T.W. Hanson

Bringing the old to the young

Cartoon depicting T.W. Hanson surrounded by books

There is a tendency, thought Thomas William Hanson, for local historians to write in such a way as to deter younger readers; and it was to help introduce local young people to the history of their town that he wrote The Story of Old Halifax (F King & Sons, 1920), dedicated to ‘The Boys and Girls of Halifax’. It was also the first general history of the town to be published since John Crabtree’s 1836 Concise History of the Parish and Vicarage of Halifax.

T.W.Hanson was born in Halifax on March 23, 1877, and worked for most of his life for the family furniture business, Hanson & Son. In 1942, he and his wife moved from Halifax and ended up in the Oxford area, where he died on July 9, 1967.

Although The Story of Old Halifax is his main claim to fame, locally at least, his work is far more familiar to local historians over a wider area. A member of the Halifax Antiquarian Society | for 54 years, he rose to President of the Society between 1934-43, and despite living so far from town remained Vice-President from then until 1959. A number of his papers (51, in fact) appear in the Transactions of the Society, many of them dealing with the Ovenden area, and his published work includes Halifax Street Lore (1932), Old Inns of Halifax (1933) and Halifax Builders in Oxford (1928). A complete set of transactions is available at the Central Reference Library in Halifax.

Outside work and local history, Hanson was a Liberal member (for the Skircoat Ward, where he lived) of Halifax Council, and sat on several committees, including, of course, the education committee. He was also closely involved with Square Church and its Sunday School.

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