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Wool Market for patron saint of wool-combers festival

A Wool Market is being held at Bradford Industrial Museum to celebrate the patron saint of wool-combers, Bishop Blaise and the history of wool in Bradford.

The event, which takes place at the Bradford Council-run museum on the feast day of St Blaise, Sunday 3 February, will have stalls selling woollen yarns, textiles and hand looms, as well as fun family activities including spinning and weaving demonstrations.

Delicious food will also be on offer and there will be a pop up pub in the museum which will have beer from a local Bradford brewery. Entertainment will be provided by a choir and brass band, there will even be alpacas.

Stalls at the event, which takes place from 10am to 4pm, will include local companies selling all manner of knitting gifts. This will include hand-dyed British wool, fibres and equipment for felt making and spinning, luxury and lace-weight yarns, haberdashery, knitting patterns and accessories and products made from alpaca wool. All of this will be alongside the museum’s fantastic displays that tell the story of Bradford’s Industrial past.

The free event is being organised by Bradford Industrial Museum in conjunction with Glyn Watkins with sponsorship from Napoleons Casino and Salamander Brewery.

Bishop Blaise is the patron saint of wool-combers. He was a physician and bishop in Sebastea, Armenia and was believed to have lived around the end of the 3rd or early 4th century. People went to him for cures of both spiritual and bodily ailments and he was reported to have healed animals.

He was reported to have been tortured by being flayed using pins from a wool-comb and beheaded because he refused to renounce his faith.

Bradford was once known as Worstedopolis due to the number of mills and wool processing businesses including wool-combers that operated in the district and up until 1825 the wool-combers of the district would hold a parade through the city to celebrate their patron saint. It was a four day festival where one of the wool-combers would dress as Bishop Blaise and parade through the town.

Maggie Pedley, Libraries, Museums and Galleries Manager at Bradford Council, said: “Though the mill where the Industrial Museum is based was originally built as a small worsted spinning mill, this is our first wool market. We have two ‘Bishop Blaise’ coats that were worn in the parades in our collection. One from Bradford and one from Keighley, as well as some other memorabilia from these parades and we will be putting some of this on display as part of the event. I would encourage anyone with an interest in Bradford’s woollen history to visit the museum for this event.”

For more information visit www.bradfordmuseums.org