Industrial city and metropolitan borough in West Yorkshire, England, 14 km/9 mi west of Leeds. The manufacture of textiles, traditionally the base of Bradford's prosperity, declined in the 1970s but remains important. Other principal industries include printing, precision and construction engineering, and the manufacture of chemicals and electronics. Stone quarrying, brewing, photo-engraving, financial services, and publishing also contribute to the city's economy.
First settled in Saxon times, Bradford was destroyed in 1070 after an uprising during the Norman conquest. Its subsequent revival was due to its increasing influence in the woollen trade. At the beginning of the 19th century, Bradford was a rural market town of 16,000 people, where wool spinning and cloth weaving took place in local cottages and farms. By 1841 there were 38 worsted mills, and it was estimated that two-thirds of the country's wool production was processed in Bradford. Ten years later, Bradford had become the wool capital of the world, with a population of 182,000. It was granted City status in 1897 and became a Metropolitan District Council in 1974.
Museums and galleries
The National Museum of Photography, Film, and Television opened in 1983, and has Britain's largest IMAX cinema screen, 14×20 m/46×66 ft. It also contains the Pictureville Cinerama Screen (1992), featuring the only 1950s-style three-projector format in the world. A £16 million expansion and renovation programme was completed in 1999.
Saltaire, an attractive industrial village built by the philanthropist Titus Salt, lies north of the city centre, and includes Salt's Mill, which houses the Gallery (1853) with a large collection of works by the 20th-century artist David Hockney, who was born in Bradford. The Cartwright Memorial Hall, built in 1904 in Lister Park, houses the City Art Gallery and Museum and includes a collection of 19th- and 20th-century British sculpture and painting. The Colour Museum and the Bradford Industrial Museum illustrate the history of the textile industry.
Architecture and public buildings
Bradford's parish church, built in the 14th and 15th centuries, became a cathedral when the city was created a bishopric in 1919. The chancel, lady chapel, and chapter house were rebuilt by the architect Edward Maufe between 1951 and 1963. Little Germany, the city's historic quarter, includes many 19th-century warehouses. The Gothic-style Town Hall was completed in 1873 and enlarged from 1902 to 1909; in 1965 it became City Hall. To mark Bradford's civic centenary in 1997, Centenary Square, a pedestrianized area in front of the hall, was created. Other notable public buildings include Commerce House; St George's Hall (1853), once Bradford's public assembly rooms, but since 1953 a concert and lecture hall; and the Wool Exchange (1857), which includes a statue of the politician and economist Richard Cobden. The Alhambra Theatre (1914), an Edwardian music hall, was restored as a major venue for ballet, opera, plays, and pantomime. The cathedral is home to a National Faith Centre, which opened in 2000.
(2001) (Metropolitan Unitary Authority) 467,700; (city) 293,700
Bradford is a major centre for the sorting of fleeces, and produces wool ‘tops’ (long fibres) and ‘noils’ (short fibres). Finished cloths include heavy worsted coatings and lighter weaves such as linings. Mercerized cotton fabrics are manufactured in large quantities. Other materials produced include velvet, plush, alpaca, mohair, silk, and synthetic fibres. Bradford's wide range of engineered products include machine tools, marine and lift machinery, industrial and domestic motors, traction motors for electric and diesel trains, turbines, boilers, pumps, and condensing plants.
The charter of the Bradford Grammar School was granted by Charles II in 1662, but the foundation dates back to an unknown time before the reign of Edward VI. Bradford Girls' Grammar School was established in 1875.
Bradford was the birthplace of the composer Frederick Delius in 1863, the novelist and playwright J B Priestley in 1894, the author John Braine in 1922, and the artist David Hockney in 1937.
We're sorry this article wasn't helpful. Tell us how we can improve.