Leeds & West Yorkshire

Halifax's Piece Hall records 5m visitors since reopening

Thank you projection at Piece Hall Image copyright Simon Dewhurst
Image caption The renovated cloth trading hall opened on Yorkshire Day in 2017

A renovated 18th Century cloth trading hall has recorded five million visitors in the two years since it reopened.

The Grade I-listed Piece Hall in the centre of Halifax was built in 1779. It was given a multi-million pound facelift and reopened in August 2017.

The units in the arcades, once used for storing and trading "pieces" of cloth, now house shops, cafes and offices around a refurbished courtyard.

Visitor figures had been forecast at 1.6m a year.

Image copyright Calderdale Council
Image caption The central courtyard has been levelled to create a new piazza with capacity for up to 7,500 people
Image caption The units in the arcades were used by merchants to trade pieces of cloth

Nicky Chance-Thompson, the chief executive of the charitable trust that runs the attraction, said: "I'm delighted with year two, the figures are fantastic and the profile of Piece Hall has never been higher.

"It has really been the start of something quite incredible for Halifax."

The hall reflects the historic role played by the woollen trade in and around Halifax and had also been used as a wholesale marketplace. During the 1970s the building came close to being demolished.

Since its restoration, the Georgian building has featured as a backdrop to BBC One's Antiques Roadshow, the Tour de Yorkshire cycling race, and hosted concerts by Embrace and Elbow among others.

Image copyright Danny Payne
Image caption The large open-air courtyard has been used for concerts and events
Image copyright Stu Johnston
Image caption It was also the setting for Antiques Roadshow, one of BBC One's most popular programmes

The trust recorded a higher than expected deficit in March of more than £850,000 in the first year after it reopened. The figures for the second year have not yet been released.

Ms Chance-Thompson said: "It wasn't designed as a cash cow and to make lots of money in its own right, the real reason for the regeneration was to create a multiplier that goes into the local economy.

"I am told we are achieving our purpose."

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption A performance of Zara included cherry pickers, 3D projections and a giant puppet of a baby

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