Joseph Nutter House, Bradford


Application to demolish former public building in Horton Park, Bradford:

Joseph Nutter 1

Built by Victorian philanthropy, this orphanage was gifted to the city in an expression of civic pride in 1888. The building has latterly become a college, retaining its status as a public building in Bradford. The turrets and ramparts make for unique elevations, and the building is vital to the context of the surrounding parkland.

This article in the Telegraph and Argus captures the incredulous response so many have felt upon seeing this application go in.

Objections from the Bradford Civic Society, the Victorian Society, and many members of the public show how meaningful this building is to the people of Bradford and West Yorkshire.

Echoing the words of the Civil Society, there is no evidence that the building is in a state of disrepair. It is not enough to claim a vacant building is a risk to safety or a magnet for anti-social behavior. This spurious statement seems to be an increasing generic line fed to planners from the consultants’ playbook.

I hope Heritage England can expedite a spot listing over the next couple of weeks before a determination, and foil Mr Mohammad Farid’s plans.


30 responses to “Joseph Nutter House, Bradford”

  1. David Rhodes says :

    It’s disappointing that someone has bought this building cheaply (£162000) with the express purpose of demolishing it. People of Bradford have seen building after historic building demolished for no good reason so I really hope that this glorious building can be saved. Perhaps a message to Bradford Planners that future generations will hold today’s Planners to account.

  2. David Rhodes says :

    Approaching the building one sees a small outbuilding which is in a poor state. The main building looks fairly intact and given it was occupied and in use less than four years ago I think the description of dereliction is nowhere near as bad as described but initially the outbuilding which you first see does give an impression

  3. David Rhodes says :

    There doesn’t seem to be an appetite to save this building. The local community have been quiet. A sad day for Bradford as another building from its proud past is lost…

  4. June Cheal says :

    my son as just passed the place and he as said it looks like they’re starting to take it down, I said maybe there putting new windows in etc, and he said no it looks like it,s deffo coming down.

  5. Doreen says :

    Absolutely disgusting. I was brought up in Canterbury Estate, the legends and scary stories used to make us dare one anther to go into the grounds. Learning years later why and who commissioned for it to be built for orphan children I was in awe. LEAVE IT ALONE!!! If its broken, MEND IT… MORONS. Greedy MORONS!!!!

    • peterrobertnixon says :

      looks like the demolition has already begun. The history of this building is steeped in goodwill and philanthropy, gifted to the council. And then they sell the building for a pittance, to a profiteering robber baron

  6. Judy Woods says :

    I visitted the Site on sunday sadly it is being taken to bits , The cast iron radiators , the Ballastrades , roof tiles , beams all of the precious features that make it what it was . I am not sure if one of the finial towers had a bell in it to call the orphans back from the park in which they worked whilst in residence . a sad tradegy also is the carved door stone stating the Orphanage name with an inscription in Latin surely this should be given to the nutter Foundation

    Turning to fact the progeny of the building is such after the building being returned from the admirality the Foundation could not up keep it and it was sold . The nature of a covenant on the building was such that after legal wrangling it was deemed that the use of the building was to be exclusive for educational purposes Hence Bradford Adult education , Bradford College and the last owners Askham Bryan . The building went on the market for £250K and I believe sold for 161K . A colleague tells me that the salvage value of stone etc would redeem the cost of site alone

    It seems to me that Askham Bryan and or their conveyancing solicitor should have secured the sale by virtue of covenant and if so then it is clear at the time of demolition application that the developer had no intention of using the building for educational purposes . On the subject of demolition the number of objections should have been sufficient to convene a planning panel as material factors such as the presence of Bats was not excluded

    I currently am seeking further inquiry by investigation as to whether the Council in any way through assett management interfered with the convenant .My understanding is that Joseph Nutter raised the £10K and the Borough donated the land , it would therefore be of significant importance to look at exactly what applied both then and potentially now . It is also worthy of note that the area of parkland as given then may include the site on which the House was built and there may be clawback or conditions in place to maintain the same as recreation Ground

    WY archive contains the following on Joseph Nutter House

    I have searched the catalogue and found the following subsection of Bradford Borough Council Records (collection ref: BBD) which may be of assistance:
    • BBD1/1/118 Nutter Orphanage Horton 1885-1956

    This subsection includes:

    1 – Extract of trust deed

    2 – Booklet ‘History of the Horton Charities’

    3 – Booklet ‘Government Inquiry – The Charities of Bradford’

    4 – Report of the Charity Commissioners Inquiry into Endowed Charities of Bradford

    5 – Copy will of Mr Thomas Hoadley Hebden

    6 – Correspondence

    7 – Order of Charity Commissioners

    8 – Annual reports of the Nutter Orphanage for Boys

    9 – Booklet ‘The Nutter Orphanage for Boys, Horton Park, Bradford – Historical Sketch’

    10 – Note of the history of Nutter Orphanage

    11 – Programme of Nutter Orphanage Bazaar

    12 – Abstract of title

    13 – Booklet 50th Anniversary of Nutter Orphanage for Boys

    14 – Marching in statement

    15 – Correspondence

    16 – Invitation to special meeting of management trustees

    17 – Note of commencement of lease date of Nutter Orphanage

    18 – Draft lease and copy

    19 – Draft lease

    20 – Lease and copy lease

    21 – Copy lease

    22 – Draft and copy draft of memorandum

    23 – Memorandum of interview held at Ministry of Education, London

    24 – Notice of scheme

    25 – Draft and copy agreement

    26 – Form of declaration [unsigned]

    27 – Agenda

    28 – Correspondence

    29 – Invitation and agenda

    30 – Accounts

    31 – Agendas

    32 – Proformas for applicants

    33 – Block plans of Nutter Orphanage

    34 – Block and floor plan of Nutter Orphanage

    These records are held by WYAS Bradford, for more information about them and how to access them please contact my colleagues at:

    If you view the deeds held in BBD1 are they are not what you are looking for, it may be worth investigating the West Riding Registry of Deeds held by WYAS Wakefield. For more information on this collection please view the WRRD user guide.

    I have also found the following miscellaneous records relating to the Nutter Foundation which may be of interest, once again these are all held at Bradford:

    • 3D84/12/34 Papers Relating to Joseph Nutter’s Foundation 1962 [1 bundle]
    • BBD1/1/71 [Box 1] Box 1 [formerly Box 415] 1896 Includes: 16. 1893 – Correspondence from the Charity Commission regarding a request for charitable funds also includes completed forms from the Charity Commission from the Charity of Joseph Nutter [1 bundle]
    • BBD1/1/125/171 The Nutter Orphanage for Boys, Horton Park, Bradford 28th Annual report 1916

    In regards to Horton Park, I have found the following records that may be of interest which are held by WYAS Bradford:
    • BBD1/4/2 Registers of copy agreements [number 2] Dec 1875 – Oct 1879 FF 223-227: agreement to convey land for Horton Park, with plan, 1877
    • BBD9/11/87 Plan 1876 showing land at Horton Park purchased or given up by the Great Northern Railway
    • BBD9/11 Bradford Council Surveyors and Engineer’s Department Miscellaneous Plans:
    o BBD9/11/102 Plan 1891 of new road off Horton Park Avenue showing Bradford cricket and football grounds and Nutter’s Orphanage
    o BBD9/11/107 Summary notice and plan Jul 1896 relating to back road between Cecil Avenue and Horton Park
    • BBD9/12/1 Bradford Council Surveyors and Engineer’s Department Parks: Horton Park 1870s-1884 [13 items]
    o Includes plans, accounts etc.
    • DB16/C41/1 Block plan of proposed site for Horton Park Feb 1876

    It may also be of interest to you that the Historical Environment Record (HER) hold the following record:
    • WYHER/6883 Registered Park and Garden at Horton Park, Bradford 21st century
    o Land, for the purpose of providing a public park, was purchased by Bradford Council in 1873. Horton Park was opened on 25th May 1878 by the Mayor, Briggs Priestley, M.P. Areas for specific sporting activities including bowling greens, tennis courts, a putting green, together with a children’s play area, were added during the first half of the 20th century (English Heritage 2001). The c16ha park lies about 1.6km to the south west of Bradford city centre and is a Grade II Registered Park and Garden. A list of references are given in English Heritage’s Designation Notification, however, they have not as yet been consulted by the West Yorkshire Archaeology Service (20/04/2001).

    • peterrobertnixon says :

      Thanks for this info. I’m away for the next couple of weeks but will get in touch when I’m back. Very inspiring to see people working hard to find some justice over this matter. Thanks Judy

  7. Judy says :

    I am now in contact with Historic England regarding this assessment

    It is unclear whether an internal appraisal was made or whether this was a desk top exercise It seems inconceivable that a Historic England appraisal would be given with an internal visit or detailed appraisal

    In respect of its National Importance

    The images on the link above and the Records held at the West Yorkshire archive demonstrate a completely different view of the Appraisers conclusion

    The Orphanage set on the footprint of the GII Horton Park is an intimate part of the same , a condition upon the orphans was that they under took work in the park making it what it is today

    The use of the home through History reflects the National Story , those orphans shown in the images on the Children’s Home Site are a likely consequence of the Industrial revolution and many of the prevalent accidents in the mills at that time

    Similarly, for example, some buildings will be listed because they represent a nationally significant but localised industry

    Its continued role as an Admiralty fever Hospital also benchmarks the nations history and the continuing work of the Nutter Foundation reflects its transition through various educational establishments as per the covenant

    With particular regard to the

    The principles of selection for Listed Buildings can be found at the link below

    Click to access Revised_Principles_of_Selection_2018.pdf

    In regards to the condition of this building I am investigating the demolition order and the assertion that this building was in sufficient demise as to cause it to be demolished and whether it was deliberately left empty in order to cause it to be demised

    More to follow

  8. David Rhodes says :

    I went to investigate the building shortly after permission to demolish was given. There is a later addition outbuilding in poor condition at the entry to the grounds. On arriving that day my first thoughts were that the building was too dilapidated for restoration but looking further into the grounds (which had been enclosed by a security fence) I can confirm that the main building was in a fair state, the windows were intact which surprised me and the roof was fully intact and had had recent repair work done. There was no evidence of vandalism and the building was fully intact. It looked as though it had recently been in use to be fair.b

  9. Judy says :

    Thank You for those comments David . The Building condition is well evidented and on the date of my visit we took aerial drone footage that verified the state of the roof to be excellent . We have also a number of internal images donated anonymously of the internal of the building . The condition was also verified by Askham Bryamn College who had under took extensive work on the roof and obviously maintained the building up to all acceptable safety standard etc . It had recently a new boiler flu fitted . There is a very extensive and effective security fence around the building which would have been difficult to breech .The sale of the building was effected I believe circa 9th June 2017 for 162.5K . The site would have been in good sale condition at that time. In applying an evidential test to these circumstances it is somewhat strange that substantial vandalism and alleged damage occurred around the time of the the sale when it had been marketted at £ 250K As I understand it the nature of the demolition order considerred by officer decision was based on it being a Health And Safety risk . Given the request to Historic England was a Hot request ie on the heels of the Demolition Order I have to question the speed of that decision given all the material factors associated with the building ie If I was a planning officer and I was presdented with alledgely a derelict building close to ( or part !!!! of a Park I would expect to have a Bat survey undertaken on the premised etc etc. I note the chain on covenant , it appears to be clear from the developers Architect ( Query ) that it was not the Developers intention to maintain it as an educational establishment but also note dispartity on comments elsewere ( were it was indicated it was to be either a mosque or madrasa in keeping ) . It should be noted that the land was donated to the Nutter Foundation by the Corportion at that time is in effectpart of the original purchased parkland or in the alternative on a recreation field . I most certainly would like to understand why the boundary of the local authority estate at Cantebury is so well demarcated and what is it about about this site that gib#ves a presumption in favour of development given the presence of a building which was fit for purpose . I should like to see the evidence that was presented to the council to support anything to the contrary etc

  10. David Rhodes says :

    It would be interesting to formulate a timeline of events relating to where we are now. From advertising/sale/application/approval/demolition and compare with a similar building.

    • peterrobertnixon says :

      I would also like to see this. the latter stages of planning seemed to move incredibly (suspiciously) quickly.

      • Judy Woods says :

        I think it should be understood what is going on here . It is clear that the demarcation of Green Space in the form of Playing Fields is being encroached with a view to development ( Given the Nutter House Title being a gifted derivative or endowment to the foundation at that time from early allocated Park Space or space set aside by the corporation at that time for the same )

        Bradford Council have very consistently failed in there interpretation of Public Open Space , Lawful Representation by Objection as required under ss122 of the LGA etc ( The Wibsey Park Lodge being an exemplar allegedly failing under disposal by the Charity Act more to follow)

        A Primary example of what could be judicially reviewed would have been the Councils Transfer of Substantial amounts of Land to In Communities in conjucntion with Housing Stock Transfer, The Council Failed on any number of levels

        They Limitted the Transfer of substantive Land Titles to a Tenant Only Ballot On Stock Transfer
        They Utilised an exitting SRB Company to oversee this process when they had a vested interest in some of that Land Ransom Strip ( est worth £2 Million ) on a Proposed Village Green
        The Councils decision would be technically void as they were not the owner on Title at the Time of Proposed VG10

        The bottom Line is we have legals within the Council acting ultra vires , the message on this application is to ensure subliminal development in around or on this green space as to how this is happeneing in this ward is concerning

        Turning to the the substantial anomoloies at all stages


        I am given to understand that this was an officer decision made in suspiciously fast circumstances within hours of me contacting the T&A in the morning .

        I have spoken to the Planning Officer Mark Hutchinson who generally states that this was not a Planning application but a demolition order and as such because there was an elementof alleged Health & Safety Risk the matter could be expedited by Officer delegation .

        I would suggest That demolition orders fall within the Town and Country Planning Act and given the nature of the notice which allows for representation to objection that the matter given clear and diverse concerns should have at the very least gone to Panel

        I should like to double chechk the rather verbose Decision Letter by way the Order ( Statute ) to confirm that such action is predicated on Heath and Safety Risk

        Historic England

        Historic England received this as a Hot Application ie some decent soul got it to them on time to at least afford some protection .

        I am following up the assessment made by the Officer , which for your information was a Desk Top Study and as I understand it no visit made or internal assessment of the what was in the building

        With Bradford Civic Society and The Victorian society expressing concern about this loss it begs some concern about the Historical Context of this Building which is reflected in the notes above from west Yorkshire Archive . In respect of National Importance historically and socially such buildings not only benchmark Victorian Philanthropy but show future generations why the line of Orphans were at this shelter likely orphaned as a tradgey of the Textile Mills at that time

        The Vending

        I think there is significant concern in respect of the last owners Askham Bryan College and there alledgely I believe failure to ensure that the Covenant ran for educational purpose. I have also spoken to the other sources who indicated it was to be used for a Mosque and Madrassa in keeping with the former. I have spoken to the agent who informs that was not the owners intention It is clear there is some disparity arising . This is not a matter of tittle tattle but that which have been properly conyeed as a Legal Title . It is unclear as yet if are registered with a professional body

        Future Action

        IF anyone can help by asking there councillor to provide a clear explanation to the interpretation of the Demolition Order and the process in considering objections should that be applicable would be helpful . It appears the Agent has a significant record on demolition orders


        Class B, Part 11, Schedule 2 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015, permits the demolition of a building without the requirement for a planning application

        If demolition is NOT urgently necessary in the
        interests of safety or health, and is not ‘excluded demolition’, this act of development ispermitted, but conditions require the developer to apply to the Local Planning Authority

        (LPA) for a determination as to whether its prior approval is required for:-
        (1) the method of demolition, and
        (2) any proposed restoration of the site.

        Appraisal Appears Contradictory

        The reason given for demolition is that the building is presenting a health and
        safety hazard and has become a target of anti-social behaviour.

        What evidence did the Local authority Consider

  11. David Rhodes says :

    Thank you Judy Woods for your diligence in following this up. As a long-time resident of Bradford I’ve not been alone in berating the consistent year by year loss of our city’s most important buildings, most often demolished for the most spurious of reasons, as in this case. It’s important that these decisions are held to account so that the steady drip of loss eventually stops. We owe it to the next generations to say that we held these often beautiful buildings for you to enjoy.

  12. Anita Rankin says :

    I worked there for many years when it was owned by Bradford College (during the late 1980s) and was upset by it’s demolishon. As I have plans from when it was the orphanages it’s very upsetting. What happened to the items laid within the foundation stone?

    • Judy Woods says :

      Hello All

      I did a number of enquiries on the demise allegedely I believe one of the bigger culprits was Askham Bryan College who sold it to the developer who put forward clear plans to develop it . There was a Covenant that ran with the property stemming from the sale of it by the Nutter Foundation in the 1950’s that it had to be used in perpetuity for Educational Use . That was a clear pattern in the historical use of the building . How it passed from Askham Bryan College without due regard to that covenant remains an unanswered question Whether it was redacted or whether there was an act or omission could well alledgely be the basis of challenge . I have detailed drone footage and also internal images of the building a few days before its demise you can see clearly that the condition of the building was good . It is sad that the lintel was not salvaged to be put in the park as a memoir . If anyone had the time there are any number of concerns for example whilst Joseph Nutter raised the Capital to build the Orphanage the Corporation donated the Land so technically the covenantt could run with the land and would be interesting to see if it restricted any development to soley educational use hereafter

    • churchdrives says :

      I was on the security team (run by Tom Cawood) for BC back then and was based at Westbrook, I use to drive up to do visits to JNH during the night, it was a lovely building but it suffered from more than it’s faire share of break-in’s.

      Some of us will remember it, but when we are gone so will the last of the memories of that fine old building,shame.

  13. Judy Woods says :

    Anyone interested in objecting to the Joseph Nutter Site Please feel free to copy grounds of MATERIAL OBJECTION from the file accessed via the Planning Portal. If 12 or more objections are received then the matter should be presented to a Planning Panel



    Land Off
    Cousen Road
    West Yorkshire
    BD7 3JX—according-trust/?action=success#comments-feedback-anchor

    • peterrobertnixon says :

      thanks for this. I will object and mention the covenant that stated the land must be used for educational purposes. otherwise what we have here is a benevolent gesture from a Victorian philanthropist being egregiously appropriated for profit.

      • Judy Woods says :

        Thats great Peter but not necessarily a Material Planning objection if I may be bold to suggest a copy and paste of what is on file > i believe the difficulty with this application is that it is an island ie it is effectively built in the middle of POS with significant restrictions the applicant pulled the only material assett down on the assumption it would be successful at planning Technically the apropriation of POS Public Open Space is a separate statutory process to which I look forward to seeing advertised . As Highways acknowledge the Highway access in its current form for a major application is not sufficient and the proposal to widen the road by encroaching on POS not acceptable ie Why should the Public loose POS external to the property so an applicant can build a private gated property over by widening a road on Recreational ground That aside it is arguable that the Property itself is actually a constituent part of POS either way the test remains . The Council are aware that such applications require separte legal attention . The Wibsey Park Lodge is an interesting one with major legal ommsion ie They advertised it as required under the charity act and then stated that it a S122 ( POS) would need to be advertised if any objections were received . Two Flaws They are two distinct and required legal processes that are a duty, a duty being that which is required in law the fact that no one may have objected under the charity act is imaterial ( on record ) The POS component is a very interesting test for Bradford Council and they have flouted it on a number of occasions . The test on POS is simple that the land is no longer need for its intended purpose

        I urge anyone reading to copy and paste the Objection if it is your material belief that it is correct The Application can be found on the Bradford Planning portal 20 /00978 / MAF Link to site


        You may need to register via an email . Simply look for the COMMENTS TAB making sure you select Objection Neutral or Support and then add in the objection . I urge all concerned to do so as this will take it to a planning panel

      • Judy Woods says :

        You dont have to look too far to see this on a grand scale Re Assett Management misappropriation of 400 Acres of land and buildings that dont belong to Bradford Council Re Wibsey Slack & Low Moor Act 1881 – …… To be given to the poor of North Bierley for the purpose of Recreation …

        Many of the Parks are Benevolent Gifts in Trusts the Laboutr Council have attempted to re-inact the Parliamentary Act through the Charity Act under various guises but legally the articles of association dont supersede the beneficial gift and if challenged would be deemed unlawful

  14. Judy Woods says :

    Hello All

    I now have placed OBJECTION on the Joseph Nutter File.

    If anyone has similar concerns please feel free to copy and paste what I believe to be significant Material Concerns / Objections which is that which a PLANNER must consider

    The simplest way to do so is to do so on line at Bradford Planning Portal

    1. You will need to REGISTER using an email

    2. Once Registerred Log on and in the Simple Search Box

    3 Type the Application Number 20 / 00978 / MAF

    4 .On The COMMENTS tab click the MAKE COMMENT – You are welcome to copy my existing comment which the one at the END the firsvt on the application

    5. Ensure that before you submit you select the Right TAB – which is OBJECT NEUTRAL or SUPPORT

    A planner must consider all Comments or Objections Up Till the point of Determination . The site notice was placed on the 15th March meaning many users in the vicinity will not have seen it because of Lockdown . additionally according to the locality Map a different Site has been identified ( Error ??)

    To explain it simply Highways have stated in its current form the Application is unacceptable because of the Width of the Access Road the Applicant wished to make a Gated Site and wished to widen the Road Encroaching on Public Open Space to which their is a separate process of Statutory Objection. Not Land he has purchased or that bounded in Red on the folio number

    I am also contacting Historic England to investigate at length the Status of Land , ie which Land is Registerred and whether it includes the Recreational Land donated to Nutter . Historic England make reference to access to the grounds of Nutter House and as an integral feature of the Heritage Build on the Listed Park Site Whilst the Building may not be on the Listed Register the Land may be . There is no doubt that it it is an annexed site built on or likely to encroach on POS if the highway is widened

    This is not a straight forward application and your support will help take it to a Planning Panel were a clear and transparent process may be monitorred

    There are two objections on file at the minute 17/05/20 and I seek to request that the formal date for objection is extended given Site Notices would not have been visible to the Public Adhering to Lockdown

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