31 Square Road
- Heritage Category:
- Listed Building
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Statutory Address:
- Halifax, Calderdale, West Yorkshire
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- Statutory Address:
- Halifax, Calderdale, West Yorkshire
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Calderdale (Metropolitan Authority)
- Non Civil Parish
- National Grid Reference:
A pair of wool warehouses of 1864 by John Hogg for Isaac Cooper and John Crossley, on a triangular plan and faced with buff sandstone.
Reasons for Designation
31 Square Road Halifax, a pair of wool warehouses of 1864, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* as a good example of an 1860s commercial warehouse, which is highly decorative and quite unusual for Halifax; * designed by John Hogg, architect of several listed buildings; * with a good degree of survival including most of the original external decorative detailing, the cast-iron structural elements and much of the spine wall.
* for its association with John Crossley as owner and occupier, and a prominent industrialist and philanthropist.
* for its strong visual and functional relationship with nearby buildings, including Square Chapel (Grade II*, listed as Congregational Sunday School, National Heritage List for England (NHLE) entry 1254043), the Steeple of Square Congregational Church (Grade II*, NHLE 1258888), the Piece Hall (Grade I, NHLE entry 1273056), India Buildings (Grade II, listed as 37 to 41 Church Street, NHLE entry 1289999) and numbers 1 to 5 Deal Street (Grade II, NHLE entry 1388309).
In the 1840s and 1850s the former field known as Hatter’s Close became the site of several wool warehouses standing between Square Road and Church Street. The southern tip of this triangular field was the last to be developed, and a plan of 1856 shows that it had been sold to John Crossley.
In 1864 plans were submitted for a pair of warehouses on this triangular site. The client was Isaac Cooper, a woolstapler (a dealer in wool who sorts and grades it before selling it on to a manufacturer). The plans indicate that the warehouse to the north (numbers 27 to 29) was then owned or occupied by Messrs Cooper and Crossley, and it seems likely that Cooper was connected with John Crossley in the construction of that building and this one. The architect for both was John Hogg. The plans were approved on 8 June 1864, with construction due to commence immediately.
The original plans show a pair of warehouses with a north-south dividing wall, and a heated private office in each at the south end of the ground floor, accessed by a half-flight stair from Square Road and a flight from Church Street. Flues also indicate fireplaces at the north end, either side of the dividing wall. The second bay either side of the dividing wall had loading doors. The location of the original stairs is uncertain and these may have been simple timber ladders, or perhaps spiral stairs like the extant basement stair. Due to changes in level, most of the basement windows to Square Road and Beckett Street were to be lit by sunken areas. The roof arrangement of rafters seated in cast iron sockets is unusual. This may have been experimental, perhaps intended to avoid the normal decay incurred when timbers are embedded in the wall.
An 1881 trade directory lists John Crossley, carpet merchant, and the Midland Railway goods receiving office, at the site. A Goad Insurance plan of 1887 suggests that the building was constructed largely as seen today. The eastern warehouse is marked as a wool warehouse occupied by M Riley, while the western side was still a railway parcels office with a tea warehouse above.
The OS 1:500 Town Plan of 1888 to 1889 and the 1:2,500 maps of 1894 and 1907 mark the southern end of the building as part of the western warehouse. However the subsequent Goad plans all show the dividing wall remaining intact at this end, and no cross wall. These plans date from 1927, 1933 and 1962. The 1927 plan marks the whole building as M Riley and Company’s wool warehouse, with fancy goods at first (ground) floor level in the east and leather and rubber on the second floor in the west. In 1933 the east is marked as a wool warehouse, with the same on the first (ground) floor in the west and the leather and rubber warehouse on the floor above. The 1962 plan marks Thomas’s Ltd bird cage and leather goods warehouse above basement storage, and cardboard storage in the upper eastern portion.
Alterations affecting the northern roof and walling are shown in progress in photographs taken in 1982 during the demolition of numbers 27 to 29. It was probably at this time that the eastern hoist was removed and the western hoist partially rebuilt in modern bricks; the same modern bricks run at cornice level along Square Road where originally there was almost certainly a stone cornice like that to Church Street. By this date, the basement areas had also been infilled. Also in the late C20, the flight of steps to the north door was added. Internal stud walls created a corridor along the dividing wall and created individual rooms in both the west and eastern halves of the building, with some new openings through the spine wall. In the basement, arches were inserted in the dividing wall to create a shared space. Stairs were added in the south end of the building where previously there were offices, and the northern stairs were probably also added. Various bar and kitchen fittings have been installed relating to club and hotel use, and some windows replaced.
John Crossley (1812-1879) was an industrialist and philanthropist from Halifax. At the time of his death, the firm of which he had been chairman (founded by his father in 1822) was the largest carpet manufacturer in the world. The new Halifax town hall of 1863 formed the centrepiece of a privately-financed urban improvement scheme, commenced by Crossley in 1851. Elsewhere in the town he constructed a model lodging house with accommodation for fifty vagrants and, with his brothers, founded and endowed a large orphanage. Besides serving as a magistrate, chairman of the Halifax Commercial Banking Company, and a member of the Halifax school board, he was associated with the establishment of a building society, chamber of commerce, local newspaper, post office, and woollen market, and the construction of new reservoirs for the town. He was Halifax’s MP from 1874 to 1877. He was chairman of the English Congregational Chapel Building Society, supporting numerous chapel and school building schemes, including the rebuilding in 1857 of Square Congregational Chapel, opposite where these warehouses were later built on his land.
John Hogg was a Halifax architect. His principal listed building is the orphanage of 1864 mentioned above (listed as Crossley and Porter School (Grade II, NHLE entry 1273255). To the north of number 31, he built 27 to 29 Square Road, a similarly-designed wool warehouse of 1851 which was listed in 1973 but demolished in 1982. He also designed Castle Carr Water Garden and Pumphouse (Grade II, NHLE entry 1272650), which were built during construction of the reservoirs with which Crossley was associated. Hogg had earlier taken over completion of Castle Carr (demolished 1962), and built the Low Lodge there (Grade II, NHLE entry 1227151). He also designed the Mechanics Institute in Marsden (Huddersfield, NHLE entry 1274926), twelve villas in Park Road, Halifax (Grade II, NHLE entry 1258039), and the drinking fountain in People’s Park, Halifax (Grade II, NHLE entry 1254013).
Wool warehouses, 1864 by John Hogg for Isaac Cooper and John Crossley.
MATERIALS: buff sandstone on a brick inner leaf, slate roof.
EXTERIOR: prominently-sited in the angle of Church Street and Square Road with the north wall running east-west between the two.
The principal front faces south-west onto Square Road. This is of six regular bays and of two storeys plus a basement and (unlit) attic. The walling is of regularly-coursed, rock-faced stone, with a projecting plinth. Flat plat bands run at the sills and shoulders of the first-floor windows and the cornice, with a moulded band at the ground-floor window shoulders. The eaves have three courses of brown brick, with gutter corbels; to the right, the elaborate stone cornice of the south wall makes a short return. The front makes an angle with the south wall, but at the left has a slightly-recessed, rounded junction with the north wall. The flat basement lintels are rock-faced with dressed margins. Ground floor windows have deep sills with raised fields, and shouldered, pointed lintels with keystones and billet-moulded segmental arches. The first-floor lintels are similar but unmoulded. The entrance (in bay five from the left) has a grand classical doorcase with consoled cornice, billet-moulded jambs, Corinthian columns flanking the doorway with foliage within the spandrels and a Greek-head keystone with dentillation above. The modern door has a plain semi-circular fanlight over. The roof is hipped at the left with hip-tiles, a short central flat (at the time of inspection - 2018 - covered with flashband), and to the right a short, sloping, tiled ridge and a tiled hip with chimney stack. There are three modern rooflights.
The left (north) return is plainer, with dressed walling and ashlar sills and lintels (rock-faced to the basement). This wall is of eight bays, and of two storeys plus a basement and with an attic hoist and loading slot in bay six. The hoist is partially built of brown bricks, which also form the corbelled eaves to the right, but to the left there are stone corbels. At the far left is a short return of the consoled cornice of Church Street. A loading slot in bay three is partially infilled at ground floor and has a standard window at first floor; this and the adjacent windows have no lintels and the sill band which runs across the rest of the wall is also absent. A flight of steps with splayed wing walls serves the ground-floor door below the hoist, and curved stone steps return beneath this to the basement door. Some windows have external wooden louvres. The roof is hipped to either side with tiles, and a central flat. There are two modern rooflights.
The left return is the south-east wall facing Church Street. This is of six regular bays with window and band detailing matching the Square Road front, but a deep, consoled eaves cornice. The junction at the right is rounded with all detailing continuing across it. The basement entrance is at ground level in bay two with a stone doorcase with cornice, keystone and decorated spandrels, but infilled with a wooden security door. A further entrance is inserted between bays five and six, and modern air-handling equipment, satellite dishes and canopies have been affixed. The roof is not visible from the ground, but mirrors the Square Road roof.
Returning to the left is a short south wall, a single bay wide, of two storeys plus basement (at ground level). The bands and cornice return across this wall from Church Street and at the eaves is a shouldered stone chimney stack with three pots. Each floor has a two-light mullioned window with details matching those of the Square Road and Church Street equivalents.
INTERIOR: modern stairs rise at the south and north ends of the western warehouse. At second floor the rafters and first purlin are exposed and are all mechanically sawn. The rafters are seated in cast-iron brackets which are bolted to the floor and rise to the eaves. Cast iron columns, timber beams and floors and the unplastered brick inner skin are all occasionally visible, usually behind late-C20 finishes and stud construction, which also lines the corridor along the dividing wall. At ground floor more of the columns are exposed and a decorative spiral stair gives access to the basement. Throughout the ground floor and basement there are modern kitchen and bar fittings, there are large openings through the dividing wall and modern decorative coloured glass has been fitted in some ground floor windows.
Books and journals
Harman, Ruth, Pevsner, Nikolaus, Yorkshire West Riding: Sheffield and the South , (2017), 295-7, 396-7
Patchett, JH, 'The Development Of The Area To The West Of Halifax Parish Church (c1540-c1965)' in Transactions of the Halifax Antiquarian Society, , Vol. 13, (2005), 13-33
Photos of 27-29 Square Road before and during demolition 1961 and 1982 (England's Places 'red box' archive, images 6666 091, 6666108-122), accessed 05/11/18 from https://historicengland.org.uk/images-books/photos/englands-places/results?place=Halifax, Calderdale (Place)&terms=Halifax&searchtype=englandsplaces&i=0&wm=1
Wool warehouse at 49 Church Street, information on Yorkshire Industrial History Online, accessed 26/11/18 from https://www.industrialhistoryonline.co.uk/yiho/shortform.php?Trans_ID=WYK00751
Building control plans, 'Warehouses, Square Road, Halifax', 1864 (West Yorkshire Archives CMTI/HBI:636)
Heritage Statement, AECOM 2018
Howard, C, Rapid Assessment Of The Area Surrounding Church Street And Square Road Halifax, Historic England 2016
This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.
End of official listing