Leeds & West Yorkshire

Victorian tightrope walk recreated at Halifax Piece Hall

Man walking on a tightrope at The Piece Hall in Halifax Image copyright Charlotte Graham
Image caption French tightrope walker Charles Blondin's 1861 high-wire stunt across The Piece Hall in Halifax was recreated more than 150 years later

More than 2,500 people watched a daring Victorian tightrope walk being recreated at an 18th Century cloth trading hall in West Yorkshire.

In 1861, French tightrope walker Charles Blondin performed his high-wire stunt across The Piece Hall in Halifax.

More than 150 years later, the same feat was staged at the Grade I listed building by high-wire performer Chris Bullzini.

He crossed a 40-metre long rope, about 26 feet above the hall courtyard.

Image copyright Charlotte Graham
Image caption Chris Bullzini performed a number of Blondin's Piece Hall tightrope stunts including walking across the rope blindfolded
Image copyright Charlotte Graham
Image caption More than 2,500 people came to see the action

A spokeswoman from The Piece Hall Trust said that on Saturday night he walked along the rope "several times, blindfolded, once on a bike and completing incredible arobatics, all without a net".

Nicky Chance-Thompson, chief executive of the trust, said: "If you think of iconic tight-rope walks, then Blondin's incredible feat at Niagara Falls in 1859 is often the one that comes to mind.

"Not many people know that just two years later, he performed at The Piece Hall, and to see it re-created by The Bullzini Family has been truly amazing."

Image copyright Charlotte Graham
Image caption The Piece Hall Trust described the tightrope walk recreation as "truly amazing"

Blondin was an international celebrity of the time due to his high-wire feats.

He was the first person to make the tightrope walk across Niagara Falls and went on to performing the same stunt a number of times while blindfolded and on a bicycle, on occasion he even cooked an omelette in the middle of his walk.

The Grade I listed Piece Hall is the UK's only surviving 18th Century cloth trading hall. It re-opened last year after a £19m refurbishment.

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