Bradford Cathedral
Bradford Cathedral ( grid reference SE166333 ), full name Cathedral Church of St Peter, is situated in the heart of Bradford in West Yorkshire, England, on a site used for Christian worship since the 8th century when missionaries based in Dewsbury evangelised the region. For most of its history the building was the parish church of St Peter.

The first church on the site was built in Anglo-Saxon times and fell into ruin during the Norman Invasion in 1066. The Norman lady of the manor Alice de Laci built a second church that 300 years later would be destroyed by raiding Scots. During the 14th century the church was rebuilt and some of the older masonry may have been used in the reconstruction of the nave. The nave arcades, the oldest parts of the present building, were completed in 1458. A clerestory above them was added by the end of the 15th century. Chantry chapels were founded, on the north side of the chancel by the Leventhorpe family, and on the south by the owners of Bolling Hall. The tower in the Perpendicular style was added to the west end and finished in 1508. Originally in the Diocese of York, the church was in the Diocese of Ripon before becoming a cathedral in 1919, when the Diocese of Bradford was created. The building was extended in the 1950s and 1960s by Sir Edward Maufe. The east end of the Cathedral (shown in the photo) is Maufe's work, but he reused the Morris & Co. stained glass from the old east window"there is therefore Victorian stained glass throughout the building including at the west end a window showing the women of the Bible. The many wall monuments include a sculpture by John Flaxman. Maufe also extended the west of the Cathedral on either side of the tower. In 1987 the nave and west end were re-ordered so as to provide the setting and amenities needed for the increasing number of visitors and the many varied occasions when large numbers of people come to the Cathedral. New entrances were made through the tower walls to the offices and Song Room. The roof panelling was cleaned and restored and new lighting was installed. To enable flexibility of use the Victorian pews were replaced by chairs. The nave organ was removed to give more light and space at the west end, and a Bradford Computer Organ was installed, complementing the pipe organ in the choir with loudspeakers in the nave. The hassocks were embroidered by people from many parishes in the Diocese. They depict Christian symbols and also a woolsack and the White Rose of York. The finest embroidery is seen on the cushions in the Sanctuary and the Choir. At the beginning of the 21st century the cathedral authorities decided to develop a museum of religion in St Peter's House (built in the 19th century as Bradford's main Post Office). The visitor numbers were much lower than expected and the project collapsed leaving behind debt. The cathedral still owns the freehold of St Peter's House. The cathedral is set in a small conservation area which includes the close to its north. The close provides modern housing for the Dean and Canons, the Bishop's official residence being in Heaton, approximately three miles from the city centre. The cathedral and its predecessors were built on the shelf of alluvial land that had formed on the outside of the bend where Bradford Beck turns north, but the town grew up on the lower ground on the other side of the beck, so the church was always just outside the centre of town. In the 20th century the cathedral was partly hidden from the centre by buildings, first by the Post Office just below it, and subsequently by the 1960s developments of Forster Square and Petergate. The latter areas were demolished in 2006, and pending redevelopment the cathedral is more visible than for many years.

Under the recommendations of the Dioceses Commission's Yorkshire Review, the Diocese and See of Bradford would be entirely dissolved to facilitate the creation of a new Diocese of Wakefield, and Bradford Cathedral would become a minor seat of the new diocesan Bishop of Wakefield (although the area Bishop of Bradford would have a "seat of honour" there). The Canons from the College of Bradford Cathedral would merge into a new diocesan College, and the Dean of Bradford would become a Vice-Dean of that College (under the Dean of Wakefield).

A specification of the fine William Hill pipe organ can be found on the National Pipe Organ Register.

List of organists
  • Absalom Rawnsley Swaine ???? - 1893
  • Henry Coates 1893 - 1939
  • Charles Hooper 1939 - 1963
  • Keith Vernon Rhodes 1963 - 1981
  • Geoffrey John Weaver 1982 - 1986
  • Alan Graham Horsey 1986 - 2002
  • Andrew Teague 2003 - current

Building Activity