Category Archives: Bradford Technical College

Bradvent Calendar, part 2

Second round-up of the Special Collections Bradvent Calendar.  More info in our previous post.

Day 13

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Fishing by torchlight looks tricky!  Christmas card from Japan.  Mitrinovic Archive.

 Day 14

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Awe-inspiring scenery of Chamonix, from photograph album in the W. Riley Archive

Day 15

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Snow on houses, Richmond Road, during building of Main Building of University of Bradford, circa 1962, University Archive B3

Day 16

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Cycling Santa says giving gift tokens helps the war effort, 1941, Reynolds News

Day 17

Dales-born photographer Cherry Kearton and friend, Penguin Island

Dales-born photographer Cherry Kearton and friend, Penguin Island

Day 18

14 Bombing Days till Christmas.  The ICDP call for peace in Vietnam, 10 Decmber 1966

14 Bombing Days till Christmas. The ICDP call for peace in Vietnam, 10 December 1966

Day 19

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Ingleborough in the snow, cover of book by WR Mitchell

Day 20

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Bored on Christmas day?  The Doctor’s Visit, a compendium of old games, suggests   passing a lighted match around (Jack’s Alive!)

Day 21

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A quirky Sun for the winter solstice, detail from issue of Reason, 1964

Day 22

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Entertainment of … convalescent soldiers, Bradford Technical College, 22 December 1916

We’ll share Part 3 after the New Year!

 

1966, a Year that made a University. 20 January: Nearly There?

In January 1966 it looked as though Bradford might be at the point of achieving a century-old dream: its own University.  Or was it?

First page of Bradford Institute of Technology's Petition, July 1965 (Uni C04)

First page of Bradford Institute of Technology’s Petition, July 1965 (Uni C04)

1868-1963 The fight for a University

As early as 1868, local Member of Parliament W.E. Forster was clear that “if industrial universities were to be established in large centres of manufacturing, Bradford would do its best to become one of those centres”.  Such universities were indeed established: Leeds, Sheffield etc. acquired universities in the”red-brick” boom of the 1890s and 1900s.  Lack of local support and political influence meant Bradford missed out.

Scheme after scheme for university status foundered over the next century.  At last, in 1957, Bradford became Bradford Institute of Technology, one of eight Colleges of Advanced Technology, concentrating on university-level teaching and research.  But the CATS lacked the independence, kudos, and funding available to”universities”.

This unfairness was particularly noticeable during the early 1960s, as so many new universities were springing up.  These, as Robert McKinlay remarked in his histories of the University, achieved university status with all its benefits while often consisting of only a “Vice-Chancellor and a watchman’s hut”.  The CATs, with years of high-level work, buildings, staff and students, were still at a disadvantage.

1963-1966.  Hope for Bradford?

To put right this anomaly, Lord Robbins in his 1963 report recommended that the CATs be granted Royal Charters to become technological universities.  It’s easy to assume that this meant the Institute’s move to university status was inevitable.

Javelin, 20 Jan.1966. Charter rotated

However, the lead article in the 20 January 1966 edition of Javelin suggests some students at least were not so sure.  Was there “hope for Bradford”?

  •   An article in the Guardian had implied that Bradford would be a university by the following year: this seemed hopeful, as “surely such a reputable newspaper would not have raised our hopes by printing an untruth”.
  • Aston University, another CAT on the same journey, was “nearly there”, having had their charter accepted by the Privy Council.  Encouraging news!
  • Vice-Principal Robert McKinlay had recently stated that a recent conference was probably the last to be held at BIT. “Does this indicate official optimism, or are we to assume there are to be no further conferences …?”

Of course it is possible that uncertainty about university status was being exaggerated for effect.  Javelin reporters tended to be sarcastic and cynical!   Either way, the signs were correct: Bradford would indeed become a University before the year was out.

Part II to follow: what else was happening around the Institute and the City in January 1966?

The Requisites of Novelty, Fashion and Elegance

This week at Fairfax House in York, an extraordinary scrapbook of historic fabrics will go on show for the first time.

Dying_BRA. Ackermann's repository.2

The fabrics were originally featured in Ackermann’s Repository of arts, literature, commerce, manufactures, fashions, and politics, a well-known early 19th century periodical which is an incredible source for study of that period.  They were gathered into a scrapbook entitled British Patterns of Manufacture, for the benefit of students at Bradford Technical College.

The scrapbook will be on show in a major exhibition at Fairfax House which explores the growth of shopping as a leisure pastime in Georgian England.  Consuming Passions will run from 28 May-31 December 2015 and will look at the ways Georgian middle and upper class people decorated themselves and their homes in the latest fashion.  The vivid and colourful patterns depicted in the scrapbook are a fascinating part of this exuberant and luxurious world.

Explore further …

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.

Odds, Quads, Fabrics and Fashion Plates: British Patterns Scrapbook in the Times Higher

One of the loveliest and most surprising objects in Special Collections featured in The Times Higher’s Odds and Quads section last week: our scrapbook of fabric samples from Ackermann’s Repository.

Page of fabric samples from British Dyeing Patterns.

Page of fabric samples from British Dyeing Patterns.

Odds and Quads tells the stories of the many unusual and interesting things to be found in university collections.    The scrapbook’s appearance is particularly timely as this winter we will be working on our dyeing and textile history collection to bring out the historic connections to the University and the city of Bradford.  Here’s the Odds and Quads piece and here’s some more detail from the 100 Objects exhibition.