Local Studies Library

The Local Studies Library houses a unique and comprehensive collection which covers the history and development of the area now covered by Bradford Council. There are two main centres in the district, one at Bradford and one at Keighley.

The Local Studies Library aims to provide a safe repository for the collection of sources for the study of local and family history and to make this collection accessible to all users by offering advice on its use.

Books about Bradford and the District, its development and its people, form the core collection. Bradford Local Studies library houses approximately 9,000 books. In addition to the reference collection, many books can be borrowed for home reading with a library card. What you see on the shelves in Bradford Local Studies library is only a selection of the stock. Most of the collection is stored in the basement stacks. There are various catalogues and indexes to help you to access the collections. Staff will be pleased to provide help and guidance in using the catalogues and to produce the items requested.

The Local Studies Library collects comprehensively printed material in many forms concerning individual localities, people and events within the Bradford District. This includes unpublished material, maps and plans, photographs, newspapers, journals, ephemera, photographs and pamphlets.

In addition to items on the Bradford area, there is a Yorkshire collection which includes books covering the history and geography of Yorkshire, its people and its villages, towns and cities. Most are available on the open shelves for browsing and many are available for loan.

The library also has a wide range of local and national sources for family history research including a range of online resources. These can be accessed via the library pages on the Bradford Council website at www.bradford.gov.uk.

Maps and plans

The collection includes Ordnance Survey maps covering Bradford district and Yorkshire, at various scales and dates, from the first edition published in 1852 to the present. There is also an extensive collection of miscellaneous maps and plans covering everything from geology and shops to electoral wards. There are card indexes to the main collections.

Local newspapers

Local newspapers include the Bradford (later Yorkshire) Observer 1834-1956 and the Telegraph and Argus) from 1868 to date. Most are available on microfilm and there is a comprehensive collection of news cuttings covering aspects of Bradford’s history, current affairs and people of note. 19th Century Newspapers Online is also available covering a range of local and national newspapers for this period.

Journals and periodicals

The collection of journals and periodicals includes The Bradford Antiquary and the Yorkshire Archaeological Journal as well as many current titles.

Bradford Council documents

Bradford Council documents include Council minutes, statistics and reports since 1895. Electoral Registers from 1848 are available covering the area within the Borough and later the City of Bradford.

Illustrations and photographs

An extensive collection of photographs and Images of Bradford and district, its buildings and people is available. The collection is indexed. Many photographs are available online via the library website.

Census Enumerators’ Returns

The library holds microfilm/fiche copies of 1841-1901 census for the area now covered by Bradford Council. Census street indexes and some name indexes are available. Access to all census returns for England and Wales 1841-1911 is available in all libraries in Bradford District via www.ancestrylibrary.com and www.findmypast.com.

Births, Marriages and Deaths

The General Register Office Index can be searched on microfiche in the local studies library. It is also available in all libraries within the Bradford district from 1837 via www.ancestrylibrary.com and www.findmypast.co.uk.

Parish and Nonconformist Register Copies

The collection of Parish and Non-Conformist Register copies covers Bradford and Yorkshire. Some are available on microfilm and some as printed transcripts. The International Genealogical Index which indexes some church and chapel registers up to c 1880, can be viewed at www.familysearch.org and www.ancestrylibrary.com.

Monumental inscriptions

These cover churchyards and burial grounds in the Bradford area.

Trade directories

Directories for people and businesses in Bradford and the West Riding are available from 1792. Some are available on microfilm. Bradford Telephone directories from 1935 are also available.

Oral history

There is a unique oral history collection of summaries of over 800 recorded interviews with local people. This is an invaluable source for recent local history. It includes transcripts and summaries of local people’s memories. Subject areas include textiles, health, war and immigration to Bradford

Special collections

Oral History Collection
Memory Bank and Memory Packs
Pamphlet Collections – 19th Century
Bronte Collection
World War One
World War Two
Delius
JB Priestley

Some general notes for guidance

A digital scanner is available for copying and saving information from microfilm and microfiche. The scanners and microfilm readers can be booked in advance by telephone or email. A photocopier is available. You may take copies with your own digital equipment but please note that copyright restrictions may apply to some items. Free access to the Internet is available via public access computers. A library card is needed to access this service. Free Wi Fi is also available.

More information about Local Studies

Opening hours

Monday 9am to 7pm
Tuesday 9am to 7pm
Wednesday 9am to 7pm
Thursday 9am to 7pm
Friday 9am to 5pm
Saturday 9am to 5pm

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Council Switchboard : 01274 432111

Council Address : Britannia House, Hall Ings, Bradford BD1 1HX


© 2017 City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council