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.

About Glyn Watkins, Bradford based poet and showman, in Bradford Review 43

3 Sep


Read the whole magazine via this link

Rough transcript of the contents of the Glyn Watkins article below

Many places in the world have special things that mark the changing of the seasons. Japan has cherry blossom marking the beginning of Spring and England has shops starting to sell Christmas stuff marking the ending of Summer.

Bradford seems to have developed it’s own peculiar signs of early spring and passing summer in the shape of a oddly dressed bloke who appears on the streets as a fluorescent bishop in January, and carrying a foot wide pie any time from June.

He also appears dressed as a mad hatter to advertise ‘Hat Throwing’ competitions he has invented.

The man is Glyn Watkins, Bradford based, self proclaimed, ‘poet, writer and showman’. 

This year Glyn is wearing his top hat to advertise the Yorkshire Hat Throwing Championship at Bowling Hall Museum, Bradford; part of a full day of events celebrating Yorkshire Day, Thursday 1st August, from 11.00. 

The competition involve landing a hat on a target, so is a measure of skill and hand eye coordination, rather than strength, and is suitable for all ages. T.I.F.F.T.H.A rules (Transnational Institute of Formally Thrown Hat Associations) say that all hats must be safe to throw, that no metal is allowed, and that neither hat abuse or hat fighting will be tolerated.

The Museum is free to enter and the Hat Throwing entry is by donation.

The fluorescent Bishop is part of Glyn’s remarkably successful campaign to get Bradford celebrating Bishop Blaise, the Patron Saint of Woolcombers, after a near 200 year gap. The Saint’s Day is on the 3rd February, and this year saw the Bradford Industrial Museum had a record February attendance figure for Bradford’s first wool festival; a festival both Glyn and the Museum have committed to repeat next year on the first Sunday in February.

The pie is baked by Glyn has his website in the crust (making it his iPie) and is to draw attention to his celebration of J.B.Priestely’s birthday on the 13th September, and: ‘a meat and potato pie that defied Hitler!’ 

That pie was made famous by a BBC Radio broadcast Bradford born Priestley made in September 1940, part of a series called ‘Postscripts’. Bradford had been bombed and while nobody was hurt, Priestley had been told that a pie shop that used to have a massive pie in the window that had steam coming out of the top had been destroyed.

Priestley came home to see the damage, and perhaps stand in the ruins of the shop to  “…catch perhaps a last faint lingering whiff of that steam…”. But to his joy the pie was damaged but the pie was still there “Every puff and jet of that steam defied Hitler, Goering, and the whole gang of them. It was glorious.”

So for 20 odd years Glyn has been doing shows on 13th September where people listen to him reading Priestley, look at pictures he project, and eat meat and potato pie (or vegetarian alternative) and peas.

This year the celebration is at the Jacobs Well public house on Kent Street in central Bradford. He will be doing two shows. One at 16.00 and another at 19.00. It is free entry, but pies will have to be paid for. There will be a choice of home made meat and potato or a vegetarian butter pie (potato and butter in a pie!). This event will also be the launch of Jacobs as a pie provider, which intends introducing a Pie of the Month feature.

Check Glyn’s show page at for details, or find @hatthrowing on instagram.

Pie & Priestley 2019

5 Aug

Free shows of illustrated J.B.Priestley readings at Jacobs Well, Bradford, but to be sure of pie you  need to book. £5 for pie (Meat & Potato or Butter) and peas and a pint of Bright Day Bitter or soft drink. Tickets from Jacobs Well, or Eventbright (with processing fee). Eventbrite link below.

Eventbrite page to buy advanced pie and drink for £5 (plus Eventbrite fee)

There will be 2 free shows off around an hour at 16.00 and 19.00. Pies will be served before and after.

Pie&Priestley2019 posterS

Glyn Watkins presents his annual Pie & Priestley Night

J.B.Priestley Pie & Proud of Bradford.

Jacobs Well 

Kent St, BD1 5SH

To celebrate J.B.Priestley’s birthday Glyn will be doing illustrated readings, including the wartime broadcast about the Bradford meat and potato pie that defied Hitler.

At 16.00 and 19.00.  Fri 13th Sept. 2019.

Also the launch of Jacobs’ Pie of the Month. Meat & potato (or Butter) pub made pie & peas. Show is free, pies aren’t.  You can pre book pie and pint (or non alcoholic alternative) for £5 at Jacobs. Sorry, but licence means no children.

Tickets fromJacobs Well or Eventbright (search Pie & Priestley).

See for details,