CARS come and go along the cobbled street, stopping at traffic lights on a corner, while dozens of people go about their business.

The Savoy cinema sits to the left, opposite Kirkgate Market and Central Library.

Familiar to Bradfordians through its sloping aspect, this image of Darley Street from bygone days is fascinating. Decades before pedestrianisation, it’s a bustling artery across the city centre.

Interesting too, are the fashions of the day - which looks to be the early to mid-1930s - with almost everyone wearing a hat, be it a trilby, flat cap or fashionable women’s headwear.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Looking back at Darley StreetLooking back at Darley Street

The evocative picture is one of an extensive selection contained in Old Bradford, a new book by Yorkshire historian and author Paul Chrystal. The image sits among others in a chapter devoted to cinemas and theatres in the city.

The Savoy, the Empire, the Gaumont, the Ritz, the Alhambra, the Odeon and St George’s Hall are among those whose history is explained, alongside interesting facts.

‘Initially the Ritz did not screen X-certificate adult-only films but in 1962, as a result of a circuit decision, the policy was reversed’ writes Paul. From then on X-films including A Streetcar Named Desire (Warner 1951, brutal rape), The Big Heat (Columbia 1953, screen violence - coffee in the face) and House of Wax in 3D (Warner 1953, fire horror), were shown.

Other chapters in the book include pubs, parks, buildings and people.

There’s an evocative image of licensee Harry Hanson with his wife and children, outside Spring Row Tavern at 4 Spring Row, White Abbey Road, in around 1910.

‘This pub was notorious for the bare knuckle fighting and boxing held on the premises,’ writes Paul.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Harry Hanson with his family at Spring Row TavernHarry Hanson with his family at Spring Row Tavern

Dick Hudsons, on the old packhorse route between Bingley and Ilkley, is pictured with a healthy crowd outside, in a not-too dissimilar scene from today, when it continues to serve weary walkers.

The book gives a potted history of buildings within the city, telling of their construction, popularity and eventual demise. Built in 1915, the Open Air Lido in Manningham Park, or Lister Park as it tends to be known, was the place to go on summer days, as a photograph of men and women clustered around the driving boards and water slide, shows. The lido closed in 1983 and was demolished in 1991.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Manningham Park, or Lister Park, LidoManningham Park, or Lister Park, Lido

Another early view of Manningham Park shows crowds relaxing on deck chairs around the bandstand, the men in suits and straw boaters, the women in long dresses and bonnets.

Bradford’s centrepiece City Hall, Bradford Mechanics’ Institute and the ‘truly beautiful’ Bradford Grand Mosque feature among stories of buildings and how they came to be.

This almost-A4-size paperback is easy to dip in and out of - perfect for dark winter afternoons in your armchair.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The Ritz in the 1950sThe Ritz in the 1950s

The chapter ‘Bad Bradford days’ looks at tragic events that have befallen the city including the impact of war. On August 31, 1940, 120 high explosive bombs fell.

A number of shops and the Kirkgate Chapel were hit, and 100 people injured. Incredibly, just one person died.

There were, as Paul describes, ‘some close shaves: fortunately the auditorium in the Odeon cinema had just cleared when a bomb came through the roof and landed in the stalls. Another bomb, in Tyrrel Street just missed people waiting for a tram.’

The horrific explosion at Low Moor Munitions Company in August 1916 is described in detail. ‘It was heard as far away as York, some 40 miles distant.’

The factory was manufacturing picric acid to be used as an explosive for the First World War effort and was well alight when Bradford Fire Brigade arrived.

Writes Paul: ‘When the first of the Bradford firemen arrived from Odsal station, a huge explosion blew them completely off the engine and, in the words of Chief Officer Scott: “Within half an hour of turning out to the fire, all 18 men were in the infirmary or killed.”’

Other ‘bad days’ featured in the well-researched book include the infamous Bradford sweets poisoning case of 1858 - the accidental inclusion of arsenic in the ingredients of sweets sold at a market stall that led to the deaths of 20 people and more than 200 becoming seriously ill.

To temper the bad, there's 'Bradford celebrates', looking at how the district marked key events such as royal visits, the City of Bradford Exhibition in 1904, and philanthropic acts.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The Boar's Head, centre, in the 1960sThe Boar's Head, centre, in the 1960s

A chapter on Bradford’s people, features the likes of composer Frederick Delius, author JB Priestley and artist David Hockney.

Though born in nearby Leeds, Isabella Ormston Ford, social reformer, suffragist, socialist propagandist and writer is remembered, having carried out significant work in Bradford, working for women’s and workers’ rights among mill girls.

Paul writes of local women’s football teams, their success and popularity before the Football Association banned the sport to women in 1921.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Manningham Mill Ladies' Football TeamManningham Mill Ladies' Football Team

Just months before the ban - which remained in place for 50 years - Bradford’s Lister Ladies played Preston-based Dick, Kerr Ladies - one of England’s earliest women’s teams. The match drew a crowd of around 12,000.

The book includes pictures of the talented local teams relegated to the sidelines.

*Old Bradford by Paul Chrystal is published by Stenlake Publishing and costs £21.95;