When he married in 1838, Edward Akroyd bought a Georgian house in Haley Hill. He gradually enlarged this and lived there until 1886. It became known as Bankfield House.
In 1842, he defended the house against a Chartist mob.
It was extended and redesigned in the Regency style in 1857. In 1867, Akroyd commissioned the Atkinson Brothers of York to extend the building – including 26 bedrooms. The total cost was around £80,000.
On 15th March 1870, a serious fire destroyed much of the new servants' wing.
In 1879, it opened as a museum and library, with 12,000 books. It was known as the Akroyd Museum & Art Gallery.
In 1887, it was bought for £6,500 by Halifax Corporation for use as a library, museum, art gallery and public park.
The museum now presents an internationally important exhibition of costume, fabrics, textiles, and toys from around the world.
The Bread, Salt and Our Hearts gallery houses a unique display of textiles from Eastern Europe which were collected by Edith Durham.
Since 1960, it has housed the Museum of the Duke of Wellington's Regimental Association.
Look out for the remarkable bust of the veiled lady by Bazzanti.
When the Halifax Union Workhouse was demolished in 1972, the coat-of-arms – which was carved above the gatehouse there – was removed and built into a wall behind Bankfield House.
Akroyd was a keen horseman, and the stables stood across the road from the house.
There is a small private Chapel in the house
See George Swift and Woodlands, Halifax
Page Ref: MMB19
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