Bradford’s architecture straddles cutting-edge design and historical buildings that serve as important reminders of the city’s industrial heritage. 

How do we decide which buildings are preserved and which get demolished? How do heritage, architectural merit and business decisions impact the skyline of ever-changing city centres like Bradford?

In partnership with the Bradford Civic Society (BCS), this event sees BCS Chair Simon Cunningham lead a conversation with urban generation academic Peter Matthews, Twentieth Century Society Director Catherine Croft, and architectural historian George Sheeran about why certain buildings are preserved while others are demolished. 

Join our panel to explore the shapeshifting architectural landscape of Bradford and journey through the city’s history.


Headshot of Simon Cunningham

Simon Cunningham

Simon Cunningham is a writer and journalist from Bradford. In 2017 he became the Chairperson of Bradford Civic Society (the youngest Chairperson of a Civic Society in the UK) and recently launched the city’s first co-ordinated blue plaque scheme. He is a Director of Bradford Business Improvement District, has recently worked on the city’s bid to be UK City of Culture for 2025, and was elected to Bradford Council in 2021 as a Councillor for Bolton and Undercliffe. 

Peter Matthews Headshot

Peter Matthews

Dr Peter Matthews, Senior Lecturer in Social Policy, University of Stirling, was born in Bradford in 1982 and lived there until 2004 and continues to be a regular visitor. For his undergraduate history dissertation at the University of Cambridge, submitted in 2004, he researched the comprehensive redevelopment of Bradford city centre between 1945 and 1965, later publishing the research as an e-book. He has continued to research urban policy and planning as a social scientist, including an interest in urban change and management, urban regeneration and heritage management. 

Catherine Croft Headshot

Catherine Croft

Catherine Croft is the Director of the C20 Society, the national charity which campaigns for the preservation of Britain’s modern architectural and design heritage.  An expert on post war architecture and the public perception of twentieth century design – particularly changing attitudes to brutalism and post modernism – she is a regular commentator on heritage and architecture in the broadcast media and specialist press 

She established and runs the Conservation of Historic Concrete course at West Dean College, is the author of Concrete Architecture and founding editor of C20 Magazine. Lecturing widely on heritage and architecture, in the UK and abroad, she’s sat on the judging panel for the World Architecture Fund awards and the Carbuncle Cup award for the worst new building in the UK.  Before C20, she worked with English Heritage, The Theatres Trust, The Victorian Society, the RIBA Drawings Collection and Middlesex University.  

Headshot of Dr George Sheeran

George Sheeran

Dr George Sheeran is Honorary Visiting Post-Doctoral Fellow in the School of Archaeological and Forensic Sciences at the University of Bradford.  As well as teaching urban and architectural history at the university, he has published widely in academic journals and through conference papers. His books include Medieval Yorkshire Towns (1999), Brass Castles: The West Yorkshire New Rich and their Houses 1800-1914 (2006), The Mosque in the City: Bradford and its Islamic Architecture (2015), and Bradford in 50 Buildings (2017).