From Hull, Hell, and Halifax

Posted on 3rd May 2014

After 32 miles of running, I come to Halifax, site of the Piece Hall where 18th century weavers displayed and sold their wares. But a long time before the Piece Hall was built, Halifax had a law whereby anyone who was caught stealing a piece of cloth worth more than thirteen pence would be beheaded.

From Hull, Hell and Halifax, good Lord deliver us”, went the Beggars’ Litany – and with good reason. Fifty thieves were executed using the Halifax guillotine by the time the practice came to an end. To this day, the blade used in the final beheading remains preserved in the Industrial Museum of Piece Hall and Gibbet Street is home to a replica guillotine.

And all that ‘justice’ for only thirteen pence.

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