Part of the attraction of travelling is being far away from where you live, but sometimes we forget to explore the things on our doorstep.
After living in Yorkshire for more than twenty years, it has only been in the last couple of years that I’ve started to love living in Yorkshire. Before that, I thought London was the epicentre of the universe and the only place I belonged. Now I’m open to call anywhere my home and to contradict my former self – I think Yorkshire is a beautiful place to reside.
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes - Proust.
A part of appreciating what’s on your doorstep is looking at it with new eyes; learn its history, unearth the beaten path, and look for its quirky features. Take for example my humble abode – Bradford, hailed Britain’s fattest city on numerous occasions, it has a prevalent cultural divide between White and Asian cultures, and in terms of the city’s aesthetic qualities, many of the buildings appear black as a result from Britain’s industrial revolution.
Although black isn’t usually the colour of success, for Bradford this was a time when the city thrived as an international city in the Industrial Age, far more than Leeds which is now considered the ‘Knightsbridge of the north’. Walking through the centre of Bradford and looking at many of its architecturally rich yet unkempt buildings is therefore not without its charm when placed in a sociohistorical context. Furthermore, with a little imagination you can be bought back in time when its economy flourished from its textile industry. Imagination being the key word there.
Bradford is like Socrates – Not too easy on the eye, but a source of endless history (I’m sure a better analogy could be made, but you get the gist!).
Did you know?
1. Bradford is the first UNESCO City of Film, beating Los Angeles, Cannes and Venice in 2009. Its reputation is confirmed by several cultural rich institutions including the National Media Museum, the Alhambra theatre, Bradford film festival, the invention of the Cieroscope, and notable names such as Slumdog Millionaire screenwriter Simon Beaufoy hails from the city.
2. Bradford is home to the world famous artist David Hockney. I’m sure he doesn’t need any introduction, but in case he’s somehow not on your radar, his work can be seen in many international galleries including the London’s Tate Modern, to the lesser known Salts Mills in Saltaire, Bradford. Amusingly, when Hockney was first asked to paint The Queen he declined on the basis that he was too busy painting her country!
3. In 2011 Bradford was named the UK’s Curry Capital, and it’s about time, because for decades people have been enjoying an aroma of authentic, curry dishes available on any major street (and residential!). My favourite place based solely on the food is Karachi – one meal in there and you’ll become a regular patron.
In a society where we are constantly looking into the future for something new, Bradford is an exception where looking into the past is to find something new. All you need to do is look up to discover the opulence that Bradford once had.
What stories does your home town have?