The Piece Hall: an important piece of textile history
Now a thriving hub for events and acts from all over the globe, the impressive Piece Hall in Halifax started life as the largest textile hall in Europe.
People in the cloth trade would travel from all over to display their wears and secure the best price for their goods, and it soon became an important hub for textile commerce both in Yorkshire and further afield.
The building itself is beautifully ornate and showcases the wealth of the industry when it was constructed back in 1779; however, the site itself dates further back to the middle ages where local people met to trade cloth and conduct the business of the day.
Once the Georgian building was completed, hundreds of merchants and local handloom weavers would flock to the Piece Hall to display exotic silks in an array of vibrant hues, bales of local linens and cloths and even luxurious brocades that showed real craftsmanship before the advent of the industrial age.
The building was designed to illuminate the wealth, pride and ambition of the region that had stemmed from this crucial industry, and it still impresses visitors to this day. Choosing a neo-classical style that gave a nod to the Roman era, the Piece Hall was also a famous venue during the age of enlightenment as it was a structural embodiment of the cultural sensitivities of the age.
Once the industrial revolution arrived, the future of the Piece Hall looked bleak as machine created textiles began to overshadow the traditional cloth crafts. There were even plans to demolish the building back in the 1970s until a vote saved the iconic Piece Hall and steps were taken to restore it to its former glory.
Luckily, the Piece Hall hasn’t forgotten its roots and still plays hosts to several workshops and Christmas themed events that showcase the skill of local and international artisans that still visit the venue to display their latest craft creations to the public.
Visitors to the Piece Hall today won't only just be amazed at its rich heritage and the role it played in Yorkshire's thriving textile industry, but will also be able to enjoy a plethora of wonderful music and live entertainment events that keep this vast building as much of a hub today as it was back in the 1700s.
So, if you’re a fan of textiles, sewing superstar or just want to find out a little more about Yorkshire’s rich history, then a visit to the beautiful Piece Hall is a must the next time you’re in town.
Tags: The Piece Hall Halifax, The history of the Piece Hall, Piece Hall textile heritage
- Jemma Bates