Saturday, 14 January 2012

The Hole

 

This is the famous 'hole' in Bradford's city centre.  It used to be a concrete shopping centre, built in the 70s and functional rather than beautiful.  That got pulled down and developers (Westfield) were going to build a smart new centre..... They started digging.... and then the recession came along and all work ceased, leaving this very large and ugly hole.  The Council made a big fuss about turfing some of it over to make a 'People's Park' - huh?  Which is not so much a park but more an area of ... well, turf really.  Who knows whether we will ever see a shopping centre.  But for that matter, who wants another one?  There are all the usual chain stores further up in the city centre.  Though actually there are more 'pound shops' and closed-down shops than decent stores.  

Like it or not, most people with the means to do so go shopping in Leeds, which is a much bigger city and much more vibrant, and only 20 minutes away on the train.  (A new shopping centre is under construction there.)  I'd like to be loyal to Bradford, which was once a great city and could still have lots going for it... But the shopping area is terribly depressing.  If a local councillor asked me (and none of them ever have!) I'd say the only thing that would entice me back to shopping in Bradford would be if John Lewis were to open a store here.  They have such great shops and the nearest branch is in Sheffield or Manchester, far too far away for me.  I shop online with them sometimes but it would be bliss to have a local store.  How about it... is anyone listening?  

The buildings on the left in this photo are Victorian buildings, part of Bradford's 'Little Germany' area, so-called because they were built by German merchants in the 19th century. You can also see the tower of Bradford Cathedral, a lovely church that at one time was at the heart of the old city.  This area housed the slums that prompted Sir Titus Salt to build Saltaire, to remove his workers from the dreadful living conditions of the city in the early 19th century.  I would have thought someone could usefully be exploring 'the hole' as an archeological dig whilst it's just empty.

11 comments:

  1. Has no one in city planning been endowed with the gift of imagination?

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  2. Not your most beautiful image to date, more in the school of "gritty realism" I feel, however, a record of these recesionary times nonethless.
    Bradford has always suffered by it's proximity to Leeds with regards the selection and choise of top names and outlets . . Leeds always attracting the best it seems. Perhaps if Bradford looked to the smaller, more specialist, artisan outlets, (as does Saltaire) it would fare better?
    With regards the "Park" in the city, am I the only one to think that the two "pools" look as if the newly reated paved area has not been leveled properly thus creating two enormous "puddles" that should perhaps have hazard cones placed around them . . . ?

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  3. And what happened to "Brown, Muffs" and "Busby's", did they not become part of the John Lewis empire? Bradford was always local our big town, not Leeds.

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  4. This all sounds too familiar. Oak Ridge/Knoxville have been living the Bradford/Leeds life for as long as I can remember. Oak Ridge even has the defunct shopping center that has sat empty for years while the developers continue to be just on the verge of redevelopment. Meanwhile new shopping centers proliferate and prosper just 20 miles away. And there's not even a train to make the trip. I think you may have stumbled onto a fundamental law of nature, Jenny!

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  5. Of course they're called Dollar Stores here but it's the same thing.

    If they can sell all that 'stuff' for a dollar and make a profit how much does it actually cost to manufacture and ship?

    It's all very odd.

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  6. there are many holes from the recession

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  7. Pretty gritty, Jenny. The tale of Bradford is repeated in so many places.

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  8. Nice composition. I really like the clouds! Very interesting shot to study.

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  9. I'd vote for a park -- trees and paths.

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  10. It's a shame it sits idle like that, there are so many possibilities for land in the heart of a city. I like your idea of an archeological dig. ~Lili

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  11. 2017 - and we have a new shopping centre filling this hole.... Which has led to even more empty shops in the top half of the city where the shopping focus used to be. To make matters worse, John Lewis have opened a store in Leeds! Ha!

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