We recently had an enquiry about the University’s ceremonial mace, surprisingly the first time we have ever been asked about it. So we did a little research in the University Archive. The mace was commissioned by the other Yorkshire universities of Leeds, Sheffield, Hull and York, and presented to the Vice-Chancellor, Ted Edwards, on 4 November 1966, the day before the installation of the first Chancellor, Harold Wilson.
The mace’s appearance was described as “simple and modern”, appropriate for an innovative university with a strong technological background.
“On the head is an enamel shield bearing the arms of the University of Bradford and round the head are shields of stainless steel on which are etched the arms of the universities presenting the mace, together with those of the City of Bradford.” (Commentary to film of the installation of the Chancellor). Round the head of the mace there is a border of white Yorkshire roses in steel.
September 2010 – Another Amazing Mace
A postscript to this piece. At a recent degree ceremony, when an honorary doctorate was conferred on Tom Priestley, we were delighted to see the City of Bradford’s mace, symbolising the authority of the Lord Mayor. Made in 1873, it “is richly ornamented with boars’ heads in relief and studded with semi precious stones, cabochons and agates”.
This mace is of course much more traditional in design than the University’s; the contrast is very striking when they are seen together.
July 2011 – More about the Mace
The Mace is Object 22 in our award-winning exhibition of 100 Objects: more pictures and detail about this essential part of graduation at the University of Bradford.