‘Nestled above the hustle and bustle of Halifax Borough Market are two secret streets that are so well hidden that you may not even know about them.’ How many times have I walked around the stalls of the market and not known that above me were two streets with houses – and even a hotel!
These streets are some of Halifax’s most unique houses that run alongside the roof of the market and also look out onto the streets of the town. They used to be home to the market workers, who could then access their stalls below from their own homes. The street of terraced houses was also home to an old Victorian hotel above the high roof of the market.
The tour was part of the Halifax cultural exhibition and the guide was a man who had lived and breathed the markets of Calderdale for over 40 years. He even lives in a house perched high above the market stalls, and accessed, as he was careful to point out, by 47 steps! Talk about living on the job! He oversees Hebden Bridge, Todmorden, Brighouse, Elland and Halifax Markets. He explained how the Halifax Market is being revamped, with ideas for evening openings and even a small live performance venue being incorporated. Under his supervision Elland market has grown from just a couple of stalls to over 20. However, it looks as if Sowerby bridge market is definitely on its last legs.
Access to the streets was by a simple door adjacent to the large original historic gates into the Victorian market. A market has been in Halifax since the 1200s when it first gained a charter. There are hopes that the houses in the sky can eventually be restored and reoccupied. Two of them currently hold small offices but the rest have been empty since the 1990s but the decor was SO 60s. The colours were utterly amazing. It was wonderful and so totally unexpected. We were able to go and explore two of the houses. One was a 5 bedroomed affair.