views updated May 21 2018

Bradford. In medieval times, York and Hull were the chief Yorkshire towns. Though Bradford received a charter as early as 1251, it remained a cloth town of local importance: a fulling mill is recorded for 1311. Leland, visiting in the 1530s, thought it a ‘praty quik market toune’ (busy), ‘standing much by clothing’, the same size as Leeds, but only half the size of Wakefield. During the 17th cent. it lost ground. Celia Fiennes in the 1690s did not mention it and Defoe in the 1720s ignored it, though he devoted a long description to Leeds. Its revival was due to the development of the worsted trade and the growth of the canal network. Bradford canal, completed in 1774, and the link to the Leeds and Liverpool canal (1777), gave access to the east and west coasts. By the early decades of the 19th cent., Bradford had begun its prodigious growth. In 1832 it was given two MPs, elected its first borough council in 1847, and by 1851 was the seventh largest town in the country, with a population of well over 100,000. From 1846 onwards it was also joined to the rapidly growing railway system, via Leeds. Two remarkable Bradford entrepreneurs were S. C. Lister and Titus Salt. Lister, son of Bradford's first MP, was an inventor and mill-owner, gave Lister Park to the borough, and finished as Baron Masham. Salt developed in the 1850s the extraordinary community of Saltaire, round the great mill—an influential example of early town-planning. In the 20th cent. Bradford was less well served. It suffered comparatively little from the attentions of the Luftwaffe but severely at the hands of post-war town planners. Many evocations of Edwardian Bradford, when wool was still king, are to be found in the works of J. B. Priestley, particularly Bright Day, a threnody for ‘Bruddersford’ trams.

J. A. Cannon


views updated May 23 2018


BRADFORD , city in Yorkshire, England. A Jewish community existed in Bradford by the middle of the 19th century, composed largely of German Jews attracted by the industrial and commercial growth of the city. Services are said to have been held in Bradford in the 1830s, but the first synagogue was built in 1873. A Reform community (after that of London, the second in England) was founded in 1880. The Jewish population was later reinforced by refugees from the Russian persecutions. The German Jewish group was of great significance in the cultural life of the city. The artists Sir William *Rothenstein and Albert Rutherston were born in Bradford. The poet Humbert *Wolfe went to school there and described his childhood in his autobiography (Now a Stranger, 1933). Jacob *Moser was lord mayor of Bradford in 1910–11. The Jewish population numbered about 700 in 1968 but dropped to approximately 170 in the mid-1990s. Nevertheless, the optional religious question asked for the first time in the 2001 British census found 356 declared Jews in Bradford. In 2004 an Orthodox and Reform synagogue existed.


V.D. Lipman (ed.), Three Centuries of Anglo-Jewish History (1961), 84, 100 n. 48; Lehmann, Nova Bibl. 78, 185, 214. add. bibliography: jyb, 2004.

[Cecil Roth]


views updated May 18 2018

Bradford City in the Aire Valley, West Yorkshire, n England. Since the 14th century, it has been a centre for woollen and worsted manufacturing, but industry has recently greatly diversified. The city is home to one of England's largest Asian communities. It has a university (established 1966). Industries: textiles, textile engineering, electrical engineering, micro-electronics. Pop. (1994 est.) 481,747.

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