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]