Bradford facts for kids
City Hall, Bradford Cathedral, The Alhambra Theatre, The Wool Exchange, City Park, The National Media Museum
Coat of arms of Bradford
|Bradford shown within West Yorkshire|
|Area||24.85 sq mi (64.4 km2)|
|• Density||8,981/sq mi (3,468/km2)|
|OS grid reference|
|• London||174 mi (280 km) S|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||Yorkshire and the Humber|
Bradford i// is in the Metropolitan Borough of the City of Bradford in West Yorkshire, England, in the foothills of the Pennines 8.6 miles (14 km) west of Leeds, and 16 miles (26 km) northwest of Wakefield. Bradford became a municipal borough in 1847, and received its charter as a city in 1897. Following local government reform in 1974, city status was bestowed upon the wider metropolitan borough.
Bradford forms part of the West Yorkshire Urban Area conurbation which in 2001 had a population of 1.5 million and it is the fourth largest urban area in the United Kingdom with the Bradford subdivision of the aforementioned urban area having a population of 528,155.
Historically a part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, Bradford rose to prominence during the 19th century as an international centre of textile manufacture, particularly wool. It was a boomtown of the Industrial Revolution, and amongst the earliest industrialised settlements, rapidly becoming the "wool capital of the world". The area's access to a supply of coal, iron ore and soft water facilitated the growth of Bradford's manufacturing base, which, as textile manufacture grew, led to an explosion in population and was a stimulus to civic investment; Bradford has a large amount of listed Victorian architecture including the grand Italianate City Hall.
The textile sector in Bradford fell into decline from the mid-20th century. Since this time, Bradford has emerged as a tourist destination, becoming the first UNESCO City of Film with attractions such as the National Media Museum, Bradford City Park, the Alhambra theatre and Cartwright Hall. However, Bradford has faced similar challenges to the rest of the post-industrial area of Northern England, including deindustrialisation, social unrest and economic deprivation.
- City of Sanctuary
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- See also: Timeline of Bradford
The name Bradford is derived from the Old English brad and ford the broad ford which referred to a crossing of the Bradford Beck at Church Bank below the site of Bradford Cathedral, around which a settlement grew in Saxon times. It was recorded as "Bradeford" in 1086.
After an uprising in 1070, during William the Conqueror's Harrying of the North, the manor of Bradford was laid waste and is described as such in the Domesday Book of 1086. It then became part of the Honour of Pontefract given to Ilbert de Lacy for service to the Conqueror, in whose family the manor remained until 1311. There is evidence of a castle in the time of the Lacys. The manor then passed to the Earl of Lincoln, John of Gaunt, The Crown and, ultimately, private ownership in 1620.
By the middle ages Bradford, had become a small town centred on Kirkgate, Westgate and Ivegate. In 1316 there is mention of a fulling mill, a soke mill where all the manor corn was milled and a market. During the Wars of the Roses the inhabitants sided with House of Lancaster. Edward IV granted the right to hold two annual fairs and from this time the town began to prosper. In the reign of Henry VIII Bradford exceeded Leeds as a manufacturing centre. Bradford grew slowly over the next two-hundred years as the woollen trade gained in prominence.
During the Civil War the town was garrisoned for the Parliamentarians and in 1642 was unsuccessfully attacked by Royalist forces from Leeds. Sir Thomas Fairfax took the command of the garrison and marched to meet the Duke of Newcastle but was defeated. The Parliamentarians retreated to Bradford and the Royalists set up headquarters at Bolling Hall from where the town was besieged leading to its surrender. The Civil War caused a decline in industry but after the accession of William and Mary in 1689 prosperity began to return. The launch of manufacturing in the early 18th century marked the start of the town's development while new canal and turnpike road links encouraged trade.
In 1801, Bradford was a rural market town of 6,393 people, where wool spinning and cloth weaving was carried out in local cottages and farms. Bradford was thus not much bigger than nearby Keighley (5,745) and was significantly smaller than Halifax (8,866) and Huddersfield (7,268). This small town acted as a hub for three nearby townships – Manningham, Bowling and Great and Little Horton, which were separated from the town by countryside.
Blast furnaces were established in about 1788 by Hird, Dawson Hardy at Low Moor and iron was worked by the Bowling Iron Company until about 1900. Yorkshire iron was used for shackles, hooks and piston rods for locomotives, colliery cages and other mining appliances where toughness was required. The Low Moor Company also made pig iron and the company employed 1,500 men in 1929. when the municipal borough of Bradford was created in 1847 there were 46 coal mines within its boundaries. Coal output continued to expand, reaching a peak in 1868 when Bradford contributed a quarter of all the coal and iron produced in Yorkshire.
In 1825 the wool-combers union called a strike that lasted five-months but workers were forced to return to work through hardship leading to the introduction of machine-combing. This Industrial Revolution led to rapid growth, with wool imported in vast quantities for the manufacture of worsted cloth in which Bradford specialised, and the town soon became known as the wool capital of the world.
A permanent military presence was established in the city with the completion of Bradford Moor Barracks in 1844.
Bradford had ample supplies of locally mined coal to provide the power that the industry needed. Local sandstone was an excellent resource for building the mills, and with a population of 182,000 by 1850, the town grew rapidly as workers were attracted by jobs in the textile mills. A desperate shortage of water in Bradford Dale was a serious limitation on industrial expansion and improvement in urban sanitary conditions. In 1854 Bradford Corporation bought the Bradford Water Company and embarked on a huge engineering programme to bring supplies of soft water from Airedale and Wharfedale. By 1882 water supply had radically improved. Meanwhile, urban expansion took place along the routes out of the city towards the Hortons and Bowling and the townships had become part of a continuous urban area by the late 19th century.
A major employer was Titus Salt who in 1833 took over the running of his father's woollen business specialising in fabrics combining alpaca, mohair, cotton and silk. By 1850 he had five mills. However, because of the polluted environment and squalid conditions for his workers Salt left Bradford and transferred his business to Salts Mill in Saltaire in 1850, where in 1853 he began to build the workers' village which has become a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Henry Ripley was a younger contemporary of Titus Salt. He was managing partner of Edward Ripley & Son Ltd, which owned the Bowling Dye Works. In 1880 the dye works employed over 1000 people and was said to be the biggest dye works in Europe. Like Salt he was a councillor, JP and Bradford MP who was deeply concerned to improve working class housing conditions. He built the industrial Model village of Ripley Ville on a site in Broomfields, East Bowling close to the dye works.
Other major employers were Samuel Lister and his brother who were worsted spinners and manufacturers at Lister's Mill (Manningham Mills). Lister epitomised Victorian enterprise but it has been suggested that his capitalist attitude made trade unions necessary. Unprecedented growth created problems with over 200 factory chimneys continually churning out black, sulphurous smoke, Bradford gained the reputation of being the most polluted town in England. There were frequent outbreaks of cholera and typhoid, and only 30% of children born to textile workers reached the age of fifteen. This extreme level of infant and youth mortality contributed to a life expectancy for Bradford residents of just over eighteen years, which was one of the lowest in the country.
Like many major cities Bradford has been a destination for immigrants. In the 1840s Bradford's population was significantly increased by migrants from Ireland, particularly rural Mayo and Sligo, and by 1851 about 10% of the population were born in Ireland, the largest proportion in Yorkshire. Around the middle decades of the 19th century the Irish were concentrated in eight densely settled areas situated near the town centre. One of these was the Bedford Street area of Broomfields which in 1861 contained 1,162 persons of Irish birth—19% of all Irish born persons in the Borough.
During the 1820s and 1830s, there was immigration from Germany. Many were Jewish merchants and they became active in the life of the town. The Jewish community mostly living in the Manningham area of the town, numbered about 100 families but was influential in the development of Bradford as a major exporter of woollen goods from their textile export houses predominately based in Little Germany and the civic life of Bradford. Charles Semon was a textile merchant and philanthropist who developed a productive textile export house in the town, he became the first foreign and Jewish mayor of Bradford in 1864. Jacob Behrens (1806–1889) was the first foreign textile merchant to export woollen goods from the town, his company developed into an international multimillion-pound business. Behrens was a philanthropist, he also helped to establish the Bradford chamber of commerce in 1851. Jacob Moser was a textile merchant who was a partner in the firm Edelstein, Moser and Co, which developed into a successful Bradford textile export house. Moser was a philanthropist, he founded the Bradford Charity Organisation Society and the City Guild of Help. In 1910 Moser became the first Jewish Lord Mayor of Bradford.
To support the textile mills, a large manufacturing base grew up in the town providing textile machinery, and this led to diversification with different industries thriving side by side. The Jowett Motor Company founded in the early 20th century by Benjamin and William Jowett and Arthur V Lamb, manufactured cars and vans in Bradford for 50 years. The Scott Motorcycle Company was a well known producer of motorcycles and light engines for industry. Founded by Alfred Angas Scott in 1908 as the Scott Engineering Company in Bradford, Scott motorcycles were produced until 1978.
Independent Labour Party
The city played an important part in the early history of the Labour Party. A mural on the back of the Bradford Playhouse in Little Germany commemorates the centenary of the founding of the Independent Labour Party in Bradford in 1893.
The Bradford Pals
The Bradford Pals were three First World War Pals battalions of Kitchener's Army raised in the city. When the three battalions were taken over by the British Army they were officially named the 16th, 18th Battalions and 20th (service) Battalion, The Prince of Wales's Own West Yorkshire Regiment.
On the morning of 1 July 1916, an estimated 1,394 young men from Bradford and District The Bradford Pals, the 16th and 18th Battalions of The Prince of Wales's Own West Yorkshire Regiment left their trenches in Northern France to advance across No Man's Land. It was the first hour of the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Of the estimated 1,394 men who left the trenches, 1,060 were either killed or injured during the ill-fated attack on the village of Serre.
Other Bradford Battalions involved in the Battle of the Somme were 1st/6th Territorial Battalion of The Prince of Wales's Own West Yorkshire Regiment, based at Belle View barracks in Manningham and the 10th Battalion of the Prince of Wales's Own West Yorkshire Regiment. The 6th Territorial Battalions of The Prince of Wales's Own West Yorkshire Regiment first saw action in 1915 at Neuve Chapelle before moving north to Yser Canal near Ypres. The 10th Battalion The Prince of Wales's Own West Yorkshire Regiment was involved in the attack on Fricourt, the 10th West Yorks suffered the highest casualty rate of any battalion on the Somme on 1 July and perhaps the highest battalion casualty list for a single day during the entire war. Nearly 60% of the battalion's casualties were deaths.
The 1/2nd and 2/2nd West Riding Brigade Royal Field Artillery (Territorial Force) had their headquarters at Valley Parade in Manningham. They were joined by the Otley, Burley and Ilkley Batteries and crossed to France with the 6th Battalion West Yorks in April 1915. These Territorial forces were to remain close to each other throughout the war, serving in the 49th Division.
The textile industry has been in decline throughout the latter part of the 20th century. A culture of innovation had been fundamental to Bradford's dominance, with new textile technologies being invented in the city; a prime example being the work of Samuel Lister. This innovation culture continues today throughout Bradford's economy, from automotive (Kahn Design) to electronics (Pace Micro Technology). Wm Morrison Supermarkets was founded by William Morrison in 1899, initially as an egg and butter merchant in Rawson Market, operating under the name of Wm Morrison (Provisions) Limited.
The grandest of the mills no longer used for textile production is Lister's Mill, the chimney of which can be seen from most places in Bradford. It has become a beacon of regeneration after a £100 million conversion to apartment blocks by property developer Urban Splash.
In 1989, copies of Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses were burnt in the city, and a section of the Muslim community led a campaign against the book. In July 2001, ethnic tensions led to rioting, and a report described Bradford as fragmented and a city of segregated ethnic communities.
Bradford is located at moorland region of the South Pennines.(53.7500, -1.8333)1. Topographically, it is located in the eastern
Bradford is not built on any substantial body of water but is situated at the junction of three valleys, one of them, that of the Bradford Beck which rises in moorland to the west, and is swelled by its tributaries, the Horton Beck, Westbrook, Bowling Beck and Eastbrook. At the site of the original ford, the beck turns north, and flows towards the River Aire at Shipley. Bradfordale (or Bradforddale) is a name given to this valley (see for example Firth 1997). It can be regarded as one of the Yorkshire Dales, though as it passes though the city, it is often not recognised as such. The beck's course through the city centre is culverted and has been since the mid 19th century. On the 1852 Ordnance Survey map it is visible as far as Sun Bridge, at the end of Tyrrell Street, and then from beside Bradford Forster Square railway station on Kirkgate. On the 1906 Ordnance Survey, it disappears at Tumbling Hill Street, off Thornton Road, and appears north of Cape Street, off Valley Road, though there are culverts as far as Queens Road.
The Bradford Canal, built in 1774, linking the city to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal took its water from Bradford Beck and its tributaries. The supply was often inadequate to feed the locks, and the polluted state of the canal led to its temporary closure in 1866: the canal was closed in the early 20th century as uneconomic.
|The Yorkshire Dales, Skipton, Keighley, Bingley, Cottingley, Heaton||The Yorkshire Dales, Ilkley, Otley, Guiseley, Baildon, Shipley, Saltaire||York, Wetherby, Harrogate, Leeds Bradford Airport, Greengates, Eccleshill|
|University of Bradford, Thornton, Denholme, Oxenhope, Haworth, Hebden Bridge, Todmorden, Burnley||Thornbury, Pudsey, Leeds, Selby|
|Wibsey, Buttershaw, Clayton, Queensbury, Halifax, Rochdale, Oldham, Manchester||Wyke, Oakenshaw, Bailiff Bridge, Cleckheaton, Brighouse, Huddersfield, Holmfirth||East Bowling, Tong, Morley, Batley, Dewsbury, Ossett, Wakefield|
The underlying geology of the city is primarily carboniferous sandstones. These vary in quality from rough rock to fine, honey-coloured stone of building quality. Access to this material has had a pronounced effect on the architecture of the city. The city also lies within the north western parts of the Yorkshire Coalfield which is mostly composed of carboniferous coal measures.
As with the rest of the UK, Bradford experiences a maritime climate, with limited seasonal temperature ranges, and generally moderate rainfall throughout the year. Records have been collected since 1908 from the Met Office's weather station at Lister Park, a short distance north of the city centre. This constitutes one of the nation's longest unbroken records of daily data. The full record can be found on the council's website.
The absolute maximum temperature recorded was 32.2 °C (90.0 °F) in August 1990. In an 'average' year, the warmest day should attain a temperature of 27.5 °C (81.5 °F), with a total of 6 days rising to a maximum of 25.1 °C (77.2 °F) or above.
The absolute minimum temperature recorded was −13.9 °C (7.0 °F) during January 1940. The weather station's elevated suburban location means exceptionally low temperatures are unknown. Typically, 41.4 nights of the year will record an air frost.
Rainfall averages around 870 mm (34 in) per year with over 1 mm falling on 139 days.
Sunshine, at little in excess of 1250 hours per year is low, as one would expect of an inland location in Northern England located amongst upland areas. All averages refer to the 1981–2010 observation period.
|Climate data for Bradford, elevation 134 m,1981–2010, extremes 1908–|
|Record high °C (°F)||14.6
|Average high °C (°F)||6.6
|Average low °C (°F)||1.4
|Record low °C (°F)||−13.9
|Precipitation mm (inches)||92.69
|Source: Calculated from Met Office Long term data|
|Climate data for Bradford, elevation 134 m,1971–2000|
|Average high °C (°F)||6.1
|Average low °C (°F)||1.1
|Precipitation mm (inches)||93.10
|Source: Calculated from Met Office Long term data|
At the 2011 UK census, Bradford had a population of 522,452. There were 106,680 households in Bradford, and the population density was 4,560 inhabitants per square kilometre (11,820/sq mi). For every 100 females, there were 92.9 males. Bradford has the youngest, fastest growing population outside London.
22.1% of the population are British Asian (included in the 26.83% "Asian" figure above), the third-highest percentage of South Asians in a single settlement in England and Wales (behind the city of Leicester at 29.9% and the London Borough of Tower Hamlets). Nearly half of all Asians living in Yorkshire and the Humber live in Bradford, with the central wards of Bradford Moor, City, Little Horton, Manningham and Toller having large majority Asian populations, whereas outlying wards of Bradford such as Thornton and Allerton, Idle and Thackley, Eccleshill, Wibsey, Wyke, Clayton, Wrose, Tong and Royds have predominantly white populations.
|Bradford: Ethnicity: 2011 Census|
|Asian or Asian British||140,149||26.8|
|Black or Black British||9,267||1.8|
|Other Ethnic Group||4,026||0.8|
The Office for National Statistics Regional Trends report, published in June 2009, showed that some parts of Bradford suffer from the highest levels of deprivation in the country, while other areas of Bradford are some of the least deprived in the country. Infant mortality is double the national average, and life expectancy is slightly lower than in other parts of the district.
- See also: List of Grade I listed buildings in City of Bradford
Bradford's oldest building is the cathedral, which for most of its life was a parish church. Few other Medieval buildings have survived apart from Bolling Hall, which has been preserved as a museum.
There are some fine Victorian buildings: apart from the abundance of mills, there is the City Hall (with statues of rulers of England unusually including Oliver Cromwell), the former Wool Exchange, and a large Victorian cemetery at Undercliffe. Little Germany is a splendid Victorian commercial district just east of the city centre which takes its name from 19th century German Jewish immigrants who ran businesses from some of the many listed buildings. Following decades of decay there have been successful conversions to office and residential use. Paper Hall was saved from demolition and renovated in the 1990s and in mid-2005 renovation began on the prominent Eastbrook Hall in Little Germany. This was opened as luxury apartments by Prince Charles in Autumn 2008. Bradford also has a number of architecturally historic hotels that date back to the establishment of the two railway lines into the city centre, back in Victorian times. The Victoria Hotel and the Midland Hotel were built to accommodate business travellers to the city during the height of the woollen trade.
Like many cities, Bradford lost a number of notable buildings to developers in the 1960s and 1970s: particularly mourned at the time were the Swan Arcade and the old Kirkgate Market. In recent years some buildings from that era have themselves been demolished and replaced: Provincial House, next to Centenary Square, was demolished by controlled explosion in 2002, and Forster House was pulled down in 2005 as part of the Broadway development.
Bradford's main art gallery is housed in the grand Edwardian Cartwright Hall in Lister Park. The National Media Museum celebrates cinema and movies, and is the most visited museum outside London. It contains an Imax cinema, the Cubby Broccoli Cinema, and the Pictureville Cinema — described by David Puttnam as the best cinema in Britain.
Also in the city is The St George's Hall—a grand concert hall dating from 1853 making it the oldest concert hall in Britain and the third oldest in the whole of Europe. The Alhambra theatre, built in 1914 for theatre impresario Frank Laidler, and later owned by the Moss Empire group (Oswald Stoll and Edward Moss). The theatre was refurbished in 1986.
Within the city district there are 37 parks and gardens. Lister Park, with its boating lake and Mughal Water Gardens, was voted Britain's Best Park for 2006. Bowling Park in East Bowling is the site of the annual Bradford Carnival celebrating local African and Caribbean culture.
Bradford City Park, now home to the Bradford Festival which includes the Mela, is a six-acre (2.4-hectare) public space in the heart of Bradford which contains the largest man-made water feature in any UK city—a 4,000 m2 (43,000 sq ft) mirror pool featuring more than 100 fountains, including the tallest in any UK city at 30 m (100 ft). When the mirror pool is drained City Park is capable of holding events such as carnivals, markets, theatre productions, screenings and community festivals. Work started on the £24M project in February 2010 and City Park officially opened in March 2012, with thousands of people turning out for the grand opening event.
The Bradford Odeon, formerly the Gaumont and New Victoria Theatre, was built in 1930 as a music venue and cinema with a capacity of over 3,000, and was the largest UK cinema outside London at the time. (Another Odeon, always part of the Odeon Cinemas chain, was built in the city in 1938 and demolished in 1969.) Standing in a conservation area adjacent to the listed Alhambra Theatre, it closed in 2000 and was sold to developer Langtree with the intention it would be demolished and replaced with an apartment and office block. The Odeon was the subject of much controversy over these proposals, with public support in the form of a 10,000-signature petition and ongoing campaigns for its renovation. In his successful by-election campaign for Bradford West in March 2012, George Galloway cited the restoration of the Odeon as his number one priority, later asking Prime Minister David Cameron to intervene. The architectural historian Jonathan Foyle, actresses Imelda Staunton and Jenny Agutter, and director Michael Winner all lent their support to the campaign.
In past centuries Bradford's location in Bradfordale made communications difficult, except from the north. Nonetheless, Bradford is now 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.
Today Bradford is accessed by several trunk roads, the A647 between Leeds and Halifax, via Queensbury, the A650 between Wakefield and Keighley, the A658 to Harrogate and the A6036 to Halifax via Shelf.
The M606, a spur off the M62 motorway, connects Bradford with the national motorway network. Although originally planned to go directly into the city centre it ends at the ring road.
The Bradford Canal was a 4-mile (6.4 km) spur from the Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Shipley. It was built to connect Bradford with the limestone quarries of North Yorkshire, the industrial towns on both sides of the Pennines and the ports of Liverpool and Goole. It opened in 1774, closed in 1866, reopened in 1871, and finally closed in 1922. There are plans to rebuild it as a key part of the regeneration of the city centre.
The Leeds and Bradford Railway opened Forster Square railway station on 1 July 1846 with a service via Shipley to Leeds. The station was rebuilt in the early 1850s and again, in 1890 and 1990.
The Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway opened a station at Drake Street on 9 May 1850, between Manchester and Leeds. The Great Northern Railway opened a third terminus at Adolphus Street in 1854, but the station was too far from the centre, and the two companies built a joint station, Bradford Exchange which opened in 1867. Adolphus Street remained as a goods terminal. In 1973, Exchange station was rebuilt on a different site and in 1983 renamed Bradford Interchange and a bus station built alongside. Forster Square and Bradford Interchange stations are part of the West Yorkshire Metro.
There have been many schemes to link between Bradford's railway terminals. The major redevelopment of the city centre in the 1960s provided an opportunity to connect the termini but was not pursued and large buildings were constructed on the alignment in the 1990s. The main difficulty in connecting the termini is the great difference in elevation: Bradford Interchange is at the end of a long slope, steep by railway standards, but is many feet higher than Forster Square. This gradient is not unprecedented in railway construction and the relocation of Forster Square Station further from the city centre has provided additional space in which the transition could be accomplished.
A tram system was begun by Bradford Corporation in 1882. At first the vehicles were horse-drawn but were replaced by steam-driven trams in 1883, and by electric vehicles in 1898. On 20 June 1911, Britain's first trolleybus systems opened simultaneously in Bradford, between Laisterdyke and Dudley Hill, and in Leeds. The last service in Bradford—and Britain—ceased operation on 26 March 1972. Ten Bradford trolleybuses are preserved at the Sandtoft Trolleybus Museum. In 1974 Bradford's municipal buses were taken over by the West Yorkshire Metro. First Bradford and Arriva are the chief operators of buses in Bradford, with some routes using guided buses.
Leeds Bradford International Airport is 6 miles (9.7 km) to the north east of the city. Bradford and Leeds councils jointly opened the airport in 1931. There has been rapid expansion in recent years, and is the home base of economy Airline Jet2.com. In May 2007 the joint councils sold the airport to Bridgepoint Capital for £145.5 million. Bridgepoint announced that a further £70 million would be invested in airport improvements, to boost passenger figures to over 7 million by 2015.
- See also: Bradford Cathedral and Al Mahdi Mosque
Two carved stones, probably parts of a Saxon preaching cross, were found on the site of Bradford Cathedral. They indicate that Christians may have worshipped here since Paulinus of York came to the north of England in AD 627 on a mission to convert Northumbria. He preached in Dewsbury and it was from there that Bradford was first evangelised. The vicars of Bradford later paid dues to that parish. The most prominent Christian church in Bradford is Bradford Cathedral, originally the Parish Church of St Peter. The parish was in existence by 1283, and there was a stone church on the rock shelf above Bradford Beck by 1327. The Diocese of Bradford was created from part of the Diocese of Ripon in 1919, and the church became a cathedral at that time. Many of the Roman Catholic churches that are found within the city are a legacy of the large Irish population that migrated to Bradford in the 19th century.
The city has a sizeable Indian community and the Lakshmi Narayan mandir which opened in April 2008 is the largest Hindu temple in northern England. There is a Hindu temple and community centre on Thornton Lane and smaller house-based mandirs, as shown in the List of Hindu Temples in England.
The Jewish community was strong in the middle to late 19th century and built Bradford Reform Synagogue in Manningham. This, "The oldest reform synagogue outside London", was established by German Jews who had moved to Bradford for the wool trade. According to historian Sharman Kadish, "The city of Bradford was unique in that it boasted a reform synagogue before it acquired an orthodox one". In 1881 Russian Jews made their home in Bradford, having fled their homeland, and founded an orthodox synagogue. In 2011 the Jewish population was 299.
|Bradford: Religion: 2011 Census|
The district has a tradition of nonconformity which is reflected in the number of chapels erected by Congregationalists, Baptists and Methodists. The city was a centre of the House Church movement in the 1980s, and the Christian charity Christians Against Poverty was founded in the city. Other house churches in the city include El Shaddai International Christian Centre and the World Outreach Church. Bradford is also home to the LIFE Church UK, a large nonconforming Church, that has around 3,000 members.
The National Media Museum hosts the Bradford International Film Festival annually in March. In June 2009 Bradford was designated the world's first UNESCO City of Film for its links to the production and distribution of films, its media and film museum and its "cinematographic legacy".
"Becoming the world's first City of Film is the ultimate celebration of Bradford's established and dynamic history in film and media," said Colin Philpott, director of Bradford's National Media Museum. "With the UNESCO City of Film designation, Bradford will now go on to achieve inspirational projects in film." Simon Beaufoy from Bradford, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Slumdog Millionaire, said the city had played a crucial role in the story of cinema and deserved to be recognised.
The Bradford Animation Festival is the UK's longest-running animation festival. Held each November, the festival hosts an array of screentalks, workshops and special events. The festival culminates in the annual BAF Awards which celebrate new animation from around the world.
The city has a rich heritage in film production and many films and TV productions have been filmed in the city including Room at the Top, Billy Liar and The Red Riding Trilogy. Bradford was the location for the films Yanks, starring Richard Gere, The Railway Children starring Jenny Agutter, a 1970s classic filmed around Haworth including the Bronte Parsonage about Victorian children whose father goes missing and FairyTale: A True Story starring Harvey Keitel based on the story of the Cottingley Fairies. Monty Python's ground-breaking The Meaning of Life and the controversial hit Rita, Sue and Bob Too, about a married man who cannot choose between two teenage lovers, were also filmed in the city.
In recent years Bradford has developed a relationship with Bollywood, hosting the International Indian Film Festival awards in 2007.
There are four theatres in Bradford. The Alhambra also has a smaller studio theatre in the same complex. These are operated by City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council. The Theatre in the Mill is a small studio theatre at the University of Bradford, which presents student and community shows and small-scale touring professional work. The Bradford Playhouse is a privately run venue with a medium-sized proscenium theatre and a small studio.
Among the professional theatre companies based in Bradford are Kala Sangam, the satirical madcap comedy troop, Komedy Kollective, Lost Dog (based at Theatre In The Mill) and Mind the Gap, one of the longest established, who have always worked with a mixture of disabled and able-bodied performers. Groups and organisations teaching theatre include The Asian Theatre School, Bradford Stage and Theatre School and Stage 84. There are also a number of amateur theatre groups.
St George's Hall is a concert hall dating from 1853 making it the oldest concert hall in Britain and the third oldest in Europe. Bradford Festival Choral Society was founded to perform at the inaugural Bradford Musical Festival that took place in August of that year, and the choir is still a part of the musical life of the city. The Hallé Orchestra have been regular visitors over the years, as have a wide range of popular musicians, bands, entertainers, comedians and theatrical productions.
Cinemas have been replaced by vast entertainment complexes with multi-screen cinemas. The Leisure Exchange in the city centre has a 16 screen Cineworld. At Thornbury, on the outskirts is the Odeon Leeds-Bradford with 13 screens which replaced the old Odeon next to the Alhambra which is the continuing focus of protests by Bradfordians who do not wish to see the old building demolished. The University of Bradford also has a cinema run by the Students' Union, operating from the University's Great Hall.
Nightlife in Bradford has traditionally centred on Manor Row and Manningham Lane. More recently, several clubs and pubs have opened in the West End of Bradford, around the Alhambra Theatre, turning what was a previously fairly quiet area into one that is often crowded and vibrant at night. North Parade has also seen several new themed bars open and is at the heart of the Independent Quarter of the city.
Bradford was one of the first areas of the UK to get a local commercial radio station Pennine Radio in September 1975. Today this is The Pulse of West Yorkshire and Pulse Classic Gold. As of 2006[update] Bradford Community Broadcasting based in the city centre has broadcast on full-time Community Radio licence around Bradford and the Aire Valley, whilst the University radio station Ramair broadcasts to the student population. Bradford's only television station AAP TV caters for Bradford's large Asian community. The Telegraph and Argus is Bradford's daily newspaper, published six days each week from Monday to Saturday.
The Bradford Mela is now part of the bigger Bradford Festival which takes place in June. The word mela is Sanskrit for 'a gathering' or 'to meet'. In the UK, melas provide an opportunity for communities to come together to celebrate and share their cultures. Mela festivals include a combination of markets, funfairs, food and drink, arts and workshops, children's activities, strolling entertainment and a variety of music and dance performances on a number of stages. Bradford held the first mela in Europe in September 1988 and it is presently held in Bradford City Park.
Bradford City Park has the largest city centre water feature in the UK.
Museums and art galleries
Bradford is home to the acclaimed National Media Museum (previously the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television) which celebrates cinema and movies, and is the most visited museum outside London. It contains the UK's first IMAX theatre, the Cubby Broccoli Cinema, and the Pictureville Cinema — described by David Puttnam as the best cinema in Britain.
Bradford Industrial Museum was established in 1974 at Moorside Mills, a spinning mill in Eccleshill. The Museum celebrates and explains the significant achievements in Bradford's industrial past, from textiles and printing to the manufacture of motor cars.
A mile from the city centre is Bolling Hall Museum, a part medieval building which offers visitors a journey through the lives and times of the families for which it provided a home for over five hundred years. Rooms are furnished and decorated to give a taste of life at different periods of the house's history.
Bradford's main art gallery is housed in Cartwright Hall in Lister Park. Bradford 1 Gallery is a city centre art gallery opened in October 2007 in a new building in Centenary Square. The gallery shows four temporary exhibitions a year.
Impressions Gallery is an independent contemporary photography gallery with a temporary exhibitions programme showing on average six exhibitions each year. The gallery moved from York to Centenary Square, Bradford, in 2007.
Bradford is the hometown of rock bands, New Model Army, Anti System, Smokie, Southern Death Cult, The Cult, The Scene, Redwire, The Chantel McGregor Band, One Minute Silence, Scars on 45, Terrorvision, My Dying Bride and hip hop group Fun-Da-Mental.
In 2002 Gareth Gates came second in the first series of Pop Idol and went on to achieve 4 UK number one singles before enjoying success in Musical theatre. Kimberly Walsh achieved major success after winning a place in the girl band Girls Aloud in Popstars: The Rivals later in the same year, and in 2010 Zayn Malik came third in The X Factor with his boy band One Direction, who in March 2012 became the first British group to go straight to the top of the US music charts with their debut album.
Curry Capital of Britain
In 2013 Bradford was again crowned "Curry Capital of Britain" after seeing off other strong contenders such as Glasgow and Wolverhampton. Bradford scored highly not just for the quality of food and service offered by each of the restaurants, but also for food hygiene, a deep understanding of the curry restaurant sector and its success in collectively raising funds for food charity The Curry Tree, which seeks to alleviate the plight of the poor in South East Asia. The judges were also particularly impressed by Bradford's International Food Academy and Jamie's Ministry of Food, which teaches the districts residents how to cook quick, simple, healthy and cost-effective meals.
City of Sanctuary
After a campaign in 2008, Bradford was recognised as a 'City of Sanctuary' on 18 November 2010. Bradford is "a place where a broad range of local organisations, community groups and faith communities, as well as local government are publicly committed to welcoming and including people seeking sanctuary." The city has a history of welcoming and including newcomers from throughout the world. An example of this was Bradford's purchase of the Carlton Hostel building in 1939 as part of a Kindertransport scheme, made possible through donations from both Bradford's Jewish community and non–Jews, to house German Jewish refugee children during the Second World War.
In popular culture
In the BBC political satire The Amazing Mrs Pritchard, the Prime Minister considers a proposal to move Parliament to Bradford, as it is closer to the geographic centre of the country than London. The Buttershaw area of the city featured in the 1986 film Rita, Sue and Bob Too, in which two 16-year-old girls were involved in a love triangle with a wealthy married man (played by George Costigan). The film was created by local Andrea Dunbar, and was initially unpopular with local residents due to its negative image of the area, but has since earned itself a good reputation in the local community as Buttershaw's claim to fame.
Bradford features in the 1983 film Monty Python's The Meaning of Life with footage filmed in Lister Park. The 2008 Spooks spin-off for BBC Three, Spooks: Code 9, was filmed in the city.
Bradford is also in the film East is East. Oak Lane is shown in the film when the family visit the city.
Bradford was the focus of a 2012 Channel 4 documentary, Make Bradford British, which examined the level of integration between the city's Christian and Muslim communities.
Series 2 of The Syndicate, which aired in 2013 on BBC One, featured a syndicate involving workers at a public hospital in Bradford.
In the 1993 novel Stone Cold, the main character Link is from Bradford.
Mott The Hoople mention Bradford in their song 'All the way from Memphis': Now it's a mighty long way down rock'n'roll, through the Bradford Cities and the Oreoles.
The Mekons (who formed in nearby Leeds) mention Bradford in the song "Ghosts of American Astronauts": Up in the hills above Bradford / Outside the napalm factory.
The award-winning 2013 film The Selfish Giant takes place in and around Bradford.
Bradford features under the name of "Broadbeck" in the best-selling 1912 novel Windyridge by Bradford novelist Willie Riley.
Bradford is twinned with a number of places around the world:
- Skopje, Macedonia (since 1963)
- Roubaix, France (since 1969)
- Verviers, Belgium (since 1970)
- Mönchengladbach, Germany (since 1971)
- Galway, Ireland (since 1987)
- Mirpur, Azad Kashmir, Pakistan (friendship agreement in 1998)
Images for kids
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