3rd Feb. was once the biggest and most enjoyable day to be had in Bradford, when woolcombers guild organised everyone in the wool trade into a procession to celebrate Bishop Blaise. I've spent a decade bringing Blaise back. The weekend of 1st - 3rd Feb. will be the biggest Blaise day for a good while, help make it bigger and better!
Saint Blaise was an Armenian Bishop Martyr who was reputedly tortured with woolcombs, so he became the Patron of Woolcombers.
Woolcombers were a highly skilled group vital to the wool trade that made the country's wealth. Every town with a wool trade celebrated Blaise's Day on 3rd Feb. but Bradford's was the biggest and best. The procession had over a thousand people taking part, and it celebrated a town that would become the biggest wool town the world would ever see.
Unfortunately the last procession was in 1825. A few months afterwards the woolcombers and handloom weavers went on strike and lost after months of distress. Bishop Blaise's day was pretty much forgotten.
About a decade ago I started trying to revive Blaise’s day; to celebrate, wool, Bradford, and all its peoples. I have had much help along the way, and this year Bradford will celebrate its first ever wool festival, 3rd Feb. in the Industrial Museum, Moorside Rd. I will also be doing a small show on Friday 1st, and a walk along part of the route of the 1825 procession on Saturday 2nd.
The basic goal will pay for all the things I have committed to, and the associated expenses. I have promises of help already, but this is really about the stretch goals, to pay for things I cannot pay for myself.
As they said in 1825:
As friendship, love, and unity, Compose the bond of peace,
In them may our community
Join hands and thus increase.