Cloth hall

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A cloth hall or linen hall (German: Gewandhaus; Polish: Sukiennice; French: Halle aux draps; Dutch: Lakenhal; Swedish: Saluhall) is a historic building located in the centre of the main marketplace of a European town. Cloth halls were built from mediaeval times into the 18th century.

A cloth hall contained trading stalls for the sale, particularly, of cloth but also of leather, wax, salt, and exotic imports such as silks and spices.

Poland[edit]

In Poland, the most famous existing cloth-hall building is Kraków's Cloth Hall (Sukiennice), rebuilt in 1555 in Renaissance style.[1] The 14th-century Gothic cloth hall in Toruń is preserved as part of the Old Town Market Hall.

Cloth halls formerly also existed in Poznań, at the Old Market Square; and in Wrocław, at the site of the street now called ulica Sukiennice (Cloth-Hall Street).

Germany[edit]

Examples of German Gewandhäuser can be found in the towns of Brunswick, Zwickau, and Leipzig.

The rebuilt, third Leipzig Gewandhaus is home to the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra.

Belgium and Netherlands[edit]

The former Cloth Hall in Leiden, Holland, has, since the 19th century, housed the Stedelijk Museum De Lakenhal (Municipal Cloth-Hall Museum) of art.

Examples of cloth halls in Belgium include the Ypres Cloth Hall and cloth halls in Bruges, Leuven, and Tournai. Leuven's Linen-Hall is in an early-Gothic style, with baroque addition, and now serves as the Leuven University Hall.

Britain and Ireland[edit]

British examples are Drapers' Hall, London; the Piece Hall, Halifax; and Leeds' White Cloth Hall.

In Ireland, Belfast once had a White Linen Hall, and there were linen halls in other towns such as Castlebar and Clonakilty.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ The World's Best Squares, PPS website, Making Places, December 2005