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Lister Park & Cartwright Hall


Bronze Stag standing proud outside Cartwright Hall

Today I spent my Sunday at one of my favourite public spaces in Yorkshire. Lister Park is located in Bradford, about a mile out of the city centre. Well maintained and bursting at the seams with things to do, it’s the perfect place to while away a few hours, particularly as Summer approaches.

What makes this place so special? So many things; heritage, legacy, history, art, culture, green space, activities, sport, family…I think what makes it so special for me is that the whole place celebrates everything that Bradford is. Yes, there’s History here yet it merges beautifully with recognition of what makes Bradford and it’s people so amazing; multiculturalism and diversity. Built and donated to the City by Samuel Lister, a local inventor in the textiles trade, this is a great place to visit.

Lister Park houses Cartwright Hall – the civic art gallery. Downstairs houses temporary exhibitions. At present the main vestibule proudly displays Anish Kapoor’s Turning the World Inside Out (see photo) which I adore for all it’s Escher-like morphing of the world with it’s reflective properties. There is also a temporary exhibition “ Equilibrium of Opposites” by Jake Harvey, which runs to September 8th. Also housed on the ground floor is the Print Room; Bradford Museums’ archive of art prints – at all times some of these are displayed in the room above the filing cabinets and these appear to be rotated regularly so that you can see something different every time you visit. Today was an eclectic mix including some William Blake’s and Goya’s. Venture up the stone staircase for the Connect exhibition which, having been opened in 2008, is pretty much a permanent collection. I love this collection, it’s so well curated to explain the links between the artworks displayed and Bradford. Separated into three rooms; places, people and imagination, this collection houses everything from Hockney to Lowry to Warhol, local Rothenstein to contemporary Indian artist Souza. They’ve even thought of their little visitors with a children’s station in each room with toys or material to create their own masterpieces, there’s even a folder containing a children’s story inspired by a Hockney work. Add to this the plentiful strategically placed comfortable chairs and sofas (too many galleries fail in this department) and you have everything you need for a stress-free and enjoyable art experience. Outside of the Hall are currently two stunning Sophie Ryder wire sculptures (see photo).

Once you’ve got your cultural fix head outside into the beautiful 54 acres of green space of Lister Park, perfectly maintained and a superb community park. Directly next to Cartwright Hall are the gorgeous Mughal Gardens, designed on an Indian theme with fountains and water features (see photo). The Botanical Gardens are delightful and feature a model of Thornton Force waterfall in Ingleton. Be sure not to miss the 330 million year old tree roots, unearthed fossilised at nearby Clayton sandstone quarry. Amazing. Take a stroll around the boating lake, hire a pedalo or stop for a well earned refuel at the lakeside cafe. There are also multi-purpose sports courts for tennis, basketball and football which were all being well-used today and bowling greens which weren’t.

Scroll down for more photos…


The grand 18th century edifice in all it’s glory


Baroque inspired architecture


Anish Kapoor’s “Turning The World Inside Out”


Sophie Ryder hare sculpture


Sophie Ryder sculpture


Window from Cartwright Hall staircase out on to Lister Park


Geese by the boating lake


Boating Lake

Chilling with the Missus
Chilling with the Missus

Lister Park grounds


Entrance Gate


Lister Park grounds


Scale model of Thornton Force


Botanical Gardens


Lister Park


Lister Park

Mughal Gardens

Mughal Gardens

photo 2

Very very old tree


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