Bring Calderdale’s history to life with new volunteering opportunity

Wainhouse Tower

Calderdale Council is looking for people to get involved in a unique volunteering opportunity – to be part of the team at what’s said to be the world’s tallest folly.

At 77 metres tall, Wainhouse Tower has dominated the Halifax skyline for almost 150 years and offers stunning panoramic views of the local landscape.

The tower is currently only open to the public on selected days of the year, but Calderdale Council is looking to expand the opening, allowing more people to visit, climb the 369 steps and discover the building’s rich history. The expanded opening would form part of celebrations for Calderdale’s Year of Culture in 2024 and would continue for the tower’s 150th birthday in 2025.

The historic monument is a fascinating example of Victorian ornate architecture, with an equally as fascinating story, involving feuding neighbours and insight into Halifax at the time of the Industrial Revolution.

The 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, it is regarded by many as one of Britain’s finest follies.

The Council hopes to open the tower twice a month between March and October, with volunteers assisting Council staff to help share its history and ensure that everyone has a safe and memorable visit.

Those interested in volunteering should have a passion for local heritage and be physically fit to manage the ascent and descent of the tower, sometimes multiple times a day. Typically, the openings will be one weekend and one weekday per month, where the tower will be open from 10am until 4pm. Volunteers would generally only be required for part of this opening, for a few hours at a time. 

More information about the role of Heritage and Tourism Volunteer is available at or by emailing

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Towns, Tourism and Voluntary Sector, Cllr Sarah Courtney, said:

“Wainhouse Tower is a much-loved local landmark, which can be seen for miles around. From its balcony it offers stunning views across the borough, so not only will a visit mean you’ll be getting up close to this iconic monument, but you’ll also see many other distinctive parts of Calderdale when you’re at the top.

“We want to enable more people to enjoy the experience of visiting and climbing the tower and learning more about its intriguing history, so we’re looking at increasing the number of times the tower is open.

“Our first open day of 2024 is on Saturday 17 February, and tickets sold out within just a few hours. We’re delighted there’s such an appetite to visit and with the help of local volunteers we hope to have regular open days, supporting our Year of Culture and building up to the tower’s 150th birthday.

“If you have a passion for history, and a head for heights, why not consider this unique opportunity to learn more about Calderdale’s heritage and to share this knowledge with visitors.”

The year 2024 marks 50 years since Calderdale became a borough. To celebrate, Calderdale Council is hosting a Year of Culture, to inspire, entertain, and showcase Calderdale by bringing people together through arts, heritage, sports, and culture in all its forms. Visit link) to find out more.

To find out more about Wainhouse Tower, head to link)  where there’s also lots of information about other attractions and events happening around the borough, as well as details of where to stay and what to do in Calderdale. For updates about Wainhouse Tower open days, follow Visit Calderdale on social media.