Thursday, 6 August 2015

in Bradford

This week on the gratitude challenge I'm talking about a city I've visited.

I've visited a few of course, but I've picked Bradford, because it's been an important city to me in my lifetime, and because Bradford itself has been on quite the roller coaster.

I grew up in Yorkshire. We've just been back for a weekend. It's a gorgeous part of the world, known as God's own county, and with good reason.

But as a teenager, it wasn't the picturesque villages, the afternoon tea in Betty's with a Fat Rascal, which I associated with Yorkshire. Rather it was clogs, and worker's struggle for their rights. Dark satanic mills, and luddites.

I went to Bradford every weekday for my A levels; clomping across the city in my clogs, all eyeliner and attitude, to get to the Community College (or the pub, there may have been a reason why I didn't do too well). 

Bradford had great pubs. I spent many a happy hour in the Cellar Bar at the Queen's Hall, and in Tumblers (The Tumble Inn), to name but two. It also had (and still has) beautiful Victorian Gothic buildings. During the industrial revolution Bradford was the 'wool capital of the world'. Bradford also has a thriving community from Asian countries, and they have added to the rich diversity of the city, with amazing curry houses, and really good market stalls (which was where I used to buy the henna to dye my hair). In the 1890s William Morrison set up an egg and butter stall in Rawson Market (where I bought that henna). This business expanded to become Morrisons supermarkets!

The poet, Joolz Denby, is based on Bradford. She also had a thing for clogs, and the beautiful Victorian architecture of Bradford. Here's her thoughts on Bradford architecture.

It seems to me that when it came to town planning, Bradford's ailing heart was ripped out, and while the surgeon was looking around to find the replacement she was distracted by nearby fancy Leeds. For a while there we worried  that the towel would be thrown in. It looked like Bradford's National Media Museum (a great visit) might close, but it was saved. Bradford's heart is beating again now. It's changed, with a great big water feature that I really rather love, and more shops on their way, but it's growing and changing while keeping it's beauty, and for that I am grateful.

Also, the people of Bradford have got rid of George Galloway, and that's got to be a good thing (they could have just asked Glasgow and saved themselves some time).

What cities do you love?