The Piece Hall hand prints

A pair of hand-prints which can be seen on the stonework of the pilaster to the right of the Westgate entrance to the Piece Hall. Although they were more clearly visible in the days of dust and grime, recent stone-cleaning has resulted in the hands being less obvious than they once were.

A Halifax Courier supplement marking the reopening of the Piece Hall in 1976 reports:

One piece of local legend which the restoration of the Piece Hall has obscured if not quite obliterated is the story of the deeply etched hands by the Westgate gate. Stone cleaning has removed the distinction which was previously accorded to these hand-shaped marks on the wall, which was that they remained white and clean amid the surrounding blackness of the pollution-darkened stone. Legend said that the prints were put there by the hands of a murderer, presumably while he was in the act of trying to climb up the Piece Hall wall, and would never disappear
Another story makes a local witch responsible for the marks.

Recently, the daughter of Halifax pianist Harry Maude found a note in his papers that, in 1890, he and some friends were larking about with materials left by cleaners working at the Piece Hall, and one lad dipped his hands in acid which was used to clean the stone and left his hand-prints on the stonework

© Malcolm Bull 2021
Revised 15:03 / 12th May 2021 / 3378

Page Ref: MMP61

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