Visitors to the iconic Gibbet in Halifax will soon be able to learn more about its history, thanks to a new heritage information board being unveiled on Saturday 2 February.
At the junction of Gibbet Street and Bedford Street, a short walk from Halifax town centre, stands a non-working replica of the Gibbet, similar to a guillotine, which was used to execute thieves from at least the 1270s to 1650.
During its grisly past, criminals were taken to the Gibbet to have their heads cut from their bodies – a remarkably severe punishment for theft. Although decapitation was occasionally used as an execution method in other parts of England, Halifax used an execution machine, apparently unique in the country.
To commemorate this distinctive heritage, the new information board will be placed alongside the Gibbet to give visitors an insight into its history and the people who were executed, plus the chance to see old images of the deadly instrument.
Cllr Susan Press, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhood Services, said:
“The Gibbet is a significant part of Halifax’s history. It was the only one of its kind, and the replica is an iconic part of the local landscape. It’s important to protect and promote our distinctive heritage, so we’re proud to be supporting this project.”
The Park Ward Neighbourhood Forum led the project as part of its work to bring heritage to life in the Park Ward area of Calderdale. Calderdale Council supported the project and funded and designed the information board. David Glover, President of Halifax Antiquarian Society, Vice-Chair of Halifax Civic Trust and a member of the Park Ward Heritage Group, provided the historical information for the board.
The Mayor of Calderdale, Cllr Marcus Thompson, will unveil the board at a public event on Saturday 2 February from 2pm. People are then invited to join a group walk to The Piece Hall’s heritage space – The Piece Hall Story – where a model of the Gibbet and also the blade that was last used in the 17th century are on display from the Calderdale Museums Service collections. Tickets to the event can be booked through Eventbrite(external link).
The Park Ward Neighbourhood Forum is made up of local residents, councillors, businesses and community organisations and aims to promote and improve the social, economic, health and environmental wellbeing of Park Ward by shaping development in the area.
The Gibbet heritage project supports the Vision2024 for Calderdale to stand out and be known – distinctiveness is one of the Vision’s key themes. In the year 2024, Calderdale will celebrate its 50th birthday. Where do we want to be by 2024? How will the Calderdale of 2024 be different from the place it is now? What ambitions do we share? Join the conversation by following #VisionCdale2024 on social media and visit www.calderdale.gov.uk/v2/council/vision-2024