A rock band on the Altar

Place explored through a personal selection of the lives, novels, art, architecture, poetry and history inspired by England's industrial era.​

I must have passed St Clements on Barkerend Road in Bradford a thousand times and always blanked the grimy sandstone building. How wrong I’d been. John said he would take me on a mystery tour and there would be a surprise in store. I was a little disappointed with the cold walk up from the cathedral under gloomy skies. We barely heard each other above the roaring engines and whooshing of tyres along the wet surface of Barkerend Road. Then, without ceremony, John stopped and turned to look across at the austere building with its strange turreted clock tower. We pushed on the heavy wooden door to be welcomed inside by Judy, ‘don’t know much about art, don’t ask.’ She loved this building – had her fiftieth last weekend, bar in the community room, rock band on the alter ‘almost called it a stage…’ There was a constant stream of locals dropping in for a chat among the volunteers sorting clothes for the asylum seeker drop in. Anita greeted us with a cheery ‘don’t know much about art – don’t ask’. Anita and Judy knew more than they were letting on, wary they may be in the presence of Pre-Raphaelite experts – we weren’t, just two ageing bald blokes surprised and stunned by such beauty. How does it go again…you can’t tell a book by its cover?


Beryl Bainbridge Bradford Castleford CLR James Comedian Ian Smith Cultural Geography Ellen Wilkinson England is Rich Featherstone George Orwell Gerard Benson Get Carter Goole Halifax Harry Hopkins Huddersfield Iain Nairn Isle of Axholme Jack Common JB Priestley Kellingley Kevin Boniface Killingworth Manuscript in a Red Box Minty Alley Morning in the City Nelson Newbiggin-By-The-Sea Newcastle Normanton Pontefract Pre-Raphaelite Psychogeography Robert Westall Rotherham Sean O'Brien Selby Social History Southwold Stuart Maconie Ted Lewis The Division Bell Mystery The Rocket Tom Puddings Vermuyden

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