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  1. Wainhouse Tower, Halifax photo by Alastair Wallace


    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 ...
    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 the Bank Holidays below. 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. Wainhouse Tower is open from 10am, with the last ascent at 3.30pm and closing at 4pm, on the following dates in 2020: Easter Monday April 13th May Day Friday May 8th Spring Bank Monday May 25th August Bank Monday August 31st Adult £3.50 Children £2.50 Family ticket (2 Adults & 2 Children) £10 Adult Passport to Leisure Holders (PPL) £3 Child Passport to Leisure (PPL) £2 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
  2. Hali-Facts Trail front page


    Hali-Facts Heritage Discovery Trail

    This Heritage Discovery Trail has been designed for children and families, but will be enjoyed by people of all ages. It will take you on a walking...
    This Heritage Discovery Trail has been designed for children and families, but will be enjoyed by people of all ages. It will take you on a walking tour around Halifax town centre, asking you to use your detective skills of observation, thinking, note-taking and sketching as you go. You can complete the Discovery Trail in a way that suits you. It can be done in ‘bite-size’ chunks over several visits or if you are feeling brave and have a lot of energy, you can try it all in one go! Many of the tasks can be completed by looking at the outsides of the buildings but sometimes, you will be invited to pop indoors to have a search around. Please check the opening times for each building that allows this – details are on their websites which are listed throughout the booklet. As far as is reasonably practicable, each building on this Discovery Trail provides a standard of access for disabled people equal to that enjoyed by the rest of the public.
  3. Shibden Hall & Estate


    Shibden Hall & Estate

    Shibden Hall Opening 2020

    Shibden Hall Opening 2020

    Please note that Shibden Hall will be closing to the public from 20th March until further notice.

    Welcome to the valley of the sheep - schep dene - the home of the Lister family for over 300 years. Shibden Hall was the home of the noted 19th century diarist Anne Lister (1791 - 1840). The Hall, dating originally from circa 1420, is a distinctive half-timbered building furnished in the styles of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, adapted and extended throughout the centuries by the families who lived here.

    Anne Lister is the focus of the BBC drama series 'Gentleman Jack' written and directed by Sally Wainwright. The series explores Anne's life and the lives of those who lived in the Hall and Estate. Series One aired on BBC ONE  and HBO in 2019 and Series Two is due to begin filming later in 2020. Suranne Jones plays the role of Anne Lister and Shibden Hall is one of the main filming locations featured in the show. 

    Shibden Hall is set in a 32 hectares of informal park and woodland, which have won the Green Heritage Award. Explore the beautifully restored historic grounds which offer cascades, pools, tunnels, terraced and fruit gardens and "Paisley Shawl" inspired Victorian bedding designs by Joshua Major.

    Enjoy the boating lake, ride on the miniature railway, play on the pitch and putt course or the new children's play area -suitable for all abilities. The grounds also offer footpaths, an orienteering course and a permanent dry stone walling exhibition - a fine example of this fascinating craft.

    Hidden within the depths of Shibden Park is a small wooded area known as Cunnery Wood. This Local Nature Reserve is on the footprint of Anne Lister's kitchen garden, fish pond, top up of the cascade and rabbit warren (hence the name Cunnery from Coney-rabbit). The area is rich in wildlife from stunning displays of bluebells under English oak, elm and birch to a multitude of songs from birds, healthy butterfly and moth populations and numerous small mammals throughout.

    The Shibden Mereside Cafe and visitor centre is the perfect place to relax on your visit, with displays and information about the history of Shibden Estate, its habitat, landscape and environment. Function rooms are also available for you to hold your conferences, meetings and events in style. Shibden Estate also hosts live entertainment, music, walks, guided tours, storytelling and craft events in the park.

    Craft fairs, exhibitions, workshops and working demonstrations take place regularly throughout the year.

    Click here to Watch a short video, 'Shibden: 500 Years of History.'and click here to watch a second short video about 'The Anne Lister Story', with Helena Whitbread (you can see the video in full at Shibden hall).

    There are frequent buses every 15 minutes or better from Monday to Saturday passing Shibden Hall, between Halifax and Bradford, Halifax and Todmorden/Burnley and Halifax and Brighouse. with other regular and less frequent services throughout the week. Up to date timetables are available from West Yorkshire METRO.

    Make your trip to Shibden Hall into a stay to remember at the award-winning Four Star Holdsworth House Hotel and Restaurant.


    Adult £8.00, Concession £5.00 (Children 5 - 16 years / Senior Citizens /Passport to Leisure), Family ticket (2 adults and 2 children): £21.00.

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