Bradford in Blue Plaques: J B Priestley

April 11, 2016 Bradford Civic Society

Bradford in Blue Plaques: J B Priestley

Pic: Sourced from Open Plaques under CC licence, taken by Peter Hughes.

J B Priestley 

Nominated by Si Cunningham, Chair of Bradford Civic Society

“Just off Toller Lane, Manningham, is a house where the author and playwright J B Priestley lived. The acclaimed National Theatre tour of An Inspector Calls was due to be back in Yorkshire this week (but has been postponed for obvious reasons), so it seems fitting to introduce the blue plaque to one of Bradford’s most famous sons today. 

“There are numerous nods to Priestley around the city, from the J B Priestley library within the University; to his imposing statue on Princes Way, keeping watch over the city he loved. 

“A good friend gave me the biography of Fred Jowett (former MP, and another great Bradfordian, well deserving of his own blue plaque, incidentally) and I was pleasantly surprised to find the preface was written by J B Priestley. His remarks about Bradford were interesting. It would seem, like a lot of people, it was time spent away from his native city that made him yearn for it even more. Priestly wrote a lot about his native Yorkshire, and I always found there was more than a bit of truth to his comment, “However poor you are in Bradford, you need never be walled in, bricked up, as folk must be in London.” Under normal circumstances, of course, we are indeed blessed with the most beautiful countryside just a few miles from the old mills and urban grit that no doubt inspired Priestley in his formative years. 

“But it’s a line from An Inspector Calls that perhaps feels more apposite than ever, as many of us are moved by acts of great kindness and community spirit amidst the most difficult of circumstances: 

“We don’t live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other.””