Sunbridgewells is Bradfords own Victorian quarter, with Victorian and contemporary shop units together with trading street barrows, restaurants and bars. There are Victorian style units running the length of the tunnels and it has become an internal street with a large glass area above.
Bradford town centre was established circa 1230 in the areas of Kirkgate, Ivegate and Westgate, forming a T section with the market square on the T. This has been exposed as part of the Sunbridgewells foundation and is considered as the true foundations of Bradford.
In the 1700’s it was used a a dungeon.
The public house, The Spotted Ox was established circa 1802, it was formally the courthouse building.
The building was purchased by Charles Waller as Wallers Brewery Bradford LTD.
Under the Bradford Improvement Act 1873 Charles Waller sold 125sq yards of the building to create Sunbridge Road, in agreement with Bradford Corporation, a tunnel entrance on Aldermanbury was built, which is now the entrance to Sunbridgewells.
Wallers continued trading with a bottling plant in the tunnel. In 1938 the brewery was sold to Trafalgar Brewery which was subsequently taken over by The Leeds and Wakefield Brewery.
During WW2 the tunnel was used as an air raid shelter and was the biggest shelter in Bradford.
By 1956 the building title deeds were divided and residual rubbish was dumped and walled up in the tunnel.
In 1964 the now derelict building was leased by wrestler Big Daddy and opened as a night club, known as, The Little Fat Black Pussy Cat Club – Rod Stewart regularly played there prior to his days with The Faces. It remained open for 9 months.
The 1980’s saw the area in front of the tunnel used as a storage area for the councils road sweeper carts.
During the 1990’s the building became vacant, the tunnels, filled with debris, were suffering from dry rot and neglect.
By chance in 2006 it was spotted through an open door. Following 3 years of negotiation with each of the freeholders, the unit that were subdivided in 1956 were painstakingly put back together again.
It finally opened for business on 9th December 2016 but was officially opened by HRH Princess Anne on 28th June 2017.
Our favourite bar is The gin Bar, which we have frequented on several occasions. It is has an extensive range of both gin and tonic waters. Definitely a place to visit.