Tales of the Urban Explorer: The Bradford Arms

There is something incredibly cool about having unique digital content that cannot be attained, ever. Nobody can ever go to the Bradford Arms, as it no longer exists.

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In September 2020 we visited The Bradford Arms almost a year after our failed attempt in 2019.

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The pub has been subject to many arson attacks and was still smouldering in October 2019 when we peered through these metal bars (below) and failed to gain entry.

Hoping for better luck, myself, @dizzydiscovery, and @goblinknackers approached the back of the old pub and found the bent rail guard gone.


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...'The Bradford Arms, October 2019. Still on fire, but we couldn't get in... this is what happens when you are too fat and can't fit through the bars'...

Inside was a homeless bloke, middle-aged who seemed quite pleased to see us.

"Come in and join me.., got any smokes?", he said in a raspy voice.

@dizzydiscovery handed him one which appeared to be our official entrance fee for straddling over the burnt-out gap of where a window was once installed.

Before we had a chance, another homeless bloke came shuffling toward us and went inside, not seeming to give a shit who we were.

@goblinknackers, always the diplomatic one, explained to #homelesssmoker about Urban Exploration.

The smoking one seemed at ease and quite used to visitors.

“Yeah, we get those kids all the time, you lot are a bit older”, he grinned taking another puff.

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We climbed inside and marvelled at the sights. The Bradford Arms I could guess smelled permanently of smouldering timbers. It was something you could probably get used to.

#wanderinghomeless who had vanished suddenly came into the room and started up a conversation with #homelesssmoker.

This was all getting a little surreal for me, and I took my leave to photograph ‘their home’.

“You see, that old vodka bottle over there... that is unique as it's only been here and is the only one in the world like it..”, I could hear #homelesssmoker rasping away in the background.

“That’s a lot of crap, it’s just an old fucking bottle and nothing else”, wheezed #wanderinghomeless who was now sat down and sharing @dizzydiscovery’s entrance fee.

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Ignoring their incessant rambling about Urban Exploration and 'unique objects' I started looking for anything interesting.

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One of them might sleep on the left side where all the shit has been cleared away. The Bradford Arms was seriously burned.

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A unique bottle of Cointreau, I would tend to agree, but valuable? It made for a different photograph.

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I was glad to get away from the rambling, while @goblinknackers hung around for some reason. #wanderinghomeless seemed quite intellectual in a warped kind of way.

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The cellar looked dire but I went down anyway treading careful and hoping not to slip on my arse.

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Down there were plenty of dusty glasses and the remains of the pumps.

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Mrs Chumber appears to be paying off her loan. Lowell Portfolio I are a debt collecting company, not a loans agency. This is not quite what it seems.

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Now what was this, one of those old space invader machines, or a fag dispenser?

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So the pub was not mortgaged or owned, but leased and from 1998. The Chumbers have had the pub for some time.

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Were the Chumbers renegades or having problems paying? Most people pay their council tax via direct debit these days.

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They needed external staff to run the pub. It might have been busy once. Did Brian James Riley get the job?

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Upstairs was a bit of a goldmine. Stuff everywhere and those two homeless bums downstairs (who were still bickering over what was valuable or not) must walk over this everyday.

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Little Sonia Chumber is a little above average. They could have come back to retrieve all these personal items.

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It was a little dank up there. As there were no windows it’s hardly surprising

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As it’s a pub, all the living quarters are upstairs. As hard as I tried searching the kitchen was devoid of HP sauce.

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I nearly fell over when I saw the master bedroom, complete with double-bed and quilt. Now that is sleeping with style even though all the windows are broken.

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There was the little issue that in one corner of this room the wall was quite visibly bending outwards.

I suppose you could go to bed, and the house would collapse around you before you could wake up burying you alive. Let’s hope the sleeper is one of those heavier types.

For now there’s even a range of books to take in before you crash.

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We gave up trying to get into the far room, the amount of stuff in the way as a little much.

I could have done some more digging but #wanderinghomeless appeared again telling us this was his bedroom and complaining that 'his house' was collapsing in the corner.

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We had seen everything by this time and prepared to leave, though he seemed to want to chat, er complain... some more.

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…’a possible entrance if you want to risk impaling yourself. There are... were easier ways in and out’…

I have since learned from @goblinknackers that yet another arson attack was made on the building making it critically unstable around January 2021.

The fire brigade dragged the homeless bloke out and he lived. It has since been flattened and now looks like this.

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[Photograph provided courtesy of @goblinknackers]

This report confirms that it will be converted into a drive-through restaurant. Maybe not a bad idea as nobody can go out due to the virus.

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Are these photographs that were taken just a few months before the final arson attack..., the last ones ever of The Bradford Arms?

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They keep getting better. You're welcome.

I went back to the 2019 article, not sure if I missed it, is that in the town, Bradford?

They keep getting better.

Thanks.., some are better than others, especially if there's a story. Those bums got turfed out in January.., must be cold for them now. Yes.. Bradford, West Yorkshire.

Nice! We stayed there a couple different weekends when Pura was getting medical treatment. Met some real cool people we stay in close contact with right there in Brighouse. Dude you ever been to Bab Tooma in Bradford?

Her dad was born n raised in Ilkley so we try to get... uh.. I mean we used to try to get out there every couple years.

Figured it was the town but wasn't sure. They're always more exciting when you've been there. Like that movie Back To The Future, not that time travel is something I've done or anything and I've never had a DeLorean, either, but I've woken up lookin like Doc a few times.

Dude you ever been to Bab Tooma in Bradford?

No, but I would be willing to bet that @goblinknackers has, as this is his town, and he eats out a lot (or did). I live closer to Blackburn, so it's a little far for me.

Blackburn, nice!! It's cool to read these familiar cities. Dooood, Blackpool! Coldest I've ever been. It rained inside a bus stop while we were there. <-- True story. Blackpool's whatavsr best describes colder than freezing.

If you get a chance, check out Bab Tooma, my good friend Qusay owns the joint, coolest dude I've met in a long time. He has 2 restaurants right there in Bradford and one in Leeds and, I'm not making this up, best Mediterranean food I had in all of EU. Tell'em his American friends from California sent you, the tattooed white guy and his stunning blonde wife..... he'll know exactly who you're speaking of and then you'll know our real names, too. Don't be surprised if he refuses to let you pay the tab and dishes you up all the houses desserts for free. 👍🏿

Have a nice week Slobberchops.

good bet that @slobberchops, .. iv ate there a few times, and hopefully when this kneejerk lockdown finishes ill be there again... 😁

Do you ever do research after and try to find out what happened to the owners and the like?

Nooo, these take a lot of putting together, I can do with that time for something else..!

Pretty lazy of you.

:D

Just thought it might be interesting considering it looks like they just upped and left. It might make for an interesting story. It would have to be some kind of desperation or issue to leave official papers and personal stuff behind.

The link says that in 2017, the landlords fled the burning building after the initial arson attack. It can't have been that bad as all the burning is in the bar, and nowhere else! It all sounds a little dodgy to me, an insurance job?

It does sound fishy. Even with the damage - there is a lot of personal stuff just left there

There is something incredibly cool about having unique digital content that cannot be attained, ever. Nobody can ever go to the Bradford Arms, as it no longer exists.

Maybe you should dabble in the world of NFTs for the ones that don't exist anymore. Get a good exterior shot and hdr it or something and make a big deal if the fact that it no longer exists so cannot be replicated!!

Most do still exist, I have been to a few like 'The Yobbo Farm', which are now gone. We drove past it 6 months ago... and flattened. It makes it all the more rewarding!

It is cool to have that documented. I hope you have a good backup for all your photos!

I have them all.., originals and HDR. I am planning on registering a domain and adding a website, 'Tales of the Urban Explorer'. I think we chatted about this once, immutable blockchain, but forever? I want to get back some control.

We did! I think it's the ultimate control when it's your own. You would have a potential hit there!

That’s very nice indeed! Sounds like you made a couple of new buddies!

They will be freezing on the streets now instead of that double bed + quilt. Never seen anything like that!

Luxury!

Nice digs - you are a conscientious member of the group!

Here today gone tomorrow .. guess only the present really matters..

He had a point about that bottle. That was the only bottle exactly like that. It was unique in that moment in it's place and time. Valuable? Maybe not. But that place was stuffed with things that people thought were worth value at one time. Now they're just abandoned to rot.

It's the first time in 150+ explorers I have ever met any homeless. They never seem to be home, this one was friendly and chatty. I wanted to take photographs.. not listen to his babbling!

A drive through restaurant seems a better idea than a block of flats. Interesting place.
At the start of the post I was wondering if it was the place you visited before, where the owner with his daughter arrived and he accused you of being potential arsonists but his daughter backed you guys up... was that a different place?

I guess a lot of these old pubs and restaurants merge in to one since there’s so many of them.

Ah that was the one we did before this, on the very same day. I'm doing the Bradford stuff now (I post them in order of visited), but as that was technically a fail.. it kind of jumped the queue!

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There is something incredibly cool about having unique digital content that cannot be attained, ever. Nobody can ever go to the Bradford Arms, as it no longer exists.

I have often thought about some of the barns in my Old Barn Project that have fallen down or were torn down, never to be seen again. I've always been grateful to have photographed them before their demise, so perhaps I can appreciate some of what you're feeling about places like this. I'd never considered it as "cool" but more of a "bitter-sweet" thing, though.

Anyway, I enjoyed reading your story and seeing the photos. It's definitely an intriguing building on the outside and was probably very lovely on the inside before it fell into such a state of disrepair. That's great that you were able to visit the place before it was flattened!