Halifax (Yorkshire)

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For the Canadian city, see Halifax.

Halifax is a town in West Yorkshire, northern England, lying on the River Calder south-west of Bradford. It is the administrative centre of the Metropolitan Borough of Calderdale. The town prospered between the seventeenth and twentieth centuries as a place of woollen manufacture - the fast-flowing waters of the Calder were ideal for powering woollen mills. Such was the extent of the industry that a magnificent woollen exchange - the Piece Hall - was built in the centre of the town, and is today a major tourist attraction, housing art galleries, cafes and speciality shops. The town is also, somewhat surprisingly, a financial centre, home to the Halifax Building Society, at one time the largest building society in the world and now part of the banking conglomerate HBOS.

Halifax is one of the subjects of a rather grim saying:

From Hell, Hull and Halifax, may the Good Lord preserve us

Hell is self explanatory, Hull mysterious (and maybe added for the sound of it), but Halifax was feared by thieves because of the rigorous nature of justice practiced in the town. It is the only town in England known to have used a form of guillotine to execute criminals. The Halifax guillotine - somewhat older than the French version - was known as the 'gibbet', and can still be seen standing on a quiet street as hort way from the town centre.

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