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Bradford Cathedral Buildings

Heritage Works is leading a partnership of organisations seeking to regenerate the Cathedral Corner site in Bradford city centre. In May 2011 the Trust completed an options appraisal study for the semi-derelict Clergy House building, the adjacent Cathedral Halls and a small parcel of land to the rear, owned by Bradford Council. Clergy House is grade 2 listed and on Bradford's heritage at risk register and Cathedral Halls is identified as an 'unlisted building of significance'.

As a result of the options study and consultation process, Heritage Works is now developing a delivery plan for the project, which will see the Clergy House and Cathedral Halls transformed into a healthy living and wellbeing centre. The buildings will become the headquarters of Mind in Bradford, and provide accommodation for the Guide-Line telephone service, a mental health drop-in centre and a wide range of arts, crafts, outreach, therapy and studio activities. In parallel, Bradford Council is to develop five new houses on the land beside Clergy House, to provide complementary supported homes.

The Study

The May 2011 options appraisal study provided a condition survey of Clergy House and Cathedral Halls, assessed the cost of required repairs and explored a number of potenital end uses. It was funded by Bradford Cathedral, Bradford Council and the Architectural Heritage Fund.

Calls Architecture led the design team with Jones Kingswell structural engineers and Turner & Holman quantity surveyors. The Cathedral's architect, Ulrike Knox of Knox McConnell and Jane Tarver, voluntary amateur historian, will undertake research into the history and significance of the site as part of the team. Mark Brearley & Company will provide market and valuation advice.

Heritage Works worked closely with the Dean, staff and congregation of Bradford Cathedral to find uses for the buildings that support the Cathedral's mission. The study also involved Bradford Council officers, who assisted in consultation with neighbouring businesses and housing associations.

The study idenitified office and community uses as being most appropriate for the buildings, although financial viability is an issue. Consultation with the community and voluntary sector led to the identification of Mind in Bradford, a charity with an established revenue stream, looking for a new home. They have a strong vision for the site as a healthy living and wellbeing centre.

Download Executive Summary of the study [pdf 1.13Mb]

The Building

Clergy House is situated immediately to the East of the East end of Bradford Cathedral, across Stott Hill - a side road which is currently very busy with 'rat-running' traffic on account of the City Centre one-way system. Adjacent to Clergy House is Cathedral Halls, built shortly after the Diocese of Bradford was formed in order to provide office accommodation and meeting rooms for the 'new' Bradford Cathedral. The third building on this frontage is the former St Mary's Roman Catholic Primary School which has recently been refurbished by Christians Against Poverty.

Clergy House was built in the late 18th Century as Church Hill House. In the 1830s it was inhabited by the surgeon Edwin Casson and it continued to be home to a succession of Doctors until it was acquired by the Diocese of Bradford around 1910, primarily to provide the site for Cathedral Hall. It afforded useful residential accommodation for Cathedral staff, visitors and 'needy' tenants until 2004, when the building was declared unfit for habitation. Around the same time, the Cathedral Hall became vacant. The Hall had been tenanted by a further education college since the 1980s, the Cathedral having consolidated its administrative functions within the west wing of the Cathedral itself. Although Cathedral Halls continued to be used for meetings and community purposes, with very occasional short-term lettings to artists and the like, by 2009 it was apparent that a new long-term solution was required. (Part of the building is currently leased to Brathay, a charity working with children, young people and families.)

The deteriorating historic buildings immediately outside the Cathedral Precinct has been of concern to the Cathedral and to Bradford Council for several years. Over the last two years or so, the Dean, the Very Reverend Dr David Ison, has instigated a number of meetings with Council officers. The Council has recognised that Clergy House is an eyesore that mars one of the gateways into the City and yet values its potential contribution to the townscape as a rare Georgian survivor in what is now an architecturally eclectic part of the City. The Cathedral needs to find the means to fund its repair and secure a sustainable end use.

By including the two historic buildings and the area of adjacent land there is the opportunity for a 'critical mass of development', which could increase the viability of Clergy House and the regenerative potential of the whole corner site.


Clergy House, Bradford
Clergy House, Bradford

Clergy House interior, Bradford
Clergy House interior

Cathedral Halls, Bradford
Cathedral Halls

Cathedral Halls interior, Bradford
Cathedral Halls interior

Clergy House, Bradford
Clergy House, Bradford with Cathedral Halls on the left

Clergy House, Bradford - view of adjacent site
Clergy House, Bradford - view of adjacent site

Supporting butress, Clergy House, Bradford

This supporting buttress has been in place for 50 years.

Rear of Clergy House

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