A row of shops and offices of 1846 built by Jonathon Akroyd, mill owner, incorporating an earlier building of c.1800, at one time Akroyd's house.
Reason for Listing
Nos 85 – 105 Northgate, a parade of shops and offices of 1846 together with a former dwelling house of c.1800, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: the parade of shops and offices has an impressive main elevation, combining uniform materials with variations in detailing providing an interesting façade;
* Date: begun in 1845 and finished within a couple of years, the parade is an early example of this type of commercial development outside large cities, and marks the beginnings of the major expansion of Halifax in the C19;
* Historic association: the development of the parade by the Akroyd family who, with the Crossleys, were the major mill owners of the town, adds historic interest;
* Function and location: also of interest is the combination of functions built in to the development from the beginning and still continuing in the current usage, and its location linking the industrial mill workings tot he north with the commercial areas of the town to the south;
* Group value: the parade forms a unified group architecturally.
A valuation for rating of 1818 contains reference to the southernmost block (85-89 Northgate) on this stretch of Northgate, owned at this time by a wine and spirit merchant called Boothroyd and the local mill-owner Akroyd. Boothroyd died in the 1820s, and Jonathon Akroyd tenanted and later bought the property. In 1927 a valuation shows the properties occupied by Akroyd and Atkinson. The corner property was subsequently extended to the rear (later 2 and 4 North Parade), and refronted. At around the same time Akroyd developed other buildings to the north. A large warehouse to the rear of Northgate was built in 1845, and the row fronting onto Northgate was developed in three main blocks extending northwards. A date stone at the centre of the row is of 1846, and it would appear that all the sections were built within a few years of this date. It was a period of great expansion in the town and in this area particularly, and the Northgate buildings provided showrooms for his own firm (based at Bowling Dyke Mill to the north and one of the two great mill-owing families of the town) and tenantable offices and shops.
The 1852 town plan of Halifax shows the buildings of 85-105 Northgate in some detail. Nos 85 and 89 are shown as a single unit, with a bay window facing Northgate and steps to an entrance on North Parade. A vehicle entrance divides what is now No 2 from No 4, but the buildings of No 4 extend to the rear of the whole block, probably as stables, and there is another arched vehicle entrance off Northgate at the northern end of the building. The block Nos 91-93 Northgate is also shown as a single unit, marked as The Commercial Inn. Beyond another arched entrance are the remaining six units divided into two by a further arched entrance leading to outbuildings at the rear.
A run of smaller buildings extending to the north-west with long rear gardens shown on the 1852 map are confirmed by a scar on the northern end of the existing group. The three northernmost units appear visually to be a separate build to the centre blocks, though the map evidence suggests that they are close in date to the rest.
A list of properties owned by Akroyds in 1874 describes a 'compact estate' comprising warehouse and chief offices, Commercial Inn, shops, dwelling house and some vacant land at North Parade and Cross Hills.
By 1894 the OS 1:2500 map shows that the southern block was subdivided into several units, both on Northgate and North Parade, but the Inn or later Public House in the centre was still there in 1933. The rest of the group appears to have remained unchanged in layout.
Row of shops and offices, early-to-mid C19.
MATERIALS: coursed squared stone with ashlar dressings, slate roofs and stone chimney stacks
PLAN: the row consists of four main blocks, running approximately north-south on the western side of Northgate. The southern, earliest block has three units and runs from No 83 (now part of 85) to 87. It also incorporates Nos 2-4 North Parade. The next section, Nos 89 and 91, is joined to 87 by an arched entrance bay and to No 93 by another. North of this second archway is the third section, of three units Nos 95 to 99. A further archway links to the northernmost section which again has three units, Nos. 101 to 105. Behind the front ranges are courtyards providing access to warehouse and workshop units to the rear.
BLOCK 1 (Nos 83-89 Northgate)
The southern block, dating to c.1800, has three storeys, the ground floor with shop fronts, that to the right with a recessed doorway and late C19 fenestration. The centre unit has a full height canted bay, altered on the ground floor with a central doorway and with modern fenestration above. To the left the ground floor front is C20 with an entrance to the right; an extension to the left is single storey with a flat roof. The upper floors to the left of the canted bay have modern glazing, while those to the right are 3 over 9 vertical sashes with stone architraves. There are quoins to each corner, and quoins also appear on the side elevation, where No 85 extends for six bays along North Parade (Nos 2-4). The three bays to the right project slightly, and a central former entrance, now a window, is flanked by windows in plain stone architraves. The former doorway has a bracketed segmental pediment. To the left is a plain doorway and an arched vehicle entrance in a slightly recessed section, with a final bay to the left again slightly projecting. All the glazing is modern.
BLOCK 2 (Nos 91-93 Northgate)
The next block to the north is linked to the southern block by a recessed bay with an arched vehicle entrance with a keyed archivolt. Two floors above are separated by a string course and the first floor window has decorative jambs. The block, formerly a public house named the Commercial Inn, is divided into two shops on the ground floor, of which No 91 has two bays and No 93 has one. No 91 has a central doorway with a bracketed cornice and a two-light window with modern glazing to each side, and No 93 has pilasters framing a central door with overlight and flanking windows with glazing bars, all under a cornice. The first floor of the whole has a central tripartite window with stone mullions and scrolled brackets supporting a cornice. The window to each side has stone mullions and an eared architrave. There is a string course above and three second floor square windows. The roof is low-pitched and has corniced chimneys.
BLOCK 3 (Nos 95-99 Northgate)
Another tall arched vehicle entrance links Nos 91-93 to the next block to the north, Nos 95-99. The slightly recessed, three storey bay has a moulded keystone and two string courses, the upper one moulded. The first floor window is two-light with stone mullion and round-headed arches, and the second floor has a two light window in an eared architrave. Above is an eaves cornice bearing a low-relief date of 1846. The main block has three bays, the central one projecting slightly, with quoins at every angle. The ground floor has three wide segmental arches with moulded keystones, surrounding modern shop-fronts with a cornice above. On the first floor are three tripartite windows with architraves and bracketed cornices, the centre one narrower than the outer two. Above a string course the second floor windows are also tripartite but smaller. All the glazing is modern. There is a deep modillion cornice and a low-pitched roof.
BLOCK 4 (Nos 101-105 Northgate)
The northernmost block, also three storey, is set back from the rest and is linked to No 99 by a recessed tall arched vehicle entrance with a moulded keystone. The two storeys above this each have a single window with an eared architrave. The main block has three shop fronts on the ground floor, the right hand one possibly late C19 with a recessed central double door and slender mullions on the windows. The first floor has a central tripartite window with a bracketed cornice flanked by paired windows with eared architraves, and the second floor has a central paired window with outer single lights above a string course. All the glazing is modern.
The north side of No 105 is a blank wall bearing the scar of a former attached building. The three arched openings in the group lead into rear courtyards with a variety of outbuildings, some derelict, and access to workshops in the buildings behind.
INTERIORS: the interior of No 83-85, occupied as a solicitors offices, and incorporating 2-4 North Parade, has no surviving internal features of interest. No 87 has a single steel column supporting a ceiling beam on the ground floor; the upper floors have not been seen. The ground floor of 89 has an interesting collection of decorative plasterwork on the ceiling and walls of the front room, possibly showcasing available patterns. Original panelling, doors, stairs and fireplaces also survive on the ground, first and second floors, as well as some original windows to the rear.
The interior of No 91, now a restaurant, has not been inspected, while Nos 93-97 are disused shops and have not been internally inspected. No 99 appears to have no original features on the ground floor; the upper floors have not been inspected. No 101 has no surviving internal features of interest; Nos 103 (a disused shop) and 105 have not been internally inspected.
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.