The Oddfellows' Hall, Halifax

Magnificent building which stood at Coleridge Street, Cross Fields, Halifax with its classical Corinthian-pillared front was designed by Charles Child and opened on 9th June 1840. It was built at a cost of £10,000.

The large room was capable of holding 3,000 to 4,000 people. It was used for public meetings and lectures. There was a gallery at the west end.

It housed the Royal Hotel with stables, a coach house and bedrooms for travelling members of Oddfellows lodges who were looking for work.

In 1841, Franz Liszt gave a recital here.

In 1847, a packed public meeting was held here – this was the only hall where such a meeting could take place – and decided to petition the Government for a charter of incorporation to be granted to the town.

In 1858, Charles Dickens gave a reading here.

On 16th November 1872, several people were injured when flooring in the Hall gave way.

In 1888, Joe Helliwell established a music hall, with Frank Harcourt as master of ceremonies.

In 1900, Frank MacNaughten established the People's Palace.

The Manchester Unity of Oddfellows is recorded here [1905].

From 1920, it was the Alhambra cinema. There was a restaurant and a luncheon bar.

In April 1845, a large audience turned up for a show which promised American artistes, comedians and dancers, but no show transpired and the promoter disappeared with the takings; it was significant that the programme advertised songs such as The absent man, Right slick away I went, and I'll calculate there'll be a row.

In November 1872, the floor of the lobby collapsed, injuring 11 people.

Following the Public Libraries Act [1850], a municipal library was established in Halifax, and the Assembly Rooms and the Oddfellows' Hall were both considered suitable, but the Hall was rejected.

The Hall also held a variety licence and hosted all kinds of popular entertainment until 1903, when its licence was transferred to the newly built Palace Theatre.

In December 1905, the Halifax Friendly & Trades Club opened at the hall.

In 1954, Halifax Council agreed to buy the club for £11,000. This brought into public ownership a building that was somewhat decayed but still housed the Alhambra Cinema, and a dancing school. The Halifax Deaf & Dumb Association had its offices there & various other organisations used the building. The Royal Hotel still occupied part of the block.

In 1954, it was suggested that the public library be moved here.

There was a Vaults Bar here in the late 1950s.

The building was demolished in July 1963. The site was never developed

See Chartism, Royal Hotel & Oddfellows' Hall, Halifax and Stansfield's Variety Theatre, Halifax

© Malcolm Bull 2023
Revised 15:49 / 28th November 2023 / 5240

Page Ref: MMO172

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