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Market Street - Bank Street
(The Wool Exchange)

Portraits of explorers and notable people

James Tolmie

Bradford /  Portraits of explorers and notable people   Bradford /  Portraits of explorers and notable people


On the façades facing Market Street and Bank Street are thirteen roundels with portraits of notable people: Facing Market Street Bradford industralists (Cobden, Salt and Lister), inventors of important machines for the Industrial Revolution (Stephenson, Watt, and Arkwright), and politicians (Gladstone and Palmerston); and facing Bank Street five explorers: Raleigh, Drake, Columbus, Cook and Anson.

# Photo
click for enlargement

Market Street

Bradford / Portraits of explorers and notable people

1 Richard Cobden
Dunford, Sussex 1804 - West Lavington, West Sussex 1865
British manufacturer and Radical and Liberal statesman; M.P. for West Yorkshire
2 Sir Titus Salt
Morley, near Leeds 1803 - Lightcliffe, near Halifax 1876
manufacturer, politician and philanthropist; Liberal M.P. and Mayor of Bradford, 1848-1849
3 Robert Stephenson
Willington Quay, Wallsend, Northumberland 1803 - London 1859
English civil engineer, inventor of the Rocket locomotive
4 James Watt
Greenock, Renfrewshire 1736 - Handsworth, Birmingham 1819
Scottish inventor and mechanical engineer whose improvements to the Newcomen steam engine were fundamental to the changes brought by the Industrial Revolution in both his native Great Britain and the rest of the world
5 Richard Arkwright
Preston, Lancashire 1732 - Cromford, Derbyshire 1792
inventor of water powered spinning machines.
6 Samuel Cunliffe Lister, First Baron Masham of Swinton
Calverley Old Hall, Yorkshire 1815 - Swinton Park, Yorkshire 1906
Bradford M.P., inventor, Manningham Mills owner and benefactor of Cartwright Hall Museum and Art Gallery.
7 William Ewart Gladstone
Liverpool 1809 - Hawarden 1898
British Liberal Party statesman and four times Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1868-74, 1880-85, 1886 and 1892-94).
8 Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston
Westminster 1784 - Brocket Hall, Hertfordshire 1865
Known as Lord Palmerston, British statesman who served twice as Prime Minister, 1855-Febr. 1858 and June 1859-1865.
He laid the foundation stone of this Wool Exchange.

Bank Street

Bradford / Portraits of explorers and notable people

9 James Cook
Marton, Yorkshire 1728 - Hawaï 1779
British explorer, navigator and cartographer, famous because of his three voyages to the Pacific Ocean.
10 George Anson, 1st Baron Anson
Staffordshire 1697 - Moor Park, Hertfordshire 1762
British admiral and a wealthy aristocrat, noted for his circumnavigation of the globe and his role overseeing the Royal Navy during the Seven Years' War.
11 Sir Walter Raleigh
Devon c. 1554 - London 1618
English aristocrat, writer, poet, soldier, courtier, spy, and explorer.
12 Sir Francis Drake
Tavistock, Devon, 1540 - Portobelo, Panama, 1596
British sea captain and vice admiral.
13 Christopher Columbus
(Italian: Cristoforo Colombo; Spanish: Cristóbal Colón)
Cogoleto? bef. 1451 - Valladolid 1506
explorer, colonizer, and navigator.

NB. The description of the Wool Exchange in the British Listed Buildings site has a different identification of the portraits. Nr. 6, Lister, is according to that list a portrait of the French weaver and merchant Joseph Marie Jacquard (1752-1834); the five at Bank Street (no. 9-13) are there Raleigh, Drake, Columbus, Cook and Anson respectively. Comparison with other portraits shows that the above identification - taken from the Sculpture trail - is correct. Only the portrait of Columbus shows no resemblance to any of his known portraits.


The Wool Exchange symbolises the great wealth and importance which Bradford had gained from the wool trade by the mid 19th century. It was completed in 1857 to the design of Lockwood and Mawson, won in open competition, and the foundation stone was laid in 1864 by the then Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston. It is ornate 'Venetian Gothic' in style with very decorative roof parapets and pinnacles. Flanking the porched entrance below the tower are statues of Bishop Blaise, the patron saint of woolcombers, and King Edward III who greatly promoted the wool trade. Between the ground floor arches are carved portraits of notable people, and inside there is a statue of Richard Cobden, 1804-1865.

The head doesn't look like Columbus at all.


Sources & Information


  • Cobden, Richard
  • Columbus, Christopher
  • Cook, James
  • Drake, Francis
  • Engineer
  • Explorer
  • Gladstone, William Ewart
  • Inventor
  • Lister, Samuel Cunliffe
  • Manufacturer
  • Mayor
  • Palmerston, Lord
  • Politician/Statesman
  • Raleigh, Walter
  • Salt, Titus
  • Stephenson, Robert
  • Temple, Henry John
  • Tolmie, James
  • Watt, James
  • Locatie (N 53°47'39" - W 1°45'8") (Satellite view: Google Maps)

    Item Code: gbyh001; Photograph: 4 September 2002  / updated: 31 July 2012
    Of each statue we made photos from various angles and also detail photos of the various texts.
    If you want to use photos, please contact us via the contact form (in Dutch, English or German).
    © Website and photos: René & Peter van der Krogt

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