More about the Cathedral, Diocese and City

Bradford Cathedral

The Cathedral Church of St Peter celebrated its centenary as a Cathedral in 2019, having been created  in 1919 from the parish church of St Peter and St Paul in the Calverley Deanery. In 2014 it became one of three cathedrals in the newest diocese in the Church of England: Leeds - Wakefield and Ripon being the other two. The Dean is Vicar of Bradford and the Cathedral is an important focus of Christian witness in the centre of the City.

The Cathedral Council, College of Canons and Chapter make up the ‘body corporate’ and the congregation is represented on each grouping and has its own Community Committee. We have worked hard at joining the ‘body’ together and, more recently, we have also been exploring how joined up governance can be sustained and indeed strengthened through the changes that will be required as part of the implementation of the new Cathedral’s Measure.


The Diocese of Leeds

The Diocese came into being at Easter 2014 following the dissolution of the historic dioceses of Bradford, Ripon & Leeds and Wakefield. This creation followed a three-year process of debate and consultation driven by the Dioceses Commission. It covers a region whose economy is greater than that of Wales. 

The Diocese comprises five Episcopal Areas, each coterminous with an Archdeaconry. This is now one of the largest dioceses in the country and its creation is unprecedented in the history of the Church of England. It covers an area of around 2,425 square miles, housing a population of around 2,614,000. The Diocese is unique in having three cathedrals; Bradford, Wakefield and Ripon, each serving the whole diocese.

The three former dioceses were created in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to cater for massive population changes brought about by industrialisation and, later, mass immigration. The diocese comprises major cities (Bradford, Leeds, Wakefield), large industrial and post-industrial towns (Halifax, Huddersfield, Dewsbury, Barnsley), market towns (Harrogate, Skipton, Ripon, Richmond and Wetherby), and deeply rural areas (the Dales). The whole of life is here, along with all the richness, diversity and complexities of a changing world. The diocese is dissected by major motorways (M1, A1M, M62) and major trunk roads (such as the A650, A59), making road and rail communications good. Access to airports is also good, with Leeds-Bradford in easy reach and Manchester only an hour away.

The Diocesan Bishop is assisted by five Area Bishops (Bradford, Huddersfield, Ripon, Richmond and Wakefield) and five archdeacons (Bradford, Halifax, Leeds, Pontefract, Richmond & Craven).  

There are over 300 stipendiary clergy, 165 self-supporting clergy and nearly 400 clergy with PTO.

The Diocesan Strategy informs all of the work of the diocese, providing us with a framework for the activities we under-take and the direction we are seeking to follow as a diocese. 

Diocesan Strategy

The City

Set in the magnificent County of West Yorkshire, Bradford Metropolitan District has a population of 525,000 people and is the fourth largest metropolitan district in England. It is also the youngest English city outside London. Four miles away at Saltaire there is Salts Mill, a World Heritage site, and beyond that the beauty of the Dales.

The City owed its main period of prosperity to wool. The Dales and upland Pennines produced good wool-bearing sheep and the wool was transported first by canal and then by railway to Bradford, where a great Wool Exchange and textile industry grew using local coal, iron and water. People were drawn from the countryside to the City and, in the late nineteenth century, immigrants began arriving from Germany and other European countries. From the 1960s onwards others, particularly from rural Pakistan, arrived as economic migrants to work in the mills and within a generation large numbers decided to settle in the City. The demise of the textile industry led to a decline in industrial and commercial activity and the loss of much creative leadership.

Currently, Bradford is undergoing significant regeneration, which is changing the feel of the City. A new shopping centre, ‘Broadway’ has opened right next to the Cathedral with Marks and Spencer being just outside the State Gate. In addition, there are some magnificent Grade 1 listed 19th century buildings in the City, including City Hall. Next to City Hall is a new public space, City Park, with water and lighting features. It is used for concerts throughout the year.

Bradford University has over 150 nationalities studying and is renowned for its research, green campus and having one of the most outstanding Schools of Management in the world. Bradford College, David Hockney’s alma mater, has just been completely rebuilt. Bradford is a UNESCO City of Film and is the home of the National Media and Science Museum. The ground-breaking Bradford Literature Festival was launched to great acclaim in 2014 and has rapidly developed a national reputation for cutting edge events. The Cathedral is one of the host venues.

Bradford has become renowned nationally for its racial, ethnic and religious diversity. The parishes surrounding the Cathedral are majority Muslim and in recent years there has been a new wave of immigration from Eastern Europe. Although there are tensions and significant challenges, there are many fine examples of work across diverse communities in which the Cathedral plays an active role.