January 2014


I am on the Round Table on Bradford Community Broadcasting at 12.00. There is a listen live button on the page the link goes to.

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I have not posted any normal blogs for a good while because I am busy with the shows, not just the 3 this weekend, but also a possible pop-up in Clerkenwell for St. Walburgas.

The weather forecast for the walk on Saturday is not good, but at least there are plenty of stops, so I may be doing most of the talking indoors and getting the group as quickly as comfortable to the next shelter and food.

I will do the walk even if there are just 2 of us.

I did not blog about the Burns Night, which is a bit daft. I might add a bit to the picture if I’ve time for a few deep breaths.

The organiser of a walk on Saturday to commemorate Bishop Blaise, Bradford’s forgotten saint, has just announced it will be calling at the Lord Clyde, on Thornton Road, to sample what he describes as the ‘Yorkshire ethnic delicacy’ of bread and dripping!

Glyn Watkins, poet and showman of Little Horton, is a big fan of the fats and juices that come of roast beef, and was delight when landlady Julie Yeadon offered to put on a tray bread and ‘mucky’ dripping. As he said:

‘The walk is starting from Glyde House and going to the New Bradford Playhouse, where we can have some of their splendid cakes; then on to the Sparrow Bier Cafe
for pies. After that we can we fill up a few corners at the Lord Clyde with the joy that is bread and dripping! It’s just a shame it has no vegetarian alternative, but there will be more cake waiting for us at the Sir Titus Salts at the end of the walk for anyone who is still hungry.

The walk is entitled ‘A Guided Walk Through Bradford’s Hidden Histories.’ and is open to all. Walkers are asked to be at Glyde House, at the bottom of Little Horton Lane, for 11.00. The walk is about 3 miles long, will finish by 15.00. and collections will be taken.

G_Watkins_St_Blaise.at.Lord_ClydeM

Buy your ticket before Sunday 2nd Feb. from Glyde House or me and save a pound.

The show starts at 20.00. will finish before 22.00 and have time for you to buy pie and peas at a very modest price. The pie will be meat and potato or cheese and onion.

There will be poems that rhyme and many tales with pictures, including ghost graveyards; lost trains and found cannon balls; the woman who built a pub, married one of Bradford’s first policemen and then drowned herself; and ups and downs of Bradford City, including me being a director for the day, and why Bradford City stopped the director for a day scheme!

I have copied the list at the bottom of this entry from John James’ HISTORY AND TOPOGRAPHY OF BRADFORD MDCCCXLI.

As the book was published just 16 years after 1825 and the last ever celebration of St. Blaise by the whole of Bradford, we can be certain it is correct.

The Event

The event was organised by the wool-combers, who were self employed skilled men. Their job was to separate the long and short hair in a fleece (the tops and noils) using big metal combs heated in a pot of burning charcoal. The tops were used to make higher grade worsted cloth, the noils for woollens.

The wool-combers had been in a very strong economic position, but things were changing fast in 1825. They went on strike 4 months after the triumph of St. Blaises’s day, lost, and St. Blaise was never celebrated again.

Still, if you look at how big, and complicated, the procession was you cannot help but be astonished by it. There are 860 people counted in the list, plus 3 bands and uncounted numbers of charcoal burners, shepherds and shepherdesses and colour (or flag) bearers. So surely over a thousand in total! All done when a man on a horse was the fastest way to communicate!

The spelling and spacing is as the original, so this is now a primary source.

The Spelling of Blaise, or Blaize, varied even in 1825. Now the two streets named after him in Bradford use a s instead of a z, and so do I.

Listing Bradford’s Bishop Blaize Procession on 3rd Feb. 1825.

Herald, bearing a flag

Twenty-four Woolstaplers on horseback, each horse caparisoned with a fleece.

Thirty-eight Worsted-Spinners and Manufacturers on horseback, in white stuff waistcoats, with each a sliver of wool over his shoulders and a white stuff sash: the horses’ necks covered with nets made of thick yarn.

Six merchants on horseback, with coloured sashes.

Three Guards. Masters’ Colours. Three Guards.

Fifty-six Apprentices and Masters’ Sons on horseback, with ornamental caps, scar-
let coloured coats, white stuff waistcoats, and blue pantaloons.

Bradford and Keighley Bands

Macebearer, on foot.

Six Guards. King. Queen. Six Guards.

Guards. Jason. Princess Medea. Guards.

Bishop’s Chaplin.
BISHOP BLAIZE.

Shepherd and Shepherdess.
Shepherd-Swaines.

One hundred and sixty Woolsorters on horseback, with ornamental
caps and various coloured slivers.

Thirty comb-makers.

Charcoal Burners.

Combers’ Colours.

Band.

Four hundred and seventy Wool-combers, with wool wigs, &c.

Band.

Forty Dyers, with red cockades, blue aprons, and crossed slivers of red and blue.

Below is a painting of the 1811 Blaise procession.

Blaise 1811 procession picture

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