The Parish Church of Saint Chad, Toller Lane, Bradford, England
A Profile of the
Parish by our Vicar:
This Profile first appeared in the Winter 1997
St Chad's is
Comments etc to
St Chad's, Toller Lane
A Profile of the Parish
In common with other northern industrial towns the population of Bradford increased hugely during the nineteenth century. In the first half it increased from 7,000 to 107,000 even before its incorporation as a borough. The year 1997 marks the centenary of Bradford receiving its city charter. This century had scarcely dawned when a commission of the diocese of Ripon recommended that in an area running from the north- west of the city centre which already contained half a score of Anglican churches, another should be added.
priest by the name of The
The group which gathered round the priest outgrew the house and it was about to move into a mill canteen when a former private school building came on the market. Furnishings were begged, borrowed and bought to convert the schoolroom into a place of worship and it became known as "The Upper Room".
portion of land on the opposite side of Toller Lane was then given by the
Ackroyd family as a site for a church, vicarage and schoolroom. An "Iron
Church" was erected, later to become the hall, and from there the work
was put in hand for the handsome Romanesque building to be consecrated as
was so often the case, sound Tractarian teaching characterised those early
years. The "bells and smells" were introduced by
are many stories encapsulated in the life of
vocation of that time carried
actress, Billie Whitelaw was Confirmed from here, arriving as an evacuee
during the second world war. Also in the registers is the marriage of Colin
Winter who later, as Bishop of Namibia, was thrown out by the then Government
of South Africa for his opposition to apartheid. Before that a nurse from
the eight priests to serve
The building which had served as the church prior to 1913 continued as the parish hall until it was destroyed by fire at Michaelmass 1972. The fire only just impinged on the present lovely church building affecting leadwork and glass. While the firemen were concerned to stop the fire spreading to the church the old hall was completely destroyed. Within eighteen months it was replaced by a more modest structure which was eventually succeeded by a stone-built hall, more in keeping with the surroundings. In fact it was only in 1991 that the intention of those who gave the land was eventually fulfilled, for the Bradford Diocese felt the time was right to erect a new vicarage and thus church, hall and vicarage now occupy the same site to form a useful church plant.
The Parish Community.
The parish has changed vastly over the years of the church. What were the homes of the well-to-do manufacturers are now bedsits. Most of the woollen mills have gone and those that are left employ only a small workforce. There are light industrial estates where rows of workers' houses used to stand. Our most forward-looking industry is the Seabrook potato crisp factory. Sir Kenneth Morrison built the first headquarters of his super-market chain in our parish.
Most significant is the change in population over the past three decades. When we arrived twenty-eight years ago a third of the people in the parish were of Asian origin. That proportion has now more than doubled and those of the former indigenous population are the poorer and more disadvantaged members of the community. There are many callers at the vicarage door requesting help of one kind or another.
St Chad’s is both a Church Union and a Forward in Faith parish. Some would say it is a bit old fashioned, for the English Missal and Book of Common Prayer are still used here. There is nothing stiff and starchy about what goes on however for there is a certain inventiveness and hilarity which goes with the catholic character and enables us to cope with the unusual and the contingencies that occur in shuc a setting. St Chad’s cherishes its assovciations with the Additional Curates Society and with the late Bishop Keith Benzies’ diocese of Antsiranana, Madagascar.
taking the three resolutions in 1993 the parish has had wonderful pastoral
care from Bishop John of Beverley, the Northern Provincial Episcopal Visitor
and from his successor, Bishop Martyn. In the insecurities of today's world
and a changing Church there is so much substance in all that has happened in
the life of
Canon Ralph Crowe, Vicar
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Content last updated September 21st, 2003
Page last updated July 14th 2016