Bradford Circle for Foreign Languages has been meeting at the same premises for 100 years. Founded in 1899, the group moved to its current home, 10 Eldon Place, off Manningham Lane, during the summer of 1917.
The first meeting took place on September 14 “under somewhat novel circumstances” according to the minutes. “Owing to a delay with the electric installation, the lecture room was lighted with lamps and candles.”
All was well for the public inaugural meeting held two weeks later, with special guests and musical performances. Bradford Argus stated that the proceedings were “at once bright, genial and interesting” and the new meeting rooms “impressed all favourably”. Lord Mayor of Bradford Alderman Abraham Peel expressed regret that he was unable to attend to declare the session open. He said the Circle was “an educational institution second to none in Bradford”.
Originally owned by Sir Titus Salt, the new premises were equipped with the aid of a donation by another Saltaire stalwart, Sir James Roberts.
Formerly known as the United Foreign Circles, the group was formed to encourage the study of foreign languages, with lectures and lively discussions, reading and conversation.
It first met at the Yorkshire Penny Bank in North Parade, then moved to larger premises in the Royal Arcade, Manningham Lane (later Busbys), in 1906.
The building at Eldon Place was bought by the Circle in 1926. The picture shows the Circle premises in the early 1930s. All the gardens in Eldon Place have now been concreted over for office parking.
Read more about our history.