Tuesday 30 April 2013

Bantams’ History Week in Review

The inaugural Bantams’ History Week ended on a high note at the Midland Hotel on Friday night. Exactly 102 years to the day since Jimmy Speirs walked onto the balcony of what is now the Forster Suite, diners enjoyed a fabulous meal and listened to The Guardian’s David Conn describe his journey from terrace fan to football’s leading financial investigative journalist.

History was brought back to life when bantamspast museum’s curator David Pendleton described the scenes on the packed streets of Bradford when the Bantams brought the FA Cup back to the city in which it had been designed. From our view from the Forster Suite we looked across the street to the location of Fattorini’s where W. N. Norman drew the design of the iconic trophy. Next door was the headquarters of Sports & Pastimes who produced thousands of football shirts, including those worn by the Bantams’ players in the FA Cup Final of 1911. We looked out of the french windows from where Speirs emerged with the glittering trophy and imagined the sea of cheering faces packed onto the streets below. Bradford City chairman Mark Lawn brought along Speirs’ FA Cup winners’ medal – probably the first time it had been into the hotel since Speirs himself carried it, and the cup, into the hotel on the evening of 26 April 1911.

It was a fitting end to a wonderful week. From the opening walk the previous Saturday which raised £85 for the Burns Unit; the pulling of the first pint of the specially brewed Baines blonde by Mark Lawn at the Sparrow (the beer sold all 210 pints inside four hours); a tour of Undercliffe Cemetery, where a small collection gave £38 towards the upkeep of the vast cemetery, which is undertaken almost entirely by volunteers; and finally the dinner.

We would like to thank those who enabled the history week to go ahead: Turls Green (Wetherspoons); Sparrow Bier Café; Bradford City AFC; Friends of Undercliffe Cemetery; Midland Hotel; John Ashton; John Dewhirst; Gary Peacock; Glyn Watkins; Andy Tyne; Mark Lawn; David Conn; David Pendleton and, of course, everyone who took part and attended the events.

We'll be back next year bigger and better!

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