Bradford – a film city with a taste of curry
When visiting the picturesque Yorkshire County in the north-east of England, you cannot forget about Bradford – a city with interesting history and numerous honourable mentions. It is here that you can admire the monuments of Victorian architecture, feel like you have been back to the times of the industrial revolution, and try Indian cuisine at the highest level.
Bradford was one of the fastest developing cities during the industrial revolution. It was called “the world’s capital of wool”, as at its peak it had about two hundredth factories. Having access to raw materials such as coal and iron deposits and being famous for the production of textiles, the city quickly gained in popularity and attracted new residents and willing investors. Despite the slowdown in industrial development that took place in the middle of the 20th century, the city found a way to remain attractive on several different levels.
Most famous for:
world-class wool production and architectural monuments, such as the 19th century town hall with the preserved clock tower.
Most interesting architectural styles:
Victorian, neo-Gothic style.
A breakthrough moment in history:
development of the industrial era, which allowed the small town to transform into a vibrant and prosperous city.
Most famous historical monuments:
19th-century town hall, building of the wool exchange.
One definitely needs to:
take a stroll along Saltaire industrial village, visit the National Science and Media Museum, and see the 100-year-old Alhambra Theater.
Something for gourmets:
paradoxically, not traditional English cuisine, but curry dishes - Bradford received the title of the "British Capital of Curry".
A place for a walk:
district called "Little Germany" with monuments in the Victorian style, streets of the Saltaire village and paths along the water canals.
Off the beaten track:
Off the beaten track: rural areas around Bradford, including Ilkley village famous for its beautiful moors and extensive bicycle routes.
The cradle of cinematography
In the twilight of the industrial era, it seemed that Bradford would disappear from the map of attractive places. Nevertheless, the city began to be quickly associated not only with textiles, but also with cinematography. Since the beginning of the 20th century, it had been investing in the film industry, a fact that after many years has been recognized as a major contribution to the development of cinematography. Not without reason Bradford was called by UNESCO the first “City of Film”, as it was here that the prototype of Cieroscope, which enabled images to be captured and displayed instantly, was unveiled.
Up to this day, every year in March, the city hosts the International Film Day at the National Science and Media Museum, which is a must-see city attraction and a great source of entertainment for the whole family. It is a perfect place to visit, especially on a cloudy day, which can be accompanied by a trip around England. The museum presents both antique cinematographic exhibits, and modern technological solutions, as well as an iconic games lounge and an advertisement gallery.
Victorian architecture and historic monuments
Bradford is not only associated with industrial facilities. It is also a city of architecture. The Victorian style owes its name to British Queen Victoria, who ruled between 1837 and 1901. Architecture in this period went through different stages, but was most often associated with rich ornaments, stucco, numerous bay windows and decorative cornices. Bradford’s various buildings present a full richness of style, and some of them have been registered as monuments of special historical and architectural value.
Those include, among others, the Bradford Technical College, that stands out thanks to its decorative columns and numerous carvings. An interesting monument is also the Cathedral Church of St Peter, which is considered the oldest building in the city. Particularly interesting are the stained glass windows that adorn the cathedral – these are some of the most accurately made ornaments that can be admired in modern churches.
A respite for tired workers
In Bradford, the Victorian landscape mingles with factories’ smokestacks that serve as a constant reminder of the achievements of the city from the time of the industrial revolution. Today’s urban landscape is an interesting experience for tourists, although it was quite a problem for the residents of that time. The noise of machines and the smog hovering over the city was not only a bother for the inhabitants, but also negatively affected their health. That is why in the mid-19th century, Sir Tytus Salt, a leading entrepreneur in the wool industry, financed the construction of Saltaire village on the outskirts of the city.
The village was created for workers suffering from inhaled smoke coming from factories’ smokestacks. Apart from stone houses, Saltaire offered its residents recreation centres, hospitals, places of rest and green areas, so that they could wind down after a hard day’s work. Until today, the village is one of the most interesting attractions of Bradford, that definitely needs to be visited. In 2001, it entered the UNESCO World Heritage List. After exploring the historic streets and Saltaire canals, you can relax in cafés and restaurants.
Asian cuisine and beer
Bradford is a proud holder of the “British Capital of Curry” title. In order to get this honourable name, the city beat, among others, Glasgow. The award was given not only for the high-quality curry dishes, and the purity and precision of their execution, but also for the contribution to raising funds for the charity organization called “The Curry Tree”, which spends the raised money on helping the poor from Southeast Asia.
In addition to excellent Asian cuisine, Bradford offers many local breweries, including Saltaire Brewery or Bingley Brewery. Local beers taste even better if you try them in one of the atmospheric English pubs, which Bradford has no shortage of. You can find them both in the city centre and on the outskirts, where you can enjoy not only a drink, but also the beautiful, rural landscape.
Lister’s Mill’s smokestack
One of the symbols of Bradford is the 78-meter-high smokestack of the silk factory.
Victorian Undercliffe Cemetery
Preserved Victorian tombstones are richly decorated and impress with their size and craftsmanship.
The traditional image of England is reflected in numerous pubs, local breweries and the Bradford City football team.