2014 marked the centenary of the start of World War One, and over the next four years we will be marking this important anniversary with a series of projects, events and exhibitions.
The centenary is a chance to remember the sacrifices and contribution made by Bradford people in the First World War. We have therefore joined forces with the Telegraph & Argus newspaper to launch an appeal for a memorial to local men who lost their lives in the Battle of the Somme.
The Honour the Pals appeal will raise funds for a memorial in France which will hopefully be unveiled in July 2016 as a lasting reminder of the sacrifice made by these World War One heroes.
A poppy from the Tower of London art installation has been bought by the Lord Mayor’s Office to be a permanent tribute to those who lost their lives in the First World War. The ceramic flower was one of 888,246 planted in the dry moat at the Tower for the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation to mark the centenary of the First World War. Bradford’s poppy will go on permanent display in City Hall.
The Lord Mayor, Councillor Mike Gibbons, said: “The poppies at the Tower of London captured everyone’s imagination and were a poignant reminder of those who died in the First World War. “Having a poppy for Bradford will serve as a permanent tribute to those from across our district who made the ultimate sacrifice in the First World War and in subsequent conflicts. We wanted the people of the district to have the opportunity to see this piece of history.”
Bradford Museums & Galleries exhibited the first in a programme of free WW1 themed exhibitions to be displayed across the District over the next four years. Bradford’s War 1914-18 ran from April to November 2014 at the Industrial Museum in Eccleshill and included several successful event days. Bolling Hall will host 2015’s exhibition from 3 June to 20 December 2015 and will include the celebration of the Hall’s 100th anniversary as a public building and museum. The programme will then move to Cartwright Hall Art Gallery in 2016 and Cliffe Castle Museum, Keighley in 2017 before finishing at City Hall in 2018.
For up to date details about all exhibitions and events for Bradford Museums & Galleries please visit www.bradfordmuseums.org
On 4 August 2014 we joined the national Lights Out campaign to mark 100 years since Britain joined the conflict. Bradford's City Park fountain and City Hall clock lights were switched off for a shared moment of reflection. Residents were encouraged to turn off their lights between 10pm and 11pm, leaving on a single light or candle.
A community project to create a textile poppy field made to commemorate the Bradford Pals and other soldiers from the region who lost their lives in WW1 was unveiled at Bradford Industrial Museum on 26 October 2014. With help from artist Naomi Parker, the poppies were made by nine different community groups of older people from across the Bradford district. The poppy field was on display at the museum till June 2015.
Bradford City of Film worked with Undercliffe Cemetery Charity who staged a play in the cemetery commemorating the lives of some of the army personnel buried there. The play was filmed in July and shown later on the Big Screen Bradford. A selection of powerful films from the Imperial War Museums (IWM) Short Film Festival were screened in City Park over three consecutive weekends between Saturday October 25 and Remembrance Sunday on 9 November 2014.
Bradford Theatres celebrated its 100th year with ‘War Horse’ which ran from 26 May to 14 June 2014 and in October played host to Regeneration, a new dramatisation of Pat Barker’s haunting novel about the meeting of war poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen. The production also involved outreach work with local schools and community groups. Sunday 2 November 2014 also saw the Festival of Remembrance at St George's Hall.
Bradford Council’s library service has created a reading rug designed by Bradford school children via Bradford Libraries Poppies Competition and demonstrates traditional skills from the time of WW1. It is envisaged that the library reading rug, once completed, will be used throughout Bradford Libraries for story times. The Poppies competition to design the rug was a huge success with nearly 400 entries from children of all ages. There were ten winners and seventeen highly commended. The winning entries were used by West Riding Ruggers to create the final design. The rug will mainly be the work of Bradford children to commemorate WW1 and to remember the sacrifice that was made so that we could all live to enjoy such freedoms as simply listening to a story or reading a book. To date over 500 children have given their time to “prodding” the rug, with scores of parents, teachers and staff getting involved too. Everyone who has a turn at “prodding” the rug will have their name recorded. This will be documented with the finished rug. Bradford Libraries WW1 Commemoration Reading Rug is an ongoing project working in partnership with West Riding Ruggers. For more information and updates see www.bradford.gov.uk/libraries and www.westridingruggers.co.uk or contact Christinea Donnelly Development Officer for Young People : Bradford Libraries firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also explore Bradford’s history in more detail on our World War One blog, set up by Bradford Council’s library service.
Over the next four years we will continue to update this section of our website with more details of projects and events marking the World War One centenary. We will also be using social media to promote these events so watch out for updates on our Twitter and Facebook accounts. We will be using the hashtag #WW1BD.