Forster Square

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Mural at the temporary Urban Garden

Forster Square, Bradford was a square in central Bradford that disappeared in the current (2006) Broadway development, but gives its name to Bradford Forster Square railway station and a retail park.

History[edit]

Forster Square was built in the late 19th century at the bottom of Kirkgate, and named after the 19th century politician William Edward Forster. Until 1958, it was a spacious city square, triangular in shape, with public gardens and a statue of Forster in the centre; it was also a busy hub for bus and tram services.

Forster Square railway station fronted partly onto the square from 1924 until 1990, when the current small station of that name (originally intended to be temporary) was opened 300 metres (1,000 ft) to the north. The former station was then demolished.

Building work began again in January 2014, beginning by demolishing the temporary urban park which had occupied part of the site since 2010.

In the 1950s and 1960s, much of central Bradford was redeveloped to the design of Stanley Wardley. This included a new main road, Petergate, linking a completely remodelled Forster Square to Leeds Road at Eastbrook Well roundabout. Part of the gardens remained as a walled enclave in a busy traffic roundabout, accessible to pedestrians only by underpasses. Two large modern buildings were built on the west side: Central House and Forster House, a John Poulson design. Apart from the railway station (see above), the only building fronting the square that survived that redevelopment was St Peter's House, which was for a long time the central post office for Bradford.

On 18 March 2004, work began on clearing the site of Forster Square for new development as part of the Broadway project. Forster House was demolished in order to make room for the new development. A new road (Lower Kirkgate) was built linking the junction of Kirkgate and Cheapside with the junction of Canal Road and Bolton Road. There is no longer a through route from the north (Canal Road or Manor Row) to Leeds Road since then.

In late 2006, the site was empty and flat except for a large pile of rubble in one part of the site. For the first time for many years, St Peter's House and Bradford Cathedral behind it are visible from the centre of the city.

Construction work on the Broadway project was expected to be completed in 2007. Developers Westfield said that work would not commence until tenants were found.[1]

Archaeological discoveries[edit]

Since the demolition, archaeologists have had a chance to excavate the area between Forster Square and Cheapside. They have found traces of what were most probably 16th-century buildings. [2]. Smaller finds have also been found such as coins, pottery and clay tobacco pipes, a bone spoon and a bone toothbrush.

Andrea Burgess, senior archaeologist at West Yorkshire Archaeology Advisory Service, said:

She also hoped that the findings would reveal more about life in Bradford during the English Civil War:

.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Firth, Gary (1997). A History of Bradford. The History Press Ltd. ISBN 1-86077-057-6. 

External links[edit]