Bradford has a booming cultural centre, however just four miles from the city is an exhibition space, cafe, bar and artist studios with more character and charm than the city’s galleries combined. The South Square Centre is a group of Grade II listed workers’ cottages that lie along the perimeter of a cosy courtyard. The cottages now act as home to a collection of artists, archivists, framers, community groups, community cinema enablers and more.
The perfect place to soak up the exhibitions, enjoy the odd glimpse of British sunshine and sit down with a cold pint
The Centre’s gallery hosts a monthly programme of visual art, which is free to visit. Some of the exhibitions have a community focus or involve objects made by local artists. Other exhibitions have a more outwards facing view, with an aim of bringing fine art to Thornton. One of studio units, Unit 9, is also devoted to local artists’ work. Often curated by in-house visual artists at the South Square Centre, this is the unit where you’ll find an ideal piece of local art to purchase.
Alongside art, you can also explore the local history of Thornton with the Thornton Antiquarian Society Archive, open every Wednesday morning (or by appointment). The archive holds maps, ordnance surveys and other documents which help to shape a picture of Thornton over the years.
Two particular highlights in any visit to the South Square Centre have to be Plenty at the Square and The Watchmaker, South Square’s resident cafe and bar. Plenty is a warm and comforting place to grab a healthy lunch or a sweet treat. Their menu changes weekly depending on what seasonal produce is around. The Watchmaker is everything you’d want and more from an arty local. Named after the building’s previous users, this friendly pub serves a variety of artisanal ales, wines and gins with a focus on providing quality without extortionate cost.
During the summer, the square is the perfect place to soak up the exhibitions, enjoy the odd glimpse of British sunshine and sit down with a cold pint.