25 Jul 2008

Architectural Backblog

It's been far too long since I posted anything here so let's do some unfocussed moaning about old buildings.

The local newspaper has noticed the dismal state of Wapping Road School (Historic school being left to rot), which I wrote about on 8th December last year. Apparently the planning impasse that was holding up redevelopment is now almost at an end, but a huge amount of damage has been done, and one can't help wondering how much more intentional damage will be done in the name of redevelopment. Yeah, more flats. Indeed, with the current economic downturn the question is when or whether work will actually start, and how much more deterioration will occur meanwhile.

My attention was originally drawn to the school by a report on the urbex forum 28dayslater. Well, 28dayslater went into a self-imposed sulky freeze for a while, but now it's back - hoorah! - and the brave explorer of Wapping Road School, converse1, has just posted a report on another of my minor obsessions, the Grade II listed chapel in Bowling Cemetery. Shipley43 on flickr passed this way too recently and refers to the 2003 grumble from Bradford Building Preservation Trust about this and three other cemetery chapels. Needless to say, no progress is made, the building is getting worse year by year, set ablaze and torn apart by vandals, with no realistic prospect of being saved.

The hot online mapping news is that Microsoft's Live Search Maps has just rolled out detailed oblique angled aerial photography data (which it strangely calls 'birds eye').  It's quite high resolution and seems to date from 2007.  The official announcement stated Calderdale was the only place to get this in the whole of Britain, but in fact Bradford is also included.  By contrast, Google's coverage is stuck back in 2002 and Microsoft's vertical data, purportedly copyright 2007, is even older than Google's (see, eg, Bolton Woods quarry).  However this is historically quite interesting because 2002 predates the disastrous mass demolition of Forster Square and Broadway.  Compare below to see the extent of the damage.  And now this week we are informed that the current flurry of work on the Forster Square site is just a blip (strangely coincidental with the council elections) and the site will sink back into inactivity until more tenants are signed up.  Pity poor Bradford.