Archive | January, 2014

Blaise and Dripping!

28 Jan

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.


Pie Poetry & Proud of Bradford Show just £4 in advance.

27 Jan

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!

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

26 Jan

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.

Shepherd and Shepherdess.

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

Thirty comb-makers.

Charcoal Burners.

Combers’ Colours.


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


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

Facebook links for The Bring Back St. Blaise Festival

23 Jan

If you could visit and ‘like’ the page or the events that would help. Sharing would be even better.

The Bring Back St. Blaise Festival Page

Burns then Blaise. 25th Jan. Saturday Sparrow.

Guided walk through Bradford’s hidden histories. 1st Feb. Start Glyde House 11.00.

Pie, Poetry & Proud of BRADFORD show. 2nd Feb. Glyde House. 20.00.

The Comedy & Errors – What Bradford has done for fun. 3rd Feb. The Theatre in the Mill. The Comedy & Errors – What Bradford has done for fun. 3rd Feb.

Route and details of The Bring Back St. Blaise’s Day walk, Saturday 1st Feb.

22 Jan

The walk is along much of the route of the last St. Blaise procession in Bradford. It is in 4 parts, and is rough 3 miles in total.

There is one set of steps, and one small section over potential mud, but wheelchair accessible alternatives are available for both.

The walk will be guided by Glyn Watkins, who will be dressed as a bright bishop. You are welcome to dress up as well.

The walk will pass 6 vanished churches, chapels and graveyards; the site of the cockpit, the bowling green, markets, and many vanished pubs. It will include the story of the sieges of Bradford, and the canal that caught fire.

11.00. Gather at Glyde House. Refreshments will be available. Glyn will be showing pictures of old Bradford and talking about the route.

11.30. Set off. Amongst others there will be pauses by J.B.Priestley’s statue; City Hall; and the Wool Exchange.

12.00. New Bradford Playhouse. Home made cakes available from Megan, a grand cake maker.

12.30. Set off. Paper Hall; Bradford Cathedral; down the steps; St. Blaise Way.

13.00. The Sparrow Bier Cafe.. Pie offered.

13.30. Set off. Oastler’s Statue; James Gate; Southgate; Goitside; across the waste ground behind The Lord Clyde to view Bradford’s mill goit.

Around 14.00. The Lord Clyde. Bread and dripping offered.

Before 14.30. Set off. Bradford’s first mill; Bradford Beck; Westholme Street; the first Mannville; down Great Horton Road.

By 15.00. Finish The Sir Titus Salt. Glyn will have coffee vouchers and cake, and probably sandwiches, will be offered.

The Comedy & Errors – What Bradford has done for fun

22 Jan

Blaise 14 Comedy & Errors poster2

The Comedy & Errors

What Bradford has done for fun

Glyn Watkins’ one man show about performance, place and Theatre.
Sports, supping, parading & other loves of the common people.
Temperance Halls, theatres & Playhouses and what Variety!
Mr J.B.Priestley.
Days that The Sons of the Desert came to Bradford
(we were having the time of our lives!)
And introducing
The Luviham Amateur Theatrical Society (or LATS as they like to call themselves).

A collection will be taken.

Issues with the link for

20 Jan

This is only an issue if you use to get to my page.

I own the URL’s and . Normally they both take you to the site It is easier for me to give out and means I can direct traffic to a new or different site if I move from wordpress. should directing to this wordpress page for just my shows (

I pay a company called 123reg to register my URL’s and direct traffic. They appear to be at fault, and badly so.

Pie Poetry & Proud of Bradford poster

19 Jan


The Bring Back St. Blaise’s Festival

Poetry &

A show of Bradford & poetry, with pictures,
stories, anecdotes & strong opinions
Warning: the poems will rhyme,
& pies will be sold!
Tickets £5

Sunday 2nd Feb. 8.00
Glyde House (opp ice rink)

Bradford BD1 0DQ. 01274 271111

A bradwan production.

Event poster for full festival.

19 Jan

Blaise 14 festival poster 10m

The Bring Back St. Blaise’s Festival

A weekend celebrating Bradford’s forgotten saint and hidden histories.

A guided Festival Walk through
Bradford’s Hidden Histories. Sat 1st Feb.

11 am. Glyde House. Little Horton Lane. Leave by 11.30.
12.00 New Bradford Playhouse, Chapel St. Leave by 12.30.
1.30 pm. Sparrow, North Parade. Leave by 2 pm. for The Titus Salt. There’ll be a talk and/or refreshments at each venue.
Donations taken. Each part is a little over a mile. Some stairs, but no-step diversions available. You can walk any/all parts.

Pie, Poetry & Proud
of Bradford Show. Glyde House. Sun 2nd Feb. 8 pm.

Show with pictures, stories, anecdotes & opinions of Bradford; plus poems. Warning: the poems will rhyme, and pies will be available! £5. Call 01274 271111.

The Comedy & Errors
What Bradford has done for fun.
Theatre in the Mill. Mon 3rd Feb. 8 pm.

A brief history of popular entertainment.
In the bar. Donations taken.

Until 1825 Bradford’s woolcombers organised a procession every
7 years celebrating Bishop Blaise, an Armenian reputedly murdered
with woolcombs. The 1825 procession was the biggest ever in Bradford,
and this year’s walk follows part of the route.

The verse below is from the 1825 St. Blaise Day, picture top below from 1811. Poster by bradwan.

As friendship, love, and unity, Compose the bond of peace,
In them may our community – Join hands and thus increase.

The Bring Back St. Blaise’s Festival – full press release 1

17 Jan

A set of events to celebrate Saint Blaise, Bradford’s forgotten patron saint, are set to return for the second year running, after nearly 200 years of neglect.

A small group. led by Bradford based poet and showman Glyn Watkins are organising a walk along the route of the last big procession celebrating Bishop Blaise, which was in 1825! As well as a couple of shows focusing on Bradford’s hidden histories.

Saint Blaise was an Armenian bishop who was reputedly done to death with wool combs in the 4th Century; who became the patron saint of wool combers. Wool towns all over England celebrated his feat day on 3rd February, but Bradford’s was by far the biggest and most famous.

The last procession, in 1825, was perhaps the largest ever in Bradford, and involved everyone in the wool trade, from shepherds to merchants. Unfortunately the wool combers went on strike soon afterwards, lost, and the procession never happened again.

There are a few reminders of St. Blaise in Bradford, but they are few and largely fading from memory. The Bradfordians behind ‘The Bring Back St. Blaise’s Festival’ intend to help remember him, and Bradford’s rich history.

The events start with a walk on Saturday 1st February. Starting at 11.00 at Glyde House, at the bottom of Little Horton Lane. The walk will feature ghost graveyards; Bradford heroes and sieges; lost becks, goits, breweries, markets, public houses, theatres, chapels; and more.

The walk will be lead by Glyn Watkins dressed as a bright bishop, include stops at the New Bradford Playhouse; The Sparrow Bier Cafe on Northgate; The Lord Clyde on Thornton Road; and finish by 15.00 at The Sir Titus Salt. The venues will provide different sorts refreshments celebrating the day, with one serving homemade cakes and another bread and dripping!

Glyde House will also have a show called ‘Pie, Poetry & Proud of Bradford’ at 20.00 on Sunday 2nd Feb. featuring words, pictures, stories and opinions about Bradford

The Theatre in the Mill will be hosting a different show called: ‘Comedy & Errors – A Brief History of Bradford’s Showing Off’ on the evening of Monday 3rd February. Based on what Bradford has done to entertain itself.

For details check

Photo by Joe Ogden of Glyn Watkins outside Glyde House