Bradford lies at the heart of the City of Bradford, a metropolitan borough of West Yorkshire, in Northern England. It is situated in the foothills of the Pennines, west of Leeds, and 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 is the fourth largest urban area in the United Kingdom with the Bradford subdivision of the aforementioned urban area having a population of 522,452. Bradford is also part of the Leeds-Bradford Larger Urban Zone (LUZ), the third largest in the UK after London and Manchester, with an estimated population in the 2004 Urban Audit of 2.4 million.
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.
Modern Local Area
Bradford was expanded in 1882 to include
In 1899 it was further expanded by adding
The current city boundaries date from 1 April 1974, when the county borough of Bradford was merged with a number of nearby boroughs and urban districts:
Kildwick was part of Bradford in 1974, but has since been moved into the Craven District (in North Yorkshire).
Most of Bradford is unparished, but there are parish and town councils for most of the outlying towns and villages in the District. From April 2004, the parishes still in existence are:
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 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 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.
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.
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, 2,000 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 2,000 men who left the trenches 1,770 (88.5%) 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.
For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article City of Bradford.