In the basement of Bradford’s Local Studies Library are collections of nineteenth century pamphlets (and some of earlier date). Ranging from sermons and programmes of royal visits, to reports, articles, obituaries and regulations, they are a treasure-trove of local history. What follows is an account of one of these treasures. To consult any of these items please ask the staff. Card catalogues of these collections are located in the Local Studies Library.

 JND 290/13 (Please quote this number if requesting to this pamphlet.)

 The Paris Universal Exhibition, 1878. Report of Henry Mitchell.


 In Treasures Of The Week Number 1, we featured an account of Sir Henry Mitchell and reported that in 1878 he was Vice-President of the jurors selected to adjudicate upon worsted yarns and fabrics at the Paris Exhibition of 1878. The report he made of that Exhibition influenced in the establishment of the Bradford Technical College. The 13th item in Pamphlet Volume Number 290 of the J N Dickons Collection is a copy of that Report. The full title is:

The Paris Universal Exhibition, 1878. Report of Henry Mitchell, Vice-President of the Jurors appointed to adjudicate upon Worsted Yarns and Fibres; (President of the Bradford Chamber of Commerce, President of the Bradford Technical School, etc.) together with the Reports of the Artisans and others who were sent out to report on the textile fabrics, products and machinery engaged in the Worsted Trade, and on some of the French Technical Schools.

The Report is 73 pages long and was printed by William Byles and Son of Bradford.

In addition to Mitchell’s extensive Introduction, the other contributors were:

  • Thomas R. Ashenhurst, Head Master of the Bradford Technical School (‘French Technical Schools’);
  • William Bottomley of Saltaire (‘Report on the Worsted Fabrics’);
  • Mitchell Stead, Weaving Overlooker (‘Report on the French Technical Schools and the Exhibition’);
  • A Spinning Overlooker (‘Report on the Exhibition and the French Technical Schools’)
  • Peter Greenwood, Spinning Overlooker (‘The Worsted Yarns and Machines, and the Technical Schools’);
  • James Speed, (‘Worsted Yarns, Machines, and the French Technical Schools’);
  • William Deighton and Z. Hoyle, (‘Report on the Exhibition Generally’);
  • James Newsome, Overlooker, Saltaire (‘Report on the French Textiles and Machinery’);
  • John Dufton, Pattern Dyer, Messrs E. Ripley & Son, Bowling Dye Works (‘Report on the Dyed Fabrics’);
  • Jonas Whitley, Wool Merchant, Bradford (‘Report on the Wools in the Paris Exhibition’).

Even without going into detail, we can see from the many reports by experienced textile workers, including Mitchell himself, how seriously the exhibition was taken, and how much attention was paid to technical education.

Mitchell was knighted in 1885 for his services to textile education and now has a building named after him. But his fellow reporters are now probably forgotten, except here!

Sir Henry’s report was received with much attention by the commercial world, and there is no doubt the practical suggestions and conclusions there laid down have yielded very useful results. (Quote from JND 290/4)

A particularly interesting slice of history in the making.

Stackmole (Local Studies Volunteer)

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