The Wool Exchange, perhaps more than any other building, symbolises the wealth and importance that Bradford had gained by the mid nineteenth century, on the basis of the wool trade.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE WOOL EXCHANGE BUILDING
HOME OF TIFFIN COFFEE
The winning entry in an architectural competition that drew many entries, with John Ruskin invited to give his advice. Won by the local architects Lockwood and Mawson with a design in Venetian Gothic with some Flemish influences. The accompanying photograph shows the architectural detail of the tower and arcading well, but the light is not strong enough for the contrasting stone colours to emerge. When the building was listed in 1963, the interior of the hall was described: “The main hall is still used as a Wool exchange and has finely detailed lofty hammer-beam roof with wrought iron work decoration. The hall is surrounded by tall polished granite columns with foliate capitals and there is an outer south aisle arcade with good naturalistic foliage carving. Lively wrought ironwork balcony and staircase balustrade.
1864 –1867: Wool Exchange Built
1960s: Wool trading stopped
1962: Swan Arcade demolished
1962-64: Arndale House built
1963: Building gained listed status
1975: Pennine Heritage Exhibition
1980 - 2017: Retail business take advantage of the beautiful building
2016: Wool Exchange undergoes brand and digital development
2017: Tiffin Coffee opens it's doors
Picture the scene one hundred years ago when there were more than 300 textile mills operating in Bradford. With smoke and dirt belching from a forest of pencil-straight chimneys. But step inside those factory gates and from the noise and clatter within witness the honest toil and sweat of proud Bradfordians whose productive energy helped to create the world's leading wool-trading centre. In the industry's heyday during that era, it was estimated there were a quarter of million men and women working in the mills of West Riding, with 70,000 of those jobs centred on Bradford. Today, the number has dwindled to a few thousand and Bradford is perhaps better known for the flavours of its curry houses than the cut of its cloth.
Author of the 'Wool City', Mark Keighley said, "It is a sad story when you look back at the industry in its heyday but it's not a totally unhappy one. The numbers may have dwindled but there are still companies in Bradford and the surrounding district producing some of the finest textile products in the world. In recent years, there has even been a minor renaissance but the wool industry is now very much a niche market."