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Iconic chimney stones could have new lease of life as stack is reduced for safety

At around 100 feet tall, the iconic chimney at Bradford College’s Lister Building has been standing for more than a century.

But visitors to the college may notice some changes happening over the next six weeks. The chimney is being reduced from its current height of 31m to nine metres for safety reasons. This follows a structural survey last autumn.

Lister Building chimney stack towers over the college

Vital to ensure safety

Susan Gott, Head of Facilities Management at Bradford College, said: “An inspection found it had sadly deteriorated in some places, to the point where if it was to remain at its current height it could potentially become a danger to people visiting, working or studying in the area. 

“We have looked at various ways of making the chimney safer, including making repairs. However, it is vital to ensure everybody’s safety for the future. Unfortunately, the only viable way to do this was to reduce the chimney’s height to roof level.”

New lease of life for old stones

Bradford College will keep the stones and bricks removed from the chimney. Susan said: “We are retaining the brickwork so we can engage with the staff and students to utilise them on site as a lasting memorial.

“We are looking into different ways to use these stones in the future. We have looked at lots of ideas such as building planters for flowers. However, we would be delighted if students could help decide how we could put these stones to use. The chimney is such an important part of our college’s history. We want students, staff and visitors to Bradford College to continue to benefit from it in some way for many years to come.”

Work begins on chimney stack

Steeplejacks are now fitting a series of scaffold bands around the chimney. They will then start to reduce the chimney stack by removing the coping stones and brickwork.

As the operation takes place, you will be able to see time-lapse footage of the chimney on the Bradford College website

About the Lister Building

Named after industrialist and inventor Samuel Cunliffe Lister (1815 – 1906), the Lister Building was designed and created to help prepare students to work in local and national industries, including Bradford’s textile industry.

The new building was completed in 1911. It housed a complete plant for the washing, carding, combing, spinning, weaving, dyeing and finishing of textiles, replicating everything that students would find in a full-sized mill.

The Lister Building is now home to Bradford’s Textile Archive, as well as a fashion and textiles workshop, media makeup and special effects studios and photography suites.

It also has a performance theatre space for students’ shows, and a café.

Published: 19th April 2021

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