Friday, 2 April 2010

Piece Hall Gate

This is one of the massive gates to the Piece Hall in Halifax (see yesterday's photo). The gates date from 1871. By 1868, when the Piece Hall's original purpose as a market for worsted cloth traders had been overtaken by industrialisation, the Piece Hall was handed over to Halifax Corporation (local council). In 1871 it became the city's wholesale fish, game, fruit and vegetable market. (The Piece Hall website has an interesting history of the building, downloadable from the site.)

The south entrance was widened to allow access by large vehicles and these cast iron gates were installed, showing the Halifax coat of arms. It has a Latin text. I think it reads "Nisi Dominus custodierit civitatem" - my Latin isn't great (failed O level!) but I believe that translates roughly as "Unless the Lord watches over the City". The head is that of John the Baptist. Legend says his head was buried here after execution! (Why?) I can't quite read or understand the other words - nalea fax? or halea fax? I think that must be "Halifax", which is said to mean Holy Face. There's the inevitable sheep and a flag of St George, by the looks of it.
Any more ideas?

Whatever the exact symbolism, they are impressive gates. They are within the archway, so I wasn't able to stand far enough back for my camera lens to take in the whole. In the unlikely event that I progress to a DSLR, I'll go back with a wide-angle lens!


  1. They are impressive gates and sorry I am Latin illiterate. Wide angle is great for buildings. You asked about the name Newstead. Newstead house was built by Patrick Leslie, who came from Aberdeenshire , Scotland. I couldn't find out why he called it Newstead.

  2. They knew how to make a statement in those days, and let people know that their town was prosperous. I also did Latin at school, but Amo, Amas, Amat is about all that's left now.

  3. They are lovely and have such nice detail! I like the blue.


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