Blue Plaque for Bradford City Hall to mark 150th anniversary

Article dated Thursday Aug 31, 2023 at 03:26 PM

The Lord Mayor of Bradford will receive a new blue plaque to mark the 150th anniversary of City Hall.

The City Hall plaque is the latest heritage-marker to be installed as part of the Great Buildings of Bradford series, which also includes St George’s Hall, the Wool Exchange, and the Alhambra Theatre.

Built mainly in a Medieval Gothic style, this Grade I listed building is the crowning achievement of the local architects Lockwood & Mawson, who also designed Bradford’s St George’s Hall, the Wool Exchange, and Titus Salt’s Mill and model village at Saltaire. It was originally built as a Town Hall and although Bradford became a city in 1897 it wasn’t until 1965 that its name was officially changed to City Hall.

Bradford City Hall’s most notable external feature is the splendid campanile clock tower that soars 217 feet above the multi-award winning City Park. The clock tower, which has 13 bells, is Italianate and was inspired by the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. Another notable feature of the façade are the 35 statues of English and British monarchs which run in chronological order, with Victoria and Elizabeth I on either side of the main entrance. Unusually the statues include Oliver Cromwell who was not a king but governed as Lord Protector from 1653-1658. An extension designed by Norman Shaw and local architect FEP Edwards was opened in 1909.

The building had its Grand Opening on 9 September 1873 and exactly 150 years on, the doors of Bradford City Hall will be thrown open for members of the public to take a look round.

The extra special Open Weekend, which is part of the nationwide Heritage Open Days scheme, will take place on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 September 2023. Visitors to the free Open Weekend will be able to take a tour around the glorious building to learn all about its rich history.

The Lord Mayor of Bradford Councillor Gerry Baker, said: “Bradford’s City Hall is such an important building for our city and district and this special blue plaque is just one way we are marking this anniversary.”

Cllr Si Cunningham, Assistant Executive Member for UK City of Culture, said: “Blue plaques are an internationally-recognised way of celebrating places of significant interest, and I’m delighted that Bradford City Hall will now have its own heritage-marker alongside our other architectural gems the Alhambra Theatre, St George’s Hall, and the Wool Exchange.

“Celebrating and showcasing our proud heritage is a really important part of our preparations for being the UK City of Culture in 2025, and I hope people will enjoy discovering a bit more about the fascinating history of Bradford’s landmark City Hall during the anniversary celebrations in September.”

There will be further special events to help celebrate this major milestone in the history of the Bradford district. For details of this and other special events and activities to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Bradford City Hall see the Council’s website

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