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Template:Infobox England place with map Bradford is the major settlement in the City of Bradford Metropolitan District, in the county of West Yorkshire in the north of England. It became a borough in 1847, and received its charter as a city in 1897. The city status was transferred to the Metropolitan District when it was formed in 1974 . It has a population of 295,000 with 478 800 inhabitants in the district as a whole Template:Ref label.


Bradford was long a centre of the West Riding wool industry. The name is derived from the "Broad Ford" at Church Bank by the site of Bradford Cathedral, around which the a settlement had begun to appear before the time of the Norman Conquest. The stream, called Bradford Beck, now passes (partly underground) to the River Aire near Shipley.

Bradford was one of the many English towns which became prosperous during the Industrial Revolution. Bradford's textile industry dates back as far as the thirteenth century, but it was not until the nineteenth century that it became world famous. Yorkshire boasted plentiful supplies of iron ore, coal and soft water which were used in cleaning raw wool, and a coal seam which stretched as far as Nottingham provided the power that the industry needed. Sandstone, Bradford's local stone, provided an excellent resource for the building of the mills, and the large population of West Yorkshire meant there was a readily available workforce.

To support the textiles mills and machinery a large manufacturing base grew up in the city, leading to diversification with different industries thriving side by side. Today most of the older textile mills and some of the heavier industries have closed, but Bradford remains one of the north's important cities, with modern engineering, chemicals and financial services replacing the "dark satanic mills" of the revolution.

One of the mills that remains — now in the form of a museum — is Salt's Mill, in the heart of the industrial village and UNESCO designated world heritage site of Saltaire. The village was built by enlightened industrialist Sir Titus Salt for his many employees. Also still standing is Lister's Mill (or Manningham Mills), once owned by Samuel Lister. It is believed that the chimney of Lister's mill can be seen from just about anywhere in Bradford.

A panoramic view of Bradford. The giant chimney is that of Lister's Mill

The Bradford district also contains the villages of Thornton and Haworth that were the birthplace and home of the Brontë family. Clayton was home to Albert Pierrepoint, Britain's last hangman.

On May 11 1985, 56 people were killed at a fire at Valley Parade. Centenary Square now contains a monument to the disaster.

Bradford has been praised for its cultural diversity. However, this leads to conflicts on occasion. In 1989 copies of Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses were publicly burnt in Bradford. A video-tape documenting this event triggered the world-wide campaign against this book. In July 2001 ethnic tensions led to widespread rioting . Fireworks, bottles and bricks were thrown at the police. Of the 36 arrested — 13 white and 23 Asian — all but two were from the Bradford area. The local authority has been nationally criticised for being in collusion with the conflicts and tensions, indeed some commentators have noted that their actions, deals and ignorance have contributed to the drugs trade, disaffection, decay and immobile place that Bradford now occupies.

Bradford was one of the contenders for 2008 European Capital Of Culture, eventually losing to the city of Liverpool. In 2004, the Bradford Urban Regeneration Company commissioned flamboyant architect Will Alsop to create a vision for the City's future and indeed the role of a "City Centre" in the 21st century. Alsop's celebrated plans envisioned four regenerated quarters within the heart of the city — The Bowl, The Channel, The Market & The Valley — each creating new public spaces for commerce, education, leisure and showcasing Bradford's setting within the Pennine mountains.

Political history

Bradford was enfranchised as an electoral borough by the Reform_Act_1832 and given two MPs. It became a Municipal borough in 1847 and a County borough in the Local Government Act 1888. The County borough was granted city status by Royal Charter in 1897. The County borough was merged with borough of Keighley, the urban districts of Baildon, Bingley, Denholme,Cullingworth, Ilkley, Shipley and Silsden, along with part of Queensbury and Shelf urban district and part of Skipton Rural District by the Local Government Act 1972.

Institutions, galleries, parks and museums

Bradford town hall as it stands today. It now stands behind Centenary Square, opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1997.

The University of Bradford has around 10,000 students. It received its Royal Charter in 1966, but traces its history back to the 1860's. It has always been a technical and technological institution, and has no true arts faculties; but it still covers a wide range of subjects including medical sciences, optometry, nursing studies, and modern languages. Its peace studies department, founded by a Quaker foundation in the 1970's, was for long the only such institution in the UK.

Bradford College offers a wide range of Further and Higher Education courses, and is an Associate College of the University of Bradford.

The city is well known for the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television, which has an Imax cinema. There is also an industrial museum, and a colour museum, and Cartwright Hall in Lister Park is an art gallery.

Owing to its heritage as an international trading centre, Bradford boasts some fine Victorian buildings, including the Wool Exchange, the Medieval mansion Bolling Hall, Manningham Mills, as well as a fine Victorian cemetery at Undercliffe.

Within the city there are numerous parks and gardens, including Lister Park, home of Cartwright Hall museum and art gallery and the Mughal Water Gardens, Peel Park (the venue for the annual Mela — a celebration of eastern culture) and the local beauty spot of Chellow Dene with its two fine Victorian reservoirs set in pleasant woodland.

There are four theatres in Bradford: The Alhambra was built by Frank Matcham and refurbished in the 1990's; the Studio is a smaller studio theatre in the same complex. Both of these are operated by Bradford Council. The Theatre in the Mill is a small studio theatre in the University of Bradford which presents both student and community shows and small-scale touring professional work. The Priestley is a privately run venue with a medium sized proscenium theatre and a small studio.

St Georges Hall is a grand concert hall, built by Lockwood and Mawson in 1853. It is sometimes used for theatrical productions.

Little Germany is a district just east of the city centre which boasts many very fine victorian buildings. In recent decades it has been somewhat run-down, particularly since Eastbrook Hall was destroyed by fire in the early 1990's. There have been many attempts to revitalise the area, which were not very successful in the 1990's, but more recently there has been a change. In mid 2005 renovation began on Eastbrook Hall.


Bradford is the home of the very successful Rugby League side Bradford Bulls and the less successful football clubs Bradford City and Bradford (Park Avenue) A.F.C.

Famous Bradfordians

Wm Morrison Supermarkets originated in Bradford. Bradford is the birthplace of rock bands Southern Death Cult / The Cult;Terrorvision, The Mission and Asian hip hop group Fun-Da-Mental.


Bradford is located at Template:Coor dms (53.7500, -1.8333)1.

The Bradford Metropolitan District has an estimated population (2003) of 477,775. About 300,000 of these live within the main city area itself, the rest living in the surrounding towns, villages and countryside.


Bradford is unusual as a major city in not being built on any substantial body of water, and its location in Bradforddale, the valley of Bradford Beck, tended to make communications difficult, except from the north. Nonetheless, Bradford has been well-served by transport systems.


Bradford was first connected to the developing turnpike network in 1734, when the first Yorkshire turnpike was built between Manchester and Leeds via Halifax and Bradford. In 1740 the Selby to Halifax road was constructed through Leeds and Bradford. Several more local and long-distance roads were built through the rest of the century.

Today Bradford lies on several trunk roads:

The M606 is a spur off the M62 motorway serving Bradford, but it does not come right to the city centre.

Buses and trams

Bradford's tram system was begun by Bradford Corporation in 1882: at first the vehicles were horse-drawn, but they were replaced by steam-driven trams in 1883, and by electric ones in 1898.

On 20 June, 1911, Britain's first trolleybus service opened in Bradford, between Laisterdyke and Dudley Hill. It was often known as the trackless, in contradistinction to trams. The last trolleybus service in Bradford - and indeed in Britain - ceased operation on 26 March, 1972.


The Bradford Canal was a four-mile long spur off the Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Shipley. It was planned and built as part of the original Leeds and Liverpool project, to connect Bradford with the limestone quarries of North Yorkshire, the industrial towns on both sides of the Pennines and the ports on each coast. It opened in 1774, closed in 1866, reopened in 1871, and finally closed in 1922.


The Leeds and Bradford Railway opened Bradford's first railway station at the bottom of Kirkgate on 1 July, 1846. It offered a service via Shipley to Leeds and through Leeds to other centres, including London. The line was soon absorbed by the Midland Railway, and the station was rebuilt in the early 1850's and again, much larger, in 1890. Today it is a small utilitarian station dating from 1990, called Forster Square station, though it is somewhat distant from the site of its predecessors, and from Forster Square itself. It connects directly to Leeds, Ilkley and Skipton, and there is a limited direct service to London King's Cross.

The Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway opened its station at Drake Street on 9 May 1850, on its line between Manchester and Leeds. The Great Northern Railway opened a third terminus at Adolphus Street in 1854, serving Leeds and other places on its network, but the station was too far from the centre, and the two companies eventually agreed to build a joint station to replace the L&Y's station at Drake Street. This was Bradford Exchange station, opened in 1867: Adolphus Street remained as a goods terminal. The Exchange Station was completely rebuilt in 1880, with ten platforms; but by 1973 it was too large and again was rebuilt on a different site. In 1983 that station was renamed Bradford Interchange when a bus station was built alongside. It connects directly to Leeds, to Manchester Victoria and to Blackpool. See this site

Both stations are under the control of the West Yorkshire Metro as part of the Leeds-Bradford Line routes.

From the 1870's the Great Northern built several suburban railway lines around Bradford:

These all closed at various times between the 1930's and the 1960's.

There have been many schemes to build a link between Bradford's main rail termini, but none has ever come near fruition. The main practical difficulty is the great difference in elevation: the Exchange/Interchange station is already at the bottom of a long slope, steep by railway standards, but it is several metres higher than Forster Square Station


External links


  • Gary Firth, A History of Bradford Phillimore 1997. ISBN 1-86077-057-6
  • Elvira Wilmott, The Ryburn Map of Victorian Bradford 1987. Ryburn. ISBN 1-85331-004-2. (The map itself is a reproduction of the Plan of the Town of Bradford ... revised and corrected to the present time by Dixon & Hindle, 1871)
  • Template:Note labelBCSP (Internet Explorer only)
  • ^ minutes Minutes from Medway council explaining why Rochester has lost its City status.

Original Wiki source: Wikipedia