- This article discusses the city Bradford, in West Yorkshire, England. Bradford gives its name to the metropolitan borough named the City of Bradford Metropolitan District, discussed in a separate article, which also takes in many towns and villages in the surrounding area.
- For other places named Bradford, see Bradford (disambiguation).
Bradford is the major settlement in the City of Bradford Metropolitan District, in the north of England in the county of West Yorkshire. It officially became a city in 1897.
The Bradford Metropolitan District (population:477,775) is England's 4th largest district with city status. In terms of the population of its urban area area, which is the primary meaning of city in British English, Bradford is around the tenth largest city in England. It has a large number of recent immigrants, and approximately 22% of the population are from ethnic minority groups, particularly from Pakistan. Asian immigrants' restaurants have led to the city being dubbed "the curry capital of Europe". Bradford is the district with the fourth highest percentage of Muslims in Britain (16.1% compared to an average of 3.0%).
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 city was founded sometime around the time of the Norman Conquest. The stream, called Bradford Beck, now passes through underground tunnels to the River Aire near Shipley.
Bradford was one of the many English cities which really came into its own in 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 centre 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 anywere in Bradford.
The Bradford district also contains the villages of Thornton and Haworth that were the birthplace and home 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 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 2 were from the Bradford area.
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.
Institutions, galleries, parks and Museums
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 used to be famed for its Modern Languages Department.
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 home to the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television.
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.
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.
Bradford was the birthplace of the writers J. B. Priestley & John Braine, the composer Frederick Delius and the artist David Hockney. Commemorated by a statue in the city are Priestley, W.E. Forster after whom Forster Square is named, and Industrialist and inventor Samuel Lister. World War II minister Sir Walter Womersley represented Grimsby. Wm Morrison Supermarkets also originated in Bradford. Richard Whiteley, the host of Countdown, was born in the city. Young Ones and Bottom actor and comedian Adrian Edmondson, Pop Idol runner up Gareth Gates and glove puppet Sooty also hail from Bradford. Edward Garvey , Garda Commissioner, was born in Bradford in 1915 and had a distinguished career in An Garda Síochána (the Irish police). A big name in the world of model railways, Edward Exley, started Edward Exley Limited in Bradford in the 1920s. The Brontë sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Anne were born in Thornton on the outskirts of Bradford. Guitarist Allan Holdsworth, one of the foremost exponents of the instrument, was born in Bradford in 1946.
Bradford is the birthplace of rock bands Terrorvision and The Mission; techno outfit Unique 3 , an important part of the Yorkshire Bleeps and Bass scene of the early 1990s; and Asian hip hop group Fun-Da-Mental .
Bradford is located at (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 iteslf, the rest living in the surrounding towns, villages and countryside.
- Bradford Forster Square was opened by the Leeds and Bradford Railway in the 1850s; later it became part of the Midland Railway system. It is now under the control of the West Yorkshire Metro as part of the Leeds-Bradford Line routes.
- Bradford Interchange: a station was opened by the joint efforts of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway and the Great Northern Railway on 9 May 1850, although the station was rebuilt nearer the city centre in 1867, as Bradford Exchange. That 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. see this site
More information can be found by visiting http://www.bradfordinfo.com and http://www.mapsandstats.com
Last updated: 10-25-2005 20:27:22