Family, Historic Sites & Trails : Halifax

Wainhouse Tower
The 253 ft Wainhouse Tower was originally commissioned as a chimney for the local dye works by John Edward Wainhouse in the late 19th century. The structure was never actually used as a working chimney and as such, is regarded by many as one of Britain's finest follies.

The Tower is open to the public on Bank Holidays and other select days through the year (please see below) and is available for Private Ascents. For those brave enough to tackle the 403 steps to the viewing gallery at the top, the stunning views make it well worth the climb.

Click on the hyperlink below for video photo take using a drone of the awesome views from the top of the tower!

Ascents of the Tower were available 11am to 4pm (last ascent 3.30pm) on the following dates in 2017

Easter Monday April 17th
May Day Monday May 1st
Spring Bank Monday May 29th
Father’s Day Sunday 18th June
August Bank Monday August 28th

Adults £2.50, Children £2, Family £8
Want more information?
Call 01422 288001 or visit https:www.youtube.comwatch?v=vkGsWDBLxFQ&app=desktop
Description

Details

Born in 1817 John Edward Wainhouse inherited his Uncle’s Dyeworks on Washer Lane, Halifax in 1856. The Dyeworks were typical of the day, causing considerable pollution because of smoke emissions.

Halifax was badly affected by smog. For weeks on end the smoke laden atmosphere blanketed the town, reducing sunlight and contaminating the landscape with soot and sulphur trioxide. This national problem caused the Government to introduce a Smoke Abatement Act.

Wainhouse developed the idea of building a chimney 350 metres up the hillside from the Dyeworks, connected to it by an underground tunnel. Sir Henry Edwards, A wealthy neighbour of John Edward Wainhouse, made complaints about the smoke nuisance caused by the Dyeworks, leading to a feud between the two men.

Mr Isaac Booth (who was also Sir Henry’s architect) was asked by Wainhouse to design and build the mill chimney. The design incorporated an internal staircase that led to four balcony features. This exacerbated the deepening feud between Wainhouse and Sir Henry.

Sir Henry, an extrovert and boastful man, claimed that his private estate at Pye Nest could not be viewed from any house o the hills. Wainhouse said he would rectify this by putting an observatory at the top of his chimney.

Work commenced in 1871. In 1873, as a result of the feuding; the architect Isaac Booth decided he could no longer work for either man. This led to the appointment of Richard Swarbrick Dugdale, who redesigned the upper section of the building. The new design incorporated a corbelled and balustrade balcony, surmounted by a lantern dome and finial.

The building was completed on the 9th September 1875. It is estimated that over 9,000 tonnes of materials were used. The total cost is thought to be in the region of £15,000. However, by the time the building was completed, it was clear that it would never be used as a chimney.

The Washer Lane Dyeworks had been sold in 1874 to the works manager Mr Henry Mossman. The sale did not include the Tower. It is thought that Mossman saw the then uncompleted building to be a liability. This point of view is difficult to understand given the fact that Mossman was then prosecuted under the Smoke Abatement Act. Mossman proved that considerable efforts were made to abate the smoke nuisance by pulling down six existing small chimneys …and erecting a large chimney in their place!

John Edward Wainhouse died on 26th July 1883 at the age of 66. He as buried in the family grave at Holy Trinity Churchyard, Halifax. The gravestone is located against the boundary wall on the south side of the Church.

The Tower and three acres of surrounding land was sold by auction in 1887. The Tower changed hands several times until coming under the ownership of the Halifax Corporation in 1919. During the Second World War the Tower was used by the military authorities as an observation post.

As a result of the reorganisation of Local Government in 1974, Wainhouse Tower became the property of Calderdale Council. Today the Tower is used as a viewing platform; open to the public on Bank Holidays and other select days through the year


If visiting the Tower, cars may be parked on Skircoat Moor Road. Opposite Halifax Fire station there is a brown sign indicating the path that leads to the tower. The path is uneven and can be muddy so please bring appropriate footwear and take care underfoot. The Tower can also be approached on foot via Wakefield Gate. use the pavement on the gain opposite side of the road to the Fire Station, Walk on past the Car rental buisness (which will be on your right) and the mini roundabout (on your left) and follow the road along. Wakefield Gate is the cobbled road on your right, just past a row of terraced houses.Walk into Wakefield Gate, follow it round a corner and there is a footpath on your right that leads to the base of Wainhouse Tower.


Private ascents for up to 1 hour with a maximum of 40 people are available £70+VAT

For more information, please contact Mr. Oddy on 01422 288001
More Information

Additional Information

Short Description The 253 ft Wainhouse Tower was originally commissioned as a chimney for the local dye works by John Edward Wainhouse in the late 19th century. The structure was never actually used as a working chimney and as such, is regarded by many as one of Britain's finest follies. The Tower is open to the public on Bank Holidays and other select days through the year (please see below) and is available for Private Ascents. For those brave enough to tackle the 403 steps to the viewing gallery at the top, the stunning views make it well worth the climb. Click on the hyperlink below for video photo take using a drone of the awesome views from the top of the tower! Ascents of the Tower were available 11am to 4pm (last ascent 3.30pm) on the following dates in 2017 Easter Monday April 17th May Day Monday May 1st Spring Bank Monday May 29th Father’s Day Sunday 18th June August Bank Monday August 28th Adults £2.50, Children £2, Family £8
Type Family, Historic Sites & Trails
Location Halifax
Address King Cross, Halifax, HX1 3JF
Phone Number 01422 288001
Web Address https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkGsWDBLxFQ&app=desktop
Recharge Point No
Location & Map

Wainhouse Tower

King Cross

Halifax

HX1 3JF

Accessibility

To ensure we offer impartial advice we have provided a link to  ‘Euan’s Guidewhere you'll find detailed access information to many venues across Calderdale and the UK: accommodation, attractions, shops, pubs, restaurants and more.  

VisitEngland lead training provider and contributor in accessible tourism, Visits Unlimited is a Calderdale-based national operator offering a range of accessibility-related services across the UK and abroad.  Visits Unlimited support businesses in not only meeting legal obligations stated within the UK Equality Act 2010 but in exceeding customer service expectations for all customers including those with specific needs.  Services provided include accredited hospitality training and disability awareness training, access auditing, mystery shopping and strategic accessibility planning. 

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