The Wakefield Industrial Co-operative Society opened their first shop on Bank Street in 1867. It was extended down Bank Street in 1876 and then again down Westgate in 1904 when Unity Hall was created. An integral part of the Westgate community, the venue went on to host silent movies, wrestling and ballroom dancing.

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Engraving of the 1878 building Bank Street façade from The John Goodchild Collection

 

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the venue attracted some of the biggest acts in the glam, punk, post-punk and heavy metal era.

The Specials, Boomtown Rats, Human League, The Skids, The Only Ones, Iron Maiden, Penetration, Eurythmics and Def Leppard are some of the acts to perform there in its heyday.

The Pretenders also played their first ever gig at Unity Hall in 1978 supporting Wakefield power-pop band Strangeways.

Unity Hall helped to get Strangeways into the spotlight, and they ended up securing gigs with The Ramones, Judas Priest and many others.

Unity Hall was also a major venue for dances in the 1950s and 1960s.

With such a rich cultural heritage it seems only fitting that once again this great building will be home to the creative community of Wakefield.

Throughout our refurbishment, One 2 One Development Trust ran a project with huge scope; to gather artifacts, stories and memories of Unity Hall from its entire history. The collected images, plus the book and the film can be found here on the Official Heritage site.