Bradford Peace Trail
01 Centenary Square
The city centre is defined by Centenary Square and City Hall, focus of local democratic government. Bradford received its charter of incorporation as a Borough in 1847. Later, it became the local government centre of a Metropolitan District (1974). City Hall, with its sculpted monarchs around the exterior, was opened on a very wet day in 1873. The open space in front of City Hall was extended and refurbished to celebrate the Centenary of the City Charter in 1997.
The Square is used for many kinds of community gathering, from fairs and festivals, to both angry & peaceful protests and for the culmination of marches.
Bradford City Fire Memorial: On 11 May 1985, a fire at the Bradford City football ground at Valley Parade, occurring during a live television broadcast of a match, shocked the country. Fifty-six people died and three hundred were injured. There are many stories of bravery and kindnesses on that day and in the aftermath. Not least to record is the generosity of the local Bangladeshi community, then one of the newest immigrant groups to Bradford, many of whom were living in the vicinity of the football ground.
A party of civic visitors from Bradford's twin town of Hamm, Germany, was at the match. One of the party was Joyce Reisner who grew up in Wilsden. She asked the people of Hamm to give a gift to Bradford in response to her experience of the fire.  
This memorial was sculpted by Joachim Reisner, her husband, whom she met on an exchange visit to Hamm, aged only 15.
The Memorial was given to the City in May 1986, in the presence of the first Asian Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Mohammed Ajeeb.
Centenary Square Memorial Garden To the west of the City Fire memorial is a garden where there are several memorials. These have been dedicated over the years, to some of the events and people, significant in the life of the City. Some are described below.  
'And a mighty army came out of the north'

The 'Bradford Pals' headstone remembers those soldiers of Bradford, mostly young volunteers, of the 16th and 18th Battalions of the West Yorkshire Regiment in the First World War. Along with so many others, the battalions were decimated on 1st July 1916 at the Battle of the Somme.

NB This has now been moved to the garden behind the Cenotaph (see site 07).


  The Bradford City of Peace round plaque in the ground was placed there in December 1997, recognising the Council Resolution of 13 October 1997, to declare Bradford a 'City of Peace'. This was on the occasion of the International Peace Run (the Hindu Marathon),
organised for the Sri Chimnoy Marathon team's visit to the city. The peace run has inspired the dedication of over 700 peace sites and cities around the world. The declaration recognises the people, organisations and institutions in Bradford working to promote peace and justice.
Workers' Memorial Day plaque was placed here in April 1994 in memory of those killed and maimed in Bhopal, India, and all workers maimed & killed by work hazards.  
In December 1984 there was a disastrous leakage of deadly gas from a chemical factory in Bhopal, India. None of the safety systems designed to contain such a leak were maintained. Twenty thousand people have died; one hundred and twenty thousand still suffer as a result of this negligence. The factory has never been properly cleaned.
There are many Indian workers in Bradford's communities.
A plaque commemorating the 50th anniversary of Oslobodenje (a daily newspaper) in Sarajevo. 'To the citizens of Sarajevo, from the citizens of Bradford. We are bound together in a common cause'. In 1992, the headquarters of the paper came under heavy shelling. The basement printing presses survived and are still in use. The paper continued publication throughout the siege of Sarajevo. Bradford citizens such as, for example, Geoff Robinson (1947 - 2006) a local trade unionist and anti fascist campaigner,
organised and led many humanitarian convoys to Bosnia, Kosovo and Albania during the troubles.
  The Hiroshima & Nagasaki plaque under the cherry tree remembers the dropping of atomic bombs on those Japanese cities on the 6th and 9th of August 1945. A remembrance event is held here for the 108,000 people who were killed instantly by the bomb.
Also, for the thousands dying since from radiation sickness and injured by the blasts, for those who are still suffering ill health, who lost loved ones, who lost livelihoods, homes and communities.
The plaque also carries the peace symbol adopted by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (see site 19)
City Garden: the area behind City Hall shows Bradfordian humour. It is set out as a seaside garden, opened for the Centenary in June 1997, with a beautiful pebble mosaic designed by Maggie Howorth.  
Note: The new design for Centenary Square involves a relocation of the memorials.
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