HALIFAX SQUARE CHAPEL TOWER
West Riding of Yorkshire
The first Square Chapel was built in 1772 to designs by the 18-year old Thomas Bradley, who is thought to have designed the Piece Hall which the Chapel stands next to. The Chapel was one of the first non-conformist structures in the area and John Wesley visited in July of that year to visit the preacher, Titus Knight, who was almost certainly responsible for having it built in the first place.
What is today West Yorkshire was a hotbed of non-conformist worship and the Square Chapel was rapidly expanded in both 1825 and then again in 1855. It is to this later expansion that we must look for the most dramatic work done here, the building of what was, essentially, a traditional style church right next to the Chapel. The designer was Joseph James and he elected to put a 235 foot tall spire on the new church building. In 1857 the Square Chapel itself ceased to function as a Church and became a school.
The church continued in operation until 1969 when it was finally closed. Two years later it burnt down leaving only the tower remaining.
The Chapel went on to be used for various town meetings and was requisitioned by the Army in 1939 when it was, to coin a phrase, knocked about a bit. After the War the Chapel was subject to vandalism and arson and eventually in a derelict state came into the ownership of Calderdale Council in 1969. They sought permission to demolish it but legal wrangling held this up until 1988 when it was bought by the Square Chapel Trust and they are attempting to renovate it.
So at some point in the near future the remaining bits of the Square Chapel and Church might once again be of some use to the people of Halifax.
Photo - Andrew J. Müller
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