Great War links to Ravenscliffe estate investigated

From left, group members Irene Lofthouse, Maureen Holmes and Arlene Borrill of Ravenscliffe Community Association

From left, group members Irene Lofthouse, Maureen Holmes and Arlene Borrill of Ravenscliffe Community Association

First published in News

Community workers on a Bradford estate are putting their area in the spotlight in a link-up with the centenary of the First World War.

And their efforts have been given a massive boost with an £8,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

It is now full steam ahead for Ravenscliffe Community Association and its project to research the origins of the estate.

Titled Seeds of the Past – The Great War and Garden Estates, the whole community is being invited to get involved in the bid to preserve memories and celebrate those who shaped the area.

It is thought Ravenscliffe was built in response to the Homes Fit for Heroes effort to provide houses with gardens so families could grow their own food and build a strong sense of community after the conflict.

Project leader Arlene Borill said: “We will also look at how the mills changed during the war and how industry shaped the formation of the estate.”

People will be urged to share and preserve memories passed down through generations of those who lived on the estate after the Great War and to celebrate industry and the people who shaped it. Volunteers will collect oral histories, photos, documents, letters as well as family tales to help build a picture of what life was really like during and after the First World War.

With the help of professionals, this information will be collated and put on a website accessible to all. From the end of February, half-day sessions will be held for people to get involved, either to tell their stories or look at the emerging picture of the history of Ravenscliffe.

The history of Ravenscliffe will be celebrated via the website and through community events and performances, led by Irene Lofthouse, a professional community artist who was born and raised in the area.

Arlene Borrill said: “We are thrilled to have received support from the Heritage Lottery Fund. This project will raise the profile of Ravenscliffe throughout Bradford.”

Anyone who has memories, photographs, letters or keepsakes can contact Arlene at or go to the Gateway centre for a list of open days.

The head of HLF in Yorkshire and the Humber, Fiona Spiers, said: “The impact of the First World War was far-reaching, touching and shaping every corner of the UK and beyond.

“The fund has already invested more than £15m in projects to mark this global centenary, enabling even more communities like Ravenscliffe to explore the continuing legacy of this conflict and help young people in particular to broaden their understanding of how it has shaped our modern world.”

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