I recently read a Blog called Fancy a Cuppa written by a visitor to Bradford Cathedral and surrounding area. They mentioned calling at two café for drinks, which started my reminiscing again about my childhood experiences in Bradford. I had written a Blog in April about the Odeon/Gaumont building situation and continued with my research into this once beautiful city.
Previously during the early 1900’s, Bradford was classed as the wealthiest city in the UK and one of the wealthiest in Europe. It hosted a great variety of places to visit, shop and be entertained. As one of the great manufacturing centres producing woollen cloth, to mention only one industry, Bradford had the highest square footage of quality shops of any city outside of London. (Unfortunately, the opposite is now true).
[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="324"] Darley Street, Bradford c1950 © Francis Frith[/caption]
In the 1950’s Bradford had a phenomenal amount of cafes, which my mother insisted we should visit on each shopping expedition. I, of course, made no objections to this experience which was very pleasurable and I do believe developed my social graces and appetite for good food at an early age.
These establishments stay fondly in my memories and Betty’s Café, a family business created by a young orphan from Switzerland, still exists today, though unfortunately not in Bradford, is vivid still for its Viennese slices and milk shakes. Another café, also an icon in Blackpool, was Collinsons café; I can still smell the delicious aroma of ground coffee as you passed the shop on the ground floor. Inside, behind the counter were the enormous red and gold coffee grinders and irresistible confectionery in glass cabinets. To reach the café on the first floor there was a lift with folding wrought iron doors or an elegant staircase. The large room with sparkling white table cloths was elegance itself and had a small, raised platform for a grand piano, cello and other string quartet instruments for our entertainment. A truly amazing experience for a young, impressionable child, who still has such inspiring memories.
Bradford also had many department stores, all of which hosted a café and restaurants, which were on our shopping itinerary, the main ones being Brown Muffs, Busby’s and the extremely sophisticated London store, Marshal & Snelgrove, which apparently inspired Barbara Taylor-Bradford to write her award-winning novel “A Woman Of Substance”