Wool, Weaving and Motor-cars: discover Bradford Technical College Archive online

For the first time ever, the wonderfully rich story of Bradford’s Technical College, its staff and students, and their links with local industries, can be discovered online – via a new catalogue of BTC’s archive (available in Word or PDF on its web page).

Half of a 200 H.P. compound engine made in the Engineering Department for its own use, on the back of an open horse-drawn cart (Archive ref: BTC 2/5/8)

Half of a 200 H.P. compound engine made in the Engineering Department for its own use, on the back of an open horse-drawn cart (Archive ref: BTC 2/5/8)

The College was created to meet the training needs of Bradford’s textile industries in the mid-19th century.  The first building of the Technical School was opened in 1882.   Transferred to local Council control in 1899, the College grew and developed to supply high-level technological expertise nationally and internationally.  A long-running campaign for University status paid off when the higher education side became Bradford Institute of Technology (a College of Advanced Technology) in 1957: this later became the University of Bradford.

The surviving records of the College tell its story and introduce us to many interesting people.  Photographs illustrate its buildings, we see the activities and works of its staff and students, who received prizes, and the impact of war and changing society on the institution.  We have enriched the original typescript 1970s finding aid for online publication, for instance by indexing many names.  Revisiting the archive in this way has shown us how much the College was part of the city.  There is so much still to discover.

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