BACK IN the early 1990s, the Telegraph & Argus underwent a top-to-toe revamp, with every aspect of the design and content of the newspaper up for grabs.

The eventual re-design won many awards and still underpins the layout and appearance of the T&A we know and love today.

The front page, however, nearly became something completely different, especially its titlepiece – the artwork that carries the name of the newspaper at the top of the front page.

The design team spent many months looking for an icon to symbolise Bradford to sit next to the words Telegraph & Argus.

The city’s coat of arms and its most prominent building, City Hall, were disregarded for fear the newspaper would be too closely associated with the local authority.

Various drawings combining other landmark buildings, such as the Alhambra, the Wool Exchange and the then National Museum of Photography, Film and Television were tried but none seemed to quite fit the bill, literally or aesthetically.

Eventually, the team settled on a slightly modernised depiction of the Bradford Boar, the tongueless, ferociously-tusked wild animal’s head which sits atop the city’s coat of arms. It was chosen because it was thought to be the best-known symbol of Bradford, both unique to the city and, surely, widely understood as our oldest legend.

As often happens with newspaper revamps, the eventual, favoured version featuring the boar’s head – along with nine others – was printed up and taken out to a series of more than 20 groups of readers to try to assess how it would be received on the sales stands.

The newspaper’s overall design was widely welcomed and became the basis of its new look a few months later. The boar’s head logo was not – and didn’t.

What became evident from all the focus group meetings was that hardly anyone new or understood what it represented. In the voting process, it came ninth out of ten options with just a handful of votes, with almost everyone who rejected it saying they didn’t get why it was there or what it meant.

That highly disappointing result sprang to the fore this week with the news that a huge golden statue of the boar’s head has been placed above the Old Crown pub building, in Ivegate.

It’s an impressive, gold-painted artwork which originally went on display at the Wild Woods event, held in Darley Street last year.

Its appearance has been given added significance because, earlier this year, Bradford Council announced it was returning to the use of the city’s traditional crest on all official signage and stationery.

The civic crest is based on Bradford’s coat of arms, which was granted in 1976 but which has origins as far back as 1847. It features the boar’s head, a stag and an angora goat, while the shield in the centre incorporates two bugle horns, a fleece, a fountain and 11 Yorkshire roses.

Council leader Susan Hinchliffe said: “The motto is ‘Progress, Industry and Humanity’ which we still very much value today.

“I like the fact that different elements of the civic crest represent different parts of the district coming together. For me, as a Bradfordian, I am much more comfortable with the crest than the more recent logo we have had.”

Whether or not it will strike such a chord with other citizens remains to be seen but it is worth repeating the legend of the boar for those many thousands of people who apparently haven’t a clue what it is.

It is a story that dates back more than 600 years and concerns a wild boar which was terrorising the good of Cliffe Wood, an area which ran north from near the Cathedral, up the valley towards Shipley.

This vicious and powerful boar frequented the local well which kept people away for fear of being attacked.

So, the local authority, in the shape of - probably - one of the de Lacy family, Lords of the Manor, put a price on the boar's head.

Bradford, in the 1340s, was a small place surrounded by woods, moors and waste land.

Legend has it that a hunter, John Northrop, stalked the beast, killing it with two arrows through the heart and a spear thrust, before cutting off its head.

However, the head was too heavy for him to carry back to the Manor House so he cut out its tongue to take back as proof and claim his prize.

Shortly after he left, a second huntsman – Roger de Manningham – came along and found the boar’s carcass and, being bigger and stronger than the first, picked up the head and used a short cut to carry it to the Lord of the Manor.

He explained how he had killed the boar after a ferocious struggle but was unable to explain how it came to lose its tongue – until Northrop arrived and produced the tongue from his pouch.

The Lord of the Manor rumbled the fraudster and sentenced him to be punished, while the true slayer received as his reward a piece of land at Great Horton which became known as Hunt Yard.

As a condition of the gift of land, Northrop was also obliged to blow a horn in the market square three times on St Martin’s Day (November 11) each year to welcome John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, who controlled Bradford at that time, on his way to Pontefract Castle, his administrative seat. The tradition continued for 600 years after passing down through Northrop’s wife’s family (the Rushforths or Rushworths) when she died childless.

Three horns (reduced to two on the Council’s version) were incorporated into the city’s crest as a result.

There are numerous adaptations of the story and different names appear in them but the general tale is largely consistent. How much of it is legend and how much based on truth is anyone’s guess as no written version is said to exist prior to about 1780.

None of which matters, of course, because the legend is as much a part of Bradford as Robin Hood is of Nottingham.

It’s just a huge shame that it’s not as widely known and that the city does not make far more of it to promote its heritage. Perhaps that giant artwork in Ivegate will help…