Information on Halifax Town Hall
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Halifax’s ornate town hall was designed by Charles Barry, who also designed the Houses of Parliament. This Grade ll* listed building has a magnificent 180 foot tall tower and spire which is enriched with sculpture.
In 1856, three sets of proposals for a Town Hall were under discussion. By 1859 the proposals by Alderman John Crossley and Colonel Akroyd/George Gilbert Scott had been withdrawn, leaving one by Council Engineer Mr. G.W. Stevenson.
The special committee that had been established to look into the issue of a Town Hall were not taken with Stevenson’s designs and asked the advice of perhaps the leading architect of his day – Sir Charles Barry.
After a visit by Barry, who did not like any of the designs presented, the committee asked Barry to prepare a design of his own. Less than a month later he had submitted 14 preliminary sketches. Impressed, the Council asked Barry to produce detailed plans and specifications. The work was awarded to Whiteley Bros of Leeds.
Sir Charles brought in his son, Edward Middleton Barry, to work with him. Sadly, sir Charles died in May 1860, after which E.M. Barry took over the project. By the middle of 1863 work was virtually complete.
The total cost of the work was £50,126, quite a bit more than the £20,000 originally estimated! 24,000 tons of local stone from the Ringby quarries on Swalesmoor were used in the construction.
Halifax Town Hall was opened by the Prince of Wales on the 4th of August 1863; the first visit to Halifax by a member of the Royal Family. The building was opened to the public on 11th August and the first Council meeting was held in the new Town Hall on 18th September 1863.