I really enjoy 'being a tourist' in my own area, exploring with my camera and getting the feel of a place. Although I lived on the Thornton side of Bradford for a few years, Thornton village is somewhere that I have only ever driven through on the main road. So it was fun to have a good old poke around. I ended up with mixed feelings about the place. It has a lot of history. Some of the buildings are clearly very old and you can see, with close observation, how newer ones sprang up and gradually filled in the spaces (and continue to do so).
This photo shows quite clearly how an old (18th century?) stone-mullioned window and a doorway are now almost buried beneath the road surface, which must have been laid much later, but is itself probably mid-19th century.
One of my main impressions was of how this ad-hoc development has left the village with no real centre and with a maze of little winding alleys (ginnels, in local terminology) and streets. You can quickly get lost! It's quite a contrast to the carefully planned layout of Saltaire, though many of the buildings date from around the same time. In general it isn't a wealthy area and it has to be said that some of it would look better for a bit of sprucing up. Somehow in these cool northern climes, decay looks simply grimy and (to me anyway) lacks the charm of those narrow old streets you find in, for example, Mediterranean areas. (See here for one that Malyss recently featured.) Or maybe I'm just not enough of a 'tourist' in my own patch.
This is the Thornton Challenge, Day Three - in which Alan Burnett and I agreed to explore the same village at different times and from our own perspective and then share what we each 'saw'. For Alan's eye view, please go to his blog NEWS FROM NOWHERE.