This week sees the start of the demolition of the main part of the old Bradford & Bingley building in the centre of Bingley, a building which I suspect that few people will be sorry to see go.
Designed by the John Brunton Partnership it was built between 1972 and 1974. An interesting article regarding the building can be found at http://www.c20society.org.uk/botm/bradford-bingley-building-society-bingley/. As the article says, at the time it was built “the height and scale of the building was complementary to the many woollen textile mills in Bingley” (though nearly all of the textile mills have now gone and I expect the word “complimentary” was pushing it a bit) which may go some way to excusing whoever gave the go-ahead for the planning permission but I bet the majority of Bingley residents over the last 40 years would say that it was a mistake.
Apparently the design was inspired by the nearby Five Rise Locks which is a true marvel of civil engineering. John Brunton’s built the equally horrendous Highpoint building in the centre of Bradford for Yorkshire Building Society, one of my first blog posts was about this building and can be found here.
A video showing the start of the demolition of the main building can be found on the Telegraph & Argus website – http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/11801740.VIDEO__Demolition_of_iconic_Bradford___Bingley_HQ_steps_up_a_gear_as_landmark_disappears_piece_by_piece/.
The recession saw the end of Bradford & Bingley and so this building has stood empty right in the centre of Bingley ever since. It was bought by Sainsburys with the intention of building a town centre supermarket but, as seems to happen all too often, the supermarket was delayed and then cancelled. Once the building has gone who knows what will be built in its place and who knows when. Hopefully Bingley won’t suffer the same fate as Bradford which, after some major demolition, had a huge hole at its centre for many years.
I have to admit that I am fascinated with these ugly buildings which seemed to be all the fashion in the 1960s and 1970s and so at the end of December I thought I had better go and take some photographs before the building was torn down. All the photos above were taken with my Nikon D80 and all the photos below were taken using my Nikon FE using Kodak Tri-X and developed in Rodinal.
The contrast between the digital photos and the film photos is quite obvious and, to my eye at least, the film photos have more character. They suit a 1970s building quite well and have that “gritty” feeling.
So goodbye and good riddance to a building which has dominated the town of Bingley for decades. Let’s hope that whatever is built in its place is more appropriate.
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