A Walk Around Halifax

I have been taking photographs of Halifax for the best part of sixty years, but it is something I never get bored with. I happily take every chance I get to walk around the streets of the town I have always called “home”, looking for new insights, new frames, new angles and new shapes. I am rarely disappointed – there is always something new to discover. Here are a few of the discoveries I made yesterday in a spare twenty minutes whilst waiting to go to the dentist.

The new bus station will provide new frames for some of the town’s most iconic buildings, such as All Soul’s, Haley Hill.

Wherever you go in the town, one rule applies above all others: look up! Above the shopfronts and the billboards there is an architectural masterclass on view.

This pair of cherubs have been loitering around Halifax Town Hall for 160 years, looking pretty miserable if the truth be told. Considering what the pigeons have been up to, you can hardly blame them.

Sometimes colour – to highlight the effects of the sun on the glorious stonework. Sometimes in black and white – to emphasise the lines and the grandeur.

There is something quite mesmerising about those twentieth century temples of entertainment – cinemas. Once cinemas, then bingo halls, too many of them now stand empty looking for a new purpose, something to match the splendour of their design. Each Saturday morning I would queue up outside the old Odeon cinema, waiting to discover the latest challenges facing Flash Gordon.

Vintage: adj. Denoting something from the past go high quality, especially something representing the best of its kind”

Halifax isn’t a theme park full of pretty Victorian buildings. It’s a living town with its fair share of tower blocks and spiked railings.

In most places, cupolas are reserved for churches and temples. They weren’t that keen on such things in this part of the world – they preferred a good plain chapel. Cupolas were reserved for banks.

People think of the sixties as the swinging decade, the era of flower-power and free love. It was also the decade when we sent pedestrians down into the dark, stinking passages that transversed a new generation of ring roads.

The Sportsman is an eighteenth century inn that was given a new Edwardian frontage in 1904. This came complete with decorative tiled panels. The panels still exist, but the pub is gone – gone the way of so many other fine old inns in recent years. Our drinking heritage is evaporating in front of our very eyes.

The third of Halifax’s great spires – Square Church as seen through the winter sun from the car park. Walk over, dentist seen, it’;s time to leave Halifax once again. But I’ll be back, camera in hand, until my photography days are done.

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