Northgate House


Northgate House was an old building located on the site of Broad Street Plaza in Halifax, West Yorkshire, England.

The original 18th century house was built between 1735-1742 by Richard Clapham (1699-c.1760) and has been modified in the 19th century.

Origins & History

Initially, the house had been built by Richard Clapham, and from its inception it was part of the Lister family property of Shibden Hall, as Joseph Lister (1750-1817) lived there.

After the death of Mary Fawcett (c. 1750-1822), Joseph's widow, in February 1822, the property was vacated and passed to her brother-in-law James Lister (1748-1826).

It was then leased to Watson Samuel Scatcherd (1783-1833) in 1826, and after his death in 1833, Anne Lister (1765-1836) became the sole executor of the property and obtained a license to convert the building into a hotel, who he also had a casino built in the basement of the facility.

Northgate Hotel

In 1835, the architect John Harper (1809-1842) converted the building into a princely hotel called the Northgate Hotel that was intended to provide accommodation for tours, dances, and similar courteous gatherings.

The foundation stone was laid by Anne Lister and Ann Walker (1803-1854) on September 22, 1835 during a ceremony, who in turn buried a time capsule under the capstone that contained coins and an inscribed lead scroll.

Anne wrote in her journal on Saturday, September 26, 1835:

'Ann and I left at 10:45 am in my own carriage (with our two men behind) to the Northgate Hotel. They were not prepared for us. They started going through the plans at Northgate and mistakenly made people wait and didn't start the ceremony until 11:45, which lasted about a quarter of an hour. Ann did her part very well.'

Regarding the time capsule with an inscribed lead scroll and coins buried under the stone, Anne wrote:

'The coins of the reign of King William IV, that is, a sovereign, half sovereign, half crown, shilling and six pence were placed in a large green glass bottle with a mouth, also an inscription engraved on a sheet of lead and rolled up. The cork was dipped in tar, then placed on the neck of the bottle and covered with thick red wax. It should have been hermetically sealed, but Messrs. Harper and his wife couldn't do it, they didn't have a blowgun. He said he could have done it in the home of old Charles Howarth (1765-?). Do not! Because it wasn't flat glass. The green glass was too difficult to fuse!

The stone that the hole we put the bottle into was made in was a large square piece of rough stone from one of Stock's quarries, where the rest of the desired stone comes from, and it formed the base of the front corner (closest to Halifax) from the casino. On this base a large mass of sandstone was laid, quarried at Northgate by excavating the basement, and which they called the foundation stone. There must have been a hundred people gathered around the place: two well-dressed young men and a few respectable-looking men. There was a small crowd to push to get into the wall race.'

'Ann put down the bottle and eight or ten men got out and correctly placed the first stone on it, to which Ann struck three hard blows with her mallet.'

This was rediscovered in 1959 and is said to be in the Bankfield Museum in Halifax, England.

After Anne Lister's death in 1836, Ann Walker did not renew the contract, but was granted a life interest in the property. Around 1840, the building began to seriously deteriorate after various factions struggled to control it. However, on November 2, 1842, the third annual meeting of the Yorkshire Chess Association took place at the Northgate Hotel and was chaired by W. Briggs.

In 1860 the building was administered as Temperance Hall, when the Halifax Temperance Movement acquired a large hall and for a long time used it as a casino or singing room.

The interior was completely remodeled, a platform and an orchestra were erected at one end and a gallery at the other receiving a visit from Mayor Daniel Ramsden during Christmas 1860, who invited some 260 elderly residents of the district to have tea at the living room.

Later in March 1912 when the Northgate Hotel casino was originally converted into Cinema de Luxe, the venue could accommodate about 550 people. However, around 1914 the name was changed to Theater de Luxe and it was during this time (1917) that the Reverend William Henry Webster (1850-1931) was manager of the premises and the serial killer John Reginald Halliday Christie (1899-1953 ), he worked there in 1919.

The company also established the Theater de Luxe in Hipperholme and the two cinemas screened films together, eventually becoming Roxy de Luxe in 1934.


Northgate Hotel next to the casino, known in later years as the Theater de Luxe, were demolished in 1961 to widen the road during the redevelopment of the area.

Excavations for the Broad Street complex in 2010 uncovered the remains of the casino basement, built by Anne Lister and Ann Walker in 1835.

New Reforms

In 1962, new premises for Phil Bull's Portway Press Limited organization were built on an empty site in Northgate, which had previously been the fur business of James Wadsworth (1779-1846). They had print jobs on an existing building on Winding Road, which had previously been occupied by Fawcett Greenwood & Company.

Administrative Buildings

Later, administrative buildings were constructed for the Calderdale Metropolitan City Hall (MBC), which opened in 1983 and the Halifax Central Library is part of the complex.

In July 2008, it was announced that the Central Library and Northgate House facilities would be closed and that the land would be sold for commercial development.

In October 2011, the Calderdale Council Cabinet voted to recommend that the Northgate House, Central Library and archive be removed and that a new library and archive be built on a site near Square Spire.


The Northgate House Council facility will be relocated to the existing Council property and work on the new library began in 2015.

Local businesses in Halifax have been visiting the old office building, Northgate House, and the adjoining Central Library, as the transformation of both buildings has recently begun.

As part of Halifax's broader transformation, Calderdale Council is renovating its former vacant office building, Northgate House, to provide more than 40,000 square feet of high-quality office space with new ground-floor commercial units.

This is in addition to the new sixth grade center that is being jointly developed by the Calderdale Council, Trinity Multi-Academy Trust and Rastrick High School in the old Halifax Central Library.

The new sixth form at Northgate House will welcome students and around 600 new students and staff are expected to be housed at the Northgate site starting in 2021.

Richard Clapham

Richard Clapham (Halifax, Calderdale Metropolitan Borough, West Yorkshire, England; 1699 - Halifax, Calderdale Metropolitan Borough, West Yorkshire, England; around 1760) was an English landowner who built Northgate House in Halifax between 1735-1742.


Richard Clapham married Judith Nicols (c.1685-1718) of Elland on December 5, 1717. After his death in 1718 he lived for a time at Thornhill and then Ossett where he would meet his wife.

He then married Elizabeth Foster (1700 - 10 February 1740) on May 6, 1724 in Thornhill, Yorkshire, England and together they had 4 children: Sarah Clapham (? -1725), Richard Clapham (? -1733), Hannah Clapham (? -1739) and Elizabeth Clapham (August 28, 1727-1742). Several of the children died in infancy.

It should be noted that Elizabeth Foster was the daughter of Hannah Jackson (1658-1727), a native of Bilston, and Richard Foster (1648-1730), an independent dissident and cloth merchant from Ossett who built Hassell Hall in the early 18th century.


Richard Clapham died around 1760 in Halifax, West Yorkshire, England. 

The epitaph of the family memorial in Halifax Minster Parish Church is recorded in the Monumental & Other Inscriptions book.


  • Malcolm Bull's Calderdale Companion.

  • Northowram Historical Society.