You Are Here Gallery

The you are here gallery is a quick trip through the industrial history of Bradford. It’s a good primer for your visit to the industrial museum. Several exhibits show the story of different families who have come to live in Bradford over the past sixty or so years. And you get to see the great big coat of many cultures.

Motive Power Gallery

Machines powered by water, steam, gas and oil. A big room with man sized machines. If you’re lucky you might even see the machines in action. I like this gallery, the machines were built to last forever. So much of today’s machinery is meant to solve a short term problem, we fully expect the things we buy now to be obsolete in the very near future. “It was all different in my day.”

The motive power gallery houses machinery that could last a hundred years or more. Being in charge of machinery like this must have given skilled men a real feeling of pride and importance. When I was a small child, my grandfather was in charge of machines like this, machines that provided the power to run a textile mill. If the weather was snowy he would sleep in the mill over night to make sure he was there when he was needed in the early morning.

The Transport Gallery

Mostly exhibiting Jowett cars and Scott motorcycles, this is by far my favourite gallery. I only live a few hundred yards from the museum and if I have nothing to do on a rainy afternoon I love to wander along to the Bradford Industrial Museum and spend half an hour in the transport gallery. Jowett cars were made at five lane ends, about a mile and a half from the museum. Scott motorbikes were made in Saltaire about four miles away.

Jowett truckThis is real local history from a time when the roads were not so busy. I love the thought of chugging around the countryside in one of these cars or on the Scott Flying Squirrel motorbike. When I was in my middle teens I used to regularly see a man riding a Panther motorbike and side car, similar to the one in this gallery. The fact that this bike was a single cylinder machine of 600cc and was notorious for the kick-starter kicking back and spraining the riders ankle didn’t stop me from wanting one.

The transport gallery also houses a steam locomotive. The guide book says this was used to transport waste to Esholt sewage works. The locomotive was converted from coal power to run on wool grease, a by-product of the mill. Converting a steam engine to run on wool grease might sound surprising but if you saw how steep the hill to Esholt is you’d be amazed that any steam powered engine could get up or down it. I think the train must have taken a very round about trip.

The Print Gallery

Housing printing presses from as early as the hand operated Stanhope printing press, it’s from 1830. This gallery contains many of the machines that made it possible to mass-produce printed material. Just imagine how difficult mass education would be with out books.

I know very little about printing but this gallery houses quite a few machines, if you know about printing I think you’ll like it.

The Spinning Gallery and Weaving Gallery

When I was a child, in the 1960s, my mother worked in a mill and if I was passing I’d sometimes go in to see her. This gallery reminds me of that mill. My mother is now 84 and her hands suffer from arthritis caused by grabbing the spinners to stop them. Spinners were metal guides that wrapped the wool round the bobbins and it was my mothers job to replace the bobbins when they were full of wool.

If you think the mill was a dangerous place for men and women to work just imagine what it must have been like for small children. They had to be young enough to run beneath the machine as it was working. Not surprisingly, not all of them survived. Just like the chimney sweep, they faced many hazards.

Is this what people mean when they talk about Victorian values, I wonder?