There are high hopes at Odsal as the Super league season gets under way.

Perhaps this could be the year in which Bradford Bulls finally lift the Challenge Cup after a gap stretching back to 1949.

There were some disapproving mutters when the Bulls changed their name from Bradford Northern when Super League was born - though others pointed out that the team played in what was indubitably the south of the city. But this argument ignored history.

Northern weren't called Northern because of where they played, but because of what they played.

In 1895 the former Bradford Football Club, based at Park Avenue, joined the new Northern Rugby Football Union, turning its back on the Union code it had played since its formation in 1863.

To mark the change it became Bradford Northern, reflecting the new code.

A fascinating reminder of these good old days comes from Bulls fan Tom O'Donnell, an insurance manager from Wibsey, who owns a membership card and fixture list from the season 1900-1901.

The opponents include still-famous names like Castleford, Wakefield, Halifax, Leeds and Hull KR. Others have vanished. What became of Leeds Parish Church, or Holbeck? Why did Batley and Dewsbury survive when their neighbours Brighouse and Liversedge vanished from the bigger game?

Manningham, who provided Northern with their main local derby, turned, after a series of arguments, to Association Football and were the great great grandfathers of today's Bradford City. One wonders what those flat-capped fans on the Valley Parade Kop (only just given that name after a battle in the Boer War which was still being fought) would have though of today's ground.

They would have been boggled by the price of season tickets.

At Park Avenue, followers of Bradford Northern paid a guinea (£1.05) for a year's admission. Another five bob (25p) bought you access to the bowling greens.

For another half a guinea you could watch cricket at the ground as well, though whether this included Yorkshire's matches or only Bradford CC's isn't clear.

So you could have a year of watching sport, and a fair few games of bowls, for about the price of a new squash ball today.

Captain of Northern 100 years ago was Tom Broadley, an international and a gentleman by any definition most of us would offer.

He might have had a wry smile had he seen the future - rugby riven by the great amateur/professional divide for almost a century, during which time a man serving a life sentence for murder might be barred from playing rugby for his prison, not because he was a murderer but because he had played Rugby League.

Nowadays, of course, it's union in winter and league in summer for a growing number of players.

And that's the big difference - if Avenue were still in use for rugby and cricket, the spectators wouldn't know which way to turn...

Doctor's veggie way to a long life

The only certain thing about food these days is that if you don't have any you die.

Anything else is open to heated debate. Suddenly chocolate is healthy, after years of being in the 'one bite and you're dead' category.

Enter an expert: 'The trouble is that the medical profession do not and cannot understand nutrition. They use the microscope and not the eye. They use the microscope and forget to use common sense."

Who said this? Some wild-eyed anti-scientist?

Well no - the words are those of a mild-mannered Bradford doctor of Scots descent whose name sounded like something off a menu at an Italian restaurant.

Andrea Rabagliati was the descendant of political refugees. He studied at the University of Edinburgh, spent some time in Demerara in what was then British Guiana, then arrived in Bradford as a young house surgeon at the Royal Infirmary.

He was a convinced vegetarian, who favoured two meals a day, with eight hours between them. The fact that he died at the age of 87 in 1930 suggests he might have had a point. That was a very good age then.

He wasn't just a diet promoter, though, and Bradford had cause to be grateful to him and his wife.

They and some friends started St Catherine's Home in Drewton Street in 1893 as a home for people with incurable illnesses who, up to then, had been sent home to die. So they were pioneers in the hospice movement. The home moved to St Mary's Road in 1896 and Mrs Helen Rabagliati was the first secretary and her husband the consultant surgeon.

He was also physician to the Actors' Association and it was he who, in 1903, attended Sir Henry Irving after his fatal collapse at the Midland Hotel, Bradford.

He finally retired in May 1930 at the age of 87, and died just before Christmas that year - a testament to the healthy power of vegetables and a useful and active life.

Mrs Rabagliati was a figure in her own right, and received the MBE for her public work in 1934, just two days before her death.

Converted for the new archive on 30 June 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.