by George Chilvers & John Dewhirst (pub Bantamspast, 2020)
There are few colour photographs of either Bradford City or Bradford Avenue prior to 1970 when they were rivals in the Football League and until now the visual record of their history has been in black and white.
The colourisation of old photographs can bring the past to life, allowing us to see historical characters as they were seen by their peers, overcoming a sense of detachment often associated with grainy or fading images. This collection of more than 150 colourised photographs provides a unique insight into the heritage of Bradford City and Bradford Park Avenue in what is possibly the first publication of its kind to document the history of individual British football clubs through coloured images.
The project is a collaboration between George Chilvers who has established a reputation as one of the leading colourisers of archive football photographs and Bradford football historian, John Dewhirst.
WOOL CITY RIVALS: A HISTORY IN COLOUR is the seventh volume in the HISTORY REVISITED series and a sequel to earlier books by John Dewhirst which tell the story of the fierce rugby rivalry of the predecessor clubs at Valley Parade and Park Avenue.
Hardback subscriber edition available.
Publication at end of October, 2020 – only available to purchase online from the following link:
WOOL CITY RIVALS: A HISTORY IN COLOUR will be the seventh volume in the Bantamspast History Revisited series. Between them, the different books provide a definitive record of the origins of sport and professional football in Bradford, its development and historical context through to the modern day.
By revisiting the evidence the series debunks the myths and superficial narratives that have been told previously.
The seven titles each address distinct themes and are all original in their coverage. They provide a unique collection that is indispensable reading for City supporters wanting to better understand the heritage of their club.
This season the Bradford City AFC match day magazine is being redesigned with a particular focus on nostalgia, embracing the designs of historic club programmes. I am assisting with the project and have provided scans of archive material. As in previous seasons I am contributing a feature in the programme.
This gallery follows an earlier selection of photographs on this site [from this link].
The only parts of the ground that remained unchanged in 1986 were the club offices, the Bradford End and the Midland Road terrace as outlined in the plan below. Aside from the new stands, the provision of car parking represented a major development. However this capacity has subsequently been lost as a consequence of developments between 1999-2001 comprising the two-tier Kop, North-West corner and expanded main stand as well as the construction of new offices (now utilised by the One in a Million school).
Other archive images of Valley Parade from these links:
It was always said that the Bradford landscape was dominated by the chimney of Lister’s Mill (as below) but the following photographs taken in June, 2020 demonstrate the extent to which Valley Parade is nowadays a prominent landmark in the district.
The following photographs were taken of Valley Parade from the east side of the valley…
Contrast with this from 1947…
These were taken from the south near the junction of Rooley Lane and the M606:
From Baildon Moor to the north of Valley Parade with the Emley Moor TV mast on the horizon:
Thanks for visiting my blog which was launched to provide an online historical resource about Bradford football and Bradford City AFC in particular. It gets quite a lot of visits through web searches from people wanting to discover the history of the club.
I have written a number of books about the history of BCAFC and additionally have been involved in the production and co-authoring of many other titles. Later this year my next book, an illustrated history of the Bradford City / Park Avenue rivalry is being published as a volume in the Bantamspast History Revisited series. I also write for VINCIT, the online journal of Bradford Sport History.
The drop down menu above provides access to a range of content from my features in the BCAFC matchday programme, book reviews, archive photos of Valley Parade and features on the identity and historic iconography of Bradford City. You can similarly find links to features I have written about the origins and history of sport in the Bradford district as well as about the history of the district itself. There are also my photographs of my favourite band, The Stranglers who I have followed across the UK as well as worldwide – refer ‘Other Stuff‘. (NB My photographs of North Korea can be found at DPRK in the Viewfinder.)
I can be contacted by DM through Twitter @jpdewhirst (also by em: johnpdewhirst at geeeeeeemaillll dot commm) and uploads to my blog are notified through tweets.
Every year on 11th May a memorial service for the Bradford Fire Disaster takes place in Centenary Square, opposite the City Hall. In 2020 the Covid-19 emergency has prevented a memorial service taking place and instead it will be held online (from this link).
The following are my photographs of the memorial in Centenary Square presented by the City of Hamm, unveiled on 11th May, 1986.
The following features about the disaster commemoration were written by myself and published on the Width of a Postblog:
During the summer of 1985 there were numerous fund raising initiatives undertaken to help raise funds for the Bradford City Disaster Fund in support of victims of the fire at Valley Parade. There was awareness of the tragedy among supporters worldwide and not surprisingly it received considerable coverage in soccer publications. It was the release of a recording by Gerry Marsden – ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ – that is perhaps best remembered but so too there were numerous fund-raising fixtures arranged across the United Kingdom.
These images testify to the goodwill that was extended to the club and possibly the most high-profile game was the restaging of the 1966 World Cup Final at Elland Road in July, 1985. The game between Bradford City and Manchester United the following month was played at Leeds Road, Huddersfield.
Elsewhere on this blog you will find features about the history of football in Bradford – in particular about Bradford City AFC – a number of which have been published in the BCAFC matchday programme. Scroll down for the recent article on Glorious 1911.
The menu above provides links for free, accessible history about BCAFC based on substance rather than soundbites. During the course of researching the origins of sport in the Bradford district I have discovered the extent to which there have been inaccurate and superficial narratives about what happened. I’d go so far as to say that the history has been done an injustice. Hence the intention is that this blog will be developed as a reliable source of historical reference and complements what I have written in my books as well as on VINCIT – Links here to my online articles about the history of sport in Bradford.