Sunday, 3 September 2017
Piece Hall details
Halifax's Piece Hall is a wonderful and unique building. The site slopes and the building has various levels. Each colonnaded tier has a different design. Many of the original 315 small rooms have been knocked through to make bigger spaces more suitable for modern use but the original doors, windows and staircases have been retained. There are reminders everywhere of its original use as a cloth hall - numbers, hooks and the splendid iron gates. The hall originally only traded for two hours every Saturday. The rest of the time it was used to store the valuable 'pieces' (lengths of handwoven woollen fabric). Security was vital; the exterior has blank walls with no windows and the entrances were heavily gated. In 1791, the average cost of a 30 yard 'piece' of cloth was £2, with some costing as much as £6. A wool spinner earned just £8 a year! A doctor might expect to earn £500. The people who made money were the clothiers and merchants, who could earn in excess of £2000 a year. It's little wonder that the finest buildings in these parts were mansions built by the textile merchants.