Guest columnist Anila Baig is delighted that Bradford has won the title of UK City of Culture for 2025 and couldn’t be prouder of the culturally diverse, rich tapestry it is weaving
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Bradford is Britain’s City of Culture 2025 and while it was exciting before the result was announced, I knew my hometown would win.
Culture Minister Nadine Dorries made the announcement and the crowd erupted.
I’m a die-hard Bradfordian and for me this win is bittersweet because my parents aren’t here to see it.
The headlines will center on Bradford being the curry capital of the UK and they are great indeed. Even Dame Helen Mirren said so on a recent visit. But the city offers so much more than that.
My father settled in Bradford in the 1960s. Unlike most Pakistanis, he did not come here to work in the “dark satanic factories” but to study textiles at Bradford University and do a PhD in the subject.
He was offered jobs all over the world but stayed here.
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Now our lives are woven into the fabric of this remarkable place, once the wool capital of the world and one of Britain’s wealthiest cities.
I remember as a child he pointed to a terraced house and said, “This is where the great composer Frederick Delius lived.”
The city also produced former One Direction member Zayn Malik and The Wombles’ Mike Batt. And KikiDee. Eclectic!
My father would take me to the Central Library every Saturday and show me the statue of the writer JB Priestley, who wrote An Inspector Calls.
I live near the ruins of the house that inspired Emily Brontë to write the classic Wuthering Heights. Before the pandemic, our picturesque village was besieged by thousands of tourists from all over the world, eager to visit the Bronte Parsonage and the Bronte Waterfall.
And it’s not just Haworth that stands out and draws visitors.
Saltaire is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, home to David Hockney’s million-selling paintings.
Both of my parents who were teachers and contributed so much to the city are now buried in Bradford. It’s a comfort blanket to me, but I hope that thanks to this award, more people will come to see the rich tapestry Bradford continues to weave.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/from-bronte-sisters-world-heritage-27124776 "From the Bronte sisters to a World Heritage Site, Bradford is the perfect cultural city" - Anila Baig