Halifax is a large market town within the Metropolitan Borough of Calderdale, in West Yorkshire, England, with a population of 82,056 in the 2001 Census. It is well known as a centre of England's woollen manufacture from the 15th century onward, originally dealing through the Halifax Piece Hall. Internationally famous for its Mackintosh chocolate and toffee (now owned by Nestlé), the Halifax Bank, Halifax RLFC, The Gibbet and Shibden Hall.
Halifax Parish Church, parts of which go back to the 12th century, has always been dedicated to St John the Baptist. The church's first organist, in 1765, was William Herschel, who went on to discover the planet Uranus.The coat of arms of Halifax include the chequers from the original coat of arms of the Earls Warenne, who held the town during Norman times. Halifax was also notorious for the 'Halifax Gibbet', an early form of the guillotine used to execute criminals by decapitation, it was last used in 1650. A replica of the gibbet has been erected on the original site in Gibbet Street. The original gibbet blade is on display at Bankfield Museum, Halifax. Punishment in Halifax was notoriously harsh, as remembered in the Beggar's Litany by John Taylor (1580–1654), a prayer whose text included "From Hull, from Halifax, from Hell, ‘tis thus, From all these three, Good Lord deliver us.". Daniel Defoe was also a one time famous resident of Halifax.
As well as the significance of the Halifax Building Society (which merged with the Bank of Scotland in 2001), the town has associations with confectionery. John Mackintosh and his wife, Violet, opened a toffee shop in King Cross Lane in 1890. Violet formulated the toffee's recipe. John became known as The Toffee King. A factory was opened on Queens Road in 1898. A new factory at Albion Mill, at the current site near the railway station, opened in 1909. John died in 1920, and his son Harold not only continued the business but took it to the present size and range of confectionery it has today. Their famous brands, including Rolo, Toffee Crisp and Quality Street of chocolate and confectionery are not just popular in the UK, but around the world including the USA. It was merged with Rowntree in 1969, which was then bought by Nestlé in 1988.
Halifax was a busy heavy industrial town dealing in and producing wool, carpets, machine tools, and beer. The Crossley family began carpet manufacture in modest premises at Dean Clough, on the banks of the Hebble Brook. The family was philanthropic and Joseph and Sir Francis Crossley built and endowed Almshouses for their workers, which exist to this day and are run by volunteer trustees.
Halifax is in the south-eastern corner of the moorland region called the South Pennines. Halifax is situated about 4 miles (6.4 km) from the M62 motorway close to Bradford, Huddersfield and Rochdale.
- Leeds/Bradford International Airport. This is the nearest airport, by road. It can be reached by taking a train to Leeds and then a bus to the airport departing from the train station. The number of flights from Leeds Bradford airport continues to increase.
- Manchester Airport. This airport is the easiest and quickest to access. It is the UK's busiest airport, outside London, with many European and inter-continental flights. There is a rail station within the airport complex, with services running through Huddersfield to Newcastle, at least half hourly throughout the day (see by train below).
Halifax railway station is on the Caldervale Line, with links to Manchester Victoria, York via Bradford and Leeds, Blackpool North and via Brighouse to Huddersfield and Wakefield Westgate. All services are operated by Northern Rail.
Halifax is well served by the M62. Junction 24 is the best and fastest way to reach Halifax from the M62
First Calderdale & Huddersfield operate most bus services in Halifax, while Arriva operate services that link Halifax with Dewsbury and Wakefield. Halifax is well connected to Huddersfield and the nearby cities of Bradford and Leeds with the First services 503, 508 and 576, serving these destinations every 10–20 minutes during Monday to Saturday daytimes. First also run services into other counties, including 528 to Rochdale via Ripponden and Littleborough, 590 to Rochdale via Todmorden and Littleborough and 592 to Burnley via Todmorden. Other bus operators in the town include T.J. Walsh (also known as The Halifax Bus Company) and Halifax Joint Committee which use the livery of the old Halifax Corporation buses, used on the town's buses until 1974.
- Halifax Parish Church, ☎ . Causway. 9AM-4PM daily. Medieval parish church dedicated to St. John the Baptist, founded in 1438.
- Halifax Piece Hall. Blackledge Road. Traditional wool-trading center of Halifax, now housing several score shops.
- Halifax Town Hall.
- Wainhouse Tower.
- Halifax Gibbet, Gibbet Street.
- Eureka! The National Children's Museum, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Discovery Road. 10AM-5PM every day (last entry 4PM, closed Mondays during term-time). An interactive children's museum promoting learning through play. £8.25 for a 12 month pass (discounts for groups and children less than 3).
- Halifax Traditions Festival, Town Centre. Annual, last weekend of September.
- Halifax Agricultural Show. Savile Park Moor. Late August.
The Town is famous for Rugby League both at amateur level with such clubs as Siddal, Halifax Irish, Greetland All Rounders, King Cross Park, Illingworth, Ovenden. Amateur clubs play on Saturday afternoons between September and April. Illingworth ARLFC play their home matches at Mason Green Sports Ground situated on Keighley Road. Halifax RLFC is the professional club who play at the Shay and are one of the original clubs who broke away from Rugby Union to found the Northern Union 1895. The Club is also one of the most successful although currently are in NL 1.Halifax RLFC play usually on Sundays from March til September and can be contacted by visiting the clubs webpage www.halifaxrlfc.co.uk
- The HiFi Centre, Westgate Arcade Shopping Centre, 11 Westgate, Halifax, West Yorkshire, HX1 1DJ, ☎ . The Hifi Centre is the local Bose dealer, and offers many other 'High-End' audio brand names, from the address that has been a quality hi-fi outlet for more than fifty years, since it was Trevor Fawthrop's "Tape Recorder Centre". Trevor's original high standards of quality and service were maintained throughout the shop's ownership by Huddersfield HiFi, who moved out in May 2006 to consolidate their business at their main shop in Huddersfield. The current owners reopened in September 2006.
- Woolshops Shopping Centre, 30 Woolshops, ☎ . An open air shopping centre in the heart of Halifax town centre with over forty shops ranging from M&S, Boots to Costa Coffee, Accessorise & Mountain Warehouse. The centre has a car park and is within 500m of both the town's bus & rail stations.
- Design House - Dean Clough Arts and Business Centre, Halifax, West Yorkshire HX3 5AX
- La Buona Sera - Princess St, Halifax, HX1 1TS
- Las Cuevas - 30 Lister Lane, Halifax, HX1 5AX - 01422 330 776
- Milans - 6/8 Carlton Place, Halifax, HX1 2SB
- The Old Shears Inn - Lee Bridge, Dean Clough Industrial Park, Halifax, HX3 5AT
- The Ivy House - 318 Shay Lane, Halifax, HX2 9BB
Three Pigeons, South Parade, Traditional pub with award-winning art deco interior. Serves real ales.
Halifax town centre has a huge selection of bars, traditional pubs and late night venues, many of which are situated literally within yards of each other.