This book succeeds in presenting a comprehensive record of life in and beyond one of the most important northern cities of the early twentieth century. Known as the cloth manufacturing and marketing capital of the whole West Riding of Yorkshire, Bradford was a hugely wealthy and influential European city. In addition, a large number of its merchants were of German origin which lends a unique difficulty to preparations for war.
The chapters on the manufacture of cloth, planes, motorcylces and munitions for the war effort are well researched and detailed. The stories of the various Bradford and West Yorkshire regiments will appeal to military and family historians in equal measure. The emergence of women as fund raisers, factory workers, campaigners for peace and political activists is also chronicled. The development of the Military Hospital (St Luke's) receives detailed and fascinating treatment and of particular interest will be the excellent account of JB Priestley's war service and his later remembrance and assessment of it. Many illustrations in this chapter are published for the first time from the Priestley Archive at the University of Bradford.
The final chapter shows how the city commemorated the huge loss of life suffered by the 'Pals' and territorial regiments and the links the city has with both the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The attempts to find employment for returning men who were handicapped by their wounds and the various acts of remembrance in succeeding years were a lasting testimony to the war.
The book is lavishly illustrated throughout with contemporary photographs, postcards and other ephemera and the quality of production is excellent. Comprehensive references, a useful list of websites and a full bibliography complete a real achievement for the authors.
The World War 1 Group in Bradford and the publishers are to be congratulated on this extremely valuable local resource which will appeal to readers with a wide range of interests. Bradfordians from all over the world will enjoy this reminder of their once great manufacturing city and the contribution made by their forebears to the Great War.