Five Bradford objects chosen for Great Exhibition of the North project

Article dated Monday Jun 18, 2018 at 09:34 AM

Five objects from museums and galleries across the Bradford district have been selected to be part of an exciting new web-based project aimed at showcasing the best of the North.

The 'A History of the North in 100 Objects' project, which is part of the Great Exhibition of the North, aims to showcase the pioneering spirit and impact of the North of England's inventors, artists, scientists and designers.

The objects chosen from the Bradford district were all nominated by staff from Bradford Council's Museums and Galleries Service and include Bloss the dog, Delius's Piano, Hattersley looms, Thomas Hood's poem 'The Song of the Shirt' and a pattern book from Salt's Mill.

Bloss the dog was the very first example of an Airedale Terrier. The breed was the result of crossing a number of sporting dogs over several years and was initiated by Bingley resident Thomas Foster. Bloss was born in 1887 and her taxidermied remains are currently on display at Cliffe Castle Museum in Keighley.

Delius's Piano is thought to be the one that the Bradford born composer and internationally renowned musician learned to play on and was purchased for the collection at the Bradford Council-run Bolling Hall.

Hattersley looms, developed by George Hattersley and Sons of Keighley, revolutionised the production of worsted and synthetics. Though the first loom was produced in 1834, it was never delivered as it was smashed up in transit by a group of 'Luddite' handloom weavers fearful for their livelihood. The innovative textile development enabled the cheap mass production of 'luxury' clothing for the average person and you can still buy fabric woven on Hattersley looms today.

The poem 'Song of the Shirt' by Thomas Hood was an enduring symbol for social reform at the turn of the 19th century and was the inspiration for a painting by Bradford artist Albert Rutherston. The poem which includes the lines "Oh, men, with sisters dear! Oh, men, with mothers and wives! It is not linen you're wearing out, but human creatures' lives!" is a social commentary about the plight of female workers, pay, and working conditions, and although so much has improved, it still resonates today.

Salt's pattern book was produced for the original 'Great Industrial Exhibition' in 1853 the same year that Sir Titus Salt built the industrial model village of Saltaire. Sir Titus Salt was the top producer of alpaca wool and Queen Victoria herself sent her alpaca wool to Salt's mill to be woven in to this luxurious fabric. Saltaire is now a UNESCO world heritage site.

Coun Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council's Executive Member for Healthy People and Places, said: “I am delighted that five objects from our district have been chosen for this exciting exhibition. The objects themselves are very representative of the district's history, creativity and its character."

A History of the North in 100 Objects brings together objects that illustrate the richness that comes from this region and its peoples, such as the creation of railways, a flourishing artistic life, the drive for social reform, and the sheer breadth and depth of world renowned inventions.

These 100 objects tell just some of the inspiring stories that reveal the North's ability to reinvent itself, to survive, thrive and create new futures for itself and others.

A History of the North in 100 Objects will be launched on Wednesday 13 June 2018, as part of Great Exhibition of the North, 22 June – 9 September. It is funded by the National Lottery and developed by Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (TWAM).

An interactive and engaging website has been specially created where these fascinating objects can be viewed

Users can search for objects by location, time period, size or theme. The ten big themes explored in the project are: travel and transport, art and design, work and industry, religion and faith, inventions and innovations, sport and leisure, music and entertainment, landscape and natural history, politics and protest, and words and literature.

People are invited to curate their own collection by saving up to 10 objects into a personal 'exhibition' which can then be shared via social media.

People can vote for their favourite exhibitions and the most popular will be displayed prominently on the website.

For more information visit

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