Bradford Peace Trail
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
             
   
12 Richard Oastler
Richard Oastler (1789-1861) was born in Leeds and became steward of Fixby Hall in Huddersfield, but his statue is here because most of the money raised for it by national public subscription came from Bradford. Although he was opposed to universal suffrage and to trade unions, he did believe it was a class responsibility to protect the vulnerable. He was impressed by John Wood, a Bradford worsted merchant of Horton Hall, Little  
Horton Lane, who agonised over the need to employ children in his factory. He became leader of the Ten Hour Movement to improve the plight of the factory children. He campaigned for legislation to restrict child labour, despite virulent opposition from most factory owners. In a letter to the Bradford Observer, 17 July 1834, he described the children as 'poor infant slaves'.
His own employer dismissed him on a financial charge, of which he was later cleared. Even so, he spent three years in prison. As a result of his constant efforts his health deteriorated. However, he lived to see significant improvements in child working conditions, the Ten Hours Act coming into force in 1848.
   
13 W E Forster
 
W E Forster (1818 -1886): William Forster was elected MP for Bradford in 1861 and remained so until he died.
He came to live in Bradford in his early 20’s and built up a woollen manufacturing business. He was known for his concern for the workers.
Born of Quaker parents, he accompanied his father to Ireland as distributor of the Friends’ relief fund for the famine in Connemara (1846-7). He was deeply impressed and saddened by the state of that country. In 1881, he was appointed to the unenviable position of Secretary to the Viceroy of Ireland at the height of the troubles.
Earlier he had guided a Bill through Parliament that laid the foundations for a National School System. The 1870 Elementary Education Act provided for schools, paid for out of local government rates, ‘to fill up the gaps’ in the voluntary school system, then mainly provided by the Christian denominations.
These 'public' schools were to be run by elected local School Boards and were under State inspection. Forster said that his aim wasto bring elementary education within the reach of every English home’.
He is another local person who made a national difference.  
Forster Square is named after him, but his bronze statue has been placed in storage during the redevelopment of the Forster Square and Broadway area.
14 Independent Labour Party
 
   
Independent Labour Party: The large mural, clearly visible on the north side of Leeds Road near the city centre (on the wall of the Priestley Theatre, in Little Germany) says:
'Celebrating the formation of the Independent Labour Party at Bradford January 13th 1893. ‘There is no weal save Commonweal'
The Bradford Independent Labour Party was born out of the Manningham Mills strike of 1890 (see site 27) and gave birth to a nation-wide organisation two years later. The National ILP was led by Keir Hardie and had its inaugural meeting in Bradford at Laycocks Temperance Hotel, Albion Court, off Kirkgate, now the New Guiseppes (plaque, Bradford City Heritage Trail). Although not pacifist, it was against the First World War. It was separate from and always much more radical than the newly emerging Labour Party, but played a key role in its creation.
 
The ILP’s founder members in Bradford include Fred Jowett and Margaret Macmillan (see site 24). In 1892, Jowett became the first Socialist to be elected to Bradford Council. A few months later, he founded a branch of the ILP in Bradford. In the 1900 General Election he was the ILP candidate for West Bradford. He lost by forty-one votes, possibly because of his strong opposition to the Boer War.
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