This week, six photograph albums commemorating the University’s special links with the city of Skopje, in the former Yugoslavia.
On 26 July 1963, Skopje was devastated by a massive earthquake. Over 1000 people were killed and three-quarters of the city’s buildings were destroyed. The following year a team of students from Bradford Institute of Technology (which soon became Bradford University) helped reconstruct the city. Fred Singleton, recently appointed as a lecturer at BIT, played a key role in arranging the reconstruction project: his enthusiasm for the country and its people were key in the later foundation of a research unit for Yugoslav studies at the University. Skopje’s links with Bradford continue: the cities are twinned.
The albums were presented to Bradford University and its Students’ Union as “a souvenir of mutual exchange and cooperation” by Skopje students, following on from the reconstruction work and a later visit by Bradford students in 1966. The powerful black and white photographs in the albums show Skopje pre- and post-earthquake, the reconstruction process, and the activities of the students. The album bindings add to their interest, especially the embroidered textile ones like that shown above.