National Recording Project

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Detail from: Memorial to 158 Squadron by Peter W. Naylor, 2009

Halifax Building Society Reliefs

Summary

Type Sculpture

     2 relief groups containing figures and emblems, each positioned above a doorway into building. Left side: 2 figures, a male on the left and female on the right, in neoclassical style and dress, their hands holding the top and bottom of a rectangular slab/panel decorated with blue and gold painted squares and bearing at the centre a relief head of Christ surrounded by a halo. Top of left hand panel also inscribed with the word Halezfax in italic letters painted gold, surmounted by an animal (sheep?) in profile carrying a flag on its back. Right side: 2 figures similar to those on left side but with their positions reversed, their hands and arms resting along the top edge of a rectangular chequered panel also bearing a head of Christ and surmounted by a bowl of fruit. On the cornice of a window immediately above each group is a winged head wearing a mediaeval type helmet at the centre of a border decorated with vertical ribs/ridges.
     The building was opened as part of a circle of offices in outer London to expand home ownership. Designed by architects Gale, Heath & Sneath and opened by the Lord Mayor of London, Sir Stephen Killik with Sir Enoch Hill, Halifax President and Mayor of Kingston, Sir Alfred Woodgate. The mayor of Kingston congratulated the Society for giving Kingston a building of such pleasing appearance.
     Name Halifax possibly derives from Old English, Halez Fax, meaning 'holy face' which according to local legend appeared to shepherds in a stream at the spot where the village of Halifax grew. But another explanation is that it means 'piece of land in the bend of the river'.The face was subequently incorporated into the borough's coat of arms together with the chequerboard pattern of the noble appointed to administer affairs in the diocese of Ripon to which Halifax belonged. The lamb and flag is a common religious symbol and may have been chosen to mark Halifax's connection with the wool and cloth trade. There is no recorded explanation for either the figures or the bowl of fruit.

Contributor details

Contributor Role
Not known, None Sculptor

Element details

Part of work Material Dimensions
2 Relief panels w. figures Artificial stone 30 cms (h) x 30 cms (w) [approx.]
2 Heads Artificial stone 120 cms (h) x 120 cms (w) [approx.]

PMSA recording information

Reference Region
KT27 SWL
General condition Good
Surface condition
Structural condition
  • None
Vandalism
  • None
Road Eden Street
Precise location Above doorway of Halifax Building Society, 86-88 Eden Street
A-Z ref p.15, F6
OS ref None

Sorry, we have no precise geographical information for this item.

Date of design 1934-5
Year of unveiling c.19351935
Unveiling details 18th October 1935
Commissioned by Halifax Building Society
Duty of care Halifax Building Society
Listing status Don't know
At risk? No known risk

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