Welcoming home the spectacular Piece Hall gates

The magnificent south entrance gates of the Piece Hall in Halifax were re-installed last week. They have benefited from an extensive conservation programme to repair and restore them to their original condition and decorative scheme.

The Piece Hall’s south gates were made in 1871 by George Smith & Co of Glasgow. They have a wrought iron framework and each gate bears cast iron panels depicting John the Baptist. The intricate designs contain many clues to a fascinating local history and provide a suitably grand and colourful entrance to Calderdale’s most important heritage building.

The gates have been repaired, conserved and repainted by a specialist heritage company, Chris Topp Wrought Ironworks, in North Yorkshire. The conservation work has been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund under its Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI). This scheme, working in partnership with Calderdale Council, has supported improvements to a number of the borough’s heritage assets over recent years.

The conservation work involved removing the gates and taking them to Chris Topp’s workshop. Wide consultation was undertaken on the proposed new colour scheme which uses strong, rich Victorian colours appropriate to the era of the design and construction of these ornate gates. At the workshop, the heritage colour scheme was reintroduced, and the wear and tear associated with over 100 hundred years of use was repaired. The gates returned home to the Piece Hall last week in outstanding condition and ready for a renewed future.

Calderdale Council’s Leader, Cllr Tim Swift, says:

“It’s great to welcome home these historic gates. The restoration of the gates demonstrates our commitment to the ongoing conservation of the Piece Hall, and to protecting its historic character. Re-hanging the gates will complement the construction works for the Transformation Project, which will be underway in 2014.”

The return of the gates, and their renewal, heralds the changes and improvements which Calderdale Council, with its key partner, the Heritage Lottery Fund, will be instigating with the Piece Hall Transformation Project, due for completion in 2015. In the meantime, it’s business as usual in the Piece Hall.

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