The Yorkshire suburb where you can buy a six-bedroom Victorian house for £180,000

Attractive Victorian terraces in Frizinghall sell for less than 130,000
Attractive Victorian terraces in Frizinghall sell for less than 130,000
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There's still a corner of urban Yorkshire where you can snap up large 19th-century villas for less than £200,000.

Among the properties on the market in Frizinghall, near Bradford, at the moment are a six-bedroom Victorian end-of-terrace home for just £180,000.

This period house has five bedrooms but is just 165,000

This period house has five bedrooms but is just 165,000

There's also a four-storey, five-bedroom 19th-century house in a corner plot for only £165,000.

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A four-bedroom, three-storey Victorian stone terrace close to Frizinghall Station is priced at £159,950. Another four-bed period terraced home with a cobbled approach and quiet location is £129,995, while one of the best bargains is a cosy, two-bedroom period stone cottage with garden for only £65,000.

So just why is this historic corner of one of England's Victorian powerhouses so affordable?

Frizinghall - the rise and fall

The spacious Victorian villas usually have 4-6 bedrooms for less than 200,000

The spacious Victorian villas usually have 4-6 bedrooms for less than 200,000

Frizinghall is a suburban village in the Heaton ward of Bradford - it's located along the Bradford Road corridor between Manningham and Shipley.

It's well-connected, being only a short drive from Bradford city centre in one direction and the Airedale countryside in the other. Frizinghall Station has trains to both Leeds and Bradford, and also serves fee-paying Bradford Grammar School, alma mater of the Brownlee brothers.

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The area developed, along with Manningham, in the 19th century - both were desirable neighbourhoods popular with the city's merchant classes. It was close to the largest mills, Lister's and Drummond, but also the tranquil open space of Lister Park. Manningham was once called 'one of England's greatest Victorian suburbs' by a regional director of English Heritage.

The suburb later entered decline when the middle classes moved out, and many of the spacious Victorian villas was left to fall into disrepair or turned into cheap bedsit accommodation.

Toby Hartley works for JI Estates in Saltaire - an agency which specialises in properties located in the 'bubble' around the in-demand World Heritage Site.

His staff sell houses in Frizinghall which are starting to benefit from the 'Saltaire effect'.

"It's probably one of the least sought-after areas we deal with, but it's still a good area. We sell period properties for around £75,000 less than we would in Shipley, just a mile down the road. The streets are a bit untidy, and it maybe needs a bit more community pride.

"In generally Bradford is in decline though, and it is difficult to get new people to move into these areas."

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Faded grandeur

Si Cunningham from the Bradford Civic Society believes the area's decline mirrors that of the city as a whole

"Frizinghall's wealth and trajectory are linked to Bradford's prominence as the wool capital of the world. The villas in Frizinghall and to an extent Manningham, would have been occupied by senior managers of the mills and factories.

"We often focus on Saltaire as an example of the perfect Victorian workers' town, but Manningham was an exclusive place to live back then, and we would class Frizinghall as an extension of that desirable area.

"A lot of Bradford's civic functions are associated with Frizinghall, such as the art gallery and Valley Parade. It was an important district, even later on as the industry declined. It's well-connected by road and rail, so has always been popular - there are plenty of hidden pockets of thriving streets, although some of the higher-profile streets have visibly declined."

The rise in car ownership sounded the death knell for Frizinghall's prestige and social cachet.

"Post-war, the car had a massive effect. People who could afford to drive were moving to leafier suburbs like Nab Wood and Bingley, but still working in Bradford.

"There is a romanticised myth that Bradford was some sort of Victorian paradise when it was wealthy, but it was always industrial. As soon as they could (as road and rail technology advanced), people headed for Ilkley, Bingley and Skipton and moved out of the inner-city areas."

The infamous riots of 2001, which were centred on Manningham, also had a mushroom effect on adjacent Frizinghall.

"The disturbances were 20 years ago now but Frizinghall would have been at the heart of them. I recall that in around 2000 and 2001, Frizinghall was still considered a sought-after area, but the riots had a massive effect on its fortunes and house prices started to decline."

Si believes shoots of regeneration are starting to appear in the area, thanks to the rejuvenation of Lister Park, Bradford Beck and Cartwright Hall.

"We cast an eye over quite a few buildings in the area, such as the grammar school and Cartwright Hall, which is now home to the David Hockney gallery. Lister Park has been cleaned up in recent years - it used to be a no-go area but is much more family-friendly now. Bradford Beck is an historic waterway that has also had a clean-up and it's now an attractive green route into the Aire Valley. The new cycle route that has just opened will hopefully make the area attractive again.

"Generally, the housing stock in Frizinghall has fared quite well compared to other areas of Bradford. It's not a massive concern for us compared to places like Lister Hills, which have no sense of community any more. The larger houses are popular with Asian families who have wider family networks, and having a railway station helps.

"Saltaire is becoming unaffordable now and families are looking elsewhere - there's a donut around the village now that includes Shipley, and Frizinghall is less than two miles from Saltaire, so it's probably next in line."

The family who have lived in a 'secret haven' for over 40 years

Nicholas and Sheila Bielby have lived in a secluded enclave of Frizinghall for 44 years and have seen plenty of economic and social change in that time.

The couple, who are now retired, own a Victorian house that has a fascinating story to tell - in the early 20th century it was used as a meeting place by the founders of the Labour Party. Ironically given their socialist credentials, the maid at the time was not allowed to use the bathroom in the house.

"Previously, we'd lived near Bradford University. When we moved to Frizinghall, we'd been looking for somewhere with character, convenient for our work, not somewhere in middle-class suburbia," said Nicholas, now 80 and a former academic.

"We've never felt the need to move because we can't think of any good reason for moving elsewhere - either in Bradford or in the country. Certainly we could not get as nice a house anywhere else at a price we could afford. Since the train station opened, two minutes' walk away, travel to Leeds has been easy. We go to Northern Ballet, the Grand Theatre and the West Yorkshire Playhouse a lot. It was great when I was teaching at Leeds University. Once, one of our neighbours was a judge working mostly in Leeds. He realised that housing in Bradford was half the price of housing in the Leeds area and travelling into Leeds was quicker by train than driving in from Adel or Bramhope.

"Our house is very secluded - people who've lived on our road all their lives don't seem to know it's here. We rather want to keep it that way - and, I believe, so do our neighbours. Over the years, we've had five different lots of neighbours and we've been extremely lucky in them all. Maybe it's a special sort of person who wants to live in a secret property with spacious gardens surrounded by other gardens and the Bradford Grammar School sports field. We have resident foxes and visiting roe deer.

"We've seen plenty of changes in Frizinghall, such as the re-opening of the station and the increasing parking problem as people realise how ideal the trains are for commuting to Leeds. There has been an increase in litter with the proliferation of fast-food outlets on Keighley Road. White middle-class people have moved out and South Asian middle-class families have moved into the substantial properties around about. These new neighbours are just as friendly as the old. There is a camaraderie among all white-bearded old men!"

So what of Frizinghall's future - could it return to favour and become a thriving community once again? Si Cunningham thinks so - he hopes people with a stake in the area's prosperity and vibrancy will take on these big old houses and turn them into well-loved homes.

"I'd say we are cautiously optimistic about Frizinghall - it's small steps rather than giant leaps, as is the case for Bradford as a whole."