Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Bantams’ History Week in Review

The inaugural Bantams’ History Week ended on a high note at the Midland Hotel on Friday night. Exactly 102 years to the day since Jimmy Speirs walked onto the balcony of what is now the Forster Suite, diners enjoyed a fabulous meal and listened to The Guardian’s David Conn describe his journey from terrace fan to football’s leading financial investigative journalist.

History was brought back to life when bantamspast museum’s curator David Pendleton described the scenes on the packed streets of Bradford when the Bantams brought the FA Cup back to the city in which it had been designed. From our view from the Forster Suite we looked across the street to the location of Fattorini’s where W. N. Norman drew the design of the iconic trophy. Next door was the headquarters of Sports & Pastimes who produced thousands of football shirts, including those worn by the Bantams’ players in the FA Cup Final of 1911. We looked out of the french windows from where Speirs emerged with the glittering trophy and imagined the sea of cheering faces packed onto the streets below. Bradford City chairman Mark Lawn brought along Speirs’ FA Cup winners’ medal – probably the first time it had been into the hotel since Speirs himself carried it, and the cup, into the hotel on the evening of 26 April 1911.

It was a fitting end to a wonderful week. From the opening walk the previous Saturday which raised £85 for the Burns Unit; the pulling of the first pint of the specially brewed Baines blonde by Mark Lawn at the Sparrow (the beer sold all 210 pints inside four hours); a tour of Undercliffe Cemetery, where a small collection gave £38 towards the upkeep of the vast cemetery, which is undertaken almost entirely by volunteers; and finally the dinner.

We would like to thank those who enabled the history week to go ahead: Turls Green (Wetherspoons); Sparrow Bier Café; Bradford City AFC; Friends of Undercliffe Cemetery; Midland Hotel; John Ashton; John Dewhirst; Gary Peacock; Glyn Watkins; Andy Tyne; Mark Lawn; David Conn; David Pendleton and, of course, everyone who took part and attended the events.

We'll be back next year bigger and better!

Monday, 22 April 2013

Bantams' History Week So Far

The Bantams' History Week commenced under clear blue skies with a walk through the history of the city centre. A good number of walkers took in sights related to the football club's history. A new display in the Midland Hotel's Spirit of Bradford bar tells the story of the links between the hotel and Bradford City's FA Cup triumph of 1911. The walk ended at the Sparrow Bier Café on North Parade where displays show how John Baines of North Parade reshaped global football culture with his invention of football collectors' cards. A collection from the walk raised £85 for the Bradford Burns Unit and finally Bradford City chairman Mark Lawn pulled the first pint of a specially brewed Baines Blonde to offically launch the history week. The beer was produced by the Saltaire Brewery and all 210 pints were drunk within four hours on Saturday - we suspect City's victory which ensured a place in the play-offs may have been a contributory factor.

On Sunday a well attended guided walk of Undercliffe Cemetery was used to tell a few of the personal stories of individuals with strong links to the Bantams. Two former chairmen are buried within a handful of yards of one another: the well known Stafford Heginbotham, who twice helped save the club from closure and led the Bantams through the dark days following the fire disaster; Alfred Ayrton, the man who oversaw the change from rugby to football in 1903 and, when asked what the new football club was to be named, replied 'Bradford City'.

There are a few tickets left for the final event of the Bantams' History Week which is a dinner at the Midland Hotel on Friday 26 April - the anniversary of Bradford City's FA Cup triumph. The guest speaker will be David Conn of the Guardian. The two course meal costs £18, to book a place please email bantamspast.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Bantams’ History Week

20-26 April 2013

The inaugural Bantams’ History Week takes place in late April to coincide with the 102nd anniversary of Bradford City AFC’s FA Cup triumph, 26 April 1911. On that fateful day the Bantams became first winners of the current FA Cup trophy which, by a happy coincidence, had been designed by the Bradford jewellers Fattorini’s.

The history week is being organised by Bradford City AFC’s museum bantamspast. The ethos behind the event is illustrating the interaction of the history of the football club with that of the city centre. At various locations that overlapping, yet often forgotten, history will be brought back to life via displays, a self-guided walk and a tour.

The history week will culminate in a dinner at the Midland Hotel on 26 April - the anniversary of Bradford City’s FA Cup triumph. The dinner will take place in the same room from which the Bantams’ captain, Jimmy Speirs, showed the glittering trophy to a crowd estimated at 100, 000 people – a third of the entire population of the city at that time.

The programme for the week is as follows:

Saturday 20 April

Launch of Bantams’ History Week
Sparrow Bier Café
North Parade
12 noon
Free event

The Bantams’ History Week will be launched at the Sparrow Bier Café at noon with the pulling of the first pint of an exclusively produced beer. A brief welcome and talk will be given by the organiser of the Bantams’ History Week, and author of Glorious 1911 and Paraders, David Pendleton, about the  History Week itself and the hidden sporting history of North Parade.

North Parade, historically one of the smarter streets in the city centre, has strong links with the heritage of Bradford City AFC. Baines Cards, producers of millions of collectors cards depicting sports personalities and clubs in the late Victorian and Edwardian periods, had its base on North Parade. Originally from Manningham, the company moved to North Parade as its business grew to staggering proportions. Featured on their cards were numerous players of Bradford City, Bradford Park Avenue and Bradford Northern. However, Baines also catered for a national and international audience and every conceivable sporting aspect was covered by their cards which were avidly collected by boys young and old.

From Montevideo to Manchester, Tokyo to Turin, today the appeal of football cards knows no bounds. Yet how many people are aware that this global obsession has its roots in Victorian Bradford? John Baines, a Bradfordian who shaped global football culture.

The sporting heritage of North Parade will be celebrated by a storyboard displayed on the walls of the Sparrow Bier Cafe. You will be able to toast that heritage with a pint of Baines Bantams’ Beer, specially produced and exclusively on sale at the Sparrow.

Bradford City AFC
Valley Parade


Catch the Bantams in League Two action when Bradford City play Burton Albion at Valley Parade.

Sunday 21 April

Undercliffe Cemetery
Otley Road entrance
Free event (donations welcome to the cemetery volunteers)

A guided tour of Bradford’s famous necropolis, including visits to the graves of former Bradford City chairmen Alf Ayrton and Stafford Heginbotham. We also pay our respects to Thomas Coyle, a 12-year-old boy killed when a barrier collapsed at Valley Parade on Christmas Day 1888. Although this event is free we would appreciate donations towards the work of the Undercliffe Cemetery volunteers and their efforts to maintain the huge cemetery.

Friday 26 April

26 April 1911 anniversary Dinner
Forster Suite
Midland Hotel

Dress code: tie for gentlemen, dress for ladies is preferred, but smart-causal will suffice.

Guest speaker: David Conn of the Guardian
Two course dinner £18 per person

The culmination of the Bantams’ History Week is a dinner to mark the 102nd anniversary of Bradford City AFC’s FA Cup victory. The dinner will take place in the very room where Jimmy Speirs walked out onto the balcony of the hotel to show the FA Cup to an estimated 100,000 people packed onto the streets of Bradford.

Toasts will be made to the great team of 1911. Our guest speaker will be the Guardian’s David Conn. Well known for his investigative journalism into football’s finances, his latest book, Richer than God, tells the story of Sheik Mansour’s arrival at Manchester City and its impact on English football.

Spaces are limited to forty diners, so early booking is advised. Please send a cheque for £18 payable to bantamspast to:
bantamspast, PO Box 307, Shipley, BD18 9BT.
Bookings are strictly on a first come first served basis.

Throughout the Week, 20-26 April
Bantams’ History Week Trail
A self-guided walking tour of locations in central Bradford that are linked to the history of Bradford City AFC. As many of the attractions within the establishments listed, it may be worth double checking their opening times if you are travelling from outside the city.

Midland Hotel
Telephone 01274 733735

When Bradford City won the FA Cup in 1911 they were met by 100,000 people on the streets of Bradford. Their journey from the Exchange station to the Midland Hotel took nearly an hour as nearly a third of the entire population of the city turned out to welcome the conquering heroes. Put yourself in the footsteps of those famous players and visit Bradford’s iconic former railway hotel. Adjacent to the front car park is a plaque celebrating the centenary of the FA Cup victory and the planting of one hundred trees by Britain in Bloom in March 2011. The Spirit of Bradford bar (turn immediate left on entering the hotel) has a fabulous illuminated mural of the city including a representation of Valley Parade.

Opposite the hotel was the now demolished headquarters of the jewellers Fatttorini’s where the present FA Cup was designed. It was first competed for in 1911 and the first winners were none other than Bradford City. Adjacent to Fattorini’s was Sports and Pastimes where the shirts that the Bantams wore when they won the FA Cup were designed and produced by the Fattorini owned company Sports and Pastimes. Bradford City’s England international midfield player Evelyn Lintott worked at the shirt manufacturers immediately following his transfer to Valley Parade.

The Wool Exchange, Hustlergate

Situated in the magnificent Wool Exchange building, Waterstone’s will have a display of Bradford City, Bradford Park Avenue and Bradford Bulls books on show.

Bradford Cathedral
Telephone 01274 777720
Open 0900-16.30 Monday-Saturday except Bank Holidays. Open Sundays for services only.

The Cathedral houses a plaque that commemorates the millions of pounds raised in the wake of the fire disaster at Valley Parade in 1985. The slate plaque can be viewed on the left hand side of the church as you approach the Alter. The Cathedral was also the place where Robert Torrance, the man-of-the-match in the 1911 FA Cup Final was married in late 1916. You will be able to view his marriage certificate complete with the great man’s signature.

Corn Dolly public house
110 Bolton Road
Telephone: 01274 720219
Open daily 11.00-23.00

A popular pub with generations of Bradford City fans, the Corn Dolly has on display an oil painting of the Bantams record appearance holder Ces Podd and several other images. Also there is a pennant from Glasgow Rangers supporters presented prior to Stuart McCall’s testimonial match when City played Rangers in front of over 20,000 supporters. 

Hamm Strasse Memorial
Hamm Strasse/Manningham Lane junction

In the wake of the fire disaster the people of Bradford’s twin town in Germany Hamm showed tremendous compassion and eventually donated the memorial that stands in Centenary Square. As a mark of appreciation the new road linking Canal Road with Manningham Lane was named Hamm Strasse. For many years only a small plaque told that story, but on the 25th anniversary of the fire a marker stone was kindly provided by the building suppliers Marshall’s. It was unveiled by the Lord Mayor of Bradford and the Burgomaster of Hamm.

Sparrow Bier Café
32 North Parade
Telephone: 01274 270772
Open Monday-Tuesday 11.00-20.00
Wednesday-Thursday 11.00-23.00
Friday-Saturday 11.00-Midnight
Sunday 12.00-18.00

A relatively new business, the Sparrow has become a popular watering hole for City fans on matchdays. Home of the launch of the Bantams’ History Week, you can read about North Parade’s links to the football club on a storyboard on the cafe’s walls. Also on sale, at least until it sells out, is the exclusive Bantams History Week ale – Baines Bantams’ Beer.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Bradford City History Week Additional Event

A walk through the history of Bradford sport

Bradford city centre


20 April 2013

The hidden sporting history of Bradford will be brought to life in a guided walk around the city centre on Saturday 20 April. The walk, staged as part of the inaugural Bantams’ History week, will follow part of the route taken by Bradford City’s victorious team when they returned in triumph with the FA Cup in 1911.
Buildings and locations will include: where Bradford Northern Rugby League Club were formed; where the Bradford jewellers Fattorini’s designed the current FA Cup; the hotel where City’s players celebrated their cup triumph; the wool warehouse which was the business of Bradford City’s chairman during the Great War; a sports outfitters owned by a Bradford rugby international in the days when players were supposed to be strictly amateur; the premises where millions of football collectors cards were manufactured.
Walkers are requested to meet downstairs in the Turls Green public house (formerly known as Lloyds) in Centenary Square 10am for 10.30am. The pub has kindly agreed to host the meeting place of the walk. There will be a halt for refreshments at the Midland Hotel and the walk will end at the Sparrow Bier Cafe on North Parade in time for the official launch of the Bantams’ History Week at midday.
The walk will be led by the bantamspast museum curator David Pendleton and the irrepressible Glyn Watkins, poet, writer and leader of the recent walk celebrating Bradford’s patron Saint Bishop Blaise. The walk is free but a donation to the Bradford Burns Unit would be appreciated.

Locations en route:

Bradford fire memorial, Centenary Square
Site of Mechanics’ Institute, Centenary Square
Former Bradford Daily Telegraph office, Centenary Square
Site of Great War recruiting office, Norfolk Gardens
Site of Bradford Exchange railway station
Great Northern Victoria Hotel
Route taken through streets of Bradford by Bradford City team parading FA Cup in 1911
Wool Exchange, Market Street
Site of Fattorini’s where FA Cup was designed
Site of Sports & Pastimes, makers of Bradford City’s shirts in 1911
Plaque commemorating FA Cup win outside Midland Hotel
Site of former Bradford Midland (Forster Square) Railway station
Midland Hotel, Spirit of Bradford bar
Former warehouse of I & G Lancaster, Cheapside
Former British Sport Depot shop, Darley Street/Duke Street
Former shop of Baines Cards, North Parade
Sparrow Bier Cafe, North Parade