In anticipation of the upcoming 150th anniversary of Bradford City Hall, a remarkable new book has been written to commemorate the historic milestone. Local historian Dr Simon Ross Valentine has penned the comprehensive account, capturing the story of this magnificent architectural masterpiece.
The publication, jointly funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Bradford Council as part of the council’s Bradford District Heritage Action Plan, will be launched during an event on Wednesday, June 28, held in conjunction with this year’s Bradford Literature Festival. Dr Valentine, the esteemed author, will present a talk on the book, which delves into the captivating history of the iconic and resplendent Bradford City Hall.
Imposingly built in the splendid Medieval Gothic style, the Grade I listed City Hall stands as a testament to the skill of its architects, Lockwood & Mawson, who also envisioned Bradford’s renowned St George’s Hall, the Wool Exchange, and the revered Titus Salt’s Mill and model village at Saltaire.
The most striking external feature of Bradford City Hall is its resplendent campanile clock tower, soaring an impressive 217 feet above the acclaimed City Park. Drawing inspiration from the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, the Italianate clock tower boasts 13 bells, contributing to its distinctive allure. Adorning the façade are 35 statues representing English and British monarchs, meticulously arranged in chronological order. Notably, the figures include Oliver Cromwell, who, despite not being a king, governed as Lord Protector from 1653 to 1658.
An additional extension, designed by Norman Shaw and local architect FEP Edwards, was inaugurated in 1909. Initially constructed as a Town Hall, it wasn’t until 1965, almost seven decades later, that the esteemed establishment received its official designation as City Hall, despite Bradford obtaining city status in 1897.
The unveiling of the book marks the commencement of a series of special events honoring this significant milestone in the history of the Bradford district. On September 9, 1873, Bradford City Hall had its Grand Opening, and exactly 150 years later, the doors will swing open to the public. As part of the nationwide Heritage Open Days scheme, an extraordinary Open Weekend will be held on September 9 and 10, 2023, allowing visitors to embark on guided tours of the magnificent structure, unravelling its captivating past.
For further information on this momentous occasion and other extraordinary events and activities commemorating the 150th anniversary of Bradford City Hall, interested individuals can visit the Council’s official website at www.bradford.gov.uk.
Expressing his delight, the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Gerry Baker, extended his congratulations to Dr Valentine and the dedicated council officers involved in bringing the book to fruition. Councillor Baker remarked, “Bradford City Hall boasts numerous notable features and a captivating history, making it a truly enjoyable read.”
To secure a place at the event and learn more about the book launch, interested individuals can find additional details and make reservations at the following link: https://www.bradfordlitfest.co.uk/event/150-years-of-bradford-city-hall/