The Sporting Heritage of Bradford

Talk at Bradford Local Studies Library: 19 May, 2018

During the second half of the nineteenth century Bradford established a proud reputation as a leading centre of sport and was known for the enthusiasm and prowess of its sports clubs.

However, after the end of World War One, Bradford became increasingly associated with sporting failure and ultimately, in 1985 with tragedy. The proud heritage of the nineteenth century tended to be overlooked and forgotten.

 The origins and early development of sport in Bradford has hitherto been neglected by local historians.

 In 2016 John Dewhirst published two books, ROOM AT THE TOP and LIFE AT THE TOP that narrate the history of Bradford sport from its beginnings through to becoming commercialised in the final quarter of the nineteenth century. His books explain how Bradford became a rugby centre and of how the intense rivalry of Manningham FC and Bradford FC dominated sporting passions, later extended into soccer through Bradford City AFC and Bradford Park Avenue AFC. He also offers an alternative explanation for the breakaway Northern Union in 1895.

 On Saturday 19th May he will be talking about his research findings and answering questions from people interested in Bradford’s sporting heritage at the Local Studies Library, Bradford 10:30am – 12pm.

For further details, and to book a place please contact Bradford Local Studies Library on 01274 433688 or

Local Studies Library, Margaret McMillan Tower (side entrance) , Princes Way BRADFORD  BD1 1NN

JD Sporting Heritage of Bradford 19-May-18


If you are interested in Bradford sport history visit  VINCIT

Links to articles written by John Dewhirst on the history of football and the origins of sport in Bradford HERE

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