Halifax (/ˈhælɪfæks/ HAL-ih-faks) is a minster town in the Metropolitan Borough of Calderdale in West Yorkshire, England. Historically in the West Riding of Yorkshire, the town has been a centre of woollen manufacture from the 15th century onward, originally dealing through the Piece Hall. Halifax is known for Mackintosh's chocolate and toffee products including Rolo and Quality Street. The Halifax Bank was also founded and is still headquartered in Halifax. Dean Clough, one of the largest textile factories in the world at more than 1⁄2 mile (800 m) long, was in the north of the town. The premises have since been converted for office and retail use including a gym, theatre, Travelodge and radio station.
View of Halifax town centre
|Population||88,134 (2011 Census) and a mid 2015 estimate of 90,472|
|OS grid reference|
|• London||165 mi (266 km) S|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||Yorkshire and the Humber|
The town's name was recorded in about 1091 as Halyfax, from the Old English halh-gefeaxe, meaning "area of coarse grass in the nook of land". This explanation is preferred to derivations from the Old English halig (holy), in hālig feax or "holy hair", proposed by 16th-century antiquarians. The incorrect interpretation gave rise to two legends. One concerned a maiden killed by a lustful priest whose advances she spurned. Another held that the head of John the Baptist was buried here after his execution. The legend is almost certainly medieval rather than ancient, although the town's coat of arms carries an image of the saint. Another explanation is a corruption of the Old English hay and ley a clearing or meadow. This etymology is based on Haley Hill, the nearby hamlet of Healey (another corruption), and the common occurrence of the surnames Hayley/Haley around Halifax. The erroneous derivation from halig has given rise to the demonym Haligonian, which is of recent origin and not in universal use.
The Earldom of Halifax took the name of the town. Its first creation, in the Peerage of England in 1677, was for William Savile, who was created Baron Savile of Eland and Viscount Halifax in 1668 and later became the Marquess of Halifax (this creation of the earldom became extinct in 1700). George Montagu-Dunk, 2nd Earl of Halifax, (2nd order of the 3rd creation) became the President of the Board of Trade in 1748. In 1749 the city of Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia, Canada, was named in his honour. The Halifax River in Central Florida, United States, was also named after him.
Halifax is not mentioned in the Domesday Book, and evidence of the early settlement is indefinite. By the 12th century the township had become the religious centre of the vast parish of Halifax, which extended from Brighouse in the east to Heptonstall in the west. Halifax Minster, parts of which date from the 12th century is dedicated to St John the Baptist. The minster's first organist, in 1766, was William Herschel, who discovered the planet Uranus. The coat of arms of Halifax include the chequers from the original coat of arms of the Earls Warenne, who held the town during Norman times.
Halifax was notorious for its gibbet, an early form of guillotine used to execute criminals by decapitation, that was last used in 1650. A replica has been erected on the original site in Gibbet Street. Its original blade is on display at Bankfield Museum. Punishment in Halifax was notoriously harsh, as remembered in the Beggar's Litany by John Taylor (1580–1654), a prayer whose text included "From Hull, from Halifax, from Hell, ‘tis thus, From all these three, Good Lord deliver us.".
The town's 19th century wealth came from the cotton, wool and carpet industries and like most other Yorkshire towns, it had a large number of weaving mills many of which have been lost or converted to alternate use.
In November 1938, in an incident of mass hysteria, many residents believed a serial killer, the Halifax Slasher, was on the loose. Scotland Yard concluded there were no attacks after several locals admitted they had inflicted wounds on themselves.
Halifax plc started as a building society, the Halifax Permanent Benefit Building and Investment Society, in the town in 1853. Today the bank operates as a trading name of HBOS, part of the Lloyds Banking Group. Yorkshire Bank, based in Leeds and known as the West Riding Penny Savings Bank, was established on 1 May 1859 by Colonel Edward Akroyd of Halifax. Halifax is twinned with Aachen in Germany. The A58 has a stretch called Aachen Way.
Halifax has benefited from Single Regeneration Budget, European URBAN II and the Home Office’s Community Cohesion Fund money through Action Halifax  who have a vision for "a prosperous, vibrant and safe centre where all sections of the community can access opportunities to enhance their quality of life."
The ancient parish of Halifax was divided into a large number of civil parishes in the 19th century. In Halifax, a body of improvement commissioners or town trustees was created between 1762 and 1823, and the town became a borough constituency under the Great Reform Act of 1832. Halifax was incorporated as a municipal borough in 1848 under the Municipal Corporations Act 1835, and, with the passing of the Local Government Act 1888, became a county borough in 1889. Since 1974, Halifax has been the administrative centre of the Metropolitan Borough of Calderdale in West Yorkshire.
Topographically, Halifax is located in the south-eastern corner of the moorland region called the South Pennines. Halifax is situated about 4 miles (6 km) from the M62 motorway, close to Bradford and Huddersfield. The Tees-Exe line passes through the A641 road, which links Brighouse with Bradford and Huddersfield, The town lies 65 miles (105 km) from Hull and Liverpool, and about 170 miles (270 km) from the cities of London, Edinburgh, Belfast, Dublin and Cardiff as the crow flies. The Hebble Brook joins the River Calder at Salterhebble.
In 2004 Calderdale had a population of 192,405, of which 82,500 live in the Halifax urban area. The main ethnic group in Halifax is White (87%), followed by Pakistani (10%). Over 90% of people aged 16–74 were employed, mostly full-time. 64% of residents had qualifications. Halifax is home to a large South Asian community mainly of British Pakistanis from the Kashmir region, which originally moved to the area for employment in the textile industry. The majority of the community lives in the west central Halifax region of the town, which was previously home to immigrant Irish communities who have since moved to the outer suburbs. The Illingworth / Mixenden areas, in contrast to west central Halifax's ethnic diversity, consists mostly of white, indigenous Protestant residents. In the 2001 census, 5% stated they were Muslim, 16.3% of no religion, and 63.8% of Christian background. 12.8% did not disclose their religion. The population density of the Halifax urban area is 530/km2.
John Mackintosh and his wife, Violet, opened a toffee shop in King Cross Lane in 1890. Violet formulated the toffee's recipe. John became known as "The Toffee King". A factory was opened on Queens Road in 1898. A new factory at Albion Mill, at the current site near the railway station, opened in 1909. John died in 1920, and his son Harold not only continued the business but took it to the present size and range of confectionery it has today. Their famous brands, including Rolo, Toffee Crisp and Quality Street of chocolate and confectionery are not just popular in the UK, but around the world including the USA.
Halifax was a busy industrial town, dealing in and producing wool, carpets, machine tools and beer. The Crossley family began carpet manufacture in modest premises at Dean Clough, on the banks of Hebble Brook. The family was philanthropic and Joseph and Sir Francis Crossley built and endowed almshouses for their workers, which exist to this day and are run by volunteer trustees. Halifax is also home to Suma Wholefoods, which was established in 1975 and is the largest workers' co-operative in the UK.
Public bus and train transportation in Halifax is managed and subsidised by the West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive. It was announced in January 2009 that Halifax was to have a direct rail link to London after a long campaign backed by many, including the local paper the Courier; the service began to run on 23 May 2010.
Most of the bus services in Halifax operate from the town's bus station. Unlike many other bus stations, Halifax is noted for having much character, with many listed buildings being incorporated on the site. First Calderdale & Huddersfield operate most of the town's services, while Yorkshire Tiger operate many of the south Calderdale services. Arriva Yorkshire operate services that link Halifax with the West Yorkshire towns and cities of Dewsbury and Wakefield. First operate bus services from Halifax to the town of Huddersfield and the nearby cities of Bradford and Leeds. First also run services into other counties, Rochdale in Greater Manchester and Burnley in Lancashire. Other bus operators in the town include T.J. Walsh (also known as the Halifax Bus Company) and Halifax Joint Committee which use the livery of the old Halifax Corporation buses, used on the town's buses until 1974.
Halifax railway station is on the Caldervale Line, with services to Manchester Victoria, York, Selby via Bradford and Leeds; Blackpool North; via Brighouse to Huddersfield and Wakefield Westgate and to London King's Cross via Wakefield Kirkgate. All but the London service are operated by Northern.
Rail passenger representation is organised by the local users' group, the Halifax and District Rail Action Group (HADRAG).
The rail line leading from Halifax due north towards Keighley (and thus towards Skipton, Morecambe and Carlisle) with a further branch to Bradford via Queensbury saw its last through services in May 1955, although parts of the route, which was extremely heavily engineered with long tunnels and high, spectacular viaducts, have now been repaired and revived by Sustrans as a walking and cycle route. In 2018 a campaign was launched to save and restore the 2,501 yards (2,287 m) Queensbury Tunnel and add it to the walking and cycling network. A branch from Holmfield, on the Halifax to Queensbury section of the lines to Keighley and Bradford, served the west side of Halifax. It terminated at St Pauls station. This short branch closed to passengers in January 1927 and to all traffic in June 1960.
Calderdale's BBC local radio station is BBC Radio Leeds. Calderdale's local radio station, Phoenix Radio 96.7 FM has its studios in Halifax, and the Courier, Calderdale's local weekly newspaper, has its offices in the town.
The Halifax area is home to two selective state schools, which are the Crossley Heath School in Savile Park and North Halifax Grammar School in Illingworth. Both schools achieve excellent GCSE and A-level results with both schools achieving a large proportion of A*to C grades at GCSE level. In 2005, the Crossley Heath School was the highest ranking co-educational school in the North of England.
Calderdale College is a further education college located on Francis Street, just off King Cross Road, in the west of the town. The Maltings College opened in 2013 and offers a range of vocational sixth form courses.
In December 2006 it was announced that Calderdale College, in partnership with Leeds Beckett University, opened a new higher education institution in January 2007 called 'University Centre Calderdale'.
The Duke of Wellington's Regiment (West Riding) Regimental Association, previously based at Wellesley Park, on the junction of Gibbet Street and Spring Hall Road, in the former Wellesley Barracks is located within the Bankfield Museum on Boothtown Road. The former barracks was converted into an educational school in 2005.
Former regimental colours of the 'Duke's' are laid up in the Halifax Minster. These include the stand used by the 33rd Regiment between 1761 and 1771, which is one of the oldest in existence in England, plus those carried by the regiment during the Battle of Waterloo and the Crimea. The 1981 stand of colours, was taken out of service in 2002. They were marched through the town from the town hall to the minster, which at that time was still a parish church, accompanied by two escorts of 40 troops, the Regimental Drums and the Heavy Cavalry and Cambrai Band on Sunday 31 March 2007. The troops were then inspected by the Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, Dr Ingrid Roscoe BA, PhD, FSA and the Mayor of Halifax Cllr Colin Stout making a total of eight stands of colours within the Regimental Chapel. The regiment was presented with the "Freedom of Halifax" on 18 June 1945.
Eureka! The National Children's Museum was inspired and opened by Prince Charles in the summer of 1992 and is in part of the railway station. Once the home of the diarist Anne Lister, Shibden Hall is just outside Halifax in the neighbouring Shibden Valley. Dean Clough, a refurbished worsted spinning mill, is the home of Barrie Rutter's Northern Broadsides Theatre Company and the IOU theatre company as well as providing space for eight art galleries. The Artworks is a collection of artists studios, gallery space and an art school housed in an old mill complex just to the south of the town centre.
A recent survey showed Halifax to have above average levels of drink-related violence and associated issues.
The town has relatively successful sports clubs. Its rugby league club, Halifax RLFC, plays in the Co-operative Championship. The town's football team, F.C. Halifax Town participates in the National League, the fifth tier of English football.
The Shay football ground has been the home of the town's football club since 1921. The ground was substantially redeveloped in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, with money provided by the Football Foundation and funds raised or provided by the local community and Calderdale Council.
Halifax is home to the professional rugby league academy, Halifax Elite Rugby Academy, which has a partnership with Huddersfield and Castleford. Halifax RLFC is one of the most historic rugby league clubs in the game, formed over a century ago, in 1873. Amateur clubs Boothtown Terriers, Greetland All Rounders, Illingworth, King Cross Park, Ovenden, Siddal and Stainland Stags are based in or near the town. The Siddal club is a leading member of amateur rugby league's flagship National Conference League. Greetland All Rounders and Ovenden are former members.
Halifax has several senior rugby union clubs. They include Halifax, Halifax Vandals (Warley), Heath (West Vale), Old Crossleyans and Old Brodleians (Hipperholme). Crossley Heath Grammar School normally excels in nationwide school competitions.
Motorcycle speedway racing has been staged at two venues in Halifax. In the pioneering days of 1928–1930 a track operated at Thrum Hall. A Halifax team took part in the English Dirt Track League of 1929. Speedway returned to Halifax at the Shay Stadium in 1949 and operated until 1951. The team operated as the Halifax Nomads in 1948 racing three away fixtures. The Halifax Dukes, the name they took once the Shay was opened, operated in the National League Third Division in 1949 before moving up to the Second Division in 1950. Riders including Arthur Forrest, moved on to Bradford. The Dukes re-emerged in 1965 as founder members of the British League and operated there for many years before the team moved en bloc to Odsal Stadium, Bradford. The steeply banked bends of the track at the Shay have been buried under stands at either end when the spectator facilities were squared off.
The 15th-century Minster dedicated to St. John the Baptist did not achieve cathedral status when a new diocese was being considered for the West Riding (Wakefield Parish Church became the cathedral in 1888 and was extensively altered and enlarged). Minster Status was conferred on the Parish Church in a ceremony on 22 November 2009. There is a collection of rare Commonwealth white glass as well as a series of Victorian windows. Another feature is the complete array of Jacobean box pews. The pair of Gothic organ cases by John Oldrid Scott now house the four-manual instrument by Harrison & Harrison. The belfry holds fourteen bells and an Angelus.
The Serbian Orthodox Church dedicated to St John the Baptist, in the Boothtown area, formerly the Mount Carmel Methodist Chapel, was acquired in 1956 and after extensive refurbishment was opened in the 1965 by the town's Serbian community. In 2015 the church celebrated its Golden Jubilee.
The currently mothballed mid-Victorian All Souls' Church by Sir George Gilbert Scott standing part way up Haley Hill to the north of the main town centre is now vested in the Historic Churches Preservation Trust. Its lofty 236-foot (72 m) spire and white magnesian limestone exterior stand as a very personal statement in 13th-century French style of the mill owner Colonel Edward Akroyd, who paid solely for its construction as the centre-piece of a purpose-built model village ("Akroydon"). All Souls' boasts an unusually complete sequence of windows by the leading artists of the 1850s, including William Wailes, John Hardman and Clayton & Bell. The large organ by Forster & Andrews inserted in 1868, ten years after the building was completed, is currently unplayable and many of its surviving parts are in storage awaiting restoration. The tower houses a ring of eight bells.
Other churches include the Georgian Holy Trinity Church (now converted to office use) and the late neo-Gothic (1911) St. Paul's, King Cross, by Sir Charles Nicholson. St Paul's is notable not only for its fine acoustics but also for an unusual and highly colourful west window, specified by Nicholson, showing the apocalyptic vision of the Holy City descending upon the smoky mills and railway viaducts of Halifax as it was before the First World War. The Church of St Jude in Savile Park, designed by local architect William Swinden Barber in 1888, is easily identified by the four large pinnacles on its tower. There is also a more modern Christadelphian church, located on Balmoral Place.
The spire of the Square Church, not far from the minster at the bottom of the town, paid for by the carpet manufacturing Crossley family, is all that remains of the Gothic Congregational church built by Joseph James in 1856–58 as a rival design to All Souls', Haley Hill. The building was closed in 1969 and arsonists caused severe damage to the building two years later leading to its partial demolition. The rather comic story of the rival spires runs that the two buildings' towers were nearing completion simultaneously; the architects were ordered to stop work within a few feet of the top of the spires to see who would finish first. After some time, the Crossleys lost patience and finished their spire at 235-foot (72 m), prompting the immediate completion of the rival building one foot higher. The neighbouring and earlier (Georgian) Square Chapel (1772) survived a hundred years of use as a church hall and Sunday school for the larger church: it is currently an arts centre.
Benjamin Weinreb (1912–1999) was a British bookseller and expert on the history of London who in 1968 sold his entire stock to the University of Texas. He developed a specialism in books about architecture about which his catalogues became important references in themselves.Calderdale College
Calderdale College is a further and higher education college based in Halifax, West Yorkshire, England.
The college is the largest provider of further education (post-16) courses and work-based learning (apprenticeships) and the sole provider of higher education awards in Calderdale, a Metropolitan Borough in West Yorkshire.HX postcode area
The HX postcode area, also known as the Halifax postcode area, is a group of seven postcode districts in England, which are subdivisions of four post towns. These postcode districts cover much of western West Yorkshire, including Halifax, Elland, Hebden Bridge and Sowerby Bridge.Halifax (bank)
Halifax (previously known as Halifax Building Society) is a British bank operating as a trading division of Bank of Scotland, itself a wholly owned subsidiary of Lloyds Banking Group.
It is named after the town of Halifax, West Yorkshire where it was founded as a building society in 1853. By 1913 it had developed into the UK's largest building society and continued to grow and prosper and maintained this position within the UK until 1997 when it demutualised.
In 1997 it became Halifax plc, a public limited company which was a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. In 2001 Halifax plc merged with The Governor and Company of the Bank of Scotland, forming HBOS. In 2006, the HBOS Group Reorganisation Act 2006 legally transferred the assets and liabilities of the Halifax chain to Bank of Scotland which became a standard plc, with Halifax becoming a division of Bank of Scotland. A takeover of HBOS by Lloyds TSB was approved by the Court of Session on 12 January 2009, and on 19 January 2009 Bank of Scotland, including Halifax, formally became part of Lloyds Banking Group.Halifax Corporation Tramways
Halifax Corporation Tramways operated a tramway service in Halifax, West Yorkshire between 1898 and 1939.Halifax RUFC
Halifax Rugby Union Football Club is an English rugby union team based in Halifax, West Yorkshire. The club currently runs three senior men's teams (1xv, 2ndxv & Vets) along with 2 Women's rugby union teams (1xv & Development) and a Mixed Ability rugby team.Halifax railway station (England)
Halifax railway station serves the town of Halifax in West Yorkshire, England. It lies on the Caldervale Line and is 17 miles (27 km) west from Leeds.
Platform 2 heads eastbound, towards Bradford and Leeds while Platform 1 heads westbound towards Brighouse, Huddersfield, Sowerby Bridge, Blackpool North, and Manchester Victoria. The two routes divide about a mile south of the station at Dryclough Junction.
To the east, the line also divided with the current line passing into Beacon Hill tunnel and a disused line via Halifax North Bridge to Ovenden, then going on to a junction at Holmfield with the Halifax High level line which had stations in Pellon and at St Paul's, Queens Road; and via Queensbury to Bradford and Keighley, for destinations in the North-West.John Lake (bishop)
John Lake (1624 – 30 August 1689) was a 17th-century Bishop of Sodor and Man, Bishop of Bristol and Bishop of Chichester in the British Isles.Matthew Wolfenden
Matthew Wolfenden (born 5 May 1980) is an English actor best known for his role as David Metcalfe in the British soap opera Emmerdale.Robert Collinson
Robert Whiteley Collinson (6 November 1875 – 26 December 1963) was an English first-class cricketer, who played two matches for Yorkshire County Cricket Club in 1897 as an amateur.Born in Moss Side, Halifax, West Yorkshire, England, Collinson was a right-handed batsman, who scored 58 runs in total, with a best of 34 against Gloucestershire, for an average of 19.33. His other match was against Somerset in 1897, which was his first-class cricket debut. Collinson also appeared in two non first-class matches for Yorkshire against Durham in 1896, scoring 82 at Feethams, Darlington. He also played for Norfolk in the Minor Counties Cricket Championship in 1910 and 1911.
He played his early cricket with Halifax C.C. and Collinson also played rugby union for Yorkshire.
He died aged 88, in December 1963 in Thorpe St Andrew, Norwich.Robin Simon
Robin Simon (born 12 July 1956 in Halifax, West Yorkshire, England) is a British guitarist who was a member of Ultravox, Magazine and Visage.Scott Grix
Scott Grix (born 1 May 1984) is an Ireland international rugby league footballer who plays as a fullback or stand-off for Halifax in the Betfred Championship, on loan from the Huddersfield Giants in the Super League.
He plays at representative level for Ireland (captain), and at club level for Doncaster, Halifax, Huddersfield Giants, Limoux Grizzlies, Warrington Wolves, Leigh Centurions, Widnes Vikings and the Wakefield Trinity (Wildcats) (two spells) (Heritage № 1259).Shibden Hall
Shibden Hall is a Grade II* listed historic house located in a public park at Shibden, West Yorkshire, England. The building has been extensively modified from its original design by generations of residents, although its Tudor half-timbered frontage remains its most recognisable feature.
One of its most notable residents was Anne Lister who inherited the hall from a relative. Lister has been described as being the first modern lesbian due to her many affairs with women in the 19th century.Stoney Royd Cemetery
Stoney (or Stony) Royd Cemetery is a cemetery in Halifax, West Yorkshire, England.
Stoney Royd House was a brick house built for Christopher Rawson, the third son of John Rawson of Bolton "a little before 1764". It was demolished in the second half of the 20th century. One of its original gate lodges remains as part of the cemetery.
In 1860 Halifax Corporation bought the site to turn it into a cemetery. Edward Milner won a competition for its design. It opened in 1861, and the northern section was consecrated on 11 September 1862. The southern section was for Nonconformist burials.Two chapels were built: one each for Church of England and Nonconformist funerals. The Church of England one was a cruciform Gothic Revival building with a tower, broach spire and polygonal apse. In 1973 the Department of the Environment made it a Grade II listed building. In 2007 its roof collapsed in a storm, and Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council obtained listed building consent to demolish it. The tower and spire survive.
The cemetery contains monuments for 76 war dead, under the care of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.The Maltings College
The Maltings College is a free school sixth form located in Halifax, West Yorkshire, England.Established in 2013, The Maltings College is located at the former site of Webster's Brewery. Until its closure in 2018, the college offers a range of vocational qualifications at levels 1 to 3. Areas of instruction include:
Health and Social Care
Motor Vehicle Maintenance
Thrum Hall was a rugby league stadium on Hanson Lane in Halifax, West Yorkshire, England. It was the home of Halifax for 112 years. The site on which the ground stood is now occupied by a supermarket.Timeform
Timeform is a sports data and content provider located in Halifax, West Yorkshire, England founded in 1948 to provide information to fans, bettors, and others involved in the horse racing industry. The company was purchased by the sports betting exchange Betfair in December 2006. Since 2 February 2016, it has been owned by Paddy Power Betfair.Victoria Theatre (Halifax)
Victoria Theatre in Halifax, West Yorkshire, England, is a large theatre that opened in 1901.Zoo Bar (Halifax, West Yorkshire)
The Tramshed and Zoo Bar were two adjoining night clubs in Halifax, West Yorkshire, England. First called "Theo's Zoo bar", in the early 1990s, and named after the head bouncer, the original venue was a standalone nightclub. The Tramshed and Zoo Bar were brought to national attention by the media as a "haven" for underage drinkers, when they became among the first establishments to be closed under the auspices of the Licensing Act 2003, which came into effect in England and Wales at midnight on 23 November 2005.