Category Archives: Culture

Fascinating objects found during St George’s Hall refurbishment

Some fascinating objects have been found during the refurbishment of St George’s Hall in Bradford.

Workers carrying out the £8.5 million refurbishment of the Grade II listed building have found several interesting objects tucked away including a handbill from 1871 promoting a programme of Saturday Night Entertainment, which was printed by J Clegg Printer by Steam Power, Infirmary Street, Bradford.

The programme for the evening included Madam Tonnelier performing songs in character from the Grand Duchess, as well as a line-up of music and sketches including Irish and Scottish songs and stories by Mr and Mrs Forster O’Neill accompanied on the piano by their daughter Flora.

An account of the same performance by the Forster family can be found in the newspaper The Waterford News, from Friday 5 June 1868, when they appeared at the Assembly Rooms, City Hall.

The article says “Mr and Mrs J.F. O’Neill, the justly celebrated delineators of Irish character in its true form, accompanied by their young and interesting daughter, Miss Flora O’Neill, an accomplished pianist, have been nightly drawing fashionable and crowded audiences to the Assembly Room, City Hall, to see them in their famed and laughter-creating comic and musical entertainment.”

The article goes on to say that Mr O’Neill, “as an Irish comedian, is, perhaps, unrivalled, certainly not excelled, at the present day” and a performance given by Mrs O’Neill “is one of the best Irish delineations we have ever seen” and “her song, “My Love Dan,” is hit off in such a true Irish nature that the house each night is in raptures and, as a matter of course, it has to be repeated.”

Workers have also found the front page of the Daily Express newspaper from 10 January 1928. The front page contains an article about plans to build a barrage in the wake of the Great Flood of London, which had taken place only a few days earlier, on 7 January 1928. The flood claimed 14 lives and left thousands of Londoners homeless.

Other items found when the old seats were removed from the Dress Circle, include a wrapper from a Cadbury’s Flake when they only cost 6d, an old Galaxy Milk Chocolate wrapper and several cigarette packets, including a Black Cat Cigarettes tin lid possibly from the 1930’s, a Wild Woodbine cigarette packet, an Ogden’s Robin cigarette packet and Craven A cigarette packet.

There were also two concert tickets one for a Bradford Subscription Concert and one for the 31st Annual Speech Night for The Priestman School held at the venue on Wednesday 14 March 1956, with Ernest Cummins giving a speech and Mrs Cummins presenting the prizes.

The items found will form part of the permanent archive display held by Bradford Theatres.

St George’s Hall which is located in Bradford city centre is currently undergoing major refurbishment which has been made possible by funding from Bradford Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The refurbishment of St George’s Hall, one of the oldest remaining concert halls in the UK, will ensure that this heritage building is maintained and brought up to standard as a top class venue adding to the fantastic cultural offer in Bradford.

Coun Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Environment, Sport and Culture, said: “These are fascinating finds that give us a glimpse into the history of this wonderful venue and the types of entertainment that was popular at the time. It’s amazing to think that the theatre was only 18 years old when the handbill was dropped between the seats in the rear gallery.

“Work on St George’s Hall is progressing well and I’m sure once complete will secure the building for future generations of audiences.”

For information on the progress of the refurbishment of St George’s Hall visit

Follow Bradford Theatres on Twitter: @BradfordTheatre





Comedian Adrian Edmondson goes back to school at Thackley Primary

Young bookworms at Thackley Primary School will now be able to curl up with a book in their new state-of-the-art library.

Bradford-born comedian Adrian Edmondson went back to school last week to officially open their new state-of-the-art library which is set of encourage a love of reading. 

Adrian lived on Highfield Road as a child before achieving fame as a comedy actor, winner of BBC’s MasterChef and is currently playing the role of Malvolio in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Twelfth Night.  He has recently written a very well received children’s book called ‘Tilly and the Time Machine’ which children in KS2 have been reading.

The library, which has the capacity for 3000 books, is three times bigger than the previous library and is now fully accessible to all as it is situated on the ground floor.

Head of School, Annette Patterson said:  “We hope our new school library will become the heart of Thackley Primary School.  It will absolutely improve the children’s learning experiences and we really can’t wait for it to be finally open!

“A well-stocked, well-designed and well-used library will have a lasting affect on generations of children at the school. It will help us to foster a love of reading in all of our children which we know is so vital.”

The new school library will be open during and after school and will be appointing new junior librarians to look after the library and their all-new, broad selection of books.

During his visit to Thackley Primary School he read the children excerpts from his book, Tilly and the Time Machine – released earlier this year, posed for photos, answered questions from pupils and signed books for children, staff and parents.  

He had also brought a number of his favourite children’s books to present to the library.  

Thanks to questions from the school’s inquisitive reading club, the group found out that Mr Edmondson would travel back to the days of Lord Nelson if had a time machine, that he is a fan of TV comedy The Windsors and that he has a pet Whippet.  

His next book will be released in January and it is about a boy who becomes friends with a talking Shetland Pony.

Bradford Council’s Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Education, Employment and Skills, Coun Imran Khan said:

“Congratulations to the staff, pupils, parents and carers at Thackley Primary School who have worked together to make the new library possible and encourage a love for reading.  I am sure all the children will embrace the new area and it will become the heart of the school and full of bookworms.”

Follow Thackley Primary School: @ThackleyPrimary and Ade Edmondson: @AdrianEdmondson

Come to Bradford for Christmas

With so many activities across the district, Bradford is the place to be for Christmas.

There will be Christmas lights switch on events across the district as well as lots of music and entertainment, pantomimes, a fun fair and lots of Christmas fairs and markets, traditional Christmas Services including Nine Lessons and Carols at the Cathedral, there’s even a Christmas Tree Festival and the annual Epilepsy Action Reindeer Stampede will see antler clad runners tackle the 5k route round Lister Park.

A funfair will light up in City Park and Tyrrel Street from Thursday November 30 until Sunday December 3 with children’s rides and dodgems. Christmas street theatre will entertain shoppers on the pedestrian areas in the city centres between 12pm and 5pm on Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 December. With 20 colourful acts including Santa and his sleigh, snowmen, fairies, elves, dancing turkeys, penguins, Rudolph, snow globes and stilt walkers all providing festive frolics and music. There may even be added snow.

The Alhambra Theatre’s outstanding pantomime will once again star the fantastic Billy Pearce who this year is taking on the role as Buttons with singer and Loose Women panellist Coleen Nolan playing the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella, with performances from 16 December to 28 January.

Other Christmas shows and concerts include a Christmas Night With The Stars with tribute act performances from Cher, Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Michael Buble, Freddie Mercury and Shirley Bassey at Ilkley’s King’s Hall and Winter Gardens, folk rock pioneers Steeleye Span, famous for their 1973 Christmas hit Gaudete at Ilkley’s King’s Hall and Winter Gardens, an evening of dance, songs and festive cheer comes to the Alhambra theatre with the Christmas Words show on 7 December and The Chicago Blues Brothers bring their brand new festive show to the Alhambra on December 8.

An array of Christmas markets and craft fairs are being held across the district including the fantastic Victorian Christmas event at the Industrial Museum on Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 November, Ilkley King’s Hall and Winter Gardens will be the venue for a Christmas Craft and Gift Fayre on Sunday 26 November, a Christmas Market will take place in Central Park in Haworth on Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 December and the Made Bradford Market will be held in Darley Street on Saturday 2 and Saturday 16 December.

There will be lots of festive fun at Bradford Council-run markets over the Christmas period with a Christmas Trade Fair hosted by Young Enterprise on Saturday 9 December inside the Oastler Shopping Centre, children’s interactive workshops, traditional Christmas entertainment from the Salvation Army Band, Pennine Chimes and school choir in the Oastler Shopping Centre and Kirkgate Market in the city centre and a Santa’s grotto along with festive entertainment at Keighley Market.

The Lord Mayor of Bradford, Coun Abid Hussain has just launched the annual Lord Mayor’s Appeal Christmas Star’s Appeal, where people dedicate a star to a loved one for the Christmas tree in City Hall.

The Lord Mayor’s Appeal annual Christmas Lunch takes place on Friday December 15 in City Hall and raises money for the Lord Mayor’s Appeal.

For those wanting to get active there is the Epilepsy Action Reindeer Stampede with a 5k run and a mini stampede for children, Bradford Council’s Countryside and Rights of Way team has also organised two Christmas walks, a 5.5 mile Candlemass Eve walk on December 9 and a 4 mile Christmas Cheer walk on December 13.

Switch-on events with markets and fairs will be taking place across the district throughout November and December.

This year’s city centre Christmas lights will have a special light raising awareness of the White Ribbon Campaign, the global campaign to end male violence against women. Incidences of domestic violence rise significantly during the festive period. The light will be turned on as part of the Christmas lights switch-on and will remain illuminated during the Christmas period including on White Ribbon day, 25 November.

The annual City Carol Service takes place at the Cathedral on Monday 18 December. The service is open to anyone and is attended by the Lord Mayor and civic leaders.

Coun Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Environment, Sport and Culture, said: “Christmas is such a special time of year and these events in the city centre and across the district give people plenty of opportunities to celebrate.”

For more information about Christmas events in the district visit

Lord Mayor launches Children’s Safety Initiative

A ground-breaking children’s safety initiative was launched at the weekend.

The Lord Mayor of Bradford, Coun Abid Hussain, unveiled the scheme which involves three schools taking part in the Children’s Year of Safety, which has the support of a wide range of organisations and agencies.

The schools involved are Our Lady of Victories Catholic Primary, Merlin Top Primary Academy and Laycock Primary.  Each term during the academic year they will cover different topics around safeguarding and safety.

It is hoped that if the scheme is a success, it will be rolled out to other parts of Keighley and the wider Bradford district.

Coun Abid Hussain said:  “When we work together we can give our children every chance to thrive and fulfil their potential – which is what every one of them deserves,” he said.

“The Children’s Year of Safety is a new idea and I am delighted that we in Keighley are leading the way on such an important piece of work.

“There’s an old saying, ‘it takes a whole village to raise a child’. It may be an old saying, but it’s as true now as it ever was and it means we are all responsible for keeping our children safe.

“The Children’s Year of Safety will make it clear what that actually means for everyone.”

The gala – staged by the Braithwaite and Guard House Partnership, which brings together a host of organisations and agencies – has been hailed a success and was attended by hundreds of people.

There was a lot going on, on the day and attractions included a fancy dress contest, cave bus, bouncy castle, games, team sports, face painting, under-fives messy play, crafts, food and stalls.

The police and fire service were there, Keighley Healthy Living was represented and White Rose Energy distributed information.

Children's Year of Safety
Mae Wilkinson, five, and Tia-Rose Curry, six, help the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Cllr Abid Hussain, brush-up on road safety at Braithwaite and Guard House Gala

Heritage Day at Keighley Library

Visitors to Keighley can discover more about the town’s heritage at Keighley Library this coming weekend.

The annual Heritage Day at Keighley Library will take place on Saturday, 9 September.

There will be local, family, schools and military stands and this year the event will take on a musical theme reflecting Keighley’s musical heritage.

People can meet local and family history groups including Keighley Local History Society, Keighley Family History Society, Men of Worth, Keighley Schools Heritage and Airedale and Haworth writers.

At 11am there will be a special Rhymetime for children of all ages with guest presenters ‘Little Notes’.  The sing-along will feature woodwind instruments and fun and games.

From 11am until 4pm there will be music from local musicians Foxes Faux, Dayner Sim and Niamh Mirfield and Keighley group The Presidents.

There will be displays of Keighley’s musical heritage since the 1950s from the local studies library collections.

At 1pm musician and historian Gary Cavanagh author of ‘Noise of the Valleys’ will give a talk with musical clips from the CD that accompanies the book.

Coun Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Environment, Sport and Culture, said:  “People can drop in throughout the day and discover more about the heritage of the local area.”

Admission to the event is free and everyone is welcome.

Guinness World Record to wish Hockney a Happy 80th Birthday

As part of this year’s celebrations for the world famous artist David Hockney’s 80th birthday, Bradford is attempting an official Guinness World Record for the most signatures on a greetings card.

Bradford-born David Hockney, who is considered one of Britain’s most influential artists of the 20th century, celebrated his 80th birthday on July 9.

Officers from the newly opened permanent David Hockney Gallery at Bradford Council’s Cartwright Hall have got together with Bradford greetings card company Hallmark Cards plc, to produce an enormous birthday card with space for over 22,000 signatures.

The Official Guinness World Record for the most signatures on a greetings card is currently held by the Dubai Police force with 13,288 signatures; however an attempt by Staffordshire County Council with around 21,500 signatures is still to be ratified, so Bradford needs at least 22,000 signatures to make it count.

The giant card which is around 180cm tall and 120cm wide, has been designed by Hallmark Cards using inspiration from Hockney’s famous artworks to create the number 80 as a collage, will be available to sign at various events across the summer.

There will be a special signing event at Cartwright Hall on Thursday 10 August from 10am to 4pm.

The card will be at Cartwright Hall Art Gallery on Sunday 13 August between 11am and 3pm for people to sign as part of the gallery’s Martin House 30th birthday celebrations. Children from Martin House hospice and schools across the district will have their Hockney inspired artwork on display as part of the Young Open 2017 exhibition.

Bingley Music Live festival goers will also be able to sign the card in Myrtle Park, on 1, 2 and 3 September.

Pupils at Bradford Grammar School will get the chance to sign the card on their way into lunch on Thursday 7 September.

People will be able to sign the card at The Broadway Shopping Centre Saturday 9 September between 9am and 6pm.

People not able to go to the events can also take part in this amazing record attempt and wish David Hockney a happy 80th birthday by signing the card on-line at

Coun Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s executive member for environment, sport and culture, said: “We thought that this would be a really fun way to get lots of people involved in celebrating David Hockney’s special 80th birthday.

“The easiest way for people to sign the card is online, but they can also sign in person at one of our events.

“We want as many people from across the district to sign the card and can arrange for groups of people to visit or we can take the card out to groups, work places, sports teams, art clubs or communities for people to sign.”

Kate Van Spall,  Art Director Trends, Hallmark UK said: “As a Bradford based company we were thrilled to be asked to be involved in the creation of a card for Hockney’s birthday. The card is made up of numerous postcard size images reflective of the style of David Hockney that our in-house design team created during a ‘Hockney Power Hour’. It’s been amazing to see all the different designs come together and be part of a World Record attempt whilst contributing to the celebrations of the Bradford artist’s birthday.”

Look out for dates of other events at and follow the museums’ Facebook and Twitter pages @bradfordmuseums

Bingley Music Live – what else is happening?

Bingley Music Live boasts more than just this year’s top name line-up – there is also a host of food stalls, bars, market stalls and a children’s area to explore.

People at the Bradford Council-run event at Bingley’s Myrtle Park on 1-3 September will be spending several hours on site, so the wide range of food and drink stalls is a good chance to refuel.

Restaurant and catering firm Zouk have won the catering contract for this year’s festival. They are offering 17 food stalls featuring Indian and Caribbean street food, Turkish, Chinese, wood-fired pizza, Mexican, fish and chips, Moroccan and burgers.

A wide range of alcohol and soft drinks will be served at the festival bar, including lager, cider, wine, spirits and sodas and cask ale is available at the Discovery Stage bar. For something a little different, there is a cocktail bar and a gin bar.

The Kids Zone area gives younger visitors the chance to let off some steam with activities including a Spider Mountain (climb and slide), party bouncer with slide, rodeo bull, den-building, play tent and sand.

For those who fancy a bit of shopping, there will be a ‘mini village’ among the trees of over 20 stalls. Their wares will include glitter face and body painting, ethically-sourced clothing and wearable art and jewellery. Official Bingley Music Live and band merchandise is also available to purchase from a stand in the middle of the site.

Special support can be found at the site’s Welfare Tent which will provide: a nappy change area, dedicated children’s toilet and Changing Places toilet (for people who cannot use standard accessible toilets), sun lotion and a lost children service.

The popular fancy dress feature returns this year, with blue theme which means people are invited to dress from top to bottom in blue.

Acts at this year’s festival include Manic Street Preachers, Kaiser Chiefs, The Wombats, Maximo Park, Badly Drawn Boy, Soul II Soul, Pete Doherty, Milburn, Feeder and many more. There is also a chance to see the big names of the future on the Discovery Stage.

Coun Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Environment Sport & Culture, said: “With so much going on at Bingley Music Live, there is something to occupy everyone, to keep the children entertained and to keep everyone fed and watered. The fancy dress theme will also make for some fantastic photos.”

Tickets are now selling fast – please note that child weekend tickets and child Saturday tickets have all sold out. Tickets can be purchased via or Ticketline on 0844 8889991. Adult weekend tickets are £70 plus booking fee and child weekend tickets are £35 plus booking fee. Single day tickets are priced at £35 each for adults (plus booking fee) and £30 for children (plus booking fee). Adult day tickets are also available at Bingley Pool and Bradford and Saltaire Visitor Information Centres.

People can keep up to date on the event by following Bingley Music Live on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. #BMLive17

Free event – Cliffe Castle Garden Party

The will be free fun and frolics for all at Cliffe Castle park and Museum Garden Party on Sunday (July 30).

The whole event will be buzzin’ with carnival rides, music, dancing and the Airedale Beekeepers observational bee hive.

The event, organised by Bradford Council, the Cliffe Castle Park Conservation Group and Bluefruit Promotions will include take-away high tea and garden advice.

It starts at 12noon and lasts until 6pm. Parking will be limited and visitors are asked to use public transport or town centre car parks.

The £4.5 million on-going restoration of Keighley’s Cliffe Castle park, has been supported thanks to National Lottery players.

The restoration of the park’s Victorian features first began in June 2016 when Bradford Council successfully bid £3.5 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Parks for People programme.

Coun Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Environment, Sport and Culture, said: “We hope lots of people will come and have a great time at the museum and park.

“Visitors can get an exciting look at how the work is going so far with work on lots of Victorian features already completed.

“Cliffe Castle has been one of the district’s favourite destinations since it became a public park and museum more than 50 years ago. The HLF project will ensure it continues to be a delight for the coming years.”


Bingley Music Live Day Tickets Now On Sale

Single day tickets for Bingley Music Live are now on sale!

With just eight weeks to go until the late summer Bradford Council-run festival, it is time for people to start planning their weekend, as who plays what day is revealed.

Day tickets are priced at £35 for adults and £30 for children plus booking fee and available via:

The stellar three day line-up at Bingley’s Myrtle Park on 1-3 September, includes:

• Friday – Manic Street Preachers; Maximo Park; Cabbage and Twin Atlantic.

• Saturday – Kaiser Chiefs; Pete Doherty; Milburn; Sundara Karma and British Sea Power

• Sunday – The Wombats; Feeder; Soul II Soul; Badly Drawn Boy and Little Comets

The entire line up, day by day and stage by stage can be found on the BML website –

Coun Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Environment, Sport and Culture, said:  “With such a packed line up of big names it is a difficult choice for anyone who would prefer to just come for one day. But now they know when each act will play, they can make an informed decision.”

Full weekend tickets are still available, priced at £70 plus booking fee for adults and £35 plus booking fee for children (aged 3-15).

Further details of how to purchase these tickets and information on camping and accommodation are available on the festival website.

Follow BML2017 on Twitter: @BingleyFestival

Facebook: @bingleymusiclive

BML 2017



Phoebe’s hitting the right notes

A Bradford pupil is celebrating her success in gaining a place at the largest specialist music school in the UK and the only one in the North of England.

Phoebe Mallinson, 11, a pupil at Cullingworth and a member of Bradford Council’s Delius School, will be joining the prestigious Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester in September.  Phoebe follows her sister, Freya, who has been a pupil at the school in Manchester since 2014.

Phoebe has been playing the cornet for two years and recently moved onto flugel horn in the last year. She is part of the Bradford Music Education Hub’s Bradford Youth Brass Band, BD1 Brass Band, Yorkshire Youth Band and the National Children’s brass band of Great Britain. She also plays trumpet in the Bradford Youth Orchestra who toured in Italy last year.

Her favourite performance was coming second at the national brass band championships in Cheltenham in 2016.

Phoebe’s mum, Colette, said:  “We will really miss Phoebe when she starts at Chetham’s in September but this is a chance of a lifetime, and we are delighted that she will have the same opportunity as Freya, her older sister.

“Bradford Council’s Music & Arts Service has made a huge difference in Phoebe’s playing especially Delius school which is a monthly school where Phoebe gained the skills for composition and other performance skills.”

Felicity French, Assistant Head of Bradford Council’s Music & Arts Service, said:  “We are delighted that Phoebe, another pupil of the Delius School and one of the district’s schools, has gained a place at this prestigious establishment.

“The Delius School was set up by the Music & Arts Service.  It meets once a month on a Sunday morning and offers the most talented young musicians in primary schools, across the district, the chance to develop their skills in all areas of music, while discovering exciting new activities.  At the monthly classes, students take part in workshops which enrich their musical experience.”

Coun Imran Khan, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Education, Employment and Skills, said:  “This is yet another example of the talented pupils we have in our district.  It is a real achievement for Phoebe and I would like to congratulate her on her success and wish her the very best on her learning journey.”