Bradford is perhaps the most obviously cosmopolitan of west Yorkshire towns, the wool trade having attracted all sorts and conditions of men from all over the, world to the city which has grown up at the broadford of Bradford Beck. The beck itself is no longer to be seen, but it still flows underneath the city center. There was a fulling mill on its banks by 1311, although in the Middle Ages Bradford was more famous for its shoes than for its cloth. When it did become well known in the textile field it was chiefly as a center of the wool-combing branch of the trade.
But Bradford is also a worsted manufacturing town. The first large-scale spin mug machine in the town, a mule, is said to have been installed in an old house in Barkerend Road, Just above the cathedral, in 1794. The house, Paper Hall, now renovated and in use as a Architects Office It was not long after the first mule had been installed in Paper Hall that Messrs Ramsbotham, Swaine and Murgatroyd built the first spinning mill in the town off Thornton road, and it was powered by steam! By 1850 weaving had been factoryised and there where 129 mills. At the time of writing, the last but one working mill as just closed.
The population of the town had increased over 50 years from 13,000 to 103,000. More than half the Bradfordians where comers-in, and nearly 10,000 of them Irish Theyre where some very important middle class newcomers: German merchants who saw Bradford wors-ted as a valuable commodity for marketing on the continent. The warehouse district, in the Leeds Road area became known as Little Germany, but alas many of the impressive buildings Put up there have been swept away, ' another example of Bradford's lack of concern for her history.
Among Bradford's most famous sons was a musical member of another immigrant family, Frederick Delius. His birthplace, Claremount, off Great Horton Road, has been demolished to make room for a Garage. The contribution made by the German immigrants to the industrial life of Bradford was largely, though not entirely, on the commercial side.
The major part of the production of textile goods was in the hands of born Yorkshiremen. One of these was Titus Salt, who, close to his mohair factory at Shipley, did on a larger scale what the Akroyds and the Crossleys were doing at Halifax, and created a new town for his workers. This was Saltaire, its name partly its founder's and partly that of the river on whose banks it was built. There is a statue of Salt, who was Bradford's MP, in the city's Lister Park.
Lister Park was once the ground's of the house of' another manufacturer, Samuel Cunliffe Lister, first Lord Masham, who prospered through the invention of a superior wool-combing machine. His statue is in the park too, though his house has gone to make way for the town's art gallery, Cartwright Hall, named after the Rev. Edmund Cartwright, a Wakefield schoolmaster and the inventor of another machine which con-tributed much to the city's prosperity - the power loom. Lister's great Manningham Mills (surprisingly. not a worsted, but a silk and velvet factory), still stand with their Italianate chimney over 250 feet tall, and the Lister coat-of-arms in bright colours over their Heaton Road gate.
Close to the mill is a large concentration of some of Bradford's most recent immigrants, the Pakistanis. While it seems a pity that there is not more integration with the native community, this area of the town certainly adds colour and character to the whole. The district's shopping centre has shops providing goods of all descriptions so that a Pakistani housewife need never visit the city centre stores. In Marlborough Road, past the Corner Self Store which offers for sale both continental' (that is Pakistani) and West Indian foods, nearly every shop, bears a sign in Urdu.
While other cities employed men with a national reputation like Barry, Waterhouse, Street and Scott to design their chief buildings, many of those in Bradford were the creation of a local firm, Lockwood and Mawson. St George's Hall was theirs and so is the remarkable Wool Exchange in what was described at its opening as the Venetian Gothic style. This, once world famous centre for the sale of wool and yarn is now a bookstore. The area around the Wool Exchange is full of fine buildings, made all the more attractive by their situation in a maze of streets on a hillside. The Midland Bank, built like the County Court in 1858 and also Italianate in style, is, like a number of neighbouring buildings, all the more impressive for having a corner site at the junction of several streets. It is a marvellous place with a balustrade top and Corinthian pilasters. There is a lot of Italian influence in the buildings of Bradford. The best known is probably the City Hall, whose tower, again by Lockwood and Mawson, is said to be modelled on the Campanile of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, although it also bears a resemblance to the tower of Sienna town hall. The area around the City, Hall has been made very attractive Though demolition, the lying of lawns and the planting of trees.
There is a fine view from the City -Hall steps across the Square to the prudential offices, bright red brick among the Bradford stonework. Equally good but modern office block of the Provincial Building Society. It walls in one side of a fine new square called The Tyrls, which was opened by the Queen on 13 November 1974. The City Hall, the new Court House and the Divisional Police Headquarters occupy the other three sides. The square contains a pool with a fountain spraying up from the middle of its waters, which are fed into it through what looks like a mock-up of a Canal lock. BY the side of the pool is a steel disk engraved with a map showing Bradford's twin towns. Part of The TyrIs has been set aside as a 'speakers' corner', and it is a very pleasant spot to while away an hour on a summer's day There is one unfortunate thing about the square, however. The new Police. Headquarters cuts off the view of a very. Impressive group of buildings on rising ground to the south-west - the Odeon cinema with its green domes, the golden domed Alhambra theatre, and two big new buildings, The National Film & Television Museum and the City library. Between the theatre and the ice rink is a little garden with a statue of Queen Victoria from which there was once a grand view of the City Hall, but this is now largely obliterated by the least acceptable face of' the police station. What a shame the city. Planners should have given and taken away like this. If only, we could have had The Tyrls and yet kept the view.