[Image courtesy of Dean Clough Galleries]
Halifax…Halifornia…Scallifax (how dare I?). Often I roll my eyes when I talk about my home town, followed by a sarcastic remark, yet when I think about it, especially in terms of its artistic and cultural offerings, it really isn’t so bad. In fact there is a whole host of activities, things to see, places to eat and drink at my fingertips and in writing this little guide to my home town, I appreciated its efforts more and more; so much so that I would seriously recommend a trip (reasons why follow, I would not advise uninformed wandering, which would inevitably terminate at the local Wetherspoon’s and/or Greggs), so hop on a bus or a train and check out a bit o’culture Halifaxian style…
Dean Clough: Once an imposing giant in the carpet and milling industry, Dean Clough still carves out a distinct shape within the post-industrial town. Nowadays however it is home to a more creative industry, with its impressive array of galleries (nine of its spaces allotted exclusively to exhibition work), music and theatrical spaces, retail and food & drink venues.
Always circulating new artist’s work, there’s no excuse not to make several trips to any one (or all!) of the galleries within the space. Artists exhibited over the summer ranged from the extremely local – Halifax artist Lauren Iredale’s work ‘Come and See’, to those from wider Yorkshire – Rob Moore’s ‘Between Heaven and Earth’. The work of well established artists also have more permanent places in Dean Clough’s ‘Residence Corridor’; Leeds’ own late Tony Earnshaw’s surrealist paintings and work from The Art Junkies (now also featured in the Saatchi Gallery).
For the more theatrically inclined, the dramatic theatre space constructed around the cavernous viaducts of the building provide space for ‘chamber music concerts, operatic performances, alternative rock gigs, television programmes, conferences and even gigantic installations’, so again, variety is in no short supply!
Slightly newer to the complex, is Ricci’s Tapas and Cicchetti; a restaurant delivering authentic fusion of Spanish and Italian food. It is in fact, the sister restaurant of Ricci’s Place, also located in Halifax and offers a ‘chic yet laid back’ approach to the traditional cuisine.
The Ricci enterprise also extends to another on-site bar 53 Degrees North which, although being the newest development in Dean Clough, is already proving a popular venue. The cocktail bar takes great advantage of the charismatic 19th century architecture with its plush interior, and the staff pride themselves on their expertise in the ‘craft of the cocktail’.
53 Degrees North. Photo & Copyright Peter Defty
Other venues include the Design House restaurant which offers a sophisticated dining experience with award winning food and the John Crossley bar for a more traditional and relaxed approach to pub dining and real ales on tap.
Keep your eyes peeled for Part 2 of A Good Day Out: Halifax where Emma explores Hebden Bridge…