During the 15th century the main industry in the Pennine valleys of Yorkshire was wool, and it was therefore understandable that William Oates, who made his fortune from wool, should build his new home at Shibden, the valley of sheep. Set in extensive parkland, when Shibden Hall was built in 1420 it was of typical Tudor timber framed construction, which still gives the hall an outstanding frontage. By the 16th century the hall and estate had been purchased by the Waterhouse family, who extended the house in stone to the rear in 1590. At the beginning of the 17th century Shibden Hall was purchased by the Lister family, who were wealthy Bradford cloth merchants and mill owners. By the 19th century the ownership of the hall passed to Anne Lister, a niece of the family, famous diarist and noted lesbian, known locally as “Gentleman Jack.” In 1836 Anne had extensive alterations and renovations made on the house and parklands. As she wanted the work carried out in keeping with the style of the building, she commissioned John Harper a well reputed architect from York to carry out the work, having made a study of local 17th century designs.
Around the house were laid out a formal terrace garden and rock gardens, with a water cascade dropping down the hillside, an underground passage allowing access for the gardeners, and a lake at the foot of the valley. A "Paisley shawl" (the intricately woven, and delicate woollen Paisley Shawls were a fashionable item of women's clothing in the 19th century; although known as the Paisley pattern, the teardrop design originated in Persia and India, becoming popular in Europe - and synonymous with Paisley) garden designed for the terrace by Joshua Major was added in the 1850s. When Anne died in 1840, in the Caucasus, the estate passed to her lesbian partner Ann Walker, who died later in an asylum for the insane. The hall, having come back into the Lister families ownership, was given to Halifax Corporation in 1933. The adjacent 17th century aisled barn and workshops house a carriage collection and displays relating to different crafts, including a blacksmiths, coopers, wheelwrights and saddlers. Shibden even has a recreated brewhouse and inn.
There are accessible toilets within this venue designated for public use. There is a toilet for the sole use of disabled people. There is pictorial signage on or near the toilet door. The accessible toilet is 30m (33yd) from the accessable entrance. There is level access to the accessible toilet. Due to the historic nature of the architecture of Shibden Hall there is very restricted access for wheelchair. There are tactile displays in the restored workshops.
Location : Shibden Hall, Lister’s Road, Halifax HX3 6XG
Transport: Halifax (National Rail) then bus. Bus Routes : 255, 508, 533, 549, 681 and 682 stop nearby.
Opening Times : Monday to Thursday 10:00 to 17:00; Weekends 11:00 to 17:00.
Tickets : Adults £4.50; Children (5 - 16)/Seniors £3.50.
Tel: 01422 352246