Archive | January, 2017

Bring Back St. Blaise’s Festival Poster.

31 Jan



The Bring Back St. Blaise’s Festival Diary.

31 Jan

From 2nd to 5th Feb. Bring Back Great Knits Exhibition at Bradford Cathedral. Open 9.30 am – 5.30 pm, Bradford Cathedral, BD1 4EH.  

Some of Bradford’s finest knits and stories, with llive spinning demos, with local textile artist Tess/

Friday 3rd. Bring Back St. Blaise Evening at Salamander Brewery, 22 Harry St, BD4 9PH. 

Show by Glyn Watkins from 18.30. Music from 20.00. Salamander Brewery St. Blaise Armenian Ale available.,  

Saturday 4th. Bring Back St. Blaise Procession.

Guided walk of about 7000 steps around Bradford. Meet 10.00. at the Record Cafe, North Parade. Set off 10.30. Cathedral; Paper Hall; Wool Exchange; City Hall; Jacobs Well; Priestley Statue; Bradford Beck; Lord Clyde; Kirkgate; finishing at the Sparrow by 13.30.

Sunday 5th. Bring Back St. Blaise Wool Day at the Bradford Industrial Museum. 11 am – 4.00 pm. Bradford Industrial Museum, Morrside Rd, BD2 3HP.

 Exhibition on Bradford and Bishop Blaise,; wool machinery will be working; Sparrow pop-up bar with Salamander beer (12.00 – 15.30); demonstrations by the Guild of Spinners and Weavers; and performances from Bradford Voices Community Choir, and the Hall Royds Band from 12.00.

A really cute Bring Back St. Blaise’s… poster by Samantha Wass. All you need to know. 

26 Jan

Samantha Wass holds history. 1st Salamander beer for Blaise, and for the ‘Mad old blokes do a bus tour round Bradford!’

26 Jan

As friendship, love, and unity, Compose the bond of peace, In them may our community Join hands and thus increase. (part of a poem read out during the 1825 celebration.)

22 Jan

The biggest processions to ever take place in Bradford were to celebrate Saint Blaise. These recurred every seven years. Saint Blaise was an Armenia Martyr Bishop, famed for curing a child choking on a fish bone; and reputedly being tortured with woolcombs; becoming the Patron Saint of Woolcombers. All English wool towns used to celebrate his day, but Bradford’s were the biggest and best.

 Bradford developed with the wool trade, especially the trade in fine worsteds, made from long fibres (tops) that could only be got from combing; using heavy, heated combs. Worsteds made Bradford the largest wool town the world will ever know.
Bradford’s woolcombers were a craft guild with a long apprenticeship.  As Bradford grew, the Bishop Blaise procession grew. There may have been a thousand people in the 1825 procession, but unfortunately the woolcombers and handloom weavers went on strike soon after. After 23 weeks the strike was broken, and so were the woolcombers. Without the woolcomber’s organisation the Blaise celebration was almost forgotten. Mills replaced hand work, and almost every building standing in 1825 was knocked down before 1899.
 I have been trying to get people to celebrate Saint Blaise again for years: partly because of my love of history, but mostly because early February is a grim time of year and Blaise gives us a good reason to have a bit of fun remembering and rediscovering histories we all share. So why not join in?
Glyn Watkins. January 2017

The Hall Royd Band and Bradford Voices Community Choir add threads to the Bring Back St. Blaise’s Festival.

21 Jan

Alan of Bradford Voices, Michael of Hall Royd Band, Glyn as Bishop Blaise, Mary with her tenor horn, and Sue from Bradford Voices. At Bradford Industrial Museum

Napoleons Casino sponsor The Bring Back St. Blaise’s Festival.

21 Jan

This sponsorship came about because I had a completely random conversation about J.B. Priestley and St. Blaise, in the Sparrow Bier Cafe, with two people I had never met before, after a Bradford City Nobody Cares Cup game! Turned out that Jane and Baz were managers at Napoleons Casino.

This sponsorship means I can cover all costs for the Bring Back Wool Day at Bradford Industrial Museum, Sunday 5th February, including booking a band and a choir, without putting my hand in my own pocket!  RESULT!



Salamander Brewery’s Saint Blaise Armenian Ale.

13 Jan


Bring Back St. Blaise’s Festival pop-up bar planning. Wi Les & Polish tomato soup in Oastler. 

12 Jan

A pretend St. Blaise and woolcomb at Salamander Brewery, their St. Blaise Armenian Ale

6 Jan