Established in 1832, The Mechanics Institute Library was part of a national initiative to provide adult education, especially in technical subjects for working men. During this illustrated talk hosted by Institute President Tricia Restorick, we aim to find out how crucial this institute was in imparting  knowledge to the workers of Victorian Bradford.


In previous years, we’ve explored the untold histories of Bradford’s mill and warehouse owners. Now, we turn our attention to the city’s workforce and how the Mechanics Institute taught weaving, literacy and numeracy skills to common workers, forever changing the city’s future.

About The Speaker

Tricia Restorick

When she was appointed in 2013, Tricia Restorick became the first woman President in the 181-year history of the Bradford Mechanics Institute.  Her first contact with the Institute came through her research into a family member who had served in the Bradford Pals.  Bradford WW1 Group was founded for members of the Mechanics and its members proved to be ever helpful, leading to publication of Bradford in the Great War in 2006.  The educational objectives of the Mechanics Institute movement in the nineteenth century remain at the heart of activity today but with the focus on life-long learning rather than educating Shakespeare’s rude mechanicals.  For well over a century the Mechanics Institute met the career aspirations of young people and underpinned the huge growth of the textile and engineering industries which, according to the Yorkshire Post, “made Bradford not just the richest city in Yorkshire; it was one of the richest in the world . . . with the kind of influence most other cities could only dream of.”