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Blaise Festival News

30 Jan

I was interviewed 30th Jan. 2020 at 16.50. on Bradford Community Broadcasting. Follow the link and I am on the Drive Time Thursday 30 January 4 – 5pm, at 10 minutes from the end. Bradford Community Broadcasting listen again

I am also interviewed by Andrew Edwards of Radio Leeds on Saturday at 06,50. That’s around 55 minutes in if you listen again

The Annual Blaise walk on Saturday is met 11.00. at Impressions Gallery, but setting off no earlier than 11.20. and no later than 11.30. A collection will be taken, £5 suggested minimum

We finished at Jacobs Well by about 13.30. where pub cooked pie, peas and a pint for £5. was enjoyed. unnamed


Bring Back Blaise Wool Festival at Bradford Industrial Museum Sunday 2nd Feb. 11.00. – 16.00.

29 Jan


See Bradford Industrial Museum Event Page


Bring Back Blaise Festival 2nd Event. AnnualGuided Bishop Blaise Walk. Saturday 1st Feb.

19 Jan


Glyn Watkins leads a narrated walk along part of the procession route of Bradford’s 1825 celebration of Bishop Blaise , Patron Saint of wool-combers. One of the largest processions Bradford has seen. Walk less than 3 miles. Refreshment stop included.

Assemble Impressions Gallery, BD1 1SD.

St 1st. 11.00. Donations taken (min £5 suggested).

Bring Back Blaise Festival 1st Event. Combing out the Blaise Story.

19 Jan


Glyn Watkins tells the strange tale of Bishop Blaise, wool combing and Bradford. With pictures. 19.00. 31st Jan. Meeting Room 3 Bradford City Hall.Free but donations taken.

Bradford Woolly Heritage Community Interest Company launch declared Tops.

9 Jan

The launch of a Company aiming to encourage involvement of people with the history of Bradford and the wool trade has been declared a splendidly woven event by the organisers and audience

The Bradford Woolly Heritage Community Interest Company was launched in Bradford City Hall on Thursday, and has been created by Bradford based poet Glyn Watkins; Landlord of the Jacobs Well pub Dan Horsman; and Leeds based educator and art director Julia Armstrong. It grew out of Glyn’s attempt to revive the celebration of Bishop Blaise, Patron Saint of Woolcombers, in Bradford.

A packed audience heard how the Bring Back Blaise Festival had grown from a walk with a few people to having Bradford’s first wool fair at the Industrial Museum; and how the Company intends to weave the festival into a City wide, internationally linked event on St. Blaise’s Day, 3rd February, 2025. The 200th anniversary of the last time Bradford celebrated Bishop Blaise in a big way.

The positive audience reaction showed that wool and Bradford history still has a place in the hearts of many locals. From people with decades in the wool trade to people who had just moved to Bradford, everyone in the audience expressed appreciation for the attempt to make Saint Blaise’s day a day that anyone can enjoy.

This years Bring Back Blaise Festival runs from Friday 31st January to Monday 3rd February. Events included a talk about Bishop Blaise and wool combing at City Hall, 19.00. 31st Jan. and The Blaise Wool Fair at Bradford Industrial Museum Sunday 2nd Feb.


Picture: Julia Armstrong, Dan Horsman and Glyn Watkins directing their attentions to photographer Joe Ogden

Launch of the Bradford Woolly Heritage Community Interest Company 19.00. Thurs 9th Jan. at Bradford City Hall

5 Jan

Invitation to the Launch of Bradford Woolly Heritage C.I.C

Bradford Woolly Heritage Community Interest Company aims to support the Blaise Festival & other events and encourage an interest in and engagement with the history & culture of Bradford and/or al aspects of wool.

19.00. Thursday 9th Jan. Meeting Room 5 Bradford City Hall.

Entrance on Channing Way. Ring bell to enter. Meeting will be an hour or less. Refreshments at Jacobs Well afterwards.


Bradford Woolly Heritage, set up by Bradford based poet and showman Glyn Watkins; local landlord Dan Horsman, (Jacobs Well) and educator Julia Armstrong (Greyswood Art + Design)

intends to inform and entertain the people of Bradford about the rich and important history of the wool trade in Bradford.

Our first event is the 2020 Bring Back Blaise Festival, from Friday 31st Jan. to Monday 3rd Feb.

The festival was initially started by Glyn over a decade ago as an attempt to help Bradford to recognise the importance of Bishop Blaise, the Patron Saint of Woolcombers. All wool towns used to celebrate his day on 3rd February, but Bradford’s was the biggest and best. Unfortunately the last one was in 1825! The Blaise Wool Fair will be the held at the Bradford Industrial Museum. and will include stalls, music and much more.

Bradford Woolly Heritage will aim to build the celebration of St Blaise to a point where it becomes a community generated, city wide celebration of Bradford, it’s people, and wool culminating in a programme of events in 2025; the 200th anniversary of the last big Bishop Blaise Festival, and the year of the Bradford Bid.

To grow the Bishop Blaise celebration and other events and activities we need support. If you are interested in helping, or just want to find out more, please come along to the meeting. We are interested in connecting with people and organisations with an interest in local history, textiles and the wool industry and any local community groups to explore how we can work together. The meeting will be an hour or less and you are invited to join us at Jacobs Well afterwards


Bradford Woolly Heritage Community Interest Company is registered.

11 Dec


Myself, Dan the landlord of the Jacobs Well and old friend Julia have created this company to help nurture the growth of the Blaise Festival; support other events; and encourage an interest in, and engagement with, the history, culture, economy and future of the city of Bradford and/or all aspects of the wool trade. The ultimate aim is to have a major, city wide and international linked, celebration of Bishop Blaise’s Day on the 2025, the 200th anniversary of the last time Bradford properly celebrated him.

This is to be done initially by adding to  the revival a wool festival in Bradford named after Bishop Blaise, Patron Saint of Woolcombers, around his Saint’s day on 3rd February of each year. Something Bradford last properly celebrated in 1825. This is presently focused at The Bradford Industrial Museum, which has already benefited from increased visitor numbers due to past work.

Dates already confirmed; please check this page for updates.

Thursday 9th January. City Hall. A meeting to launch of the company, for people interested in what we are doing, and especially anyone who might want to help and support us; or who are already involved promoting Bradford or wool.

Friday 31st January. City Hall. A Brief Blaise History. Glyn Watkins presents a show about Saint Blaise and Bradford.

Sunday 2nd February. The Blaise Wool Festival at Bradford Industrial Museum from 11.00 to 16.00. This will be the third Blaise wool festival at the Museum. There will be more stalls; Hall Royd Brass Band and Bradford Community Choir will be performing again; there will be demonstrations of spinning, wean and other skills; and The Lord Mayor of Bradford will be presented with an address by Bishop Blaise, in the form of Glyn Watkins.

There may be a walk on Saturday 1st Feb. and something to mark Saint Blaise actual day on Monday 3rd Feb.

Anyone organising almost any event over the first weekend of February can be part of the Bring Back Blaise Festival 2020 in exchange for advertising it. It will be low key but may grow big over the next few years.

We will be seeking support and sponsorship.


The Bring Back Blaise Festival 2020 is on.

17 Nov

The 3rd Blaise Wool Festival at Bradford Industrial Museum is confirmed for 2nd Feb. More details of that and other events will follow.



Front page news for the Blaise Wool Festival 2017.


Pie & Priestley at Jacobs Well a steaming success including an upper crust steaming pie! Owner Dan Horsman, showman Glyn Watkins and chef Chris Hall

15 Sep


A pie night to celebrate J.B.Priestley’s birthday and a meat and potato pie that defied Hitler at the Jacobs Well pub in Bradford has been declared a steaming success. 

Pie and Priestley is an annual event run by Bradford based poet and showman Glyn Watkins on the 13th September; who did two sets of illustrated readings to appreciative audiences who witnessed the recreation of a steaming pie that was once world famous, and who afterwards feasted on pie and pies baked in the Jacobs newly refurbished kitchen. 

The idea for the event occurred to Glyn over 20 years ago and came from a BBC radio broadcast Priestley made after returning home to Bradford to see the damage a German bombing raid had caused. He had been told that a pie shop that always had a gigantic steaming pie in the window had been destroyed, but to his joy it had survived to steam defiance at ‘…Hitler, Goering and the whole gang off them. It was glorious.’ That made the pie the most famous one in the world.

The shop was owned by a Mr Roberts and once stood on Godwin Street, roughly where the entrance to the Kirkgate Centre carpark is. After his death his widow reportedly offered the pie to Bradford’s Museum service, but they refused to take it, so it was thrown away! 

Glyn usually advertised his events by walking around with a big pie, but this year he managed to make the pie even more upper crust. He read the original broadcast and at the last line:

‘… a pie that steamed for forty-five years and successfully defied an air-raid to steam again has its own proper place.’

He drew back a cloth and revealed his pie steaming away like mad! Like Mr Roberts he refused to reveal the secret, but did say that it was thanks to equipment he had bought from the Kirkgate Market, only a short distance from where the original pie had steamed.

The event was also the first test a future ‘Pie of the Month’ offer. Jacobs’ chef Chris Hall created meat and potato and vegetarian butter pies which were so good at least one member of the audience had a second pie! 

Jacobs’ owner Dan Horsman declared himself well pleased with the success of the event and has already started planning a Pie of the month offer’ and next year’s Pie & Priestley Night’ with Glyn.  

Pie & Priestley a steaming success.

14 Sep

Dan of Jacobs Well happy because I helped him sell beer and pies, me happy because I managed 2 good shows and made my pie steam, and Chris Hall with one of his brilliant pies.