We have compiled a few secret and better known shooting locations of BBC/HBO’s ‘Gentleman Jack’ in Halifax and the surrounding area. We highly recommend visiting and bringing the TV series and the previously-unknown story of Anne Lister to life.
Shibden Hall features the most in the show, and the viewer sees it from all angles. Built in 1420, it was the home of the Lister family for over 300 years. This filming location was really the home of Anne Lister (1791-1840), who was both embarrassed by its shabbiness but needed income from it to pay for her passion of travelling. She, her father and her aunt were each left one third of the estate after her uncle died in 1826, but Anne took over the management of the agricultural tenancies, rental properties in Halifax, the coal mining and stone quarries. After the death of both her aunt and father in 1836, Anne was in sole ownership and keen to make improvements using Ann Walker’s money, which included a new gatehouse in 1836, a drive and bridge in 1837, the addition of a Gothic tower to the Hall in 1838 and a new waterfall and lake.
The Chaumiere features in episode 3 and is a secret hideaway in the woods for Anne and Ann to meet. Also known as the Moss House, it was specially constructed in the grounds of Shibden for filming during the summer of 2018. Located near the woodland path from the pond towards the playground, it was sadly demolished afterwards.
Lister Bridge and Lister Drive feature in several episodes as the Lister coach enters or leaves Shibden. Lister Drive is the track from Shibden Hall to the gatehouse exit onto Lister Road. Lister Bridge, with its distinctive door shaped opening, was required to cross a steep valley. Lister Drive was first used by Anne on June 27 1837 when she drove into Halifax to hear the proclamation of the new Queen Victoria. It winds through Troughabolland Wood where Anne arranged for the planting of many new species, both trees and flowering shrubs.
The Lister coach is seen several times and each time we have been looking for it set amidst a moorland background. There was just a flash of the filming which took place at Roils Head near Norton Tower to the West of Halifax, when Anne returns from her trip to Copenhagen.
The first scenes we see in episode 1 are set on a cobbled road called Wakefield Gate close to the tallest folly in the world, Wainhouse Tower, which Anne never saw as it was completed in 1874. However, the road has changed little over the centuries and it is here that we see the action packed preliminary ascent of the hillside prior to the gig/cart collision involving the Misses Walker, the Hardcastle family and Christopher Rawson. The same location was used to film Anne and Marion taking a walk down into Halifax in episode 4 when they were in fact walking away from the town towards Sowerby Bridge.
Sowerby Bridge is a smaller town than Halifax and a road on the far side of the town features as a filming location. Here we see the distinguished 18th century house where Eliza and William Priestley live. A gentle affable man, William is a cousin of Ann Walker. By coincidence, this handsome property was actually the real home of some of the Rawson family for over 150 years, who were bankers, coal miners and industrialists. Series 1 did not portray the men very sympathetically but the matriarch had a wicked sense of humour. The house features in episodes 2 and 4 and the drive is shown as the location for the forthright conversation between Anne and the Reverend Ainsworth in episode 5.
Moving up the hillside, we come to the village of Sowerby where the parish church of St Peter was used as an internal substitute for St Martin-in-the-Fields, London which Anne attended for the wedding of Miss Vere Hobart and Captain Donald Cameron.
Rawson’s coal mine was actually filmed in a disused stone quarry called Nabb End further along the ridge towards Cragg Vale. Public access is allowed to people but safety warnings are in place and it is now a conservation site. There is no road access so be prepared to walk from Moor Bottom Lane.
Drop down from here to the charming village of Luddenden, which clings to the hillside with its narrow streets and attractive cottages. Here you will find the Lord Nelson pub, which had a temporary name change to the Stags Head Inn. This is where the external shots of the rent collection session in episode 1 were filmed, with the internal ones shot in the Fleece at Elland, a few miles away.
Whilst in Halifax we also suggest you visit the magnificent Piece Hall, which Anne Lister used to visit. Built in 1779 for handloom weavers to sell their ‘pieces’ of cloth, it is one of Britain’s most outstanding Georgian buildings. After extensive renovation, it reopened on August 1 2017, Yorkshire Day, and hosts a wide range of open air cultural events and seasonal festivities as well as being the home of a museum, tourist information centre, Halifax Library and many independently owned shops and cafes.
Adjacent is the Square Chapel, built in 1772 on a square base with no internal supporting structures. It is now a lively arts centre.
Close by is Halifax Minster, over 900 years old, which is dedicated to St John the Baptist. Anne Lister came here to worship and it is fitting that this is also her final resting place, although the exact location of her coffin is not identified. However, there is a stone, unfortunately damaged and incomplete, underneath one of the side stained glass windows.
Dyer’s Holiday Cottage in Halifax is a charming, beautifully restored 17th century cottage, ideally situated to explore all these filming locations. Sleeping up to 3 adults and a child, it offers you a real “home away from home” rather than the impersonality of most hotel rooms. Fully equipped with a contemporary stylish bathroom, it is spacious with high ceilings and a sunny enclosed garden. For more information, including availability, please visit: https://www.dyerscottageyorkshire.co.uk