Almost two years ago the idea for the bantamsmemories heritage project was formed. Then two conversations, both unrelated, took place.
The first followed a meeting with the Primary Care Trust here at the club. After the meeting the worker, a Bangladeshi lady, mentioned that she grew up on the next street and that her abiding memory was that on match days dozens of strange men used to come in their garden and use the outside toilet!
Then, at one of our Extra Time events, a another lady told us how she was widowed very young. Her husband had always brought their son to the football so in order that he could continue and remember his dad, she bought a season ticket.
We realised there must be hundreds of other stories just waiting to be told and memories that would be lost if we didn’t find a way to record them.
We also came to recognise that this would be the right time to do it as the anniversary of two significant events in the club’s history would happen over the following two years.
11 May 2010 was the twenty fifth anniversary of the tragic fire at Valley Parade. Fifty six fans sadly lost their lives and many more were injured. There will be many memories of that day that people may wish to share, from fans, players and from the local community.
The second, much happier event was the centenary of Bradford City winning the FA Cup on 26 April 1911. Clearly there aren’t any personal memories of that day but there may be stories and pictures passed down through families.
The community around the ground has changed many times during the past fifty or sixty years and we wanted to gather peoples’ stories of what it was and is like to live right next to a football stadium – especially on match days!
We also wanted to get more people interested and involved in the heritage of the area and the club, recording it and sharing it with others, especially young people.
So the idea for the Heritage Project began to take shape. We brought together a steering group, people who were interested in heritage, had links to older people, had links to local communities and could help shape the project.
A pre-application was submitted to the National Lottery Heritage Fund, they liked they idea and supported us to develop it into a full bid. We decided we wanted to recruit a team of volunteers who would help gather the stories and memories through focus groups, one-to-one interviews and some larger events. We would give our volunteers quality training to do this. Then we would compile the stories, pictures, films and interviews into a permanent exhibition in the bantamspast museum which would be open for the public, schools, community groups and supporters.
Contemporary image above by Jess Petrie