Sunday, 21 July 2013

Changing Bradford hits the headlines!

 It's great to know that we are not the only ones who think Changing Bradford is an exciting and worthwhile project. On Friday 19th July we were delighted to find this excellent feature in the Telegraph and Argus newspaper, written by reporter Emma Clayton. As well as a really well-rounded write-up, the article features a delightful photograph which captures a happy moment in the recent oral history interview with Naveeda Ikram, former Lord Mayor of Bradford. We are grateful to the T&A for helping us to publicise the project to wider audiences.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Exploring Bradford's built heritage

Part of the Changing Bradford aims has been to explore the influence and legacy of south Asian culture on Bradford's buildings and streetscape. Last Friday this was put into action as a group of young participants set off in a mini-bus to photograph some of the key places that have been highlighted by our oral history interviewees. One was the former Marlborough cinema, once famous as one of the earliest venues for Bollywood screenings but now, as seen from the advertising hoarding, a busy bazaar packed with stalls selling fabric and clothing.

The group also took in a visit to Carlisle Business Centre on Carlisle Road which over the years has played a major role in supporting local businesses, social enterprises and charities. The Consortia for Ethnic Minority Organisations (COEMO) is one of over 50 organisations based there!

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Focus on New Focus!

One of the delights of this project has been the involvement of a group of young people from the Impressions Gallery's New Focus group.
New Focus members - with Impressions Gallery's Director, Anne McNeill on right. 
All have an interest in arts, photography, heritage and events management and all have contributed their ideas and energy to the project in different ways. At this week's New Focus meeting, many great suggestions emerged about how to document south Asian culture in Bradford, from photographing iconic places to documenting personal family stories. We look forward to getting it all online. Watch this space!!

New Focus members gather with project manager, Yvonne Deane, and Senior Gallery Co-ordinator, Jennifer Sobol,  in front of a stunning Bollywood poster. The Bollywood exhibition runs at Bradford Gallery 1 until  Sat, 24 Aug 2013.

Oldest Asian restaurant in Bradford? The Karachi!

Another heartfelt story is that of the reknowned “Karachi” restaurant.
Mr. M. Rafaqat (pictured here) remembers how his grandfather originally brought his culinary skills to the UK as a military chef in 1945. Establishing the Karachi in 1962, the Karachi may be the oldest existing Asian restaurant in Bradford - and one of the earliest in the UK. To quote the award winning chef Rick Stein, who is a passionate advocate of Asian cuisine and a great fan of the Karachi, “The food here is uncompromising; it doesn't tailor itself to western tastes.” Long may it continue!!!

Bombay Stores - An enterprising family

The Changing Bradford project has unearthed some fabulous stories. Here is one of the heartwarming from Bradford's most well established Asian businesses.
Sabra is the proud daughter of Abdul and Mariam Kader, founders of Bradford's famous Bombay Stores - "Spreading shopping delights since 1967" is the slogan above the doors. Sabra tells how her dad started life selling sweets in the street as a little boy in Bombay, India, "but he had a dream". Able to read and write, he later made a living helping people fill in visa application, then one day filled in one himself! Arriving by plane in London he was told that Bradford was a good place to go, so he did! Starting by sweeping up in Lister Mills, then working as a bus driver, he and his wife - who had previously been a seamstress, selling fabric from home - combined their skills and energies to set up a small fabric shop in a former fish and chip shop on Great Horton Road. From such small beginnings the Bombay Stores grew until it is now reputed to be the UK's largest Asian department store, attracting customers from far and wide. It is still a family business, with Sabra's brother Saleem playing a key role.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Accessing the archives

One of the project's important partners is the West Yorkshire Archive Services (Bradford) who have a huge collection of material relating to the history of the area from old maps and newspaper cuttings to important documents and photographs.

Archivist Ameena Mughal, who is herself a Bradfordian, has taken a keen interest in the Changing Bradford project from the outset and kindly gave a talk to new recruits at the very first workshop, using material she gathered for her undergraduate dissertation.

Today (Wednesday 3rd July) Ameena and her colleague Anthony were kind enough to host a visit to the Archive's search room so that we could see some of the interesting artefacts relating to South Asian immigration in Bradford. A small number of photographs, posters and newspaper articles were selected by project manager, Yvonne Deane, and New Focus volunteer, Rameez Khawaja, for possible inclusion in the project's forthcoming publication and exhibition. While we were there Ameena also related how her own family had come to Bradford from Pakistan. She recently wrote a fascinating blog post for Leeds Museum Service's Secret Lives of Objects web site about the way that South Asian family jewellery can create a symbolic personal and cultural links between generations.