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A Glimpse of the Past

Discover Bradford district’s fascinating history from Roman remains to a perfectly preserved Victorian village; we’re sure you’ll be impressed with Bradford’s past.

From its earliest days in Saxon times, Bradford has been an energetic and industrious place.

It was the rise of manufacturing and the wool trade that sparked the vigorous transformation of the city from a bustling market town to a flourishing centre. And today, proud Victorian buildings line almost every street and give testament to its past.

Give yourself a real taste of Bradford and head off to Little Germany. One of the city’s most characterful corners, it was once home to the German wool merchants who flocked to the city in the 19th century. Relax at one of the cafés, and wander around the unique collection of imposing listed buildings.

For a very different kind of view and a real glimpse into the past, explore Undercliffe Cemetery.

Towering above the city, Undercliffe is the final resting place for many of the city’s most notable inhabitants. Opened in 1854, this magical place is bristling with grand 19th century monuments.

Another great way to uncover Bradford’s history is to pop down to the Bradford Industrial Museum. Housed in the 19th century Moorside Mill, you’ll love the gleaming displays of textile machinery, steam power and the humble mill workers cottages.

Of course when it comes to exploring the city’s oldest buildings, a visit to the majestic Bradford Cathedral is a must. With 13 vibrant centuries at the heart of the city, you’ll feel the thrill of history in this secret gem.

The present cathedral is the third church to occupy the site. And at 500 years old, it’s Bradford’s most ancient place of worship. Take a look at the dazzling windows - they house some of William Morris’ earliest stained glass - then track down sculptures by Flaxman and John Shaw.


Nearby is the village of Saltaire, a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its preservation as a model Victorian village and just a short distance from Bradford. Sir Titus Salt built a grand textile mill (what is now known as Salts Mill)

in 1853, which employed over 3000 workers. He also built a church, schools and houses for the workforce, which still remain today.

Today Salts Mill is home to an impressive collection of David Hockney’s work as well as shops, cafés and restaurants. Make sure you also visit Saltaire United Reformed Church a grade I listed building and the final resting place for Sir Titus Salt.

Brontë Country is also full of history and has its own steam railway from Keighley to Oxenhope. For those interested in the history of the area a trip to the Brontë Parsonage Museum is a must. The former home of the Brontës, one of the world’s most famous literary families is full of their possessions as well as an interesting exhibition on their lives.

For a real step back in time visit the Manor House in Ilkley, a local museum which stands on the remains of the Roman fort Olicana. Only a short section of defensive walls remain exposed at the back of the building, but Roman artefacts from the fort and surrounding area are on permanent display as well as a changing programme of exhibitions.


01 Undercliffe Cemetery. 02 Bradford Cathedral. 03 Salts Mill. 04 Keighley & Worth Valley Railway. 05 Bolling Hall.



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