After being voted 2nd in a list of Crap Towns in 2013, ‘you name it we’re bad at it‘, I decided to write a list of the things that make Bradford great, updated today to celebrate Yorkshire Day. Given that we were second only to London on the list, I remain hopeful that there will soon be an influx of Italian tourists on their way to pay us a visit.
Curry Capital of the UK
Bradford has won the Curry Capital of Britain four times in a row. Let’s hope it continues with a win in 2015. There are plenty of curry houses to choose from, Visit Bradford has a great list, but the traditional Simes favourite has to be the Karachi on Neal Street.
Haworth, the Brontes and the Yorkshire Moors
The beautiful village of Haworth, birthplace of the Bronte sisters, attracts thousands of visitors every year drawn to the see the well preserved home of the writers of Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre and to follow in their steps across the wild, unspoiled moors. You can even travel there by steam train on the Worth Valley Railway.
The Alhambra Theatre
Built in 1913 and named after the Alhambra palace in Granada, Spain, the theatre is a Grade II listed building and a dramatic, if slightly odd piece of architecture in the middle of the city centre. Refurbished in the 1980s, the theatre seats 1500 people and has a particularly popular panto every year.
Saltaire UNESCO World Heritage Site
Saltaire was built and named after mill owner Titus Salt in 1851, and the River Aire on which it resides. The model village, built to provide decent housing and services such as a bath house, hospital and a library for his workers, was an important development in urban planning and a world away from the slums in the town centre. The village has survived remarkably intact and was designated a UNESCO world heritage site in 2001.
City Park and Town Hall
Bradford has always had a fountain in the square by the Italian inspired town hall, but since 2012 with the introduction of the Mirror Pool, we’re allowed to bathe in them too. I can’t really say swim, maybe paddle. But the 100 fountains have become a favourite with families on a hot day.
Born and bred in Bradford, David Hockney is considered one of the most influential British artists of his generation. My favourites are his Yorkshire landscape paintings and those of Saltaire, some of which can be seen displayed in the Salts Mill Gallery shown in his painting below.
|Taken from Salt’s Mill, Saltaire|
Founding place of the Independent Labour Party
Manningham Mills, much like Bradford town hall, was built in the then fashionable Italianate style in 1871 and was the largest mill of its type in the world. This plaque commemorates the 1890-91 strike at the mill, following a proposed reduction in pay (the workers were scandalously being paid too much apparently). The strike gave a confidence to the workers, a belief that unified, strong protest could benefit the common good. It led firstly to the formation of the Bradford Labour Union and then to the founding of the Independent Labour Party in Bradford in 1893.