We were going to Saltaire and I had a quick look on Yell.com to see where there were some nearby charity shops. Both my partner and I like going through charity shops as you never know what gems you can unearth and also you're supporting a good cause too. So when Shipley came up as a nearby place that had charity shops, I thought we'd head there first. That was the level of research I had done and had no idea what to expect, which is half the fun of going to different places.
The day we went it was a wet
and miserable day in Manchester, so obviously we hoped by heading to Yorkshire
we would avoid the worst of the weather.
We got on the M60, M62 and made an exit at junction 26 onto the M606. After that we just looked for the signs to
Saltaire. To be honest the Bradford ring
road system is a mystery to me and I’m sure we went the wrong way. However the main thing was that we got to
Shipley in the end, although the weather wasn’t that much better than in Manchester.
We parked in the ASDA car
park and headed into Shipley town centre. The ASDA seemed to be the main draw to the
place and it was packed with Saturday shoppers.
The town itself is not very big
and the shops are compacted into a few streets.
There was an outdoor market in the town square selling the usual market
items. Opposite the outdoor market was Shipley
Indoor Market Hall.
The architects from the 1960s
have a lot of explaining to do in my books and Shipley Market Hall is a prime
example of Brutalist architecture. Whilst
the building provides a function, the aesthetics are somewhat grim with the basic
use of concrete, brick and glass. The
clock tower on top of the market hall dominates the town’s skyline and is a
rather grey cherry on a very dated building. We popped inside to see what we could
find. It was old fashioned and some
businesses seemed to have been here since the place opened. However, if you want cheap tech stuff, there
is a stall in there to meet your needs. The flooring of creamy marble look tiles inset
with shiny bits of glass gave me flashbacks to shopping with my Mum in 1970s Manchester. It always reminds me of old department stores
like Lewis' and Kendal’s, which seemed to have this type of flooring. Now if I was looking for a location for a
film set in the 1960s which needed an indoor market location – this would be
the place, minus the tech stall obviously
We came here for the charity
shops and oh boy do they have charity shops.
I swear there were more charity shops than had been mentioned on Yell. We ping-ponged from charity shop to charity
shop. There was a good line of cheap
books going on and I managed to picked up some Jo Nesbo (Scandi-Noir crime
fiction). However Neil wasn’t having much
luck with the records. If you like brass
band and orchestra records, this is the place for you. Although later we found out in Saltaire why
there was such a shortage of decent records.
As much as I love a charity
shop, in Shipley I discovered there was a real limit to the number of charity
shops one small town can take. I have
never seen as many charity shops in one small radius than in Shipley and it were
a sad sight to see. However you do have
to consider whether it’s worse to have lots of empty shops instead. It’s a real dilemma if you ask me.
The rest of the town was a
mix of cheap shops and high street names, although on a little side street we
did spot some independent shops cropping up.
The health food shop seemed to be doing good trade.
It was lunch time and Neil
gets grumpy when he doesn’t eat so needed to find something. To be honest we struggled to find anything
interesting. The bakeries were not that
exciting and I had a bland sausage roll, which I only ate half of. In the end we decided to go to McNics – a fish
and chip shop with an eating area. Neil
had fish and chips and I decided to have a couple of scallops (the potato in
batter variety). Neil said his fish was
good and I really liked the scallops as they were dry and crispy. Whilst we were eating a strange lady came up to
us and showed us her bag of shopping.
She was talking so fast I couldn’t understand. Thankfully Neil was on hand to
translate. She was very happy to have
bought loads of presents for a few quid from the local shops. Seriously it’s not a hard task to do in
In the end we walked the long
way round to get our car. As a result we
managed to see some of the local houses.
They were large Victorian terraces built from local stone. They looked rather nice and spoke of an age when
Shipley was a booming town off the back of the industrial revolution.
We also walked past the local
leisure centre which had seen better days.
It was closed for refurbishment which I'm sure will help
sort that out.
Shipley looks like a town
that is languishing in the 1970s. The
Shipley Market Hall dominates the streetscape and I thought with the
gentrification of nearby Saltaire, there would have been a ripple effect on
Shipley. However from what I could see
from the town centre that was not really the case, apart on the far edges of
the town. Maybe there are things in Shipley I didn't spot that make it a nice place to live. Maybe it was the weather that put a dampener on our experience, but
I didn’t find Shipley inspiring. I knew
Saltaire would be a different story, but I was genuinely surprised to find
places like Shipley still existed.