Old stamping grounds, new look…

Centenary Square

Centenary Square

A few weeks ago we were up in Yorkshire briefly to visit family, and I thought we’d pop into Bradford on the way back to see what they’d done with the new City Park, having seen some pictures of this. Unfortunately I lost the plot entirely and ended up circling the town centre on back roads behind a series of builders’ hoardings, having made a bad decision about which way to go. We gave up and headed home!

On Sunday we were about to depart from God’s Own County again, having gone up there for a ‘bit of a do’, and I was determined not to let building sites and new road systems defeat me on what I consider my own turf! We headed for the Media Museum car park (oh, all right then, yes we were going to see Star Trek in IMAX & 3D and no, that’s not sad!) and simply wandered across the road to the rather splendid plaza that now sits in front of the “Victorian Venetian” splendour of the City Hall. The space seemed well used and pleasing to be in; families, couples and individuals alike from all communities were enjoying the sun, and children were revelling in the fountains and mirror pool.  I hope this bit of urban regeneration is an indicator that things are on the up for Bradford.

The old Gaumont cinema in the background of the photo still stands despite a decade of demolition threats; there is a group dedicated to trying to save it in as original a form as possible. (I think there’s a Wurlitzer somewhere to go back in there if they manage it!) I hope they do – the twin domes were a landmark on my way to school many decades ago, and it made a striking sight with the dome of the neighbouring Alhambra theatre – fortunately listed as a historic building and splendidly renovated, I am pleased to say.

Incidentally, the National Media Museum is a wonderful – and free – resource which everyone should visit; we enjoyed a dash round the Tom Wood photography exhibition and we could have been to the Bollywood Icons exhibition had time allowed (on until mid-June). The cinemas are not free, but my immersive fix of Zachary Quinto and Benedict Cumberbatch was worth every penny!

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