Towngate Rooms

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Towngate Rooms
Address 13 Northgate
Postcode BD17 6LX
Built Re-built 1912
Built by ????
Primary use Pickles Deli. 2010-
Liberal Club.jpg
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Other Links Google Maps


The Towngate Rooms is a building at 13 Northgate that was re-built in 1912 and has many carved and dated foundation stones in its base that were laid by people of the village.

Towngate Rooms pre 1912

Kelly's Directory for Leeds of 1893 has Thomas Ferand as the secretary. [1]

During the re-build the front was carved with 1912 and below that Liberal Club. The building housed the Liberal Club until membership dwindled in the early 1930s after which it was taken over by BUDC.

From 1946 the Baildon Veterans Association rented the ground floor, at a very reasonable rate, until Bradford Council increased the rent to a level they could not afford.<Heresay> The upper floor was often rented for children's parties.

See Baildon Veterans Association page for the Shipley Times and Express article of Wednesday 13 February 1946 where it is stated that BUDC purchased the Towngate Rooms in 1939 with the intention of them being used by veterans.

The doors to the Towngate Rooms closed in 2004 and 4 years later Bradford Council announced they wanted to sell the building.[2]

In 2006 Baildon Local History Society let it be known that they were keeping a watch on the building and if it looked as though the fact that it was within a Conservation Area was not giving it enough protection they would attempt to get the building listed.[3]

In 2007 the Parish Council looked at the building with a view to it becoming offices for the council. The asset could have been transferred to Baildon Parish Council but they decided not to take it on.

BPC considering the Towngate Rooms

This photo is of Baildon Parish Council viewing the Towngate Rooms - Ruth Batterley (clerk), Mark Fisher (chair) Val Townend, Roger L'Amie, Joanne Crowther and Debbie Davies (+ children). With Paul Marfell (vice-chair) taking the photo.

Towngate Rooms April 2009

The photo above shows the Towngate Rooms in April 2009 - To Let. The ground floor windows still show Baildon Veterans Association and Large Room for hire.

Louise Pickles, florist Emma Taylor and fellow Baildon resident Carly Barry started a campaign to save the building and take it over and around 2010 Louise Pickles took on the Towngate Rooms as Pickles Deli a delicatessen tea room.[2][4]

On 30th March 2012 a celebration was held at Pickles Deli to mark the 100 years of the Towngate Rooms. Veteran Geoffrey Thorpe, 95, cut a cake that was shaped like the Towngate Rooms.[2]


After the demolition of the Mechanics Institute in 1969, during the major redevelopment of Towngate and Browgate, its clock was moved to the Towngate Rooms and fixed in place by Jack Robinson, cousin to Harry Robinson. Harry Robinson was the person that fitted the 2nd clock to the Mechanics Institute.[5]

There has been the suggestion that the Towngate Rooms had a clock before the demolition of the Mechanics Institute. The suggestion fits with thoughts that the remodelling of the roof to a gable during the rebuilding in 1912 was for a clock. Photos taken by Harold Ellis, and shared by his son Tim Ellis, show the progress of some of the Towngate work and if we study some from 1960s we can see that the Towngate Rooms did NOT have a clock at that time.

Crop showing Towngate Rooms

This image, cropped from a wider view shows that the Towngate Rooms did not have a clock at this time. It shows that Manor Fold etc have been demolished and it looks as though the Ian Clough car park is being worked on. This puts the date as late 1960s or very early 1970s.More accurate date needed

View of Towngate and Northgate. 60s/70s

This photo was taken late 1960s early 1970s by H Ellis, shared by his son Tim Ellis, and shows very clearly that the Towngate Rooms does not have a clock. The photo shows the roundabout and the paved area with benches. The roundabout has grass and flower beds with established flowers. The building to the left of the Towngate Rooms is still the stone structure prior to its demolition and the building of Airedale House.More accurate date needed

Foundation Stones

These photos are of the foundation stones laid at the time of the re-build in 1912.

Note that the G E Robinson stone is much more weathered that the others. It could be different stone but is also possibly due to it being just above the step. The others have more space below them and so will not have been splashed or even kicked as much.

Light Fittings

These photos are of the Osira/GEC connection boxes and light fittings on the corners of the Towngate Rooms and the Mechanics Institute. The Osira Mercury discharge lamp was introduced by GEC in 1933[6] Graces Guide has some details of the names.[7] The light fitting on the Mechanics Institute photo (shown for comparison purposes) looks similar to a GEC Z8128B Clearmain Difractor[8] and the fitting still on the left of Towngate Rooms looks similar especially if you look at the 1960 view of Towngate and Northgate taken by H Ellis shown above. The 1960s view also shows that the bowl of the right hand light fitting was broken even then. Osira bulbs were still being advertised in 1945[9] On the Bulb Expert website it is mentioned that after WWII the name Osira was replaced with Osram. The early date for the B&W photo of 1946 is because that is the date when the destination signs on the buses started to be replaced with the roller variety. 1955 was when those buses were taken out of service.

Hose Reel

Hose Reel in Pickles

This hose reel, made by H Lindley of Bradford is mounted on the wall in the Towngate Rooms. Photo taken April 2012.


  1. Kellys Directory 1893
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 100 year celebration T & A 31st March 2012
  3. Historians poised to protect architectural gem Telegraph & Argus 30th October 2006
  4. Women have big plans for building T & A 8th February 2008.
  5. A Edwick notes
  6. The Times 29 June 1933
  7. GEC entry on Graces Guide - here
  8. Simon Cornwell
  9. The Electrician. Vol. CXXXV. No. 3524. Friday, December 14, 1945.