Welcome to Fashionable Yorkshire

From 1600s splendour to 1970s style, a new exhibition at Lotherton Hall is displaying wonderful dresses worn by Yorkshire women.  Visitors can discover what clothes meant to these women and what we can learn about society from their fashion choices.

Dress belonging to Mary Holden Illingworth. Designed by Worth

Dress by Worth of Paris, worn by Mary Holden Illingworth in 1881

One of these women is Mary Holden Illingworth, daughter of Bradford wool magnate Sir Isaac Holden.  Mary obviously loved fashion and several of her luxurious and stylish outfits have survived.  The image above shows a dress she bought in 1881 for her daughter’s wedding.  It was created by the famous Parisian designer, Worth, and features an opulent fabric, fringing and a train.

Special Collections has loaned Mary’s book of travels and letters she wrote to her sister Maggie which include lots of detail about her interest in fashion.  Kay Eggleston blogged about padding mannequins so they were the right shape to fit the clothes on show.   Kay discusses how Mary’s figure changed during her life: from a slender young girl to the fuller-figured mother of five children who wore the Worth dress.  But, as Kay observes, always stylish!

Fashionable Yorkshire is on show 17 March-31 December 2017.  Find out more on the exhibition webpage.  This BBC news story and this from the Yorkshire Post include fantastic images of the costumes and their owners.

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People Power: Fighting for Peace

2017 offers a very rare chance to see the original sketches of the ‘peace symbol’.  Special Collections and the Trustees of the Commonweal Collection are lending them to a major exhibition at the IWM, People Power: Fighting for Peace.

Sketch of nuclear disarmament symbol,by Gerald Holtom. Copyright: Commonweal Collection.

Sketch of nuclear disarmament symbol,by Gerald Holtom. Copyright: Commonweal Collection.

Artist Gerald Holtom created the symbol in 1958  for the first Aldermaston March (organised by the Direct Action Committee); it was later adopted by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and many other groups and campaigns working for peace, making it one of the most recognisable and powerful designs ever created.  Holtom’s original sketches are very fragile and so can rarely be shown to the public. This exhibition is a wonderful opportunity for us to display them to great numbers of people for the first time.

People Power explores 100 years of anti-war campaigning in Britain through 300 objects: banners, posters, flyers, leaflets, paintings, letters … Many have never been exhibited before. In addition to the sketches, we are lending a pencil drawing of Peace Pledge Union founder Dick Sheppard by activist and artist Peggy Smith and a range of letters and ephemera relating to the anti-nuclear campaigns of the late 1950s and early 1960s.

People Power is on show at the IWM London, 23 March-28 August 2017.  Find out more on the IWM’s website.

Bradvent Calendar part 3

And here’s the last of the Bradvent calendar Days.  We really enjoyed sharing festive favourites from the archives.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Day 23

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Wonder what the &c. &c. turned out to be?  Social evening, 22 December 1903, Bradford Technical College

Day 24

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Christmas arrived at the proper time in J.B. Priestley’s Bradford: 24 December (Bright Day)

Day 25

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Merry Christmas!  Beautiful leaved poinsettia from Beautiful Leaved Plants (1891)

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!

 

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A Christmas message

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Bradvent Calendar, part 1

We’re counting down to Christmas!  Follow @100objectsbrad on Twitter to see a new seasonal object daily. From exquisite illustrations to 1930s Christmas cards to 1980s student humour, there’s always more to discover in Special Collections.  Here’s a round-up of the first twelve.

Day 1

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Ice is nice!  The Universal Glaciarium, 184 Lord Street, Southport, Holden Papers.

Day 2

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Season’s Greetings from the Co-op, Bradford Pioneer, 1935.

Day 3

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In the bleak midwinter … snow on the “Amp”, University of Bradford, December 2009

Day 4

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Our Book Tree, 2015

Day 5

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Our 2015 book tree was so popular we did another in 2016!

Day 6

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Pretty poinsettia Christmas card, Mitrinovic Archive

Day 7

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Brrr!  Cyclists on Kex Gill, photographed by Fred Robinson Butterfield

Day 8

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Christmas has been too much for this sheep!  Fleece, number 11, December 1983

Day 9

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Revenge of the Turkeys!  Shep, number 2, December 1988

Day 10

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Common Ivy, from Beautiful Leaved Plants, one of our favourite books!

Day 11

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Holly, from Flowering Plants of Great Britain, 1855

Day 12

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Star sticker, Women for Life on Earth STAR marches, 1983, Annie Tunnicliffe Archive

I, Harold Wilson, hereby declare … Installation November 1966

After the signing of the Royal Charter that created the University of Bradford, the next step in making a University was the installation of the Chancellor, on 5 November 1966.  The Chancellor-Designate was the Prime Minister, Harold Wilson.

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Installation of the Chancellor, 5 November 1966

Why Wilson?  His aspirations for education matched those of the University:as is clear from his famous “white heat”speech of October 1963, Wilson believed Britain needed much more scientific and technological expertise and “a tremendous building programme of new universities”. He supported the transformation of Bradford Institute of Technology into the University of Bradford: “There is another thing we have got to do in the field of higher education, and this is to put an end to snobbery.  Why should not the colleges of advanced technology award degrees?”  He was also a Yorkshireman, which helped!

Harold Wilson was announced as Chancellor-Designate on 16 October 1964 at a press conference beginning at precisely 9.01 pm.  It was the night of a general election in which Wilson as Labour Party leader became the Prime Minister.  The odd timing of the conference meant it fitted into the short gap between the closing of the polling stations and the announcement of the election results.  Thus Bradford’s decision could neither have an impact on the election campaign nor appear that the University was appointing the Prime Minister, rather than the man, to the role.

Two years on, the installation ceremonies began with a grand dinner on 4 November at the Midland Hotel.  The Vice-Chancellors of the other Yorkshire universities gave the University of Bradford its ceremonial silver Mace, which is rich in symbolism and reflects the futuristic style of the period.

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Yorkshire roses in steel.  The University of Bradford ceremonial mace

Ted Edwards, the Vice-Chancellor, observed the slight awkwardness of accepting a gift from potential rivals, remarking “Timeo danaos et dona ferentes” (I fear the Greeks even when bearing gifts).  Harold Wilson in his speech later that evening jokingly rebuked Ted Edwards for using Latin in a modern technological university.  In practice, the University  eschewed Latin in its ceremonial identity, choosing a motto in English, “Give invention light”.

The installation ceremonial featured a service in Bradford Cathedral, then a procession across the city to St Georges Hall, designed to make sure many people got to see the parade.  The event was definitely for the City as well as the University.  As Harold Wilson said in his speech later on, the two would always be closely linked, with the University being,

“A new seat of learning and research and application, with the life of a region, drawing its strength from the life and vitality of that region and in turn making its own contribution to the future intellectual richness, industrial advance and social development of the region”.

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The procession through Bradford: Ted Edwards, Lord Morris, Harold Wilson

The procession was huge, including the Lord Mayor of Bradford, civic leaders, representatives from other universities, academic staff, and the honorary graduands who would receive their degrees at the ceremony.  One was the then minister of transport, Barbara Castle, who had grown up in Bradford.

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Harold Wilson giving Barbara Castle her honorary degree

In St George’s Hall, the Vice-Chancellor formally installed the Chancellor, who declared that he would fulfil the office. It was proclaimed that the University had a Chancellor; the band of the Royal Corps of Signals played a fanfare.  Bradford had its university at last!

The event received extra attention because the Chancellor was also the Prime Minister.  Demonstrators mounted a peaceful protest as the procession went by: apparently Harold Wilson congratulated a demonstrator on his poster “Come back Guy Fawkes, all is forgiven!”.  Unfortunately government duties meant Wilson could not enjoy the event to the full.  He was informed of a major crisis looming in Rhodesia and had to leave early.

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Harold Wilson in his robes as Chancellor, circa 1976.

Despite the demands of his role, Wilson was a great friend to the University of Bradford throughout his time as Chancellor (1966-1985).  His legacy to the University will be kept alive via a new series of annual lectures.  The first, delivered on the 3 November by Alan Johnson MP, got the series off to an entertaining and thought-provoking start.  Johnson argued that Wilson was not the devious opportunist he is so often presented as, but an astute and pragmatic statesman – with core beliefs to which he remained steadfast, notably the importance of education for everyone.

“Education is not only one of our greatest national assets, it is also our hope for the future”, speech given at degree congregation, July 1985.

Credits and sources

This account is based on Chapter 2 of Robert McKinlay’s The University of Bradford: the early years.  It also draws on his The University of Bradford: origins and development, and on various Wilson biographies and memoirs.  Archival sources: UNI X0375 (installation speech) X1283 (1985 degree congregation).