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Special Collections on Bradford, the West Riding and the Yorkshire Dales


The development of the University of Bradford cannot be seen in isolation from the region in which it is based, its historic industry and radical traditions.  The University grew out of the need for technical education in Bradford and much of its teaching and research has a local focus e.g. archaeological research in the Yorkshire Dales, conflict resolution with local communities.

Bradford’s history and that of the University is intertwined with the experience of the other West Riding cities and of our hinterland and backyard The Yorkshire Dales, hence our local collecting goes beyond the city itself.


Here are our most significant local collections.

Anthrax Papers, compiled by doctors who fought the deadly disease affecting wool workers in Bradford.

Fred Butterfield photographed excursions by bicycle in the Yorkshire Dales.

Dyeing and Textile History Collection: printed books including many on these industries in Bradford.

The Holden Papers: letters between Bradford wool entrepreneur Sir Isaac Holden and his family.

Books by the Keartons, naturalists born in Swaledale who found new ways to photograph and film nature.

Local Collection: printed books on Bradford, the West Riding and the Yorkshire Dales.

Archive and books of journalist and naturalist W.R. Mitchell, who chronicled the changing landscapes and lives of the Yorkshire Dales.

Our newspaper collection includes issues of the Bradford Pioneer.

Papers of the Popplewell Inquiry: investigating the Bradford City Fire of 1985.

Archive and books of J.B. Priestley, Bradford-born author who became a household name in the mid 20th century.

Archive, maps and books of archaeologist Arthur Raistrick, who studied industries and land use in the Yorkshire Dales.

Archive and books of W. Riley, popular novelist of Windyridge fame, plus writings of his father Joseph Riley.  The Rileys ran a pioneering magic lantern business in Bradford.

Titus Salt's Daybook: the technological breakthrough of the industrialist who built Saltaire.

Archive and books of John Waddington-Feather, a writer who often used his Keighley birthplace in his poems and stories.