Posted On: 4 May 2018

The Piece Hall has been included in the top ten Industry, Trade & Commerce places that help tell A History of England in 100 Places.

Tristram Hunt, Director of the V&A Museum has judged the Industry, Trade & Commerce category from hundreds of public nominations in Historic England’s campaign Irreplaceable: A History of England in 100 Places, which aims to find the 100 places that bring to life England’s rich and extraordinary history.

The Piece Hall has been included in this list because of its significance as the oldest remaining cloth trading hall in England. The magnificent building, described by category judge Tristram Hunt as the “Piazza San Marco of Yorkshire” embodies the vital importance of the cloth trade to the pre-industrial economy of Yorkshire, from the Middle Ages through to the early 19th century. When it was built, The Piece Hall was a great statement of the cloth manufacturers’ wealth, pride and ambition. They deliberately chose a grand neo-classical design, inspired by ancient architecture of Rome and Greece. From its inception, The Piece Hall has been a stunning combination of commerce and culture, an icon of hard business but also a testament to the history, lives and values of its surrounding community.

Nicky Chance-Thompson, Chief Executive of The Piece Hall Trust says:

“The Trust are honoured that The Piece Hall has been chosen to be included in such a prestigious list and we hope that this recognition reflects the success of the transformation and regeneration of this incredible building. The Piece Hall was dreamt up and developed by four forward thinking Georgian businessmen who managed to create an important world centre for the trading of cloth and this rich history is told through our three new interpretation spaces, historic tours and learning activities. Many people passed through its doors over the centuries and in eight short months we have attracted over 1.9m visitors from all over the world, keen to learn about this unique building and its history. Today, the Trust continues to enable and provide the environment to trade in different ways through our growing community of independent traders, restaurants and bars, craftspeople and makers that have chosen to set up their businesses within what is fast becoming a world class iconic heritage destination. But trade isn’t just limited to commerce, we encourage people to use the space to come and trade new ideas, learn from the past and continue to inspire new generations and those yet to come"

Historic England received 799 public nominations for the Industry, Trade & Commerce category - the highest received in any category.

As well as The Piece Hall, other places chosen in this category are: Cromford Mills, Matlock, Derbyshire; The Old Furnace in Coalbrookdale, Ironbridge Gorge, Shropshire; The Rochdale Pioneers Shop, Toad Lane, Rochdale, Greater Manchester; Castlefield Canal Basin, Manchester; Dunston Staiths, Gateshead, Tyne & Wear; The Lloyd’s Building, Lime Street, City of London; The Blue Anchor, Helston, Cornwall; Middleport Pottery, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent and Former Morris Garage, Oxford.

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England said: “We had an overwhelming response from the public in this category, with nearly 800 nominations of places which help tell the story of our industrial and commercial past. Each of these 10 places chosen by Tristram Hunt demonstrate that many different industries and enterprises, from brewing and coal mining to financial services, have defined who we are as a nation and although some have changed uses, they remain a central part of our lives today.”

The 10 places Hunt has chosen will be explored in depth in new episodes of the recently launched podcast series - free on iTunes and Soundcloud. The podcast is presented by historian Suzannah Lipscomb and features Tristram Hunt.

Other categories chosen in the campaign are:

Science & Discovery, judged by Professor Robert Winston

Travel & Tourism, judged by Bettany Hughes

Homes & Gardens, judged by George Clarke

Sport & Leisure, judged by Tanni Grey-Thompson

Music & Literature, judged by Monica Ali

Loss & Destruction, judged by Mary Beard

Faith & Belief, judged by Rev David Ison

There are two categories which will be revealed over the coming months:

Art, Architecture & Sculpture, judged by Will Gompertz

Power, Protest & Progress, judged by David Olusoga

Supported by
The Piece Hall heritage regeneration project is also supported by Garfield Weston Foundation and The Wolfson Foundation.
The Piece Hall is independently managed by The Piece Hall Trust, a registered charity, number 1156948. Registered in England and Wales, number 08906735.
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