A SERIES of photographs capturing the Industrial Revolution have gone on display at Bradford’s Industrial Museum as part of a special exhibition.

Grafters: Industrial Society in Image and Word showcases scenes of industrial life from the 19th right through to the 21st century in Britain.

It features a substantial number of images from Bradford Museums and Galleries’ photo archive, which is housed at the museum.

In addition, many images in the exhibition, which are on loan from leading photographic collections, are on display to the public for the first time.

As society changed, techniques in photography developed, enabling workers to capture their own lives in detail for the first time.

Visitors to the exhibition will be able to see how the working classes went from objects in photos, to representations of industry and finally to photographers themselves, directing and shooting pictures of their own lives.

Prior to opening in Bradford, Grafters was seen by more than 60,000 in Manchester at the People’s History Museum, making it the most popular photographic exhibition in the country.

Acclaimed artist and photographer Ian Beesley has curated the exhibition and to accompany the images there is a series of poems from the writer, poet and broadcaster, Ian McMillan.

Mr Beesley said: “Four generations of my family have grafted in the foundries and mills of the North. After leaving school I worked in a mill, a foundry and sewage works.

“It was my fellow workers who encouraged me to find a profession and I found photography.

“I started photographing where I worked and who I worked with.

“I soon became aware of a ‘gap’ between the photographs of industry that were exhibited or published and what I saw and experienced as an industrial worker.

“This exhibition is an attempt to understand some of the reasons for this ‘gap’, but it is also a eulogy to all those men and women who worked so hard in so many of our now depleted industries.”

Mr Beesley’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including at the National Media Museum in Bradford, which also holds some of his work in its collection.

He is currently the artist in residence for the Bradford Institute for Health Research and its Born in Bradford project which started in 2007 by tracking the lives of 13,500 babies and their families in a major study.

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s portfolio holder for environment, sport and culture, said: “I am delighted that the Industrial Museum is hosting this exhibition.

“I am sure it will be popular and know that it attracted lots of visitors when shown in Manchester earlier this year.

“The setting of the Bradford Industrial Museum is very appropriate and I am pleased photographs from Bradford Museums Photo Archive are also included.”

Images from the exhibition are also being shown on the city’s big screen in City Park twice a day - at around 12.20pm and 5.15pm.

David Wilson, director of Bradford UNESCO City of Film, which is responsible for the big screen, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Bradford Industrial Museum to be able to bring some of the iconic images to share with the public on the big screen.

“It’s a truly fascinating exhibition about the changing way that working people have been photographed and perceived since the dawn of photography.”

The exhibition runs until Sunday, November 5, at the Moorside Road museum in Eccleshill, which opens Tuesday to Friday from 10am to 4pm, and Saturday, Sunday and bank holidays from 11am to 4pm.

For more information call 01274 435900.