014.

Friday 13th of December 2013 12:59:21 AM
The only remaining original half-timbered building in the town centre. Still standing today (2013) although much modernised.

Wednesday 11th of December 2013 01:46:23 AM
This railway line went to North Bridge Station, on the Northern edge of the town centre and then to Ovenden and Holmfield. Here a junction took one line through a tunnel to Queensbury and on to Bradford whilst the other line doubled back on a different route ( the High Level Railway) across Ovenden and Wheatley and back into the old industrial heartland of West Central Halifax. The line (and this viaduct) have now (2013) disappeared.

Wednesday 11th of December 2013 01:42:45 AM
Baldwin Terrace.

Wednesday 11th of December 2013 01:34:44 AM
Albion Mills, the old manufacturing HQ of Mackintosh's Toffee, makers of Toffee De Luxe, Rolo & Quality Street ( amongst other brands). The building is still there (2013) and is still in the confectionery business - but now as part of Nestle, the Swiss multi-national.

Wednesday 11th of December 2013 01:32:48 AM
Halifax Railway Station. Many of the old canopies have been removed revealing the very fine original 1855 building. This is now (2013) a nursery for pre-school children.

Wednesday 11th of December 2013 01:22:43 AM
Here, on the site of the old railway goods yard now stands Eureka! - The Children's Museum. Attracting millions of visitors from all over the country. Funded by the Vivienne Duffield Foundation ( she is the daughter of retail millionaire, Charles Clore) the museum was opened by Prince Charles in 1992. A huge range of people (including American pop star Dean Friedman and my wife,Pat) worked on the development of Eureka! For those of you with children (or grandchildren) it's a great day out.

Wednesday 11th of December 2013 01:19:48 AM
Lily Bridge. The town's first public baths were at Lily Lane close to here.

Wednesday 11th of December 2013 12:33:41 AM
The entrance to Beacon Hill Tunnel taking the railway under the 865 ft. high Beacon Hill on its way to Bradford & Leeds.

Tuesday 10th of December 2013 10:24:48 AM

User Comment Contributions

The drill hall in Prescott Street was the next block down from our house, No 16 In the 50's the Ideal Homes Exhibition was held there.

Our cat managed to get in and steal the fish that was due to be cooked in a pressure cooker demonstration.

Regular outside broadcast were held by the BBC of the wrestling in the Drill Hall with the street full of large vehicles. Stars such as Shirley Crabtree, Masambula. Mick McManus and Giant Haystack. We used to sneak in for free.

Tuesday 5th of January 2016 10:45:24 PM
Hi Tonemart, thanks for your pins; they bring places in the photo to life.

Yours, Katy

Katy Whitaker
Saturday 14th of December 2013 12:28:15 AM
Katy, glad you find my comments worth reading.

Saturday 14th of December 2013 12:28:15 AM