Secret of Halifax Piece Hall’s hidden handprints linked to a ‘killer on the loose’

Halifax’s Piece Hall has stood in the town for centuries and has plenty of secrets.

One of these is the mysterious handprints on the West Gate entrance, but where do they come from?

These handprints are now very faint and difficult to see, but, according to legend, they date back almost 200 years.

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Believed to have been made in the early 1800s, the handprints are thought to have belonged to a criminal.

Jason Ward posted the story of the markings in the ’50 Shades of Halifax’ Facebook group. The story begins with a murderer attempting to escape his pursuers. He ran up to the Piece Hall but found the West Gate sealed.

The handprints before they were mostly cleaned off in 1976
The handprints before they were mostly cleaned off in 1976
(Image: Jason Ward/50 Shades of Halifax)

There, he pressed his hands on the wall before running away and it is unknown if he was ever caught. Due to the amount of pollution in the air, the walls of the hall were covered in soot and preserved the handprints.

However, there are plenty more theories as to where the marks came from. These range from the idea that they were caused by a witch to the theory that a boy dipped his hands in cleaning acid for the stones and then put his hands on the wall.

What's left of the handprints today
What’s left of the handprints today
(Image: Jason Ward/50 Shades of Halifax)

Either way, the marks have begun to fade, particularly after the 1976 restoration saw the stones cleaned and many marks removed. For now though, you can still see them high up the wall by the West Gate.

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YorkshireLive – Halifax