Bradford University saves 1960s mural as £3.5m face-lift is given green light

A striking 1960s mural has been 'saved' as a £3.5m 'green' face-lift is rolled out across the University of Bradford city centre campus.

The University of Bradford will leave a mural, that is a reflection of part of the city's colorful past, intact as a major cladding scheme starts across buildings on the city centre campus.

New cladding is being installed to the Richmond and Horton buildings, as well as 480 new double-glazed to make the building more environmentally friendly.

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However the mural designed and built by architect and artist Joseph Mayo will not be covered and will be incorporated into the designs.

The Richmond Building circa 1965 when it was the Main Building of the Bradford Institute of Technology. Photo credit: The University of Bradford

The artwork, which was designed with colours designed to reflect Bradford's history of fabrics and dyes, was installed in 1964 on the Richmond building.

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Last month the university reversed plans to cover up the university mural at the entrance of the Richmond Building following a raft of objections including from national group - The 20th Century Society, and the son of the artist behind the work.

Stuart McKinnon-Evans, the chief finance officer for the University of Bradford, said: "We value the mural, it is part of our heritage and we are more than happy with the outcome of the planning process, part of which involves listening to and acting on feedback.

A different angle of the Richmond Building circa 1965. Photo credit: The University o Bradford.

"The new cladding will help us reduce our carbon footprint by reducing energy costs, in addition to creating a more pleasant working environment inside the building.

"Together with the mural, it will create a bright new look which also reflects our heritage."

The mural was originally erected as part of the main building for the Bradford Institute of Technology, which was formally opened in June 1965 by former Prime Minister Harold Wilson.

The main building was later renamed the Richmond Building and Wilson became the university’s first Chancellor from its founding in 1966 until 1985.

Schematics showing areas which are due to be clad on the Richmond Building and Horton Building. Photo credit: The University of Bradford

In total 37 objections were submitted after the University of Bradford submitted it's plans to cover the building in cladding, including the mural were first submitted in late December.

Dr Paul Mayo, son of Joseph Mayo, was one of the people to object to the initial plans.

"The mosaic represents an era of industrial design & manufacture which has been widely vandalised, not least locally in the destruction of the Rhodesway School mosaic," he said. .

If the mural had been covered it would have been the second piece by Mayo that Bradford would have lost in recent years.

A student takes a picture of a mural designed and built by architect and artist Joseph Mayo in 1964, at the entrance of the Richmond Building at Bradford University. Photo credit: Tony Johnson/JPIMediaResell

Another ceramic mural by the artist was fixed to a Grade II listed building at the former Rhodesway School, which was demolished to make way for Dixons Allerton Academy.

The 'green' project will improve energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions and lower energy bills, according to the University of Bradford.

Part if the scheme will see the new cladding cover 4,000 square meters of the building.

Andrew Hague, the project delivery lead for the work, which is due to be complete in October, said: "The new external cladding... Will hugely improve the thermal comfort levels for building users through high levels of insulation.

"The project will also help drive down future energy costs and our reliance on gas and the grid."

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