Wednesday, 5 September 2012
An amazing Waterstone's
Another of Bradford's hidden treasures is its branch of Waterstone's, the booksellers. At eye level it looks fairly much like any other bookshop, same shelves, same titles - but lift your eyes up from the reading material and gasp in amazement! The shop is creatively housed in the incredible Victorian building that was Bradford's Wool Exchange - the place where the wealthy merchants (presumably including Sir Titus Salt) gathered to buy and sell wool, to gossip and to network. Built between 1864-67 (around the time that the construction of Saltaire was completed) it was designed by the same architects, Lockwood and Mawson, in Venetian Gothic style. Wool was last traded there in the 1960s. It was Grade 1 listed in 1963 and its fine hammer-beam roof is a particular feature. (See here for more detail about its architecture.)
The building has been improved in recent years, I would say, by the insertion of a wall of plate glass on one side that lightens the interior and makes it possible to appreciate the detailing. There is a Starbucks coffee shop high up on a mezzanine floor and sitting up there you get a fine view of the whole room.