When Hudson’s Landscapes Services started to clear and prepare the ground at Hirst Lock, they uncovered foundations that brought to life how the area had once beenLocal resident Peter Randall had been collecting pictures and documents about the area for some time and now it was possible to see the footprint in the ground and to incorporate it into the new Lock Garden.
Hard to imagine but there were once two buildings on the land now occupied by the Lock Garden, including a tea house. The inclusion of the cows in the photo is interesting because Salts Mill, who owned Hirst Farm by 1915, wrote to the canal company complaining that a lack of fencing along the by-wash meant cows kept getting stuck in there.
1889 map showing the two buildings on what is now Hirst Lock Garden and Hirst Farm opposite
Part of the tea house wall now incorporated into a rock garden feature in Hirst Lock Garden
FORGOTTEN VICTORIAN PAINTING REDISCOVEREDAmong his collection of Hirst Wood documents and pictures, Peter Randall had a water-colour of the lock (top right) which he understood was the preliminary sketch for a larger oil painting.After some detective work and with the help of the Industrial Museum and Cartwright Hall, the picture, painted by A Wilson in 1878, (right) was found hanging in a corridor in Bradford’s City Hall.A new photo was taken of it and it now forms the centrepiece of the history board (above left) which HWRG erected in the Lock Garden to tell visitors something of the history of this site.