Thursday 30 April 2015

The Lost Sports Grounds of Bradford

A vintage bus tour
Saturday 30 May 2015
£10 per person

A tour of what is effectively the history of spectator sport in Bradford, in a vintage Bradford City Transport double decker bus and the chance to drink a real ale specially brewed for the occasion. As combinations go it’s not a bad one. To cap it all, the trip is also likely to raise several hundred pounds for the Burns Unit. The cost is £10 per person which includes the bus tour and a ‘cricket tea’ at Bowling Old Lane Cricket Club. Tickets are on sale at The Sparrow Bier Cafe on North Parade.

Without the support of our good friends at the North Parade duo of The Record Cafe and The Sparrow as well as the Dudley Hill based Salamander Brewery, the tour simply would not have gone ahead. Their support also means that a large proportion of the income from ticket sales will be donated to the burns unit. Their generosity also ensures that we will probably be able to produce a comprehensive guide to Bradford’s lost sports grounds. It will be free to ticket holders, but will also be available, in exchange for a donation to the Burns Unit, after the tour from both The Record Cafe and The Sparrow.

We are requesting that those on the trip gather at The Record Cafe, North Parade, at 11.30am for a noon departure. It is worth noting that The Record Cafe is open from 11am and boasts an excellent charcuterie and cheese menu for those who may require lunch. We are hiring a former Bradford City Transport double decker bus: a 1947 AEC Regent to be precise. We depart North Parade at noon to visit eight locations that have a particular resonance in Bradford’s sporting history. At each ground there will be a short description of the venue and its history. The stopping places are:

Quarry Gap: Pedestrians, knur and spell and an American Indian. Exploring the pre-history of Bradford sport.

Carlisle Road: Claret and amber and the road to Valley Parade.

Horton Road: W.G. Grace, Aboriginals and the early history of Bradford cricket.

Park Avenue: Barbarians in the Dolls House. Rugby’s great split, Yorkshire’s favourite cricket ground and strange tales of Bradford Park Avenue AFC.

Scholemoor: The case of the stolen stand. Rugby Union’s Bradford bolthole, Bobby Robson and a plastic pitch.

City Stadium: Room at the Top? Film cameras, a pack of greyhounds and a baseball match.

Greenfield: Gone to the dogs. A dog races a motorbike as John Poulson looks on.

Birch Lane: Northern Soul. Rugby League clings on against the odds while a referee flees down Manchester Road.

Highlights include a half hour stop to explore the overgrown terraces of Park Avenue and Bradford Northern’s former ground of Birch Lane that was adjacent to Bowling Old Lane Cricket Club. In the club house a ‘cricket tea’ will be laid on free for all ticket holders on the trip. You will also be able to take in part of the match between Bowling Old Lane and Windhill in the Bradford Cricket League. After tea the bus will return to the Sparrow on North Parade for around 5pm where the FA Cup Final (5.15pm kick off) will be screened.

Places are restricted to fifty in line with the capacity of the bus. There has already been a good deal of interest in the trip, so we are hopeful that it will quickly sell out. If that does happen, then not only will everyone have a good day out, a significant amount of money will also be donated to the pioneering Bradford Burns Unit.

Sunday 19 April 2015

The Annual bantamspast Museum 1911 Dinner

26 April 2015
The Bradford Club
6.30pm for 7.00pm

£20 two-course meal, a football ground archaeologist as guest speaker and exhibition billiards match featuring the 2011 English national champion.
All profits from the evening will be donated to the Bradford Burns Unit.

On Sunday 26 April, the 104th anniversary of the day that Bradford City became the first winners of the current FA Cup, the annual bantamspast dinner will take place at the historic Bradford Club at Piece Hall Yard in the city centre. Diners are requested to meet in the club’s bar at 6.30pm for a 7.00pm sitting. A guest speaker will follow the two-course dinner. This year’s speaker is football ground archaeologist Jason Wood. He led an exploratory dig at Bradford Park Avenue in the autumn of 2013 and previously worked on the memorialisation of Middlesbrough’s Ayresome Park ground. Jason will attempt to explain what inspired him to swap Roman archaeology for defunct football grounds. He will also show a short film shot at Bradford Park Avenue by Neville Gabie, the lead artist for the London 2012 Olympics.

The dinner also falls close to the 100th anniversary of the death of the first Bradford City player to lose his life in the First World War. Gerald Kirk died on 24 April 1915 at Poperinghe in Belgium. He was a centre half at Valley Parade, but was also a keen billiards player. Reports in the Bradford newspapers suggest that Gerald Kirk played at a high level against some of the best players of the era. To honour his memory an exhibition billiards match will take place in the Bradford Club’s stunning billiards room. It will feature Richard Lodge, the 2011 English national champion and Mark Hirst. The historic Hey’s billiard trophy will also be on display. The trophy is a solid silver depiction of a billiards match and was played for annually in aid of the Bradford Hospital and Convalescence Fund. The trophy is still in use to this day and is competed for by snooker teams from across Bradford.

Tickets for the dinner are available from The Record Café, North Parade and the Bradford Club at Piece Hall Yard. The evening is strictly non-profit making and, once the modest expenses have been met, all proceeds will be donated to the Bradford Burns Unit.