Why we renamed a building after Bradfordian Sir Henry Mitchell

You may have noticed that one of our buildings is now called Sir Henry Mitchell House – and you may be forgiven for wondering why.

The former Mercury House in Manchester Road, which now bears Sir Henry’s moniker, is the new home of Bradford Council’s children’s services.

Previously our children’s services were dispersed around the district in separate offices. We decided to bring them all together at 4 Manchester Road, as part of our drive to save money by selling off under-used offices around the district.

But back to Sir Henry Mitchell. What’s his connection with Bradford? Well, born in Esholt, Sir Henry lived from 1824 to 1898 and was a Bradford mill owner and philanthropist, though not quite on the same scale as Sir Titus Salt who built an entire village.

Sir Henry Mitchell

Sir Henry founded Bradford Technical School, now part of Bradford College. He was rewarded by becoming Mayor of Bradford in 1874 and the first Honorary Freeman of the City of Bradford (a ceremonial honour with mediaeval origins which brings no special privileges these days, but is a mark of a city’s gratitude for exceptional services).

Read more about Sir Henry Mitchell on Wikipedia.

Later this year the former Central Library building is to be named Margaret McMillan Tower. That’s after Margaret McMillan who lived from 1860 to 1931 and campaigned for universal suffrage and reforms to improve the health of young children. We’ll write more about Margaret McMillan when that building opens.

Henry Mitchell picture credit:
Henry Mitchell Vanity Fair 5 July 1890 by Leslie Ward – Published in Vanity Fair, 5 July 1890.  Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

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