On Saturday I spent 6 hours wandering the streets of Bradford, all in the name of the UK Cityscape's project, that's my quest to photograph and document all 69 cities of the UK.
What can I tell you about Bradford? Well it's had a bad press of late but it's got a thriving university, a population of over 500,000 and one of it's claims to fame is that it's home to the best curry in the UK.
In the 19th century it had a thriving wool trade and you can still see the remains of some of the mills which were built during the time when Bradford was at it's booming best, at one time it was actually the wool capital of the world, that's a whole lot of sheep!!
Bradford is home to one of my favourite UK museums, the National Media Museum, in fact I visited Bradford a few years ago to go to the Henri Cartier - Bresson exhibition, the Godfather of street photography, amazing exhibition about a truly astonishing photographer, did you know he only cropped 2 photos in his entire life? It's something I've tried always to be true to, frame the photo as you want it when you take it, don't crop it afterwards, you're changing your vision, the vision which inspired you!
I digress, back to Bradford, in all honesty I have to admit that Bradford was not my favourite city, there does seem to be a lot of regeneration going on which of course makes for a large building site, apparently the Westfield shopping centre has been in the planning for 10 years but for most of that period there was a large hole in the ground and not very much else, while I was there I could see signs of workmen actively working so maybe this will change the fates of the city. The foundations of somewhere really interesting seem to be there, for instance, Bradford is home to an area called Little Germany, an area of outstanding architectural importance containing 85 buildings built between 1855 and 1890.
Bradford also has thriving markets which sell everything from origami to many herbs and spices from around the world, I really recommend that if you are in Bradford you pop in and have a look.
lets get on with the photos -
Although the Tour de France didn't go through Bradford they were certainly trying to get into the mood.
I love fountains and water features and Bradford does this exceedingly well which made me think, why can't we have a huge fountain or water feature in Newcastle, someone should suggest that!
Can you imagine just how much fun this would be? Yes I realise on a Friday night when the Geordie's are tipsy there may be dancing in the fountains but surely in Bradford they have this issue too and they're dealing with it?
I really hope when this is built it brings the crowds flooding back to Bradford but at the same time I also hope that it doesn't kill the local independent city centre shops
This is probably my favourite cityscape from Bradford, it's a really interesting skyline and there's a real mish-mash of architecture from the very old to the newly built.
I really hope that people do visit Bradford, spend a half a day exploring the markets, city centre and little Germany and you can spend the other half of the day in the National Media Museum, it's only by encouraging people to visit and give it a second chance that you'll see a better regeneration and increase in tourism and retail.
In my next UK Cityscapes post join me on a journey as I explore the magnificent city of Leeds, that's City 15/69 in the UK Cityscape's project.