Situated right next to the iconic Piece Hall, this little-known gem is well worth a visit.
If you’re keen on history, it’s a must. If you like engineering, don’t miss it. And if you like historic engineering, it’s clearly the perfect place for you!
People of all ages enjoy this wonderful collection of tools and machines, many of which played an important part in the industrial revolution and can still be seen in action here. There are quarry and mining displays, locally made machine tools and textile equipment including a sock maker, not to mention a water wheel and the fabulous Robson Engine. There’s even a Mackintosh toffee wrapping machine here as well, celebrating the town’s role in the history of this once world-famous sweet brand.
Other reasons to visit include temporary exhibitions of art, photography and wood carvings, and – in non-COVID times – you can hear public talks by experts. Much of the museum is linked to the school curriculum, so there are fascinating and fun programmes aimed at children. This impressive converted warehouse also has a room you can hire, just in case you need a unique venue for an event of your own. On a budget? Don’t worry – museum entry is free for under 16s, adults pay just £5 and there are concessions. Even an annual pass only costs £12. There’s a friendly café too, plus a shop selling gifts like pottery, textiles and greeting cards, all by local artisan makers.
Amazingly, the museum has only one paid member of staff, and it’s always on the lookout for more volunteers to join the 70 or so who already staff it. The volunteers are very much part of the experience, and many are delighted to share their own personal knowledge and experience of Halifax past and present. In fact, in June 2021 the museum won a prestigious Queens Award for the hard work and quality of its volunteers. Don’t be put off helping here if you’re young or short of historical knowledge though; enthusiasm is the only requirement for most of the many roles.
In addition the museum has been number one on Tripadvisor in 2019 and 2020.
The museum is a large three storey red brick building between the new Central Library and Burger King on Square Road. It can also be accessed via the east gate of the Piece Hall, and is only two minutes’ walk from the train station.
Saturday 10am – 4pm.
The museum is opened for extra days, including Thursdays during the school holidays, to support other local events and private and school tours can be booked by arrangement.