Saturday, 15 January 2011

Heritage Trail 13 - Saltaire Roundabout


'At the top of Albert Road....' (which leads off to the right of this photo) be careful of the busy Saltaire roundabout!  This is the junction of the main roads from Bradford to Keighley and from Keighley through Saltaire to Leeds.  It is notorious locally as a very busy junction that frequently gets gridlocked.  I know of several people who will drive miles round to avoid having to negotiate the roundabout.  And sadly it is an accident blackspot - two people have been killed here within the last 6 months, and I noticed again the other day one of the railings gone.  Not surprisingly, much thought and debate has gone into trying to improve it (with various hare-brained proposals, including a tunnel under Saltaire!) and finally it looks as though a plan has been agreed to replace the roundabout with traffic lights.  That won't solve the congestion, but it might make it a bit safer.

The building on the far side, now a bar/restaurant called The Old Tramshed was (you guessed!) the old tram shed. The six bays were built in 1904 for tramcars that used to run from Bradford and later housed Bradford Corporation trolleybuses.  Bradford was one of the last places to have trolleybuses - they ceased running in 1972 (I remember that well, as I was at university here in those days) though I don't know when the last trolleybus to Saltaire ran.  The first tram ran in 1902, according to a wonderful photo I found on Flickr recently.  The film I drew your attention to last week also has, right at the beginning, footage of the trams along with lots of men in flat caps (traditional Yorkshire headgear for the working class man) and bowlers (ditto for white-collar workers).  Gentlemen wore top-hats!

NB: the difference between a tramcar and a trolleybus - trams run on tracks in the road and usually have one pole (pantograph) up to an overhead cable,  trolleybuses run on two overhead cables and no tracks.  The terminology here in UK is a bit different from the US.  Never say you don't learn things reading this blog!

[Photo taken beside telephone box on street plan]

17 comments:

  1. Being one of your bnw series, this one invites you to visualise older cars on the roundabout.

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  2. This roundabout is a nightmare! There are cars coming from too many directions and the slightly off-set position of Moorhead Lane makes it feel weird!

    There were both trams and trolley buses in Derby. Thr trolley bus system survived until 1967. I'm never quite sure whether I actually remember it or whether I remember being told about it.

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  3. We had a bad roundabout near the airport. They put traffic lights on it but didn't help much. Recently they built a flyover the top of it. It works now.
    Trams running along the streets would match the buildings.
    I'm not puffed out today I'm keeping up with the leaders on this tour.

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  4. From the size of the Tramcar it looks as though they were single deck trams, I remember as a boy, the 'double-decker' trams in Sheffield.

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  5. You certainly are doing your bit towards educating the masses, Jenny. I am learning a lot and loving it :) It's like brain gym!

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  6. I already learned a new english word ((new for me!) Roundabout, in french rond-point (round point!)
    and on your picture, it does not seem so dangerous. But I believe you, and hope they will find a solution soon.Two people killed is too much..

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  7. A tunnel under Soltaire? Oh my. I wonder how long that would have taken?! Hopefully a stop light will help.

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  8. Oh Jenny I always learn something new from you! I think I would be one to avoid a busy roundabout too, especially if I had to drive on the opposite side of the road than what I am used to! ~Lili

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  9. I have been to Saltaire only once and loved it-mainly spending time in the lovely Mill. I think I must have gone round that roundabout as we drove from Leeds where my sister lives. I would like to visit again and if I do will now know much more about what I am looking at thanks! And thanks for your visit and comment-I feel better today and have been out in the fresh air which is always good! Have a good weekend!

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  10. Well, no wonder there are so many accidents. They're driving on the wrong side. (Oh, forgot . . . this is the UK.)

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  11. Great series. It really works all done in B+W too.

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  12. We have a few roundabouts in our nearby city. I'm still pretty unaccustomed to them. I remember some in England that were quite scary.

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  13. Wonderful photo! Have you tried the Old Tramshed?

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  14. Im with Lili . Im learning also.
    Beautiful.

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  15. So much great information here to learn about! I must admit that since we don't really have roundabouts here, I'm hopelessly muddled when I find myself in one!

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  16. I appreciate all your comments on this ongoing series. I'm learning too. I had never thought that roundabouts might be a novelty; they are so common round here. But I know about getting muddled. Once in Holland (where they drive on the wrong side as far as I'm concerned!) I once surpised a Dutchman on a bike by gently crashing into him on my bike, a victim of paralysing indecision! And compounded the felony by apologising 'I'm terribly sorry, I'm English' as though that explained things!

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