bradford mechanics institute library


bradford mechanics institute library

Bradford Mechanics' Institute Library established 1832


The Bradford Mechanics' Institute Library was established in 1832 and for over 70 years played a leading role in adult education in Bradford, providing books, classes and later, a series of very popular public lectures.

In the early twentieth century the Institute developed a social side with the formation of clubs for chess and rambling, and a reading circle. The long-established public lectures continued but the 50th Anniversary brochure of 1921 bemoaned that ‘the competition from the cinema is increasingly severe and the love of pleasure hardly makes for serious thinking while people like to get their knowledge in snippets.”

Today we are primarily a well-stocked subscription library with an expanding range of very active Interest Groups.


The Library has over 14,000 books in the fiction section. These are constantly replenished with the most recent titles and our staff are keen to respond to the specific requests of readers.

Non-fiction sections cover the usual full range of topics: biography, history, philosophy, hobbies, travel, etc . Sections which support our Interest Groups are particularly well stocked, for example, local history, poetry, gardening and WW1.


In spite of public protests and last-minute schemes to revamp the original Victorian building, it was demolished and, by 1976, the Bradford Mechanics Institute Library had re-located to Narey’s Buildings on Kirkgate. Our building has undergone extensive refurbishment and now provides a fully-equipped kitchen, spacious meeting rooms and exhibition space on the 2nd Floor.

Contact information

Diane Brown, Administrator
76 Kirkgate, Bradford BD1 1SZ
tel:01274 722 857/

Tuesday to Friday 9.30-16.00,Saturdays 9.30-12.00 noon

Annual Membership Subscription rates: Individual £27.50; Joint £36; Trial 6 months half normal price



Registered charity no 509231