This week, the story of two wonderful buildings which form part of the Bradford University School of Management. Built within a decade of each other for very different purposes, both by local architects, they exemplify patterns in Bradford’s 19th century architecture. The Emm Lane Building and Heaton Mount are situated in the leafy parkland campus of the Management School, about two and a half miles from the University’s main campus.
The Emm Lane Building was created between 1874 and 1877 as a theological college to educate ministers for the Congregational Church. It was a new building for a college whose long history dated back to 1756 and whose aim was to “educate young men for the Christian ministry”.
The architects, Bradford firm Lockwood and Mawson, shaped Victorian Bradford, designing both the Town Hall and the Wool Exchange (not to mention Saltaire!). Like the former, the new Airedale Independent College had a Gothic flavour. A report in the Leeds Mercury elaborated on the choice of Early Decorated Gothic style, considered to be particularly suitable for a college building; the architects would have liked to incorporate a “lofty and picturesque tower” into the design but this would have been too expensive. The College building was made of “clean-cut wallstone from the Heaton quarries, with ashlar dressings” and enhanced with medieval details like the rather cute gargoyle dragon, below.
The foundation stone was laid on 16 October 1874 by Mr Titus Salt, treasurer of the institution. His father, Sir Titus Salt, had helped support the foundation, but was too ill to attend (he died in 1876). On 17 February 1888, for reasons of “financial economy and educational efficiency”, the Airedale College merged with the Rotherham Independent College. The new organisation was named the Yorkshire United Independent College and based at the Bradford site.
By the late 1950s, the College faced dwindling student numbers and was due to merge with a college in Didsbury. Meanwhile the newly established Bradford Institute of Technology was desperate for space, struggling to find room for the new staff, students and advanced work that its status as a College of Advanced Technology required.
The Emm Lane Building offered a partial solution. Purchased by BIT for £10,000, it became the home of the Department of Industrial Administration for Commerce. In 1963, Emm Lane was designated The Management Centre; Tom Kempner was its first Director (the School celebrates its 50th anniversary this year). The distinctive features of the College’s entrance, the “tripartite arcaded porch and large shafted oriel window”, have been part of the Centre’s marketing and visual identity ever since, witness this 1966 prospectus.
In 1967, BIT, which by this time had become a University, acquired Emm Lane’s near neighbour Heaton Mount. This is a splendid “Italianate-Baroque” villa built for a wealthy wool manufacturer (see also Oakworth House!). Heaton Mount was designed by local architect J.T. Fairbank for Robert Kell and completed in 1866. It still boasts a terrace with splendid views, a magnificent staircase, stained glass, oak panelling, and a conservatory. It remained in private hands until the mid-1950s (Kell and his wife until 1889, then the Ambler family, then Arthur Crossland) after which it became a convent school. Alongside executive education, it offers facilities for conferences, weddings and other occasions.
Supplemented by several modern buildings, including a major programme completed in 2010, the Italianate villa and the Gothic college help make the Emm Lane campus a delightful setting which still gives a sense of Victorian Bradford.
Sources: this piece is based on many sources, including the National Heritage List via the English Heritage website, McKinlay’s Histories, articles in local newspapers, and books about the College at Emm Lane including Wadsworth’s history and the Souvenir of the Semi-jubilee of 1913. Our academic colleague George Sheeran has written extensively on Bradford’s historic buildings. Quotations from English Heritage, a Leeds Mercury article of 17 October 1874, and Wadsworth’s book.