The Times have called Halifax's Piece Hall 'the most extraordinary British building you might never have heard of'

The Piece Hall
The Piece Hall
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A Times columnist has likened Halifax to Venice in a comment piece for the newspaper.

Philip Collins, a former speechwriter for Tony Blair, was so impressed with the Yorkshire town that he described it as 'Venice minus the odd canal'.

The Piece Hall

The Piece Hall

He was also awed by The Piece Hall, Halifax's most prominent example of historic architecture, which he referred to as 'the most extraordinary British building you might not have heard of'.

The Covent Garden of the north: How The Piece Hall changed Halifax
Collins' column in The Times discussed Conservative attempts to provide 'social finance' to revive northern towns where insecure, low-wage work has replaced heavy industry, as well as the government's plans to create a campaign HQ in the north.

He began by referencing the British writer Mark Girouard's book The English Town, which was published in 1990. In it, Girouard described driving along streets of 'palaces' in Huddersfield and compared the 19th-century mansions to the architecture in the Italian city of Florence.

Collins also Tweeted a link to the article, demanding that readers visit Halifax.

The Piece Hall

The Piece Hall

Nearly 2,000 Gentleman Jack fans to descend on Halifax for Anne Lister Birthday Weekend
The 18th-century Piece Hall re-opened in 2017 after decades of neglect and underinvestment. Calderdale Council own the site and a trust has been appointed to run it. New retail tenants have moved in, restaurants and bars have opened and outdoor events and concerts have taken place in the sweeping courtyard.

The trust's chief executive Nicky Chance-Thompson has previously told the Yorkshire Post that the cloth trading hall reminds her of St Mark's Square in Venice. The Guardian has also labelled Halifax 'the Shoreditch of the north' due to its burgeoning hipster reputation.

The Piece Hall is home to a number of independent traders and Elder, the town's first-ever entry in the Good Food Guide. Although it does not appear in Gentleman Jack, the BBC period drama filmed in Calderdale, Anne Lister does mention it in her diaries. She considered visiting for commercial reasons during its trading years to be beneath her social station, but did watch public entertainment such as hot air balloon shows and fireworks displays in the courtyard.

Welcome to Elder, the restaurant that's Halifax's only entry in the Good Food Guide
The Piece Hall Trust have even spoke of their ambition to turn the building into a global icon with the status of the Taj Mahal or the Pyramids, as it is the only surviving cloth hall of its kind in the world.