Thursday, 2 October 2014
I can't believe I haven't actually shown a picture of this building before, though I have mentioned it once or twice. It's the former headquarters of the Bradford & Bingley Building Society (later Bank) right in the centre of the small market town of Bingley. At one time it employed huge numbers of people. This mid-1970s concrete Brutalist building, designed by John Brunton, was famously called 'a carbuncle' by Prince Charles and it is fair to say that most local people hate it. It has been nicknamed 'the Ziggurat' and 'The Hanging Gardens of Babylon'. It does tower over the town in a rather forbidding fashion. It has been bought by Sainsburys, who have planning permission to demolish it (and build, I gather, an equally uninspiring 'superstore' in its place.) But they seem to be dragging their feet and various excuses are trotted out (Pipistrelle bats hibernating..) The last I read, demolition work was scheduled to begin in July, but at the beginning of October there seems no sign of anything happening. Its bulk contrasts rather pointedly with the delicate ironwork of Myrtle Park's bandstand. Actually, I think the rear view is its 'best side'.
One of the young boys cheekily 'photobombed' my picture and made me laugh. He then asked me why I was taking a picture of the building, which I thought was a perceptive question for a young kid. So I explained that although it doesn't look very pretty, it is an icon of its time and I wanted a picture before it gets knocked down.