OFFICIALS from the Polish city of Marki have visited Bradford to celebrate the historic link between the two cities.

The city, near Warsaw, was created as a village in 1883 by Bradfordian industrialists Edward and John Briggs, who built a wool factory and homes for the workers.

The brothers, who owned the Briggella Mills in Little Horton Lane, also built a school and church in Marki, which was described at the time as being a "second edition of Saltaire."

The Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Joanne Dodds, greeted the delegation at a civic reception in City Hall, where they discussed the impact that Bradford had on Marki, and plans to rekindle the special bond between the two cities.

Officials in Marki had not done much research into the roots of their city, but the Mayor of Marki, Jacek Orych, said when they had looked into the work of the Briggs brothers, they understood the effect they had on the city.

He said: "When they came they didn't just build a factory, they created a whole city; they built the church, a school and provided houses for the workers which still exist in the same state today.

"We are very grateful for them and for what they have made in the town, especially bringing electricity to Marki; the first bulb was switched on here before they had electricity in Warsaw.

"When I walk along in Bradford I think I am still in Marki, the factories look just like the one in Marki but much bigger, especially the chimneys."

The Lord Mayor said that the link between the two cities was very important and that she found it very interesting when she was doing some research about the relationship.

Cllr Dodds said: "The link and what happened all those years ago is fascinating, and it is important that we continue preserving our heritage.

"It's a great pleasure to welcome the delegates to Bradford and I hope they enjoy their time here.

"We are blessed to have some beautiful buildings in Bradford that reflects the wealth of our industrial period, and our world heritage site at Saltaire is the jewel in our crown."

Joining the Mayor in the party from Marki were Chief Councillor of Marki, Tomasz Paciorek, and members of the Marki-Pustelnik-Struga Society, and local historians Maggie Smith and Sarah Dietz gave a presentation about the links between the two cities.

Ms Dietz, who lives in Ilkley, has written in depth research into the link between the two cities, and said that she was surprised when she found out they had not built a factory, but a whole town to go with it.

She said: "The Polish people I met were so proud of their British history, and a lot of Bradfordians actually moved there and started families.

"It's very important for the people of Marki to feel so welcomed, and from my point of view I see it as a coming together, and it is the first chance we've had to come together and share how this Victorian exchange enriched Marki and will enrich our cultures now."