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)
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.
A new venture for my colleagues in the J.B. Priestley Society. They are running a day course all about Priestley at Higham Hall on Saturday 5 November 2011 (that’s an easy date to remember!). The Hall is an educational trust located on the northern edge of the Lake District; it runs fascinating short courses for adults on art history, literature, music, crafts etc. The Priestley day will include sessions on Priestley’s writings of the 1930s and the Second World War, his links with local author Hugh Walpole, and his wonderful play The Linden Tree, all presented by experts from the Society.
Society members will be receiving full details by post. The event is open to all: find out more on the Hall’s events page.
Detail from programme for Opening of Bradford Technical School 1882
This month’s image is a detail from the programme for the 1882 Opening of the Bradford Technical School by the Prince and Princess of Wales. The “goddess” appears to depict Bradford: she is surrounded by materials of the textile industry, wears a mural crown, and carries a caduceus, to signify Hermes, patron of merchants. Bradford’s industrial buildings appear in the background.
She is July’s image to celebrate the heritage of 175 years of technical, and later higher, education in Bradford. In 1832 the Mechanics’ Institute was founded, which later evolved into the Technical School, then the Technical College, and eventually, after a few more changes, Bradford College and the University of Bradford. This month, Bradford College celebrates the 175th anniversary with a programme of events culminating in an exhibition of “175 Heroes”, including well-known alumni such as David Hockney and Andy Goldsworthy and many other fascinating people. Special Collections staff are delighted to lend medals and certificates from the Bradford Technical College Archive to this exhibition.
Just catalogued: the Archive of Dr E.G. (Ted) Edwards, first Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bradford. The archive reflects “Red Ted’s” radical ideas about ethics in science and widening access to university education. It also covers his writings on higher education themes e.g. “Higher education for everyone” (Spokesman, 1982), and his involvement in local peace movements.
Image: Ted Edwards with his portrait (by P.K.C. Jackson).