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Bradford ( ) is a city and metropolitan borough in West Yorkshire, England. It is situated in the foothills of the Pennines, west of Leedsmarker, and northwest of Wakefieldmarker. Bradford became a municipal borough in 1847, and received its charter as a city in 1897. Following local government reform in 1974, city status was bestowed upon the wider metropolitan borough.

Bradford has a population of 497,400, making it the fourth-most populous metropolitan borough and the sixth-most populous local authority district in the UK. Bradford forms part of the West Yorkshire Urban Areamarker conurbation which in 2001 had a population of 1.5 million and the city is part of the Leeds-Bradford Larger Urban Zone (LUZ), the third largest in the UK after London and Manchester, with an estimated population in the 2004 Urban Audit of 2.4 million.The urban core has a population of 293,717.

Historically a part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, Bradford rose to prominence during the 19th century as an international centre of textile manufacture, particularly wool. It was a boomtown of the Industrial Revolution, and amongst the earliest industrialised settlements, rapidly becoming the "wool capital of the world". The area's access to a supply of coal, iron ore and soft water facilitated the growth of Bradford's manufacturing base, which, as textile manufacture grew, led to an explosion in population and was a stimulus to civic investment; Bradford has fine Victorian architecture including the grand Italianate City Hallmarker.

The textile sector in Bradford fell into a terminal decline from the mid-20th century. Since this time, Bradford has emerged as a tourist destination with attractions such as the National Media Museummarker, Cartwright Hallmarker, and Saltairemarker, a World Heritage Site. However, Bradford has faced similar challenges to the rest of the post-industrial area of Northern England, including deindustrialisation, housing problems, social unrest and serious economic deprivation.

Since the 1950s Bradford has experienced significant levels of immigration, particularly from Pakistanmarker. Bradford has the second highest proportion of Muslims in England and Wales outside London. An estimated 101,967 people of South Asian origin reside in the city, representing around 20.5% of the city's population, with this figure projected to rise to 28% by 2011.

The city is often cited as one of the prime examples of 'parallel communities', where the population is effectively segregated along ethnic, cultural and faith lines.


The name Bradford is derived from the "broad ford" at Church Bank (below the site of Bradford Cathedralmarker) around which a settlement had begun to appear before the time of the Norman Conquest ("Bradeford" in the Domesday book of 1086). The ford crossed the stream called Bradford Beck.


Early history

Bradford was first settled in Saxon times and by the middle ages, had become a small town centred on Kirkgate, Westgate and Ivegate. After an uprising in 1070 against the Norman conquest. Bradford grew slowly over the next two-hundred years as the woollen trade gained in prominence. The Civil War caused a decline in the industry but with the accession of William and Mary in 1689 prosperity began to return. The launch of manufacturing in the early 18th century marked the start of the town's development whilst new canal and turnpike road links encouraged trade.

19th century and the Industrial Revolution

At the turn of the 19th century, Bradford was a small rural market town of 16,000 people, where wool spinning and cloth weaving was carried out in local cottages and farms. The Industrial Revolution led to rapid growth, with wool imported in vast quantities for the manufacture of worsted cloth in which Bradford specialised, and the town soon became known as the wool capital of the world. Yorkshire had plentiful supplies of soft water, which was needed in the cleaning of raw wool, and locally mined coal provided the power that the industry needed. Local Sandstone was an excellent resource for the building of the mills, and with a population of 182.000 by 1850, Bradford had a readily available workforce. Such unprecedented growth did create problems, however. With over 200 factory chimneys continually churning out black, sulphurous smoke, Bradford gained the reputation of being the most polluted town in England. There were regular outbreaks of cholera and typhoid, and only 30% of children born to textile workers reached the age of fifteen. Life expectancy, of just over eighteen years, was one of the lowest in the country.

To support the textile mills, a large manufacturing base grew up in the city providing textile machinery, and this led to diversification with different industries thriving side by side. Bradford's manufacturing history includes the Jowett Motor Company, which had many great achievements during its 50 years of existence.

Recent history

The textile industry began to fall into terminal decline in the 20th century. A culture of innovation had been fundamental to Bradford's dominance, with new textile technologies being invented in the city; a prime example being the work of Samuel Lister. This innovation culture continues today throughout Bradford's economy, from automotive (Kahn Design) to electronics (Pace Micro Technology).Wm Morrison Supermarkets was founded by William Morrison in 1899, initially as an egg and butter merchant in Rawson Market, operating under the name of Wm Morrison (Provisions) Limited.

The grandest of the mills (no longer used for textile production) is Lister Millsmarker, the chimney of which can be seen from most places in Bradford. It has recently become a beacon of regeneration in the city after a £100 million conversion to apartment blocks by property developers Urban Splash.

Salts Millmarker is another large mill that has a new life in the modern era. The mill is occupied by high-technology companies, contemporary design shops and gallery spaces. It is the hub of the world heritage site of Saltairemarker, three miles (4.8 km) north of the city centre.

In January 1989, copies of Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses were publicly burnt in Bradford, and the city's Muslim community took the lead in the campaign against the book in the UK. In July 2001, ethnic tensions led to serious rioting in Bradford, leading to a report describing Bradford as fragmented and as a city of segregated ethnic communities. Bradford has suffered from deep-rooted de-industrialisation, and has some of the poorest levels of social deprivation in the UK, with widespread pockets of exclusion and rates of unemployment in some wards exceeding 25%.


Bradford was incorporated as a municipal borough in 1847, covering the parishes of Bradford, Horton and Manninghammarker. It became a county borough with the passing of the Local Government Act 1888 and Bradford was granted city status by Letters Patent in 1897. The county borough boundaries were expanded in 1882 and again in 1899. Claytonmarker was added in 1930.

The county borough was merged with the Borough of Keighleymarker, the Urban Districts of Baildonmarker, Bingleymarker, Cullingworthmarker, Denholmemarker, Ilkleymarker, Shipleymarker and Silsdenmarker, along with part of Queensbury and Shelfmarker Urban District and part of Skipton Rural Districtmarker by the Local Government Act 1972.

City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, which is based at Bradford City Hallmarker in Centenary Square, governs the whole metropolitan district. The city is divided into 30 Electoral Wards. As of 2009, there are 37 Conservative councillors, 35 Labour, 13 Liberal Democrat, 3 Green and 2 representing the British National Party. At present, no party is in overall control of the council.

A life-size statue of Oliver Cromwell decorates the façade of the City Hallmarker, suggesting a continuing commitment to parliamentary values. However, Bradford did not gain its own MPs until the Reform Act 1832 gave it two.

Today, Bradford is represented by five MPs: for the constituencies of Keighleymarker (Ann Cryer, Labour), Shipleymarker (Philip Davies, Conservative), Bradford Northmarker (Terry Rooney, Labour), Bradford West (Marsha Singh, Labour) and Bradford Southmarker (Gerry Sutcliffe, Labour). Bradford is within the Yorkshire and the Humber European constituency, which is represented by two Conservative, one Labour, one UKIP, one Liberal Democrat and one BNP MEPs. The voting figures for Bradford in the European Parliament election in June 2009 were: Conservative 24.7%, Labour 22.6%, UKIP 14.9%, Lib Dem 13.4%, BNP 9.4%, Green 8.8%.

The city played an important part in the early history of the Labour Party. A mural on the back of the Priestley Centre For The Arts (visible from Leeds Road) commemorates the centenary of the founding of the Independent Labour Party in 1893.


Bradford is located at (53.7500, -1.8333)1. Topographically, it is located in the eastern part of the moorland region called the South Penninesmarker

Panorama over Bradford, 2006
Unusually for a major city, Bradford is not built on any substantial body of water. The ford from which it takes its name (Broad-Ford) was a crossing of the stream called Bradford Beck. The beck rises in the Pennine hills to the west of the city, and is swelled by tributaries such as Horton Beck, Westbrook, Bowling Beck and Eastbrook. At the site of the original ford, just below the present Bradford Cathedralmarker, it turns north, and flows more or less straight towards the River Airemarker at Shipleymarker. Bradfordale (or Bradforddale) is a name given by geographers to the valley of Bradford Beck (see for example Firth 1997 ). It can reasonably be regarded as one of the Yorkshire Dalesmarker, though as the site of a big city, it is often not recognised as such.

The beck's course through the city centre is entirely underground, and was mostly so by the middle of the 19th century. On the 1852 Ordnance Surveymarker map of Bradford it is visible as far as Sun Bridge, at the end of Tyrrell Street, and then again from beside the railway stationmarker at the bottom of Kirkgate. On the 1906 Ordnance Survey, it disappears at Tumbling Hill Street, off Thornton Road, and first appears again north of Cape Street, off Valley Road, though there are further culverts as far as Queens Road. This is substantially the position today.

The Bradford Canal, built in 1774, took its water from Bradford Beck and its tributaries. This supply was often inadequate to feed the locks, and the polluted state of the canal led to its temporary closure in 1866: the canal was closed in the early 20th century as uneconomic. 'The Channel' is another facet of the Alsop plan, envisaging the creation of a new canal-side community through its reopening.


As of the 2001 UK census, the City of Bradford had a population of 467,455. Of the 180,246 households in Bradford, 36.5% were married couples living together, 28% were one-person households, 10.8% were lone parents and 8.4% were co-habiting couples, following a similar trend to the rest of England.The population density was 1,290 inhabitants per square kilometre (3,341/sq mi) and for every 100 females, there were 92.8 males. Of those aged 16–74, 24.5% had no academic qualifications, lower than the 28.9% in all of England. 11.8% of Bradford residents were born outside the United Kingdom, higher than the England average of 9.2%.

In 2006, it was estimated that 74.9% of the city's population was White (72.2% White British, 0.7% White Irish and 2.1% as Other White), 2.9% Mixed Race, 20.5% Asian or Asian British, 1.6% Black and 0.6% from other races. 16.8% of the population are of South Asian origin, representing the second highest proportion in England and Wales outside Londonmarker, in terms of both population (behind Birminghammarker) and percentage (behind Blackburn with Darwen). Nearly half of all Asians living in Yorkshire and the Humber live in Bradford, with one district, Frizinghall, having the highest concentration of Pakistanis in England and Wales, making up 73% of the local population. Accordingly, the city has a large Islamic population, with 16.08% of the population identifying themselves as Muslim in the 2001 census. 60.14% were Christians, 1.02% Sikhs, 0.95% Hindus and 13.3% were identified as having no religion. The percentage of Jews, Buddhists and those following other religions each amounted to fewer than 0.5% of the city's population.

The ONS Regional Trends report, published in June 2009, showed that most of the urban core and 41% of the district as a whole were among the most deprived in the country. Bradford has one of the highest unemployment rates in England, with the economic inactivity rates of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups standing at over 50% of the working age population.

The crime rate in Bradford is significantly higher than the national average. In July 2006, the think tank Reform calculated rates of crime for different offences, relating this to populations of major urban areas (defined as towns over 100,000 population). The study ranked Bradford as the second most dangerous city in England and Wales with 98.3 serious offences per 1,000 population, behind Nottinghammarker. The city was shown to have the highest level of gun crime in the country, and was amongst the top 5 for incidents of burglary, rape, assault and vehicle crime.


Bradford's traditional textile industry has been in decline for many years. However, Bradford's economy has diversified and the city is now home to several major companies, notably in Travel (Thomas Cook Head Office), Finance (Yorkshire Building Society, Provident Financial), Retail (Morrisons supermarkets, Grattan Mail Order), Electronics (Pace Micro, Filtronic), Engineering (NG Bailey, Powell Switchgear), Manufacturing (Denso Marston, CIBA Chemicals, Bailey Offsite). Bradford is also home to several successful Asian businesses including the Mumtaz restaurant chain and Safestyle UK among others.


Bridge Street and Sunbridge Road.
In 2004, the Bradford Urban Regeneration Company commissioned architect Will Alsop to create a vision for the city's future and the role of a "city centre" in the 21st century. The audacious (yet controversial) Alsop plan envisaged four regenerated quarters within the heart of the city — The Bowl, The Channel, The Market and The Valley. Each would create new public spaces for commerce, education and leisure and would showcase Bradford's setting within the Pennine region. Many significant developments have been completed, with further large schemes proposed and currently under construction.

Completed include:
  • Centenary Square, city centre, public piazza and retail.
  • Connecting the City, £20 million clearance of 1960s structures over several acres of the city centre, in preparation for the Broadway project.
  • Lister Millsmarker Silk Warehouse, Manningham.
  • Victoria Mill, Shipley, £70 million conversion and new build, 300 apartments.
  • City termination of M606.
  • Leisure Exchange, city centre, multiplex cinemas, bowling, restaurants.
  • New Class 333 electric trains (similar to Heathrow Express) from Forster Square railway stationmarker to Leeds/Ilkley/Skipton/Shipley/Bingley/Keighley.
  • Abbey offices, Yorkshire Building Society offices in the city centre.
  • Valley Parademarker, Manningham, Bradford City's 25,000 capacity all-seater stadium.
  • Manchester Road corridor, a guided bus route with innovative art installation/bus stops.
  • Bingley Relief Road, a £49 million project creating a high-speed route through Airedale.
  • Rawson Quartermarker, redevelopment of the former Rawson Market.
  • Lister Millsmarker Velvet Mill, 170 apartments.
  • The Gatehausmarker, Little Germany, a £22 million 11 floor apartment building.
  • Eastbrook Hall, Little Germany, £12 million rebuilding significant structure to create commercial and living space.

Under construction and proposed:
  • Broadway Project, £300 million city centre shops, offices and apartments (construction on hold until the economy recovers from recession).
  • Listerhills urban village, £90 million mixed use project, student and key-worker housing, in the city centre Thornton Road/Valley area.
  • New Victoria Place, £55 million hotel, public square, offices, retail, Bradford College, 205 apartments, adjacent to the Alhambra Theatre and Centenary Square (proposed, site is under discussion).
  • Channel neighbourhood, £350 million waterside project in the city centre Canal Road area, with shops, offices, apartments, includes reopening the Bradford Canal (in planning).
  • University campus refurbishment, £75 million project as part of 'Ecoversity' vision (part complete).
  • Lister Millsmarker further phases of a £100 million project, Chimney Square, Boiler House, link to Victor Road and Lister Park (proposed).
  • Drummonds, Manningham, conversion of mills to apartments and offices (proposed).
  • The Bowl, centrepiece of the Alsop Masterplan large pool backed by City Hall, the future gathering place for Bradfordians (purchase of land in progress).
  • Citygate project, Manchester Road (city centre end) hotel, residential and commercial buildings including a 38 storey tower, making it Bradford's tallest building (completion 2012).
  • Beehive Mills, Thornton Road, residential apartments and commercial uses on the ground floors including a 22 storey tower (completion 2010).


Bradford's oldest building is the cathedralmarker, which for most of its life was a parish church. Few other Medieval buildings have survived apart from Bolling Hallmarker, which has been preserved as a museum.
There are some fine Victorian buildings: apart from the abundance of mills, there is the City Hallmarker (with statues of rulers of England unusually including Oliver Cromwell), the former Wool Exchangemarker, and a large Victorian cemetery at Undercliffe. Little Germany is a splendid Victorian commercial district just east of the city centre which takes its name from 19th century immigrants who ran businesses from some of the many listed buildings. Following decades of decay there have been successful conversions to office and residential use. In mid-2005 renovation began on the prominent Eastbrook Hall in Little Germany. Bradford also has a number of architecturally historic hotels that date back to the establishment of the two railway lines into the city centre, back in Victorian times. The Victoria Hotel and the Midland Hotelmarker were built to accommodate business travellers to the city during the height of the woollen trade.
Undercliffe Cemetery
Like many cities, Bradford lost a number of notable buildings to developers in the 1960s and 1970s: particularly mourned at the time were the Swan Arcademarker and the old Kirkgate Market. In recent years some buildings from that era have themselves been demolished and replaced: Provincial House, next to Centenary Square, was demolished by controlled explosion in 2002, and Forster House was pulled down in 2005 as part of the Broadway development.

Bradford's main art gallery is housed in the grand Edwardian Cartwright Hallmarker in Lister Parkmarker. The National Media Museummarker celebrates cinema and movies, and is the most visited museum outside London. It contains an Imax cinema, the Cubby Broccoli Cinema, and the Pictureville Cinema — described by David Puttnam as the best cinema in Britain.

Also in the city is The St George's Hallmarker - a grand concert hall dating from 1853. The former Odeon cinema was the recent focus of protests by Bradfordians who did not wish to see the old building close. Adjacent is the Alhambramarker theatre, built in 1914 for theatre impresario Frank Laidler, and later owned by the Moss Empire group (Oswald Stoll and Edward Moss). The theatre was refurbished in 1986.

The Bradford Odeon, now closed and faced with the possibility of an unpopular demolition.


  • Bradford City Fire Memorial.
  • Bradford City of Peace.
  • Bhopal Workers' Memorial Day Plaque.

Centenary Square Memorial Garden

Jacobs Well


In past centuries Bradford's location in Bradfordale made communications difficult, except from the north. Nonetheless, Bradford is now well-served by transport systems.Bradford was first connected to the developing turnpike network in 1734, when the first Yorkshiremarker turnpike was built between Manchestermarker and Leedsmarker via Halifaxmarker and Bradford.

Today Bradford lies on several trunk roads:

The M606, a spur off the M62 motorway, connects Bradford with the national motorway network. Although it was originally planned to go directly into the city centre, this has never been built and is unlikely now ever to be, as a hotel has been built across the proposed route.

Bradford's tram system was begun by Bradford Corporationmarker in 1882. At first the vehicles were horse-drawn but were replaced by steam-driven trams in 1883, and by electric ones in 1898. On 20 June 1911, Britain's first trolleybus service opened in Bradford, between Laisterdyke and Dudley Hill. The last service in Bradford — and indeed in Britain — ceased operation on 26 March 1972. Ten Bradford trolleybuses are now preserved at the Trolleybus Museummarker at Sandtoftmarker, Lincolnshiremarker. In 1974 Bradford's municipal buses were taken over by the West Yorkshire Metro. First Bradford and Arriva are now the chief operators of buses in Bradford, with some routes using guided buses.

The Bradford Canal was a long spur off the Leeds and Liverpool Canalmarker at Shipleymarker. It was planned and built as part of the original Leeds and Liverpool project, to connect Bradford with the limestone quarries of north Yorkshire, the industrial towns on both sides of the Pennines and the ports on each coast. It opened in 1774, closed in 1866, reopened in 1871, and finally closed in 1922. There are plans to rebuild the canal as a key part of the regeneration of the city centre (see the main article).

The Leeds and Bradford Railway opened Bradford's first railway station on 1 July 1846. It offered a service via Shipleymarker to Leedsmarker. The station was rebuilt in the early 1850s and again, in 1890. Today it is a smaller railway station dating from 1990, called Forster Square railway stationmarker though it is somewhat distant from Forster Square itself.
The Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway opened its station at Drake Street on 9 May 1850, on its line between Manchestermarker and Leedsmarker. The Great Northern Railway opened a third terminus at Adolphus Streetmarker to serve Leeds and places on its network in 1854, but the station was located too far from the centre, and the two companies eventually agreed to build a joint station to replace the L&Y's station at Drake Street. This station was named Bradford Exchange railway stationmarker, and opened in 1867. Adolphus Street remained as a goods terminal. By 1973, The Exchange Station was deemed too large and was rebuilt on a different site. In 1983 that station was renamed Bradford Interchangemarker when a large bus station was built alongside. Both Forster Squaremarker and Bradford Interchangemarker stations are under the control of the West Yorkshire Metro as part of the Leeds-Bradford Line routes.

There have been many schemes to build a link between Bradford's main railway terminals, but none has ever come to fruition. The major redevelopment of the city centre in the 1960s provided an opportunity to connect the two termini but this was not pursued. A limitation currently exists with such a connection in that large buildings were constructed on the alignment in the 1990s. The main practical difficulty in connecting the termini is the great difference in elevation: the Interchangemarker station is already at the bottom of a long slope, steep by railway standards, but is still many feet higher than Forster Square Stationmarker. However, this gradient is not unprecedented in railway construction terms and the relocation of Forster Square Station further from the city centre has provided additional space in which the transition could be accomplished.

Some bus services, such as the MetroConnect services to Leeds Bradford International Airportmarker, call at both stations, and a zero-fare bus service funded by Bradford council and Metro was launched in September 2008.

The city is served by Leeds Bradford International Airportmarker, to the north east of the city. Bradford and Leeds councils jointly opened the airport in 1931. There has been rapid expansion in recent years, and is the home base of economy Airline In May 2007 the joint councils sold the airport to Bridgepoint Capital for £145.5 million. Bridgepoint announced that a further £70 million would be invested in airport improvements, to boost passenger figures to over 7 million by 2015. The airport has recently announced a new long-haul route to Islamabadmarker using wide-bodied Airbus A310 aircraft. It is hoped this spurs on new routes from the airport.


The University of Bradfordmarker which has over 10,000 students received its Royal Charter in 1966, but traces its history back to the 1860s. It has always been a technical and technological institution, and has no true arts faculties; yet it still covers a wide range of subjects including technology & management science, optometry, pharmacy, medical sciences, nursing studies, archaeology and modern languages. Its Peace Studies Department, founded with Quaker support in 1973, was for a long time the only such institution in the UK.
terms of nationally recognised leading areas of research there are various departments such as Institute of Pharmaceutical Innovation, Institute of Cancer Therapeutics, Bradford School of Pharmacy, Peace Studies, Archaeology, Engineering, Management, Biochemistry, amongst others. The university balances academic research and teaching quality with a strong tradition of social inclusion.

University of Bradford School of Managementmarker located near Lister Park, in 2008, was rated the 11th best business school in the UK by the Financial Times and 21st best by The Economist.

Bradford Collegemarker has around 26,000 students. It developed from the 19th century technical college whose buildings it has inherited. It now offers a wide range of further and higher educational courses, and is an Associate College of Leeds Metropolitan Universitymarker. It has absorbed the Art School whose most famous alumnus is David Hockney.

Culture and recreation

Bradford's main art gallery is housed in the grand Edwardian Cartwright Hallmarker in Lister Parkmarker. Salts Millmarker has the world's largest collection of David Hockney artworks. Bradford Industrial Museum celebrates and explains the significant achievements in Bradford's industrial past, from textiles to the manufacture of motor cars. Colour was important in the development of the textile industry and the educational Bradford Colour Museum is unique in the UK. It is run by the Society of Dyers and Colourists.

The National Media Museummarker celebrates cinema and movies, and is the most visited museum outside London. It contains an Imax cinema, the Cubby Broccoli Cinema, and the Pictureville Cinema — described by David Puttnam as the best cinema in Britain. The museum has a rich and varied programme of films from around the world. Bradford's contribution to the world of film has been recognised internationally as it became UNESCOmarker's first City of Film in 2009.

Traditional cinemas in Bradford have been replaced by new entertainment complexes with multi-screen cinemas. There are two multiplex cinemas in Bradford. Cineworld is at the Leisure Exchange in the city centre. The Odeon Leeds-Bradfordmarker is at Thornburymarker, on the outskirts of Bradford. The latter replaced the old Odeon next to the Alhambra which was the recent focus of protests by Bradfordians who did not wish to see the old building close. The University of Bradford also has a cinema run by the Students' Union. The Bradford Student Cinema operates from the University's Great Hall.

There are four theatres in Bradford: aside from The Alhambramarker, there is a smaller Studio theatre in the same complex. Both of these are operated by City of Bradford Metropolitan District Councilmarker. The Theatre in the Mill is a small studio theatre at the University of Bradfordmarker which presents both student and community shows and small-scale touring professional work. The Priestleymarker Theatre is a privately run venue with a medium-sized proscenium theatre and a small studio.

Among the professional theatre companies based in Bradford are Kala Sangam, the satirical madcap comedy troop, Komedy Kollective, Lost Dog (based at Theatre In The Mill) and Mind the Gap, one of the longest established, who have always worked with a mixture of disabled and able-bodied performers. Groups and organisations teaching theatre include The Asian Theatre School, Bradford Stage and Theatre School and Stage 84. There are also a number of amateur theatre groups in the city.

St George's Hallmarker is a grand concert hall dating from 1853. The Hallé Orchestra have been regular visitors over the years, as have a wide range of popular musicians, bands, entertainers and comedians. It is sometimes used for theatrical productions. Although Bradford was home to composer Frederick Delius, there are currently no prominent professional music ensembles based in Bradford, though there are some prominent amateur groups such as the Bradford Festival Chorus.

Mono is a monthly rock fanzine published in Bradford, covering the local alternative/independent rock music scene. The city is the birthplace of rock bands New Model Army, Anti System, Smokie, Southern Death Cult/The Cult, The Scene, One Minute Silence, Terrorvision and Asian hip hop group Fun-Da-Mental.

Each year the city hosts several successful festivals. The Bradford Mela, the biggest of its kind outside Asia, takes place in June. The Ilkley Literature Festival in September and October is the largest and most prestigious in the north attracting big names from the arts and entertainment. The city is also known for its various film festivals hosted by the National Media Museummarker. These include The Bradford Film Festival in March, Bite The Mango Film Festival (World Cinema) in September, plus the Bradford Animation Festival held each November. The council also organises annual music festival Bingley Music Live held in Myrtle Park, Bingleymarker.

Nightlife in Bradford has traditionally centred around Manor Row and Manningham Lane. More recently, several clubs and pubs have opened in the West End of Bradford, around the Alhambra Theatremarker, turning what was previously a fairly quiet area into one that is often crowded and raucous at night.

Within the city district there are 37 parks and gardens. Lister Parkmarker, with its boating lake and Mughal Water Gardens, was voted Britain's Best Park for 2006. Peel Park is the venue for the annual Mela — a celebration of eastern culture, and Bowling Park in East Bowlingmarker is the site where the annual Bradford Carnival takes place, celebrating local African and Caribbean culture. Beauty spot, Chellow Dene, has two Victorian reservoirs set in pleasant woodland. To the west and north of Bradford are picturesque and atmospheric moorlands: the famous Ilkley Moormarker and moors above Haworthmarker known internationally for its connection with the Brontë sisters.

Bradford was one of the first areas of the UK to get a local commercial radio station Pennine Radio in September 1975. Today this is The Pulse of West Yorkshire and Pulse Classic Gold. Bradford Community Broadcasting based in the city centre has broadcast on full-time Community Radio license around Bradford and the Aire Valley, whilst the University radio station Ramair broadcasts to the student population. Bradford's only Television station AAP TV caters for Bradford's large Asian community. The Telegraph and Argusmarker is Bradford's daily newspaper, published six days each week from Monday to Saturday.


The city has a long rugby tradition, and Bradford Bulls (formerly Bradford Northern) are one of the most successful rugby league clubs in the world, winning the World Club Championship three times since 2002 and also seven times winners of the Rugby League Championship. The home of the Bulls is Grattan Stadium, Odsalmarker (formerly Odsal Stadium) in the south of the city. The city is also home to a number of rugby union clubs — Bradford and Bingley RFC (The Bees) are based to the north of the city in Bingley; Bradford Salem are based in the Heaton area and Wibsey RFC can be found in that district to the south of the city centre. The Richard Dunn Sports Centre is located close to the Grattan Stadium, Odsalmarker and the sports facilities at the university are also open to the public at certain times.

League football was introduced to West Yorkshire in Bradford, when Bradford City were formed in 1903. James Whyte, a sub-editor of the Bradford Observer had met with Football Association representative John Brunt in January to discuss the plans, and in May, Manningham RFC, a rugby league side decided to change codes to association football. The Football League subsequently elected Bradford City to the league, with a total of 30 votes to replace Doncaster Rovers, because it saw the invitation as a chance to introduce football to the rugby-dominated county. Just eight years after they were elected to the league, City won the FA Cup and recorded the highest league position in their history. The club now plays in the bottom tier of The Football League following two periods of administration, but their ground suffered one of the worst all-time sporting disasters in the world after 56 people died at Valley Parademarker on 11 May 1985. A second side from the city, Bradford Park Avenue were successful in The Football League until they dropped out of the league in 1974. They now play in the regional league, which means the Bradford derby has not been exercised in years. Their ground hosted county cricket for Yorkshire as well as football.

Bradford was once home to the now-defunct Bradford Dukes speedway team, which raced at Odsal. Speedway was staged at Greenfields Stadium in the pioneer days, when it was known as the Autodrome, and it was used for a couple of seasons in the early 1960s. Odsal opened its doors soon after the war in Europe ended in 1945 and continued in the late 1950s. It entered a team in the 1960 Provincial League then fell dormant until the 1970s when it re-opened and ran for many years. The track staged a number of big meetings including Speedway World Finals.

The speedway team rode under a number of names - probably the longest running was Bradford Norther - in common with the Rugby League team at the same venue. This was changed in years of decline to Bradford Barons - emulating the more successful Halifax Dukes. Eventually the Halifax team was brought to Bradford under the name Bradford Dukes, who at times changed their name to reflect their sponsor "Coalite Dukes" being possibly the most memorable.


The most prominent Christian church in Bradford is Bradford Cathedralmarker, originally the Parish Church of St Peter. The parish of Bradford was in existence by 1283, and there was a stone church on the shelf above Bradford Beck by 1327. The Diocese of Bradfordmarker was created from part of the Diocese of Riponmarker in 1919, and the church became a cathedral at that time.

With such a significant Pakistani population, Islam has become prominent throughout the city. This is particularly the case in inner city areas such as Manninghammarker, where a majority of the population are Muslim. Accordingly, the city has many mosques. Some were converted from churches or other buildings, but there are also several that have been purpose-built. The largest of these is the Hanfia Masjid in Manninghammarker. Another large mosque in Bradford is Madni Jamia Masjid which recently won the Model Mosque (Islam Channel) award. There is ongoing construction of a mosque and college in the area of Horton Grange, and in 2008 work was completed on a new mosque in Girlington for the city's Dawoodi Bohra Muslims. This community is a sub sect of Ismaili Shia Islam.

The city also has a sizeable Indian immigrant community, and there are a significant number of Hindus in the area. The Lakshmi Narayan mandir opened officially on 20 April 2008 and is the largest Hindu temple in Northern England. Also in Bradford is the Hindu Temple and Community Centre on Thornton Lane. There are also smaller house-based mandirs, as shown in the List of Hindu Temples.

There is also a prominent Sikh community in Bradford, with six gurudwaras (Sikh places of worship) around the city. The Sikh festival of Vaisakhi (Baisakhi) is also celebrated on 14 April every year, this sees Sikhs from Bradford and the surrounding area travel to each of the gurudwaras in the city in a procession called a nagar kirtan. There are three gurudwaras in the Leeds Road area of Bradford alone, Gobind Singh Gurudwara, on Gobind Marg, being the largest of these. There is a Ramgharia Gurudwara on Bolton Road and Guru Nanak Gurudwara is on Wakefield Road.

Over the years, most of the Jewish population have migrated to Leedsmarker. The Jewish community in Bradford was strong in the middle to late 19th century, and there is a 19th century Reform synagogue in Bowland Street in the Manninghammarker area. This, "The oldest Reform synagogue outside London", was established by German Jews who had moved to Bradford for the wool trade. According to historian Shatman Kadish, "The city of Bradford was unique in that it boasted a Reform synagogue before it acquired an Orthodox one".

The district has a tradition of nonconformity which is reflected in the number of chapels erected by Congregationalists, Baptists, Methodists etc. The city was a major centre of the House Church movement in the 1980s, and the Christian charity Christians Against Poverty was founded in the city. Other house churches in the city include El Shaddai International Christian Centre and the World Outreach Church. Bradford is also home to the Abundant Life Churchmarker, a large nonconforming Church, that has around 3,000 members.

Two carved stones, probably parts of a Saxon preaching cross, were found on the site of Bradford Cathedral. They indicate that Christians may have worshipped here since Paulinus of York came to the north of England in AD 627 on a mission to convert Northumbriamarker. He preached in Dewsburymarker and it was from there that Bradford was first evangelised. The vicars of Bradford later paid dues to that parish.

Public services

There are two major hospitals in Bradford: Bradford Royal Infirmarymarker and St Luke's Hospitalmarker, Yorkshire Clinic, Shipley and the Yorkshire Eye Hospital, Greengates.

Bradford is the focus of one of the UK's largest ever birth cohort studies, known as Born in Bradford. Partly supported by European funding, it is the result of close collaboration between the University of Bradfordmarker, the NHS and other institutions in West Yorkshire. It will track the lives of all the babies born in the city from 2006 to 2008 and aims to find solutions to some of Bradford's public health problems, such as obesity and a higher than average infant mortality rate.


In a 2006 study by the think tank Reform into urban crime rankings, Bradford was ranked the second most dangerous city in England and Wales. The city was shown to have the highest level of gun crime of all the cities surveyed. There have been some high profile shootings in Bradford, such as the death of PC Sharon Beshenivsky, when she responded to a burglary at a travel agents in the city centre. Bradford was shown to have the second highest rate of assaults per 1000 population, as well as the second highest rate of burglary offences, at over double the national average. The city had the fifth highest rate of vehicle crime and rape offences, and the eighth highest murder rate of the 55 cities studied.

Bradford has also witnessed two serious riots in the past 15 years:

Manningham Riots

The Manningham Riot was a short but intense period of rioting which took place from 10 to 12 June 1995, in the district of Manninghammarker in Bradford.

A series of widely publicised riots and racial disturbances have occurred in this part of Bradford since the mid 1990s, which have often been attributed to the segregation that has been identified between the various ethnic groups present in the city. The riot of summer 1995 was limited to a relatively confined area of the city, but was seen as indicative of the circumstances which led to the later and more widespread riot of summer 2001.

Bradford Riots

The Upper Globe pub was attacked during the riot and has since lain derelict.
The Bradford Riots were a short but intense period of rioting which began on 7 July 2001, in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. It occurred as a result of heightened tension between ethnic minority communities and the city's white majority, stoked by confrontation between the Anti-Nazi League and far right groups such as the National Front. Similar race riots had occurred a few days earlier in other parts of northern England.

More than 300 police officers were hurt during the riot. There were 297 arrests in total; 187 people were charged with riot, 45 with violent disorder and 200 jail sentences totalling 604 years were handed down, the most ever handed out for public disturbance by some margin. The last rioter was sentenced six-and-a-half years after the events; the number of convictions for riot was unprecedented in English legal history. In fact, the next highest amount was 5 for an investigation in London. The estimated damage was put at £7 million. The government subsequently commissioned the Cantle report which made 67 recommendations. In 2006 Channel 4 produced a TV fictional drama based loosely on the riots from the perspective of an Asian family.

Notable Bradfordians

Only a few particularly notable names are listed here. See :Category:People from Bradford for a fuller list The people in this list were either born or brought up in Bradford (not necessarily both), or had a significant connection with the city later in life. Those marked with an asterisk ('*') are described in Lister, 2004.

In popular culture

In the BBC political satire The Amazing Mrs Pritchard, the Prime Minister considers a proposal to move Parliament to Bradford, as it is closer to the geographic centre of the country than London. The Buttershawmarker area of the city featured in the 1986 film Rita, Sue and Bob Too, in which two 16-year-old girls were involved in a love triangle with a wealthy married man (played by George Costigan). The film was created by Andrea Dunbar, who died four years after it was made. It was initially unpopular with local residents due to its negative image of the area, but has since earned itself a good reputation in the local community as Buttershaw's claim to fame.

Bradford features in the 1983 film Monty Python's The Meaning of Life with footage filmed in Lister Parkmarker. The new Spooks spin-off for BBC Three, Spooks: Code 9 was filmed in Bradford.

Bradford is also in the film East is East. Oak Lane is shown in the film when the family go to Bradford to visit Mr.Shahand his family.

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Bradford's current twin towns and cities are listed at

See also


  • . This was surveyed 1847–1850, and published in 1852, though it was reprinted at various dates with certain (unidentified) details updated. The modern edition from Heritage Cartography is 'redrawn' from the original, and titled Bradford 1849, but the railways shown indicate that it is from a printing of at least 1854.

  2. Office for National Statistics : Census 2001 : Urban Areas : Table KS01 : Usual Resident Population Retrieved 2009-08-26
  11. Student pack
  31. [1]
  32. [2]
  33. Masterplan
  34. [3]
  36. European Day of Jewish Culture and Heritage, 5 September 2004, leaflet issued by the European Association for the Preservation and Promotion of Jewish Culture and Heritage
  37. [4]


  • The map itself is a reproduction of the Plan of the Town of Bradford ... revised and corrected to the present time by Dixon & Hindle, 1871.

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