150 years of Bradford City Hall celebrated with the launch of a new book

Article dated Wednesday Jun 28, 2023 at 11:32 AM

In September 2023 we will be marking the 150th anniversary of Bradford City Hall. As part of the celebrations a new book has been written telling the story of this magnificent building.

Written by local historian Dr Simon Ross Valentine and jointly funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Bradford Council as part of the council's Bradford District Heritage Action Plan, the book is being launched at an event on Wednesday 28 June, at this year’s Bradford Literature Festival. The author will give a talk on the book, which tells the history of this iconic, significant and beautiful building.

More details of the event and how to book can be found here https://www.bradfordlitfest.co.uk/event/150-years-of-bradford-city-hall/

Built mainly in a Medieval Gothic style, this Grade I listed building is the crowning achievement of the local architects Lockwood & Mawson, who also designed Bradford’s St George’s Hall, the Wool Exchange and Titus Salt’s Mill and model village at Saltaire.

Bradford City Hall’s most notable external feature is the splendid campanile clock tower that soars 217 feet above the multi-award winning City Park. The clock tower, which has 13 bells, is Italianate and was inspired by the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. Another notable feature of the façade are the 35 statues of English and British monarchs which run in chronological order, with Victoria and Elizabeth I on either side of the main entrance. Unusually the statues include Oliver Cromwell who was not a king, but governed as Lord Protector from 1653-1658.

An additional extension, designed by Norman Shaw and local architect FEP Edwards was opened in 1909. It was originally built as a Town Hall and although Bradford became a city in 1897 it wasn’t until 1965 that its name was officially changed to City Hall.

The book launch is the first in a series of special events to celebrate this major milestone in the history of the Bradford district. The building had its Grand Opening on 9 September 1873 and exactly 150 years on, the doors of Bradford City Hall will be thrown open for members of the public to take a look round. The extra special Open Weekend, which is part of the nationwide Heritage Open Days scheme, will take place on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 September 2023. Visitors to the free Open Weekend will be able to take a tour around the glorious building to learn all about its rich history.

Further details of this and other special events and activities to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Bradford City Hall can be found on the Council’s website www.bradford.gov.uk

The Lord Mayor of Bradford Councillor Gerry Barker, said: “I’d like to congratulate Dr Valentine and the officers from the council who have worked so hard on this book. Bradford City Hall has many notable features and a fascinating history and it will be an enjoyable read.”

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