Famous Bradfordians

Bradford is a city steeped in heritage and brimming with culture. It has one of the youngest populations of any city in Europe and is bidding to become Capital of Culture for 2025.

A city made famous by its wool trade, Bradford now leads the way as a UNESCO City of Film, is home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site and boasts a number of world class visitor attractions. It’s a city of contrast, with beautiful moorlands, and picturesque towns and villages such as Haworth, Saltaire and Ilkley sitting alongside a modern, multicultural city centre.

These are just some of the famous people who were born in Bradford. How many do you know?

David Hockney

David Hockney is perhaps Bradford’s most celebrated icon and one of the nation’s best-loved artists. Indeed in 2011 he was voted the most influential British artist of all time. Hockney was born in Bradford on July 9, 1937. He attended Bradford Grammar school before studying fine art at the Bradford College of Art from 1953 to 1957. On 15 November 2018, Hockney’s 1972 work Portrait ofan Artist (Pool with Two Figures) sold at Christie’s auction house in New York City for $90 million (£70 million), becoming the most expensive work by a living artist sold at auction. Many of his works are on display in Bradford at Cartwright Hall and Salts Mill.

Frederick Delius

Frederick Delius was a composer born in Bradford to German parents. With Edward Elgar, he is regarded as one of the greatest English composers of his generation. Delius’s father was a successful industrialist in the Yorkshire wool trade and Delius learned to play piano and violin as a boy in Bradford, attending Bradford Grammar School from 1874-8. Delius is famous for a large number of evocative vocal and orchestral works taking nature and landscape as their inspiration. However, Delius wrote music in a wide variety of genres, including chamber music, song and opera.

Anita Rani

Anita Rani is one of the UK’s leading TV and radio broadcasters. As well as working on numerous documentaries and entertainment shows she is current affairs editor on BBC’s The One Show and a regular presenter on Countryfile. Anita grew up in Bradford and began broadcasting at the age of 14 with her own show on Sunrise Radio. After studying broadcasting at Leeds University, she began her career as researcher before going on to present a regular show on BBC’s Asian Network. Over the next 10 years Anita presented shows for Channel 4, BBC World Service, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Six Music, Sky Sports, BBC News 24, BBC One and BBC Two. In 2015 she reached the semi-final of Strictly Come Dancing.

J.B Priestley

JB Priestley was a British socialist, social commentator, columnist, author, playwright and radio host. Born in Manningham, Priestley started out writing for local newspapers before becoming a successful journalist. In 1929 he made his breakthrough as an author with the novel The Good Companions. During World War II he worked as a very successful radio host, and he had as many as 16 million listeners, second only to Winston Churchill. Many of his plays, including the still popular An Inspector Calls are structured around a time slip, and he went on to develop a new theory of time, with different dimensions that link past, present, and future. In total Priestley wrote 121 novels and some 50 plays.


Steven Frayne, more popularly known as Dynamo, is a magician and illusionist best-known for his documentary show “Dynamo: Magician Impossible.” Brought up on Delph Hill estate in Wyke, Frayne learned his frst magic tricks from his grandad and honed his skills on the streets and in the bars of Bradford before moving to London and achieving fame in the early 2000s. Dynamo has extensively toured the world, and his Seeing Is Believing arena tour was seen by more than 750,000 people across the UK, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.

The Brontës

The Brontës moved to Haworth from Thornton in 1820 where the Reverend Patrick Brontë was appointed Curate of Haworth. They lived at Haworth Parsonage from 1820 to 1861 which is now the Brontë Parsonage Museum. Between them they published some of the most celebrated fction works of the 19th century including Charlotte’s Jane Eyre (1847), Emily’s Wuthering Heights (1847), and Anne’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848). Their literature was inspired by the Yorkshire moorland surrounding Haworth and is still revered today with a number of adaptations of their work for film and TV.

Download ‘A Guide To Bradford’