Shops filling the courtyard at Somerset House, Halifax
Somerset House is (or was) a substantial classical Georgian mansion designed by John Carr in the 1760s, and is grade II* listed. The house was owned by John Royds, a local merchant banker. Later the Rawson family established a bank on the premises, later to become the Union Bank. The name Somerset House was given to the property by a manager of the bank who had interests in that county.
The house once had extensive grounds stretching for some way to the south. These can been seen on the OS map from the 1850s, surrounded by the growing town centre. By the 1890s Rawson Street, Powell Street and Commercial Street had been laid out, with the infill becoming more dense over the next 50 years. The infill means it is not now possible to get far enough back to show the whole building in one photo, even with a reasonably wide angle lens - there is a east wing to match that on the west, although rebuilding means the wings are not symmetrically placed.
The west wing is obscured by a two story building, and a row of free standing shops had been built between the wings. All sides of the building including the long rear facade have had shop fronts inserted.
The upper parts of the building had been unused for some time, but had retained high quality rococo plasterwork and chimney pieces.
After a long period of neglect and abuse it was announced in 2006 that Somerset House was to be renovated / redeveloped. The shops in this view have been removed, the courtyard and part of the ground floor behind being occupied by a bar / restaurant. The restored Grand Salon hosts weddings / civil partnership ceremonies.