The Prince of Wales visits Halifax

On Monday the 3rd August 1863, the Prince of Wales – the future Edward VII – arrived at Halifax station for a 2-day visit to the town.

The Prince was met by the Mayor, John Crossley, and other councillors, and a guard of honour was mounted by 300 of the Halifax Volunteer Riflemen.

The Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway put on 358 trains to Halifax on the 2 days of the Prince's visit, and an estimated 100,000 people came to Halifax to join the celebrations.

The Sun (of London) Wednesday [5th August 1863] reported the arrival of the Prince in Halifax

The arrival of the Prince of Wales at Halifax was marked by no particular event, unless, indeed we count as such the want of prior arrangements by the railway authorities at the station itself, which resulted in some little confusion and amusing disorder.

Excursion trains were coming in faster than the passengers could be got out, or faster than the train could draw up at the limited extent of the platform.

Deceived by the highly decorated engines, the Volunteers (the 4th West Yorks) were betrayed into presenting arms to a cheap trip train full of highly anxious and excited excursionists.

Similarly deceived, the battery of Volunteer Artillery, on the lofty steep ridge known as Beacon Hill, began their Royal salute of 21 guns. The only problem was that the salute ended before the Royal train arrived. The people outside who knew nothing about the mistake were puzzling themselves to account for the attractions which kept His Royal Highness so long within the dreary precinct of a station where not even a flag were hung in honour of his visit


There were 870 police on duty, 200 of them from London and others from Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield and elsewhere. It rained heavily throughout the visit.

During the visit, the Prince was taken to the Mayor's home, Manor Heath, the carpet works of John Crossley & Sons, the mills of James Akroyd & Sons, and the Brunswick Mills of John Whiteley & Sons.

On Tuesday, 4th August 1863, the Prince opened the new Town Hall.

Other celebrations included a balloon ascent from West Hill Park, a fireworks display in fields at Ward's End, People's Park, greeting by 16,000 people at Halifax Piece Hall – where there was a special Sing in the Prince's honour, All Souls' Church, and the Victoria Hall.

The Town Clerk, Edmund Minson Wavell, read the loyal address to the Prince in the Victoria Hall and the Prince graciously responded.

Rev James Pridie and Rev William Robert Morrison presented an address on behalf of the Church and Dissenters.

The Princess of Wales was ill and was unable to attend

See John Baldwin, Mr Cockroft, Elevation of Halifax, The Prince of Wales visits Halifax, Halifax Town Hall Memorial, Princess Street and Queen Victoria

© Malcolm Bull 2024
Revised 13:37 / 5th June 2024 / 5977

Page Ref: ZZ_6

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