Smudgy Images Of Halifax

Vintage Postcard : Victoria Hall, Halifax

This rather unassuming little picture postcard dates from the first decade of the twentieth century, and shows a view of the, then, newly built Victoria Hall in Halifax. The strange arrangement of the image on the body of the card – leaving a blank space on the right – was fairly common of postcards at the time and provided additional space for messages to be written. The image is typical of early postcard photographs – the photographer manages to capture not only a passing tram, a couple of pedestrians, but also a couple of road diggers hard at work. The Victoria Hall was built at the very turn of the nineteenth century and was opened in February 1901. The Halle Orchestra played at the opening concert which took place shortly after the death of Queen Victoria, and their performance featured Beethoven’s Funeral March.

I’ve tidied the image up a little but I avoided adding more than a hint of colour – Halifax in the early twentieth century was not an over-colourful place. If you take the tramlines away, the scene is not radically different today – a testament to the success of the town in preserving so much of its built environment.

The card was sent to Mr J F Taylor of Laurel Bank in Ossett. The message – as far as I can make it out – reads as follows:-

8, Bath Street : Monday Dear F & M, Received PC with thanks, as I wondered whatever was the matter, kept expecting M until the evening, then thought she must be ill. Hope Kenneth going on well and is better for the operation. We are all fairly well, but haven’t we had some cold weather – night’s especially cold. Hope M enjoyed her off, it would be very quiet though. Love from all, SE

The card has an Elland postmark and there was – and still is – a Bath Street in Elland. I can find no trace of a Mr Taylor of Laurel Bank in Ossett in the 1911 census, although my search was less than enthusiastic. Such old postcards as these are best retaining an element of mystery behind their smudgy images.