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Towns of Calderdale: Halifax - a brief history

In Norman times, Halifax was a small hamlet in the Manor of Wakefield, ruled by the Warennes, whose chief castle was at Lewes, in Sussex. The Parish Church in Halifax was at the heart of one of the largest parishes in the country, extending from Brighouse in the east to Todmorden in the west.

The cloth trade was established in Halifax in the Medieval period and into the Early Modern era, production grew apace, with important fairs and markets held in the town.

Progress was sustained with developments in transportation and in 1779, the Piece Hall, a magnificent cloth hall, was opened, with many rooms for manufacturers to display their goods.

In the wake of industrialisation, the population of Halifax grew rapidly, with all the attendant issues around living conditions.

The borough was incorporated in 1848 and the resulting elected Town Council became responsible for addressing such problems. By 1900, the township boundaries had been extended and Halifax had become a County Borough.

While there are significant buildings from earlier periods, the Halifax of today is largely the result of the industrial era and beyond, and boasts impressive architecture in buildings such as the Town Hall and Dean Clough, once the home of Crossley Carpets.

Halifax also achieved fame as the home of the Halifax Building Society and of Mackintosh's toffee. Halifax became part of the Metropolitan Borough of Calderdale in 1974.

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