EVER wondered just what lies beyond the doors of Bradford's grandest public building?
City Hall is getting set to reveal all this summer when it opens its doors for 'sneeky peek' tours of what lies within its listed status walls.
Council staff are busy getting ready and recruiting volunteers to help visitors who will embark on the self-guided route through the impressive hallways and chambers.
Eight special displays to punctuate the tour area also being put together by the museums and galleries department to bring Bradford's rich history to life, the stop-offs will include objects which represent the district’s textile and engineering heritage.
The Council's business development officer Razwana Mahmood, who is helping devise the tours, said: "The idea is to bring objects from outside into City Hall and point people into the right direction whereto find out more about the city's past.
"For example we'll be having a miniature loom which has links to the Industrial Museum in Eccleshill, there'll be a Scott motorbike made here in Bradford and we'll have replica helmets and costumes to try on from the Pity Poor Bradford days of the, encouraging people to go and visit Bolling Hall."
The Sneaky Peek openings will start on Wednesday, August 6, and be every Wednesday from 2pm to 4pm and on Thursdays from 10am to noon until September 11 - There is no need to book, people can simply turn up.
Scaffolding will have moved round to the civic entrance by the time the tours start, balconies are being ice-blasted which is more eco-friendly than sandblasting, said Mrs Mahmood.
She added: "It really will look like City hall has been wrapped up like a big present and people are being given the chance to have a look at what's under the wrapping!"
Other preparations have included City Hall security staff Dennis Wainwright and Paul Donnelly moving the magnificent balsa wood scale model of the building into a new position to show it off to its full advantage.
Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, the executive holder for employment, skills and culture, said: "Sneaky Peeks are part of the Council’s commitment to open up City Hall more to the public, recognising that the iconic city centre building is part of every Bradfordian’s heritage as well as being of interest to visitors from further afield.
"We hope visitors will enjoy looking around some magnificent rooms of City Hall not normally open to the public and learning something of our unique history."
An additional project to make City Hall more accessible to everyone will be the new Under the Clock Police Museum which opens in August in another part of City Hall which still retains the old police cells.
The museum's chairman Martin Baines said: "The new police museum will offer a unique insight into the history of policing in Bradford from the 19th century onwards. We hope people will enjoy guided tours of the original cells in City Hall as well as a walk through the court room used as a set location by ITV’s Coronation Street."
After refurbishment of ground floor rooms in City Hall, the Register Office will move from Manor Row to City Hall in October, bringing the building firmly back into public life.
Visitors arriving for the tours will come in through the front entrance of City Hall which will be opened specially for them, then walk up the grand central staircase which dates back to 1914.
Where the staircase stands now was once the council chamber until an extension was opened in 1909 making room for a new chamber where city-defining meeting are still held today.
"At the back of the original 1873 civic building was Chapel Street, you can still see bits of the old street on the tour - and the bit where the prisoners used to be walked in. The corridor where the silver collection is kept is actually a bridge connecting the old and the newer building. People are definitely going to find it fascinating."