Explore Bradford: Silver Street, southern side

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The Lamb FactoryThe Lamb Factory, beside the Town Bridge, was built in 1917 for the Spencer Moulton rubber company on the site of the old Lamb Inn and a small shop. It is faced with stone, but has a frame utilising an early system of reinforced concrete. It was converted to new uses, including a small Budgens (now Co-op) supermarket, housing and a restaurant.

More about the Lamb Building

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New Mill and Lamb YardNew Mills lie behind the shops of Silver Street, facing what has become Lamb Yard. They were built as woollen cloth mills in the 19th century and were later taken over for use by the Spencer Moulton rubber company. It was known as the “Black Hole” because rubber was mixed there, involving large quantities of powdered carbon. It has now been converted into retail, office and residential uses.

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36, 37 Silver StreetThe pair of narrow three-storey buildings, 36 and 37. Number 36 was for much of the 19th century a draper’s shop and is remembered more recently as a pet shop. A succession of butchers occupied 37 from 1867 until the Co-op butchery department closed in 1988. Before that it may briefly been the Queen Victoria pub.

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33 Silver StreetWhat was a magnificent Georgian house with giant ionic pilasters and Gibbs-style window surrounds, Number 33, was sadly mutilated in 1931 by the insertion of big plate glass windows by Bradford’s Co-operative Society. From the beginning of the 19th century until 1899 it was the grocer shop of James Budgett and his successors. For the first three decades of the 20th century it was the shop of the Edwards family, pork butchers. It is now home to ethical companies Christine’s and One Caring World (and until recently Bishopston Trading) and the surviving part of the front has been beautifully restored.

32 Silver StreetNumber 32 was presumably originally a Georgian house, but, facing on to the old Market Place, it has been a shop from at least the middle of the 19th century, notably Keziah Rogers, who was a fruiterer, greengrocer and seedsman. In the 20th century it was Frisby’s shoe shop and then a succession of confectioners: The Chocolate Box, Cornerstones and the Spice Cupboard. It has been a kitchen shop and then travel agent.

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29 Silver StreetOn the corner of Kingston Road (previously Mill Street) is number 29, the building that formerly, until 1986, contained the Christopher chemist shop that is now in the Museum. It became a dealer in antique office furniture and is now Davies & Davies, estate agents.

> The Christopher chemist shop

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J. Alex Brown hardware shopOn the other side of the Kingston Road junction is a shop that was started as an ironmonger by John Brown in 1853 and continued under his son John Alexander Brown. It is still called J. Alex Brown, although passing through several different ownerships. The left side has been the Neston Park Farm Shop and before that an award-winning cheese shop. The glass and cast-iron fronted building next door was built as an extension to Brown’s.

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28 Silver StreetNumber 28 was the office of printer John S. Day in the 1860s, George Farrington in 1881, followed by the printing firm of Dotesio and Todd at the end of the century. The painted sign “Printing Office” is preserved on the wall between the first and second floors. More recently it has been successively a television rental, antiques and stone tile shop and is now Kingston’s estate agents.

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The Old Bear, Silver StreetThe Old Bear Inn was listed as a pub in 1726, but the present front dates from a rebuilding in the early 1880s, when a bottleneck in this part of Silver Street was widened by the then Town Improvement Commission. The Chinese takeaway next door was also rebuilt; it was formerly the shoe shop of A.C. Dodge (taken over by Uncles of Market Street about 1950).

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Taylors' wine merchantsThe Ale and Porter was erected in 1884 as a store for the nearby brewing company of George & Thomas Spencer. Most local people know it as The Armoury, because it once served as the headquarters and armoury of the army volunteer force. Subsequently it became a store for the Avon rubber company’s publicity department and more recently, after refurbishment, a short-lived art gallery and then Sebastien’s café  (moved to the Lamb building) and now Melanie Giles beauty salon.

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Taylors' wine merchantsNumber 24, The Vaults, was built in the early 1880s as the shop and store of Thomas & Emanuel Taylor, wine merchants, who expanded from what is now the Bunch of Grapes, across the road. It was part of the widening of this section of Silver Street. More recently it was the shop and yard of Bowyers’, builders and builders’ merchants and then occupied by an antique shop, followed by a wedding shop.

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The Old HouseThe last house on this side is called The Old House. It was briefly the New Inn in the early 18th century and was given a new Georgian façade later in the century. It has a five-bay, two-storey and attic  frontage on to the street, with elaborate ironwork railings up to the door. On the left Mill Lane leads down to Kingston Road. Another member of the Taylor family, Edward,  had a rope, twine and canvas business here and the Ropewalk, Newtown.

On the right side is a narrow house with a gable front and the date 1718, which is very late for this style.

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