Bradford was already well-known for its clothing industry by the time of Henry VIII. This industry prospered in the 18th century, but it was the introduction of steam power at the beginning of the 19th century that led to Bradford's real growth. It was the civic pride of Bradford's leading men in the late-Victorian and Edwardian periods that gave us so many fine buildings that survive today, despite economic decline and the ravages of mid-20th-century 'development'.
Such buildings include the great City Hall built in 1873; the neo-classical St George's Hall; The Alhambra Theatre, a superb Edwardian building; and Lister's Mill, once the largest silk factory in the world, which now, after several years of dereliction, is being renovated and converted into stylish apartments.
Bradford is the location of the most visited museum outside London: the National Media Museum which has three cinemas including a gigantic Imax screen.
In 2006, Lister Park with its boating lake and Mughal Water Gardens was voted Britain's Best Park.
Bradford's main art gallery is housed in the magnificent Edwardian Cartwright Hall Art Gallery in Lister Park, while the Bradford 1 Gallery is the new city centre space for exhibitions of contemporary and historic art and craft.
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Born in Bradford:
Henry Seebohm (1832-1895), industrialist and ornithologist. Frederic Seebohm (1833-1912), economic historian. Frederick Delius (1862-1937), composer. J. B. Priestley (1894-1984), novelist, dramatist and critic. John Braine (1922-1986), novelist. David Hockney (b.1937), artist.
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