Bradford Woolcombing Festival Turns Out Tops!

7 Feb
Organisers of a festival trying to revive a celebration of Bishop Blaise, patron saint of wool combing, have declared their weekend to be ‘tops’.
In the days when Bradford was the most famous wool town in the world the combing of wool gave Bradford mills long ‘tops’ for wostead and short ‘nails’ for woollens. Two hundred years ago woolcombers organised massive processions to celebrate Saint Blaise, the patron of their trade, on the 3rd February. The last one was in 1825 though, and he has been, pretty much, forgotten since then.
This weekend saw the latest ‘Bring Back St. Blaise’s Festival’. which seems to be steadily bringing Blaise back to mind.
Chief organiser Glyn Watkins, a Little Horton based poet, reckons the three day festival has gone wonderfully well; especially considering the fact the festival lost a major sponsor with just a few months to go. He told us:
“We had to stretch our thread really tightly this year, but I think we managed to weave a really good festival out of it.
The launch event for this year’s St Blaise Ale at Salamander Brewery was so popular it was standing room only.
The historic walk on Saturday reached a whole new audience, despite it bing the coldest and wettest Saint Blaise day I can remember. Bradford Cathedral was a great place to start, and the welcome we got from the Sparrow and Lord Clyde really warmed us all up.
My Blaise Lite Stand Up History of Bradford on the Sunday at the Record had one of the best audiences I have ever had. People came from Harrogate and even a bloke from Zagreb! And I have to admit he did not come from Zagreb just for my show, he did say he’d loved it.”

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