Halifax 27-10-2017 – Leader Derek

Halifax 27-10-2017 – Leader Derek

After a bit of struggle, twelve walkers finally assembled at Dean Clough Mills, including Kim, who had decided to try us out ~ hope you enjoyed the day. We were also graced, somewhat unusually, by the presence of our Chair, and Walks Coordinator, both of whom made their attendance felt! I was a little late as a consequence of a burst water main on Burnley Road. Anyone would think I had committed a mortal sin, and received a reprimand before I had even parked, not to mention a couple of phone calls as I was struggling to navigate myself through Halifax town centre!

John Crossley (1772~1837) founded his carpet manufacturing business at Dean Clough and by the time of his death it employed 300 people. The Crossley family were ahead of their time and operated a policy of paying women equal wages to men for doing the same job. Many of the Crossley family values were inspired by their Congregationalist faith. By 1877 the company was one of the largest manufacturing companies in the world, and at its height in 1923, the firm employed about 5,000 people and was the largest carpet works in the world. In 1982 production at Dean Clough Mills was shut down and Carpets International, the holding company, went into administration in 2003. Almost no carpets were imported into the UK in 1970, but by 2003, 63% came from overseas!

Anyway, after I had managed to pull myself slightly together, we set off towards the Art Gallery in Dean Clough ‘E’ Mill ~ all the buildings are designated alphabetically. The primary purpose was to see the original Victorian plans of the complex, and for a quick (?) loo stop. With everyone feeling comfortable, we began our mini tour of Halifax with a visit to the Town Hall. We were made very welcome, and given a talk/tour that included the Council Chamber and Mayors Parlour. It was then off to the Gibbet on Gibbet Street ~ originally it was on Gibbet Hill.

Between 1541 and 1650, the official records show that 53 people (men and women) were executed by the Halifax Gibbet. The gibbet law stated that if a person due to be executed on the Gibbet was able to withdraw his head as the blade fell and escape across Hebble Brook, he could be freed. In 1617 John Lacey famously escaped execution by running beyond the boundary. He became known as the running man and the Running Man public house on Pellon Lane was named after him. Unfortunately for Mr. Lacey, when he returned seven years later he was immediately arrested and taken to the gibbet where this time he did not escape.

Having ‘done’ the Gibbet we retraced our steps and headed off to the Piece Hall, taking in the Borough Market. The Grade I listed Piece Hall is the sole survivor of the great eighteenth century northern cloth halls. It was built in 1779 for the trading of ‘pieces’ of cloth ~ a 30 yard length of woven woollen fabric produced on a handloom. The design of the building, by Thomas Bradley, is striking with its vast expanse of courtyard surrounded on all four sides by over 300 small rooms which were used for the sale of woollen pieces, and gateways on three sides, north, south and west.

With the tourist bit all but finished we headed off to the infamous Trooper Lane, via the old railway station and Eureka, which is ‘The National Children’s Museum’. Being not all quite together, I had forgotten about elevenses, which were eventually taken in the local cemetery! It was then up to Beacon Hill, with me leading from the rear, and on to Shibden Hall for lunch.

Following lunch, I warned everyone that it was all downhill ~ nothing to do with gradients, but with regard to none existent paths. After a rather pleasant stroll up Stump Cross valley we were challenged by a couple of sections of barbed wire as we ascended to Halifax’s dry ski slope. I foolishly told everyone that having arrived at the top of Pule Hill it was all downhill to Dean Clough, but my route down was blocked and we took a second look at the dry ski slope ~ it was quite a pretty one! On the way back to our cars we passed Percy Shaw’s reflecting roadstuds works. As an aside, a little quiz. Cat’s eyes, the ones in the roads that is, come in five different colours ~ red, amber, green, white and blue. What do these colours signify? This is part of the current driving test! Answers can be found here.

For those interested in the statistics, then according to me we walked at total of 10.55 ‘Garmin’ miles, with 554 metres of ascent.

‘The true charm of pedestrianism does not lie in the walking, or in the scenery, but in the talking.’ Mark Twain.

(Report by Derek and photographs by Sue)

Slideshow below, but if you wish to see a static view of all pics in one go, then click here.



  1. Susan Holden

    Thank you for a brilliant walk. Wonderful weather + all the extra information on the day and in the write up.

  2. Absolutely agree about Sue’s pics – aren’t we turning up some cracking photographers! Seeing the length and impressive detail of the report, I can quite see why it took so long for Derek to write.

  3. A lovely walk full of interest and history in beautiful autumnal weather. Thanks Derek, Mike and Sue.

  4. Rosemary

    A great day out Derek,many thanks. The photos were excellent. Well done Sue.

  5. Excellent walk Derek Halifax is a fascinating town and a brilliant location for a interesting walk. Sue catches the day perfectly, well done.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *