This Saturday: Bradford Cathedral Centenary Festival

Members of the Bradford Cathedral team getting ready for this Saturday’s Centenary Festival, showing off the posters for the day in front of the arts exhibition exploring the Cathedral’s history, alongside a modern example of a wool sack which was used to protect the Cathedral during the ‘Battle of the Steeple’, which will be explored during the day.

Bradford Cathedral will be marking the half-way point of its Centenary year by opening its doors on Saturday 15th June for its first annual festival which will see a whole range of free activities and events on offer to showcase many of the things the Cathedral does.

The day will begin with an official opening from the Very Revd. Jerry Lepine, Dean of Bradford, and poetry from the Cathedral’s Centenary Poet in Residence Dianne Pacitti, before the official opening at 12noon which will kick off six hours of activities including a wide range of children’s activities; the chance to explore the history of the building; quizzes and crafts; the opportunity to try your hand at stitching; and to sign up for trips to the ringing room.

There will also be face painting from Happy Faces Bingley, and many photo opportunities, with a prize for the best dressed period costume. Those coming along are invited to dress for the 1910s and 1920s to get into the Centenary spirit!

Visitors will also get the chance to see the ‘Bradford Cathedral: A Visual History’ exhibition and add their own memories to the timeline.

Alongside these activities running throughout the day there will be a series of talks and demonstrations across the festival, including the chance to see the flower arrangers at work; to discover more about the altar frontals; and to find out how the Cathedral supports Fairtrade and environmental projects. There will also be talks on poetry and the history of the Cathedral, alongside pop-up Shakespeare performances from ACT and conversations with Syima Aslam, Director of the Bradford Literature Festival, and Wahida Shaffi, DL.

For those with a sweet tooth there will also be a free afternoon tea from 2:30pm alongside a street party at just after seven, timed to mark the Centenary of when the Parish Church of St. Peter became Bradford Cathedral, which will be accompanied by live retro music from Upright Vintage.

A sample of the free afternoon tea including home-made scones!

Rounding off the programme will be a whole range of music pieces including an organ recital, Evensong and the chance to ‘Come and Sing: Pick a Hymn!’ The head verger will also be revealing the ‘Secrets of the Sacristy’; the Salvation Army brass band will be performing; and there will be an official launch of the ‘Bradford on Film’ event trailer, created in conjunction with the Yorkshire Film Archive.

The festival will conclude with a night prayer from 9pm. There will also be games available during the day, as well as the unveiling of the special prayer labyrinth, alongside the opportunity to buy a special keep-sake.

The Very Revd. Jerry Lepine, Dean of Bradford, says of the event:

“This is the first festival that Bradford Cathedral has run and its aim is to reach out to a wider audience and share with this city the significance of the Cathedral. I am delighted that we’re offering such a broad range of events for all ages and we’d like to extend an invitation for you to come along with your families to get a taste of what our Cathedral has to offer.”

Bradford Cathedral’s ‘Centenary Festival’ will take place on Saturday 15th June. A full schedule of activities and attractions is available at, and free places can be reserved online.

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