Over the 14 years that I’ve been living and/or working in Bradford, I’ve often frequented ‘The Sir Titus Salt’, one of almost 1000 pubs in the UK operated by JD Wetherspoon.
Wetherspoons, as they’re more commonly known as, have a pub in just about every town – we even got one in Sowerby Bridge recently. They’re something of a British institution, and are one of the few big pub chains that manages to offer something to just about everyone. Bradford has two Wetherspoon pubs – for now. Wetherspoon is planning to ‘dispose’ of 45 of its pubs and the Sir Titus Salt is one.
The pub is named after the founder of Salt’s Mill and creator of the Saltaire model village north of Bradford – now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Although ironically he prohibited ‘beer shops’ in his town, so it’s perhaps ironic that a pub is named after him. It’s in the old Windsor Baths – Victorian-era public swimming baths that have been converted into a series of pubs and bars. Indeed, the interior decor has an aquatic theme, especially in the toilets.
Wetherspoon’s other pub in Bradford, The Turl’s Green, is a mere stone’s throw away in a new-build unit in Centenary Square. Having two pubs so close together may be one reason that Wetherspoon has decided to sell the Sir Titus Salt, and from a competition point of view I suppose it’s probably a good thing. But I worry that any new operator won’t be as good.
The pub and bar scene in Bradford has changed considerably over the past few years. The other tenant of Windsor Baths is Tokyo Industries which has four bars, including its Brew Haus chain, which does many of the things that Wetherspoon pubs do but in a trendier way. There’s also all of the bars on North Parade, including the Sparrow which is celebrating its fifth birthday this weekend.
I’ll be interested to see what happens to the Sir Titus Salt and what it becomes.