Roberts Park

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Roberts Park
Address Higher Coach Road
Postcode BD17
Built 1871
Built by William Gay for Titus Salt
Refurbished 2010
Designation UNESCO World Heritage Site with several listed buildings.
Photo
RobertsParkSept2010.jpg
Location
Google Maps Link


Roberts Park is in Baildon and in December 2001 UNESCO designated Saltaire including Roberts Park as a World Heritage Site. Over a number of years the park had become run down but using Lottery funding it was restored, with the work starting in 2009. Most of the work was completed in 2010 but the installation of 2 large urns was done in 2016 and two cannons in 2017.

The park was designed and laid out for Titus Salt by William Gay and was opened on 25 July 1871. It was given to the people of Bradford by James Roberts the manager of Salts Mill in 1920.

Roberts Park

This is a photo of the stone next to the lodge of the park at the east entrance that reads:-

Roberts Park
Presented to
the city of Bradford
by
Sir James Roberts Bart JP
and
Lady Roberts
as a 
Memorial to their late son
Bertram Foster Roberts
January 1920

Building Refit & Heritage Listings

The buildings within Roberts Park are listed as is Roberts Park.

The listing for Roberts Park can be seen here

Lodge at East Entry to Park

The listing for this can be seen here

Lodge in Scaffolding. 2009

This photo shows the Lodge at the entrance to Roberts Park clad in scaffolding during its refit. Taken May 2009.

Lodge Interior

Inside one of the rooms of Roberts Park Lodge during refit 2010.

Statue of Sir Titus Salt

The listing for this can be seen here

Tea Room, Balustrade and flanking steps

The listing for this can be seen here

The tea room is called the Half Moon Cafe.

Halfmoon Refit 2010

This photo is of the interior of the Half Moon Cafe during the refit in 2010.

Half Moon Cafe Tile Detail

During the refit of the Half Moon Cafe in 2010 tiles were found and replicated for the walls. The colours in the tiles were also used for the colour scheme of the park.

Bench and Bin showing colour scheme

The colours used on the benches and bins in Roberts Park are based on the colours in the tiles found in the Half Moon Cafe.

Bandstand Paint Colours

The colours of the bandstand are also part of the colour scheme.

West Shelter

The listing for this can be seen here

East Shelter

The listing for this can be seen here

East Shelter May 2009

Early days of the East Shelter refit.

East Shelter Roof Interior

The rooves of the shelters were restored using traditional designs.

East Shelter Bench

This shows the bench inside the East Shelter in the process of being built.

East Shelter Arch colours

The colours used in painting the arches of the shelters were also based on the tile colours.

North Shelter

The listing for this can be seen here

Alpaca

Alpaca Bronze

Titus Salt owes much of his success to the fact that he and his experts developed the methods needed for processing Alpaca wool. Hence the Alpaca Bronzes installed in front of the Half Moon Cafe and the etched window at the rear of the part of Salts Mill facing Victoria Road.

Alpace etching in Salts Mill

Park Cannons

There is early evidence (black & white photos) showing cannons on either side of the bandstand and the following text describes them:-

Two 32-pounder guns occupy a prominent position on the promenade, which were purchased from Government by Sit Titus Salt. From an inscription on each gun we learn the warlike career of these ancient pieces of ordnance. That nearest the entrance was selected for Portsmouth, 2nd Feb., 1811, and replaced in 1869, having fired 1085 rounds. It was used in the Russian war in the Baltic. Its companion was shipped first on board H.M.S. Caesar, in April, 1805, and superannuated in 1869, after having fired 1449 rounds. Was at Trafalger and Acre.[1]

Roberts Park Cannon
The photo above shows one of the two cannons installed next to the bandstand in 2017. The installation of these cannons apparently (See notice next to the cannon) completes the restoration of Roberts Park that was begun in 2009.
Cannon Notice

This is the notice next to the Cannon that are there now - 2018. It reads:-

The Tale of Two Cannons

Original Thirty-Two Pounder Cannons

The original park cannons were purchased by Sir Titus Salt and placed in Saltaire Park - now known as Roberts Park - when it first opened on the 25th July 1871.

Bloomfield cannons at this type armed the British warships that fought in the Napoleonic wars during the early 19th century.

Each 2 1/2 ton gun was capable of launching cannon balls weighing upwards at 32 lbs (15 kg). It is believed that one of these cannons actually saw service in the famous Battle at Trafalgar which saw Britain establish its naval dominance over France in 1804.

However this proved not to be the last time that the cannons were used in this country's time at need. They were to be later recycled during World War Two as part of efforts to combat wartime material shortages.

Sixty-Eight Pounder Park Cannons

These twin Sixty-Eight Pounder cannons patterned after a design originally created by Colonel William Dundas have rich historical ties to the Bradford area.

Low Moor Ironworks ultimately manufactured 1,932 cannon of this type from 1846 onwards. However unlike their more illustrious park predecessors neither of these guns actually saw any military action. Upon completion both guns were retained as gate guardians and stood at the foundry entrance for many years During this time

Low Moor exhibited its products at the 1851 Great Exhibition in Crystal Palace to demonstrate the manufacturing prowess of Yorkshire's then largest ironworks. After the foundry closed in the 1950s the cannons were transported and put on display in Rotherham, South Yorkshlre for a time before later returning to Bradford Industrial Museum during the 1970s.

They each weigh four and a half tons (4500 kg) and are capable of firing one of the displayed 68lb (31kg) cannon balls over a distance at two miles (3km) in just fifteen seconds! They were utilised both as a primary armament of naval ships of the era such as HMS Warrior (Portsmouth Historical Dockyard), and separately as coastal garrisen guns.

On loan from, and with the full co-operatian and assistance of, Museums and Galleries, City of Bradford MDC, the cannons have been lovingly restored and sit on newly-commissioned period replica cast-iron gun carriages. They replace Titus Salt's original park cannons, and their reinstatement marks the completlen of the Roberts Park restoration first begun in 2009.

Fishing Sign

Angling Sign in 2002

One of the early registrations (if not the first) of Angling Clubs in Bradford was done by Saltaire Angling Association in 1867 and they have several signs along the river and in Roberts Park. This one is slowly being consumed by the tree it is on. This photo was taken in 2002.

Angling Sign in 2017

and this photo was taken in 2017.

Skate Park & Playground

As part of the refit in 2009-10 the area across from the lodge was refitted as a Skateboard Park and Playground.

Play Ground refit 2010

Graffiti Wall

One of the features of the Playground/Skate park is a graffiti wall that curves between the two areas. It purpose is to separate the two areas where younger children can play on the equipment and older children ride around the concrete skate park. Another key purpose is to provide an area where graffiti can be applied without defacing other areas. Several times there have been organised sessions where recognised graffiti artists have come along to co-ordinate a change of image. Please let me have photos of other versions of graffiti on the wall.

As you can see from some of the images one of the graffitists involved was CageOne (Rick) and at the time of doing Turning the Corner CageOne, Fran Arkley of Groundwork and local youths had been trying to engage with local businesses with respect to activities in an attempt to reduce friction. The project has been called Turning the Corner. You can read more about it with comments from Martin Bijl (manager of Robert's Park) on the Yorkshire Post website here.

References

  1. Round about Bradford. Page 317. William Cudworth. 1876.