We reopened the doors to one of the most extraordinary buildings in Britain, The Piece Hall in Halifax, on Yorkshire Day, (1 August), following a multi-million-pound transformation. Once used for trading ‘pieces’ of cloth, this Grade I listed Georgian cloth hall is now the last remaining building of its kind in the UK.
Since that day, when almost 23,000 people walked through the gates into the 66,000 sq ft piazza, we have attracted footfall of over quarter of a million, including 80,000 to a series of spectacular free events.
The Piece Hall is part of a wider regeneration story in Halifax that includes a new £6m extension for our neighbours, Square Chapel Arts Centre creating a new auditorium, rehearsal space and café bar. We have new gateway connections to Orange Box Young People’s Centre; Calderdale Council’s new purpose-built Central Library & Archive and Calderdale Industrial Museum, whilst Leeds Beckett University are opening a new enterprise hub for start-up businesses right outside our South Gate. By developing this area of the town – £120m of investment has also been put into improving transport and infrastructure from the train station – and investing in culture, Halifax is entering a new era, one that will have far reaching benefits across the town and wider region.
The Piece Hall was once the centre of the global woollen trade and I hope will now become known as a contemporary leisure, retail, cultural and heritage destination and the beating heart of a world-class cultural quarter which we think will attract an estimated footfall of 1.6m per year.
It’s still too early to see how the footfall figures for Halifax change following our re-opening but we know that local businesses outside our walls have already felt the benefit. On our opening day alone the impact on the town was huge with cash machines needed to be re-stocked, record sales for local retailers and restaurants running out of food by the early afternoon.
A perfect location for independent businesses, a diverse collection of companies have already joined us here; from a Gin Bar to an ice cream parlour, traditional sweet shop to gemstone specialist, record store to gifts and homeware, fashion to memorabilia, we believe there is plenty to ensure a memorable visit with much more to come as the three distinctive levels of the building filled with businesses keen to be part of The Piece Hall’s story.
The transformation has been made possible by funding from Calderdale Council, a generous £7 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund – thanks to National Lottery players – and kind support from the Garfield Weston Foundation and the Wolfson Foundation.
This guest article was provided by Nicky Chance Thompson, Chief Executive of The Piece Hall Trust
For more information about The Piece Hall, please visit: http://www.thepiecehall.co.uk/