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Old Posted Mar 27, 2018, 2:51 PM
Jonesy55 Jonesy55 is offline
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The City of Bradford, West Yorkshire, UK

Here's a few snaps from the often ignored city of Bradford in Northern England as I've been visiting for the day. It is among the poorest UK cities if you look at average salaries of residents, an old centre of textile industries that declined from the mid 20th century onwards with lots of evidence of that decline in various parts of the city as you can see in some of the pics from when I wandered beyond the commercial centre.

Population 2016 (538,000)

Demographics 2011 census

White British/Irish 64.4%
White other 3.1%
Asian 26.8%
Black 1.8%
Mixed ethnicity 2.5%
Other (Inc Arab) 1.5%

Christian 45.9%
Muslim 24.7%
No religion /not stated 20.7%
Sikh 1.0%
Hindu 0.9%
Other religion 0.6%

Median full time salary of residents Apr 2017

City of Bradford £24,814
Yorkshire & Humber region £26,236
UK overall £28,758
Greater London £34,512

Average home price Jan 2018

City of Bradford £131,474
Yorkshire & Humber region £156,484
UK overall £225,621
Greater London £485,830

It also gets overshadowed because its so close to the larger city of Leeds, there is only 13km between the two city centres and depending which way you travelled between them you might not even notice much of a gap between the outer suburbs of the two cities.

It does however have some nice Victorian buildings dating from its 19th century heyday, some good regeneration projects in a few areas and plenty of potential for more improvements I think given the basic urban fabric of the city centre. Lots of drab functional 20th century 'architecture' too and one or two genuine monstrosities as you will see.

One big plus that the city has on its side its that the local architecture is mostly a yellowish stone rather than the red brick so common in many British cities which gives it a distinct identity.

Today the city is known as a big hub of the British-Kashmiri community, with one of the youngest populations of any UK city and one of the highest proportions of Muslim inhabitants. Unfortunately for me my colleagues at work told me that most of the best homestyle Kashmiri restaurants are not in the city centre but outside that in more residential neighbourhoods and as time was short I didn't get to sample any this time.

After walking around the city centre it seems to be the case, I didn't come across as many nice looking South Asian restaurants as I might have expected.

Another thing the city is known for is its connection to the literature of the Bronte sisters who lived on the wild and windy moors surrounding the city in the small town of Haworth.

Other famous Bradford people include artist David Hockney and author JB Priestley.
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Old Posted Mar 27, 2018, 2:54 PM
Jonesy55 Jonesy55 is offline
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On with the show!











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Old Posted Mar 27, 2018, 2:55 PM
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Old Posted Mar 27, 2018, 4:35 PM
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Old Posted Mar 27, 2018, 5:40 PM
Jonesy55 Jonesy55 is offline
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Some monsters here..











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Old Posted Mar 27, 2018, 5:44 PM
Jonesy55 Jonesy55 is offline
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Starting to wander out of the centre commercial district.











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Old Posted Mar 27, 2018, 5:45 PM
Jonesy55 Jonesy55 is offline
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Past some apartment blocks into a district known as "Little Germany", this is an area of old textile mills and storage buildings that has been run down for decades but is now being touted as a regeneration area, some of the old warehouses have been converted into apartments, others are being made into cheap office space and studios trying to attract creative industry employment.













It's called Little Germany by the way because many of the 19th century textile business were founded by migrants from Germany, often Jewish.
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Old Posted Mar 27, 2018, 5:46 PM
Jonesy55 Jonesy55 is offline
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As we walk further out from the city centre the gaps left by deindustrialisation become more obvious, they will only disappear once the more recent suburbs appear, but I didn't get that far.

Bradford is more known for its Muslim community but in this walk I happened to come across a Sikh Gurdwara rather than a mosque.











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Old Posted Mar 27, 2018, 5:48 PM
Jonesy55 Jonesy55 is offline
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Now we are in a typical road radiating out from the centre of the city towards residential areas, these are typically lined with small businesses and restaurants. Not far behind these radial commercial roads you will often find the most neglected of the abandoned industrial areas.











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Old Posted Mar 27, 2018, 5:49 PM
Jonesy55 Jonesy55 is offline
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Starting to head back into the centre of town.











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Old Posted Mar 27, 2018, 5:50 PM
Jonesy55 Jonesy55 is offline
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Then back in the centre, which seemed to get eerily quiet after dark (even for a Monday evening), I don't think city centre living is much of a thing in Bradford yet, though there are plenty of buildings that would make great apartment conversions and it's a very cheap city for housing by UK standards so given time I guess there will be more of that kind of development.











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Old Posted Mar 27, 2018, 7:22 PM
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Lots of EU money to clean up the center it seems. I imagine it’s pretty damn bleak otherwise.
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Old Posted Mar 27, 2018, 10:04 PM
Jonesy55 Jonesy55 is offline
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I don't think it's EU money specifically for redevelopment of the city centre, West Yorkshire is actually classified as a 'more developed region' in the current EU budget period so it doesn't qualify for those kind of structural funds. It does qualify for funding in 'soft' areas like funding for training programmes to combat youth unemployment etc but then those funds are available to most of not all areas.

The only UK areas that currently qualify for the highest levels of regional cohesion funds that do pay for that kind of thing are Cornwall and West Wales. Apparently Cornwall has received 10% of all UK regional funding from the EU despite having less than 1% of the population!



But yeah, you're right. The city centre itself surprised me, it had a lot more nice Victorian architecture than I was expecting, even though there is a bigger proportion of empty retail units than in more prosperous places and a few awful mid 20th century buildings like those in the pics. I've been to Bradford once or twice before in my life but never really explored it before now.

However once you get beyond that (there's a typically 1960s dual carriageway ring road constricting the city centre) then it soon becomes more grim with quite a number of derelict industrial buildings or empty plots where buildings have been demolished and a lot of fast food places along the main routes. Yet further out again I saw from the train that it once more becomes nicer beyond those areas with 'standard/boring but perfectly acceptable if you are into that type of thing' type semi-detached and detached suburban areas like you get in most towns and cities across the country, except the homes are mostly faced in yellow stone rather than the more common brick. A classic case of the 'donut' effect I guess.

The weirdest thing was how underused the city centre seemed to be in the evening, it's by far the best looking part of the city but it seems everybody just leaves after work and there aren't many people actually living there. In that respect it's probably 25 years behind some of the other larger cities of Northern England which I remember being a bit like that in the early 90s but are now much more lively with much larger populations of city centre residents.
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Old Posted Apr 5, 2018, 10:26 AM
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Nice pictures. Haven’t been to Bradford, but Leeds is quite nice. If Bradford gets a city centre station on the Northern Powerhouse Rail line (Manchester and Leeds in 20mins and 7mins respectively), combined with the lower house prices and development opportunities, it has the potential to really boom.
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Old Posted Apr 5, 2018, 1:34 PM
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Stunning!!!!
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