Ornate stone from Bradford's past revitalising city in new plan by heritage rescue team

Ornate stone from Bradford's past revitalising city in new plan by heritage rescue team

HOISTIRY: The old Kirkgate market after it was pulled down in 1973

The old Kirkgate market was

RESTORATION MAN: Little Germany Action Group member Dave West by the stone carvings

INTRICATE: One of the stone carvings in Little Germany

DELIGHT: Dave West said he was he was pleased magnificent carvings were getting another showing

PROJECT: One of the stones which has been brought back into use in Little Germany

RECOVERED: The detailed stonework had been hidden in storage before being brought back into the city centre

First published in News

GEMS from Bradford's past are being rescued from obscurity and are reappearing in the city centre.

These ornate stone carvings once graced the old Kirkgate Market, a much-missed Victorian structure which stood in the heart of the city for more than 100 years.

Now, after decades in storage, they are on display once more thanks to a team of volunteers working to boost Bradford's heritage.

More than a year ago, local artist and sculptor Marcela Livingston discovered that the stonework was lying in storage, after being saved by Bradford Council when the building was demolished.

So she teamed up with Dave West, director of not-for-profit group Little Germany Action, to find a use for a handful of the carvings and keystones.

Mr West said: "She told me about it, because she knew I was trying to put art into Little Germany. She said, 'Why don't we do something with these bits of stone, if we can get it out?'

"The next thing was, how the hell do we get it out?"

Mr West said the stonework they rescued had been lying outside, exposed to the elements.

He said: "It was all just outside in a great big courtyard, covered in weeds."

The pair persuaded a host of helpers, such as building firms Together Group and Manningham Concrete, to help take eight carvings to the conservation area of Little Germany and put them on display at the former Council building, Merchants' House in Peckover Street.

They were moved to the front of Merchants' House last year, but have now been propped on concrete slabs each side of the main staircase so they can be seen from the road.

The carvings include a cherub, an ornate apple tree and two of the original keystones.

Mr West said the area had needed a good clearing-out first.

He said: "It was full of syringes, contraceptives, it was horrible. I and a couple of friends dug it out."

Next, the team wants to add more stone chippings to hide the concrete slabs, and the work will be complete.

Mr West said he was pleased the magnificent carvings were getting a good showing once more.

He said: "These will have been carved in Bradford from exactly the same stone as all the buildings in this area.

"Little Germany and the Kirkgate Market were both constructed around the same time, in the 1850s, 1860s and so on."

The Telegraph and Argus has been asked not to identify the building where the stone was found, for security reasons, as many tonnes of the stone remain there, stored inside a large building.

Mr West said the weight of the remaining stone meant the floor "might collapse at any minute", but they were in a quandary as to how to move it, as they couldn't safely get any equipment onto the floor.

Mr West said: "There are still hundreds of bits, I presume they're from the same building. Some are fantastic items like these and some are a bit boring, but they all presumably fit together to form the arches that were in the original building."

* The old Kirkgate Market was built in 1872 and was pulled down 101 years later, in 1973.

The ornate Victorian building was demolished as part of a wider development of the four acres of land between Kirkgate, Westgate, Darley Street and Godwin Street in Bradford city centre, where the Kirkgate Centre and Kirkgate Market now stand.

But the loss of the building provoked anger, with traders and locals uniting behind the 'Hands off Kirkgate Market' campaign.

This saw tens of thousands sign a petition calling for the building to be saved, and many more joining eye-catching protests featuring make-up, costumes and fake coffins.

Defending Bradford City Council's plan in 1969, Council leader Alderman JN Horsfall said the old building was showing its age.

He said: "Among other deficiencies it has a worn out roof, bad cellars, stone floors, obsolete heating system, and the plumbing relating to the age in which it was built."

He said the cost of modernising it "would certainly run to many thousands of pounds and and might even approach the price of a new building".

Ald Horsfall said the private firm which would develop the site would pay a "handsome" ground-rent to the authority - in effect, the ratepayer.

He said: "Despite these clear financial advantages, there will, of course, always be those who mourn the passing of Victoriana.

"For our part we are firm in our belief that Bradford's future lies in the 21st, not the 19th century."

Comments (7)

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7:07am Fri 25 Jul 14

Albion. says...

There are people around who would have shifted them in silence in the middle of the night.
There are people around who would have shifted them in silence in the middle of the night. Albion.
  • Score: 5

7:42am Fri 25 Jul 14

mad matt says...

The council still have the old double horse-trough with the centre obelisk that used to stand at the junction of Church Street and Lilly Street. I believe it used to be stored in the council yard on Dock Lane in Shipley.
They could certainly use that somewhere in the city centre, planted up with flowers.
The council still have the old double horse-trough with the centre obelisk that used to stand at the junction of Church Street and Lilly Street. I believe it used to be stored in the council yard on Dock Lane in Shipley. They could certainly use that somewhere in the city centre, planted up with flowers. mad matt
  • Score: 14

8:02am Fri 25 Jul 14

holden caulfield says...

for many years the stones lay in Manningham Park, overgrown with weeds and neglected. When they were removed we understood that the stones were to be reassembled as an entrance to the Industrial Museum
for many years the stones lay in Manningham Park, overgrown with weeds and neglected. When they were removed we understood that the stones were to be reassembled as an entrance to the Industrial Museum holden caulfield
  • Score: 7

8:43am Fri 25 Jul 14

Grumpygirl says...

I wonder if the City Hall ever regrets knocking down Kirkgate Market, or any other of it's really stupid planning decisions? Was anything saved from the Swan Arcade? If so it's time to put it on display to remind us all of what the Council has done to this once great city.
I wonder if the City Hall ever regrets knocking down Kirkgate Market, or any other of it's really stupid planning decisions? Was anything saved from the Swan Arcade? If so it's time to put it on display to remind us all of what the Council has done to this once great city. Grumpygirl
  • Score: 16

9:32am Fri 25 Jul 14

Papa Smurfs Wig says...

Kirkgate Market was a really nice building and the council at the time were idiots to replace it with that concrete monstrosity we have now.

But I'd like to know where the statue of Edward Forster is. He'd be worth a lot weighed in.

And I was told the lions from Cartwright Hall were once found in the garden of a councillor in Allerton before they were reclaimed.
Kirkgate Market was a really nice building and the council at the time were idiots to replace it with that concrete monstrosity we have now. But I'd like to know where the statue of Edward Forster is. He'd be worth a lot weighed in. And I was told the lions from Cartwright Hall were once found in the garden of a councillor in Allerton before they were reclaimed. Papa Smurfs Wig
  • Score: 8

10:00am Fri 25 Jul 14

Albion. says...

mad matt wrote:
The council still have the old double horse-trough with the centre obelisk that used to stand at the junction of Church Street and Lilly Street. I believe it used to be stored in the council yard on Dock Lane in Shipley.
They could certainly use that somewhere in the city centre, planted up with flowers.
That would have done in place of the pond! Think of the saving.
[quote][p][bold]mad matt[/bold] wrote: The council still have the old double horse-trough with the centre obelisk that used to stand at the junction of Church Street and Lilly Street. I believe it used to be stored in the council yard on Dock Lane in Shipley. They could certainly use that somewhere in the city centre, planted up with flowers.[/p][/quote]That would have done in place of the pond! Think of the saving. Albion.
  • Score: 3

12:00pm Fri 25 Jul 14

Spocks says...

There where loads of bits of ornate stonework stored/dumped at St James Mkt last I looked
There where loads of bits of ornate stonework stored/dumped at St James Mkt last I looked Spocks
  • Score: 5

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