A RARE glimpse behind the imposing walls of Bradford’s historic Conditioning House has been captured on camera by a member of the Telegraph & Argus Camera Club.

The once-majestic Grade Two listed building, on the corner of Cape Street and Canal Road, was built at the turn of the last century and was the only textile testing centre of its kind in the country.


It covers four storeys and a basement area and employed hundreds of workers in its heyday as a wool testing centre, established through a special Act of Parliament which was passed in 1887.

Its purpose was to check and control the moisture content of textiles, thus certifying their true weight and length. It was built by city architect FEP Edwards to the designs of F Wild who died in 1901, not long before his plans came to fruition.


The building has been dormant since the late 1980s. Plans for its redevelopment - ranging from flats to a hotel - have been mooted for years and while the building remains derelict there are now moves that all this could change in the future, thanks to new owners Priestley Construction.

As reported in the Telegraph & Argus on Tuesday (above right), the firm has plans for a development of the building featuring around 130 apartments.

Now the vastness and beauty of the fabulous building can be seen thanks to photographer Simon Paul Sugden, who gained permission from the owners to go inside and preserve its still-dramatic presence in pictures.

“It was amazing to see inside and means I have now been in all of Bradford’s mills,” Simon says.

“A lot of the premises is out of bounds because water damage has rotted a lot of the wooden floors and beams. It is dark and dangerous in places, but the areas I went into were wonderful.

“I could imagine the people working there and I captured some remnants of their presence. There was one interesting door where people had scribbled their names which was quite nostalgic.”

“Though most of the windows were boarded up, the areas where light was getting through gave me some really interesting shots. I especially liked the view of the atrium area and could imagine people congregated there during their break time.

“You could still smell oil in the rooms where the machinery was,” he said.