AS readers in the Hipperholme area know The Whitehall public house is closed and the For Sale sign is now displayed on the front of the building.
For a Grade 2 listed building it is a sad day when these premises which had once been the pre-eminent licensed premises in Hipperholme by virtue of its prime location where five roads met outside its front door.
The Whitehall or Whitehall Inn or Whitehall Hotel has a very long history with some of its licensees dating back to the early 1800s. Whitehall Road derived its name from an ancient house on the site of the Whitehall but without examining the deeds is difficult to accurately say when it was built.
In 1869 the house was sold by auction by the Trustees of Reverend William Wilkinson, the vicar of Lightcliffe to Major Stocks, of the Shibden Head Brewery for £1,225. With Wakefield Road being a Turnpike Road from as early as 1741 it soon became a coaching inn, where travellers could stay for refreshments and overnight accommodation. It could be described once the new Turnpike roads began to appear, as the equivalent of the present day motorway service station.
The Leeds and Whitehall Road, or the top road as it is often referred to, the one that passes the shops and takes travellers out towards The Wyke Lion was completed in October 1833. This created a new road from the White Swan in Halifax through Hipperholme and ending at the Exchange Briggate in Leeds a distance then of just over 14 miles.
With the Whitehall now closed it is difficult to image that in 1904 the Hipperholme district could boast to have eight licensed premises: Hare and Hounds; Country House; Travellers Rest; Delver’s Arms; Dumb Mill Inn; Woodhead Tavern, Broad Oak Inn and the Whitehall. In 1866 the existence of the Hipperholme cum Brighouse Township came to an end when the Brighouse residents voted to be separate from its long time partner and have local board status. In 1868 Hipperholme voted and took the same decision, but unlike Brighouse it had no meeting place for the ten new members of the local board. They decided that in the absence of a formal meeting place rooms at the Whitehall would have to suffice. With the first meeting being held on March 24, 1869, you can perhaps imagine that some of the meeting would go on and on.
The Whitehall was also a regular venue for concerts and when many of the larger properties in the area were offered for sale through public auction these were often sold by the auctioneers at the Whitehall.
This was not just a village pub it was a local institution, but sadly these days with some areas of the licensing trade being in such dire straights and the days of pubs just selling drink many have fallen by the wayside. Whether someone could ever bring the Whitehall back to its former glory days remains to be seen.
This weeks featured late 1950s early 60s photograph shows the five lane junction with the Whitehall as it has done for almost 200 years watching over everything that passes.