A little history...
Somerset House, originally known as Royds' House, was built in 1766 for John Royds, a prosperous local woollen merchant, with interests in transport, banking and insurance. The house was designed by John Carr of York, who was also responsible for Harewood House, Leeds, and was built in 1766.
The Grand Salon, which can be booked for private hire, was decorated with fine rococo plasterwork by Guiseppe Cortese, which is reputed to have taken ten years to complete and remains intact even today.
In 1768, shortly after its construction, the house provided overnight accommodation for King Christian VII of Denmark who was touring northern England, including visits to Leeds, Liverpool, and Manchester.
In 1807 William and John Rawson bought the house to use as banking premises, an enterprise which continued in various guises culminating in the Halifax & Huddersfield Union Bank in 1882, subsequently taken over by Lloyds Bank in 1919.
The bank remained at Royds' House until 1897-8, when new premises were built on Commercial Street involving the demolition of the eastern five bays of the house. Royds' House was sold to Mr J H Finlinson, general manager of the bank from 1884-97, who renamed it Somerset House.
The house is a Grade II* listed building and, following restoration and the removal of a parade of shops on Rawson Street, which had obscured the view, it was reopened in 2008.
Alibi Bar & Restaurant have lovingly restored and renewed Somerset House, so whether you find yourself settled in our stylish main lounge, tucked away in our intimate cocktail bar or surrounded by the opulence of the Grand Salon, we’re ready to conjure up a little of the building’s former glory for you.
There is an online visual archive of Calderdale history, that gives you access to over 23,000 images, with supporting historical information.
Click here for access to a wide range of materials that may be very useful to local and family historians interested in this area.
The Calderdale area includes the towns of Halifax, Brighouse, Elland, Hebden Bridge, Sowerby Bridge and Todmorden.
Alibi Bar & Restaurant are privileged to be writing the next chapter in the history of this amazing building.