Platinum Record: The Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Tired of Waiting, 1954, Barrie Rawlinson

In 2022, Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her platinum jubilee, having reigned for 70 years. Queen Elizabeth II is the longest reigning and longest lived monarch in Britain’s history. To celebrate this historic milestone, a bank holiday from the 2nd to 5th of June 2022 has been declared for four days of public events and community activities.  

To celebrate the platinum jubilee, Bradford District Museums and Galleries has put together four displays across its sites using collection objects and photographs from Bradford District Museums Photo Archive. At Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, find out about the televised coronation. At Bolling Hall Museum, discover nursery rhymes with royal meanings. At Cliffe Castle Museum and Bradford Industrial Museum, learn about Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation and royal visits to the Bradford District, and see a range of coronation souvenirs, from tins to tea towels and table cloths, mugs to magazines, a jigsaw puzzle to pencils. All are available to see from 2nd June. 

Throughout her reign, Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the Royal family have visited the Bradford District. On Thursday 28th October 1954, Queen Elizabeth II made a royal visit to Bradford with her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip. Amongst the people in Bradford to catch a glimpse of the Queen that day was 17-year-old David Hockney, in his second year at Bradford Art College. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visited Bradford (Park Avenue) cricket ground where they heard 30,000 school children sing. They then visited Perseverance Mills, Dudley Hill, where several hundred millworkers welcomed them. This visit was part of a nationwide tour, followed by state visits lasting nearly six months to 11 Empire and Commonwealth countries. 

In 1974, Queen Elizabeth II came to Bradford again to unveil a plaque to open the new Civic Precinct and visit the Odeon cinema, greeting well-wishers outside City Hall. Queen Elizabeth II returned in 1997 when Bradford was celebrating the centenary of receiving a Royal Charter to become a city. During this visit she unveiled a plaque in the present Centenary Square and visited Valley Parade football stadium. There was another visit in 2007 and one in 2012 as part of her diamond jubilee tour when she visited Saltaire.

Here are some of the photographs in Bradford District Museums Photo Archive which illustrate the jubilee displays. In our Photo Archive are two collections relating to Queen Elizabeth II. The C H Wood Collection has photos of places in Bradford decorated for the local coronation celebrations in 1953, while the newly-acquired Barrie Rawlinson Collection has photographs of Queen Elizabeth II during her visits to Bradford in 1954 and 1974. 

C H Wood Ltd was a Bradford-based photography company run by Charles Harold Wood (C H Wood). He started his photography career in 1922 and became best known for his commercial photographs depicting commerce and industry and his aerial photographs of the North of England. In 2003, Bradford Museums Photo Archive acquired 350,000 negatives and prints of his photographs.

Barrie Rawlinson was a professional photographer based in Bradford. He started work aged 15 for photographer Walter Scott Ltd, then went on to work for Bradford businesses such as Hepworth & Grandage Ltd, the Telegraph & Argus, the University of Bradford, Carlton Bolling School and finally the Bradford Camera Exchange. His photography ranged from promotional photos of manufacturing processes and products to portraits of people. Barrie passed away in 2012. In 2021, his family donated some of his photographs to Bradford District Museums and Galleries, which included photos relating to Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to Bradford.

More information about Bradford District Museums and Galleries jubilee displays and read the jubilee blog.

See more photographs from PHOTOS BRADFORD: The Photo Archive of Bradford District Museums and Galleries.