T&A Camera Club photographer on the roof of Wardley House


THESE striking panoramic images of Bradford city center were captured by Telegraph & Argus Camera Club member Simon Sugden, who shot them from the roof of the Wardley House building.

Simon had exclusive access to the property – the tallest building in Bradford town center – and had the photos taken in one evening.

He also took photos inside the iconic building, as part of a documentation commission for real estate company Alfa House. The company owns and manages the building, which houses the Bradford Ice Arena, student accommodation and the archives of the National Science and Media Museum.

Simon says: “I took the photos with my ultra-wide-angle lens from the roof. I was asked to take photos overlooking Bradford one evening, to get some nice long exposure images and some footage of the Alhambra and the city park and adjacent buildings.

Simon, from Riddlesden, bought his first DSLR camera from a friend 12 years ago and taught himself how to use it.

Passionate about architecture, he has documented a range of buildings and other places across the UK.

He has spent 10 years photographing former properties including Bradford area landmarks such as the old funfair at Shipley Glen Tramway, a Masonic Lodge in Manningham, Drummonds Mill, the Richard Dunn Sports Centre, the Great Hall Ballroom at the old High Royds Hospital. in Menston and an ornate war memorial at St Mary’s Church in Barkerend. Bradford Council gave him access to buildings that are usually closed to the public.

Mesmerizing and eerie, bathed in warm light and vivid color, these images appeared in Simon Derelict’s book Britain: Beauty in Decay, published in 2020. The collection of photographs shed light on once thriving sites of industry and leisure , now recovered by nature and the elements.

During the pandemic, Simon teamed up with videographer Lewis Hackett to create a short film of his footage, 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 hangouts and using animation to drain the water from the once-popular pool at the Richard Dunn Centre, was made with a grant from the Bradford Council Arts and Culture Covid Response Fund; support local artists and promote creativity in confinement.

Simon’s photographic work began in 2015 when he won an award in the National Science and Media Museum’s Inspired By Light photography competition with his atmospheric image of a junkyard. “It got me noticed and I started putting pictures in magazines, newspapers and on album covers,” he says.

His panoramic images of Bradford town centre, featured in these pages, are part of a commission to document the Wardley House building now and as it evolves through a future development project.

An Alfa House spokesperson said Simon’s photographs were planned 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 become UK City of Culture 2025.

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

Part of parent company Group Alfa, the company 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 countryside in a very visual way on this building which occupies 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 emphasize that the nomination will impact every part of the district.

“I think so often when people think of Bradford they only think of the city center – 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 of the neighborhood which really brings out its scale and beauty.

“I have plans for further investment in Bradford. I believe the city has enormous potential. The area deserves to be enjoyed and celebrated, and the title of UK City of Culture would enable us to do that.

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

“This, along with other major developments like Bradford Live, One City Park and the New Market, is further proof that the tide is turning in Bradford. Culture acts as an investment driver and the campaign to win the city of culture could take this to a whole new level.


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