Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Time Travel: Bradford Street

Back to B12 for a time travel post today. I may make it sound like it's a million miles away from the known world, but the reason for the psychological separation is visible in the above picture. That's a toll gate you see, marking the boundary between Deritend parish and St Martin's parish. There is a similar psychological gap on the other side of the city, at AB Row, where Aston parish starts.
This is another picture-heavy post, since the reason is that I have found several fiftyish year old pictures of Bradford Street in my collection and the difference from today is striking!
Before we stroll down in the city, let's turn round and see what Phyllis Nicklin saw at the Camp Hill end in the 1960s (the pictures in this post are either Phyllis Nicklin's, my own, or I have lost the source except one which is watermarked. As usual if they're yours just leave a comment and I'll credit or remove).
Oh dear. It actually looks as if Holy Trinity church and its strangely unchanging greenery has been transplanted to a different setting! The rather handsome Georgian house has vanished.
The same house is on the right of this earlier picture (I'm loving the advertisements) and virtually everything in that picture is long-demolished.
Another Nicklin, illustrating one of the twentieth-century buildings which replaced the Georgian or Victorian buildings on the site. This building is one of the ones which made me think of the marked change in Bradford Street since Nicklin's day. The angle is similar to that of the eighteenth century view at the top of the post.
Not so different on the surface, but when you get close up you notice that that building is proper f*cked.

I was rather confused by the mixture of signs of care (painting out graffiti) combined with the current complete dereliction of this building. The answer is that planning permission for redevelopment of the site has been granted and the building is slated for demolition. I didn't enter, despite the door conveniently having been kicked in: I psychically detected needles and unfriendly people. The pity is that it was obviously originally a good-quality building, and you can see what it looked like before it got trashed, here.

My intent is to draw your attention to the 1960s-style building with blue panels under the upper windows.
I see that Edwin Steiner started his cycle and motor accessories manufacturing company in 1908. Since I got this information from an industrial history site, it looks like it's long gone. Steiner himself died in 1968. One of the things I find interesting about the view of Steiner's works into the city is the relative speed with which Bradford Street has changed - for example the building beyond the pub has gone, despite looking fairly modern. This is the other building whose present state struck me as a contrast:

I suppose there may be a window unbroken somewhere, but it would be difficult to spot through the layers of competing graffiti! Once again, through the wonders of brave urbexers and the internet, you can see inside this building here.

Things are looking more positive for this building which is currently a garage, with a change of colour from its Nicklin days. The buses have also changed colour!
Next door, though, the paint slingers have been at work.
As so often happens a new mystery has opened up, which is the original use of this building. Unfortunately my 1968 Kelly's indicates that it was already a garage so I can see that a trip to the library is indicated...


  1. An interesting trip back in time, thank you Hound. And much less faff than actually travelling in time oneself!
    I rather like the 60s spaceage building (Steiner's?) - but only in the 60s, not so much now...

    1. What a lovely compliment. But do please blow your own trumpet a bit more: after all you did hold the ladder while I was graffitiing Steiner's!

    2. Shhhhh! You'll get us both in trouble!


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