I wasn’t intending to be out and about today but having checked ‘realtime trains‘ this morning I found that there was something different (railway wise) happening on my doorstep. Halifax and the line to Bradford Interchange have a staple diet of Northern and Grand Central passenger trains and bugger all else. Freight disappeared back in the 1980s when newspaper trains disappeared when the print media abandoned the railways and went to road transport as the result of too many strikes. That’s left this area with very little in the way of variety apart from the occasional special train or engineering trains. Today, in fact this week, has seen such a cycle. Freightliner are running what looks like route-learning trips using locomotives locomotives from Leeds to Bradford Interchange via Greetland and Halifax to Bradford Interchange and back. These services are always hit and miss as they often get cancelled but today was my lucky day…
So, now I’m out and about I might as well try for a few more shots in the area. See you later…
As the rest of the diagram for these route-learners all went a bit ‘Pete Tong’ I decided to abandon the railways for a while and head back to Bradford to look at a place I’ve promised myself to visit for a few years now. Years ago, when I was wandering across Bradford taking pictures of some of the amazing architecture on the way I was stopped by an elderly Asian gentleman who asked of my interest. When I told him of my interest in architecture he told me about an area of the city centre known as ‘Little Germany’. I’d never heard of it before but decided to do some research on his recommendation.
Now, I have a confession to make. I rather like Bradford. Yes – I know – it’s a deeply unfashionable thing to say. Even the locals give the place a hard time. It’s not a place you’d head to for its nightlife or real ale pubs. Dawn and I once went to the ‘world curry festival’ in Bradford which was a singular disappointment (I think the word I’m actually looking for is crap) but there’s one thing the city excels in and that’s architecture.
‘Little Germany’ is a quarter of the city that was built from the 1850s onwards. It got its name because a lot of the people who built the gorgeous Italianate buildings were German companies (many of them Jewish). There’s a famous name or two involved too. The idea was to take advantage of Yorkshire very profitable woolen trade – as well as exploiting Lancashire’s cotton trade) which involved building impressive offices and showrooms. Sadly, the Franco-Prussian war of 1871 killed off some of the trade, but the buildings were taken over by other companies.
Today the area has large amount of listed buildings. Here’s a few pictures.
As you can see, the area has some beautiful buildings, some of which have been restored and turned into offices and apartments, but many still seem empty. There’s obviously been a conscious effort to regenerate the area, but it’s strangely quiet on the streets. I suspect Covid has a lot to answer for. There are few shops or cafe’s (and no bars) and the ones I saw were closed. If this was Glasgow the place would be buzzing. Instead it’s like a lot of quarters in many English provincial towns – deserted. So much for the governments much vaunted claims of ‘levelling up’. Poor Bradford has been shafted several times recently, which is a crying shame as it really is an architectural gem.
I’ve a small favour to ask…
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