THESE striking panoramic images of Bradford city centre have been captured by Telegraph & Argus Camera Club member Simon Sugden, who took them from the roof of the Wardley House building.

Simon was given exclusive access to the property - the largest building in Bradford city centre - and took the photographs over one evening.

He also took photographs inside the landmark building, as part of a commission to document it for property company Alfa House. The company owns and manages the building, which houses Bradford Ice Arena, student accommodation and the National Science and Media Museum archives.

Says Simon: “I took the photographs with my ultra wide lens from the roof. I was asked to get some shots overlooking Bradford on an evening, to get some nice long exposure images and a few images of Alhambra and City Park and adjoining buildings.”

Simon, of Riddlesden, bought his first digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera 12 years ago from a friend and taught himself to use it.

With a passion for architecture, he has documented a range of buildings and other locations across the UK.

He spent 10 years taking photographs of old properties, including landmarks in the Bradford district such as the former funfair at Shipley Glen Tramway, a masonic lodge in Manningham, Drummonds Mill, the Richard Dunn Sports Centre, the grand ballroom at the former High Royds hospital in Menston and an ornate war memorial at St Mary’s Church in Barkerend. He was given access by Bradford Council to buildings usually closed to the public.

Haunting and eerie, bathed in warm light and vivid colours, these images appeared in Simon’s book Derelict Britain: Beauty in Decay, published in 2020. The collection of photographs highlighted once thriving sites of industry and leisure, now re-claimed by nature and the elements.

During the pandemic Simon teamed up with videographer Lewis Hackett to create a short film of his images, set to a haunting soundtrack by musician Dean McPhee. The powerful film, taking viewers on a journey through long abandoned corridors, staircases, weaving rooms, attics and basements of Bradford’s mills and meeting places and using animation to drain water from the once popular swimming pool at the Richard Dunn Centre, was made with a grant from Bradford Council’s arts and culture Covid Response fund; supporting local artists and promoting creativity in lockdown.

Simon’s photographic work first took off in 2015 when he won an award from the National Science and Media Museum’s Inspired By Light photography competition with his atmospheric image of a scrapyard. “That got me noticed, and I started to get images into magazines, newspapers and on album covers,” he says.

His panoramic images of Bradford city centre, showcased on these pages, are part of a commission to document the Wardley House building now and as it changes over a future development project.

A spokesman for Alfa House said there were plans for Simon’s photographs to feature in an exhibition in the building.

Last month the T&A reported that Wardley House had been lit up in support of Bradford’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2025.

An installation featuring huge LED panels running the length of the building depicts the Bradford 2025 logo alongside a winter scene of district landmarks such as Salts Mill and City Hall. It was commissioned by Firas Al Fadhili, chairman of Alfa House.

Part of parent company Group Alfa, the business is one of the latest Founding Partners to join the district’s UK City of Culture 2025 campaign.

Firas said: “We wanted to create something really striking to raise the profile of the campaign in a very visual way on this building which has a prominent position in the city. We designed the artwork to feature well-known landmarks from across the district as I think it’s important to make the point that the bid will impact every part of the district.

“I think so often when people think of Bradford, they only think of the city centre - when it’s the communities everywhere, from Shipley and Keighley to Ilkley and Bingley, that make its offering so diverse. From the roof of the building we have an amazing view across the district which really brings home its scale and beauty.

“I have plans for further investments in Bradford. I believe the city has huge potential. The district deserves to be appreciated and celebrated, and the UK City of Culture title would enable us to do just that.”

Yaseen Mohammed, owner of Bradford-based development and regeneration consultancy Y Property Ltd, who works with Alfa House, added: “There’s no doubt the City of Culture title would have a huge economic impact on the district, but I think it’s also important to highlight that there has been a real shift in recent years of entrepreneurs like Firas seeing its potential and making long-term financial investments here.

“This, alongside other major capital developments like Bradford Live, One City Park and the new market are further proof that the tide is turning in Bradford. Culture is acting as a driver for investment and the campaign to win City of Culture could elevate this to a whole new level.”