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Names that should not be forgotten
In most books about Bradford the usual celebrity suspects from the arts and sport crop up repeatedly... the Bronte sisters, Delius, J B Priestley, David Hockney, Jonathan Silver, Sir Timothy West, Billie Whitelaw, Andrea Dunbar, Kiki Dee, Richard Dunne, Len Shackleton, Jim Laker, Adrian Moorhouse.
Public notables not born here – Denis Healey and Barbara Castle among them – get roped in as honorary Bradfordians.
But apart from Derek A J Lister’s book Bradford’s Own, scientists, inventors/industrialists either born here or associated with the place rarely get a look in.
There are no obvious public memorials marking the work of George Adolphus Schott, Sir Fred Hoyle, the Jowett brothers, Frederick William Eurich or Professor David Sharpe.
However, there are plaques and trails for historic architecture and former industrial locations; and Bradford does make an effort to salute citizens who make a positive difference with various community awards such as the T&A’s Bradford’s Best.
Bradford College in Trinity Road was, until the early 1980s, called The Margaret McMillan building, to mark this American lady’s pioneering work in school meals and hygiene for children in Bradford in the early 20th century.
The former John Street Market now commemorates Richard Oastler, the 19th century anti-slave trade and factory reform campaigner.
And the 1985 Bradford City Fire Disaster, in which 56 people died, has memorials both at Valley Parade and in Centenary Square.
But though so many people regularly go out of their way to raise money for cancer charities and hospices, the pioneering work in cancer treatment by Robert Turner and George Whyte-Watson, for example, is not publicly honoured.
Bradford Burns Unit founder Professor David Sharpe says: “It would be nice to see people who are scientists and inventors recognised. I think a science festival would be a good idea because Bradford has a lot to offer.”
Professor David Rhodes, the founder of Filtronic plc, says: “It could be a good idea. Perhaps the University of Bradford could organise something like this.”
Scientists, inventors/industrialists either born in Bradford or associated with the city
Some of the scientists and inventor/industrialists either born in Bradford or associated with the city, whose work has made a difference.
Sir Titus Salt (1803-1876) The textile entrepreneur and philanthropist qualifies for this list because of his solitary experiments over 18 months, mixing the hair of the Peruvian alpaca with other fibres, to create a shiny mixed fabric that proved such a benefit to all concerned.
Samuel Cunliffe Lister (1815-1906) Like Titus Salt, Lister was an experimenter who took out more than 150 patents. He improved various pieces of textile machinery and spent years and a vast sum of money adapting silk waste. Ultimately he was spectacularly successful.
George Adolphus Schott (1868-1937) Mathematician and a Fellow of the Royal Society, best known for developing the theory about radiation from electrons travelling at the speed of light. It was ahead of its time. Sychroton Radiation was demonstrated in 1947, ten years after Schott’s death.
Frederick William Eurich (1869-1945) Like Schott, a Bradford Grammar School boy, Eurich was a bacteriologist whose extensive and personally-dangerous researches into the cause of anthrax among wool sorters resulted in the sterilisation of wool at the point of entry into the UK.
Benjamin and William Jowett (1877-1963 and 1880-1955, respectively) Not just manufacturers of cars such as the Javelin and the post-Second World War twin-cylinder van; the Jowett brothers were designers and engineers who spent years and a lot of money creating prototypes from which commercial models were developed.
Sir Douglas Mawson (1882-1958) His family emigrated to Australia from Bradford when Mawson was two. A geologist and explorer, he made his name as an intrepid explorer of Antarctica and was among Sir Ernest Shackleton’s expedition that reached the magnetic South Pole.
Sir Mortimer Wheeler (1890-1976) His family moved to Bradford from Glasgow. A Bradford Grammar School boy, he popularised archaeology, lecturing all over the world, and was a charismatic presence on television panel games.
Sir Edward Appleton (1892-1965) A Hanson Grammar School boy whose discovery of the upper atmosphere, now called ionosphere, and 150 miles above that the short-wave reflecting Heaviside Layer, resulted in the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1947. Radar was of inestimable benefit to Britain and its allies in the Second World War.
Edward Spurr (1907-1998) He designed a powerboat engine with Lawrence of Arabia, worked on the Dambusters’ bouncing bomb and Frank Whittle’s jet engine. He designed parts for boats, aeroplanes, cars, motorcycles, washing machines, record players and much else.
Sir Fred Hoyle (1915-2001) Bingley+Grammar">Bingley Grammar School pupil who should have won a Nobel Prize for pioneering work in astrophysics. Coined the phrase The Big Bang, for the origin of the universe, and took issue with Darwin’s theory of evolution through natural selection. A Fellow of the Royal Society and writer of science fiction novels.
George Whyte-Watson (1908-1974) Came to Bradford from Edinburgh and was senior consultant surgeon at BRI for nearly 30 years. He was instrumental in getting self-examination included as part of the procedure for detecting breast cancer.
Robert Lowry Turner (1923-1990) Came to Bradford from Belfast and in 1956 was made consultant pathologist at BRI. With George Whyte-Watson, he developed the use of drugs to treat cancer, particularly breast cancer. Chemotherapy was made known to the rest of the medical world in 1959.
Albert Crewe (1927- ) The photographing of atoms owes everything to the work of this eminent Bradford-born American physicist and inventor of the scanning transmission in electron microscopes.
Professor David Rhodes (1943- ) Successful as both an academic and industrialist. Recipient of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s highest award, the Prince Philip Medal, in recognition of his work on mobile communications and defence electronic equipment, whose Filtronic plc company at its height had 3,000 employees in 17 factories on four continents. Professor David Sharpe (1946- ) Born Gravesend in Kent. Made his name after the Bradford City fire in 1985 by setting up the Bradford Burns Unit. He pioneered the Bradford Sling for people with hand and arm burns, and developed methods of skin grafting including stretching, where healthy skin is slowly stretched to cover burned skin, which is cut away. The T&A supports the current Burns Unit appeal.