Bradford City Hall Sneaky Peeks


Bradford City Hall

Every now and again Bradford council allows the public to take a peek inside City Hall.

As Discover Bradford was in City Park for the classic car show, we thought we would take up the chance to look inside.


Civic staircase

As we entered the building we were greeted by a friendly team of volunteers who gave us a bit of information and pointed us in the right direction.

In front of us in the foyer was the ceremonial staircase which was enlarged in 1914 and redesigned when they linked the external entrance with the new extension. The steps were made from Bell Dean stone from the quarry in Thornton.


City's silver collection.

On the second floor we found a commemorative display honouring individuals for personal bravery, achievement, or service to the Bradford district who received the nations highest honours, the Victoria cross, the Albert medal the Edward medal and the George cross.

A brass bell at the top of the right set of steps was to commemorate the Bradford City fire disaster of 1985.

Taking the corridor to the council chambers we walked passed silver showcases displaying some of the city's silver collection. Also on display were visitor books signed by the royal family and other famous people.


Council chambers

The council chambers is where major committee meetings are held. 8 full council meeting a year are held here where all 90 councilors attend who represent the Bradford district. A TV was showing a short film about the history of Bradford.



'LABOR OMNIA VINCIT' - Labour overcomes all things

To the right of the chamber we found a carved copy of the Official blazon.


The bugles recall the ancient and annual custom of blowing the horn and holding a dog on St. Martin's day in the forenoon, in the Market Place at Bradford. This commemorates part of the service which John Northrop of Manningham owed to John of Gaunt for his lands.

The boar's head refers to the legend of the boar of Cliffe Wood,

The black ram and white angora goat recall that the wool of these animal was used in the local industries. The roses refer to Yorkshire.

The Banqueting Hall

The first thing we noticed in the banqueting hall is the interesting frieze over the fireplace.


The frieze carries the Bradford city motto: Labor omnia vincit (Hard work conquers all), reflecting the ethos of an industrial city, and the work ethic of the Evangelical movement represented by many local chapels. The figures on the frieze represent the wool trade between Bradford and the world, besides architecture and the arts.


Moving from the banqueting hall to a reception room we found a collection of historic and rare trophies from the rugby league world.



A collection of historic and rare trophies from the rugby league world

Ladbrokes Challenge Cup

On display were trophies from national competitions in Britain and international trophies.

There was an old version of the Challenge Cup trophy, built by Bradford trophy builders Fattorini and Sons, who also made the first FA Cup.


From here we headed to the Lord Mayors room and stopped where a volunteer was standing opposite an open window. Being of the nosey type we peered through the open window to have a gander of the inner courtyard.

Location for peaky blinders

The friendly volunteer explained the windows in the background were part of a bridge that connected the old part of the building to the new. It was the corridor we walked down with the display of silver. The courtyard below although full of garbage bins was the location for many films and TV shows. The most popular at the moment is peaky blinders.


Continuing our walk we couldn't help but notice the original tiles that covered the bottom half of the corridor.


Tiles in corridor

stained glass window

One of the stained glass windows we passed. It looks to have the coat of arms for Bradford on the left and the Royal Arms of England on the left.



the Lord Mayor's room

The Lady Mayoress or Lord Mayor's Consort have their own rooms .


Having completed the circuit on the second floor we found ourselves at the top of the steps leading down to the foyer. We paused to take a look at the scale model of city hall made by Bradford model maker Ron Breadner who now lives in Plymouth.



Balsa wood scale model of City Hall. Made by Ron Breadner 1980

Stained glass room dome lights up civic steps

As we made our way to the court room on the first floor the civic steps were flooded by light from the giant stained glass dome in the roof.


Roof dome flood civic stairs with light

At the bottom of the civic staircase we made a sharp right turn and headed for the court room. The wood-panelled Victorian courtroom (used famously in Coronation Street for Tracy Barlow’s murder trial), hasn't been used since the mid 1970 apart from a set in a film location.



Victorian court room Bradford city hall

Seating in the courtroom

Victorian door handles in courtroom

Stained glass roof light

That's it for our tour of Bradford City Hall. There is also a police museum in city hall but you need to leave the building and enter by another door. You can read about that in another blog.


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© 2020 by Discover Bradford    All images © 2020  Stephen Mills.