Bradford Council’s Museums and Galleries Collections Team, in collaboration with the Bradford WW1 Group and Bradford Lord Mayor’s Office, have come together to create a new display at City Hall in commemoration of the 107th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. The display focuses on the brave soldiers known as the Bradford Pals.
The unveiling of the new display took place after the annual service held on Saturday, 1 July, at the Bradford cenotaph. This solemn occasion serves as a reminder of the sacrifices made by the Bradford Pals during the First World War.
The Lord Mayor of Bradford unveiled the display, which showcases a variety of objects. These items were generously contributed by the WW1 Group and the council’s museums’ collection. Among the items are souvenir tins, medals, letters detailing the stories of wounded or fallen Pals, as well as the Minute book and plaque from the Bradford Pals Comradeship Association.
A notable inclusion in the display is a brass plaque dedicated to the memory of the Bradford Pals. Originally affixed to a tree in Sheffield Memorial Park, Serre, France, this plaque unfortunately fell down in 2019. Due to the inability to reattach it or find a suitable place within the park, the plaque was returned to Bradford. The WW1 Group, in collaboration with other local organisations, worked alongside the Lord Mayor’s office to ensure that the plaque became the central feature of this City Hall display.
The Bradford City Hall now proudly houses this permanent exhibition, which will be available for public viewing during an open weekend celebration commemorating City Hall’s 150th anniversary. The celebration will take place on Saturday, 9 September, and Sunday, 10 September.
Expressing his thoughts on the display, Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Gerry Barker, remarked, “This is a poignant display of personal items belonging to those from the district who came together to form the Bradford Pals. The sacrifices of those gave so much during the First World War and particularly the Battle of the Somme should never be forgotten. We should also remember the grief and suffering of those families whose loved ones never returned home.”
Tricia Restorick, representing the Bradford WWI Group, said; “Both Pals and Territorials from the Bradford district had a torrid time on 1 July, losing two Commanding Officers (one wounded, one died) and Medical Officer, a former Bradford GP (killed) among many hundreds of casualties. It seems entirely fitting that the Lord Mayor, whose predecessor raised the Pals battalions, should lead these tributes in the presence of many family members descended from the volunteers of 1914.”