WHEN Kelvin Baines saw the name James Jowett written in a Victorian Bible, he was intrigued.

“I thought at first it said ‘Howett’, then I checked with my mother, who does calligraphy, and she said it was ‘Jowett’. I started to research the name, and couldn’t believe it when I discovered that they were a famous car manufacturing family,” said Mr Baines.

The Bible, a rare edition containing more than 20 lithographic images on oil plates, features a series of handwritten names, under a Births, Marriages and Deaths section. The names were entered by each person who owned the family Bible as it was passed through generations.

“In the middle, under ‘Husband and Wife’ is the name James Jowett esq. There is no entry next to ‘Wife’,” said Mr Baines. “Jowett’s name was written in 1850, the first one registered, which started it as a family Bible. It may have been his two sons who went on to be founders of the Jowett car company.”

The Bible, printed by a Southport company, is leather bound with two clasps. Mr Baines bought it at an auction in Derbyshire and would now like to return it to the Jowett family.

“It’s very rare and expensive,” he said. “It would have been printed pre-1850. It has 24 lithographs inside, originally oil plates then engraved and copied into the book. It would be valuable to the Jowetts and I would love to return it to them. It's something I would want, if it was my family’s Bible."

He added: “It is a story that can only be completed in Bradford. I hope that, with the T&A’s help, I can reunite the Jowett family with this Bible.”

Mr Baines believes there is also a connection to Bradford writer JB Priestley, as nearly all the names written in the Bible are Priestley. “The last 30 names in the BMDs, apart from one, are Priestley. With JB Priestley coming from Bradford, I think there must be a connection with his family too,” he said.

Among the thousands of pages in the Bible are photographs, pressed flowers and cuttings from a newspaper, the Heavor Observer. “They were placed during the First World War, by someone wanting to remember family members,” said Mr Baines. Two photographs are of WW1 soldiers, who may be part of the Jowett family, and a photograph of a young woman may be Elizabeth Jowett, who is named on a United Methodist Free Churches paper, from 1866, found in the Bible.

The Jowett car company was founded in 1901 by brothers Benjamin and William Jowett, who started in the cycle business and went on to make V-twin engines for driving machinery. In 1904 it became the Jowett Motor Manufacturing Company based in Back Burlington Street, Bradford. The first Jowett light car went into production in 1910. During the 1914-18 war the Jowett factory focussed on munitions manufacture. In 1954 the factory, by now in Idle, was sold to International Harvester.

“I have researched the Jowett company from 1904, when it was established, up to 1954, but no further. I would love to hear from any descendants of the family, " said Mr Baines.

* Anyone with information about the current Jowett family is asked to contacted Kelvin Baines on 01752 930346 or 07802 591716 or email kelvinbaines@icloud.com