Gates at historic hall set for restoration

Chris Topps
Chris Topps
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The magnificent south entrance gates of Halifax’s historic Piece Hall are being restored to their former glory.

The gates, which were made in 1871, are being repaired, cleaned and repainted by a specialist heritage company, Chris Topp Wrought Ironworks, in North Yorkshire.

The gates will remain true to their original heritage. The panels in the gates are being repaired using wrought iron similar to that of the 1870s and then painted to reflect the original heritage colours.

The massive gates have a combined weight of over five tonnes and are the largest gates the heritage company has ever dealt with.

To cope with their sheer size the company has built a bespoke frame to hold them whilst the work is carried out.

Traditional methods are being used to move the gates around the workshop, including chain hoists and crowbars.

Calderdale Council expects the gates to be reinstated to the Piece Hall in early summer 2012.

A temporary roller shutter has been fitted for security and to maintain vehicular and pedestrian access whilst the work is taking place.

The shutter will be removed when the gates have been reinstated.

The restoration of the south gates coincides with the Council’s application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a £7m grant towards the £19m restoration and regeneration of the 230-year-old Piece Hall.

The spectacular south entrance gates were made in Glasgow in 1871 by George Smith & Co, Sun Foundry – a well-known iron worker at the time. The gates have a wrought iron framework and each gate bears cast iron panels which depict John the Baptist. The intricate designs contain many clues to a fascinating local history.