Quite a lot – there’s a lot more to Wakefield than you’d think.
On the surface it’s a drab Northern town whose glory days as a thriving market town and powerful civic centre are only hinted at in the odd blue plaque or occasional street name. It’s just not as important as it used to be, had its architecturally rich heart torn out by vicious sixties planners and, at street level, is a mish-mash of tired and tacky shop fronts.
And yet, it is remarkably interesting. In fact, I’m planning to go back because there are still things to see. So what exactly is so wonderful about Wakefield?
Well, there’s a nice little cathedral slap bang in the town centre. I say cathedral, but it’s more of a middling sized parish church. Nothing spectacular, but it’s been thoughtfully renovated and reordered to create a light, welcoming interior. I wa sparticularly struck by the strong sense of belonging, with people popping in and out to sit quietly, pray or light candles.
There’s also a jolly good cathedral cafe.
And as for those lacklustre streets – if you look closely and, particularly if you look up, there are a surprising number of little side streets and alleyways that the planners missed and a rich variety of architectural detail above ground level.