10 Famous People From Bradford

Bradford is home to a lot of important famous people. From literary icons to rock stars, here are 10 of the most famous Bradfordians!

The Bronte Sisters

The Bronte Sisters - Famous Bradfordians

The Brontes are one of the most famous literary families in history. They were born in the village of Thornton and have become synonymous with the village of Haworth which inspired much of their most popular work. Interestingly, Haworth became twinned with Machu Pichu in 2005 as it has a similar population and attracts a similar number of tourists each year. As with many female writers during the 1800s, the Brontes published their poems and novels under male pseudonyms.

Their pen names were Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. Their most famous work include Charlotte’s Jane Eyre, Emily’s Wuthering Heights and Anne’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.

Alastair Campbell

Alastair Campbell is a British journalist best know as spokesman and campaign director for Tony Blair from 1994 – 1997.

He grew up in Keighley, a stones throw from Cliffe Castle. Speaking about his Bradfordian routes in an interview in 2016, he described “I like to play up my tough northern roots to my own London born and bred children, telling them all manner of Monty Pythonesque hard luck (and tall) stories but in fact, we lived in a big house with a nice garden and – the place I spent a lot of my time – a back yard out by the garage.”

Edward Victor Appleton

Edward Victor Appleton

Undoubtedly one of Bradford’s highest achievers, Edward Victor Appleton was a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who was a pioneer in radiophysics. He worked at Bradford College from 1909 to 1911 and won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1947.

Tom Cleverly

Tom Cleverly rose to fame as a Mifielder for both Manchester United and the England International Football teams. Throughout his career, he’s played for various top-flight teams including Everton, Watford and Aston Villa.


Steven Frayne, or as he is best known, Dynamo is a magician who has had several hit TV shows and has won various prestigious industry awards in his relatively short career. He grew up in a working-class family in a Bradford council estate where he honed his skills, before getting his big break on the Richard and Judy show. In 2018, he is touring the world with his show “Seeing is believing.”

David Hockney

David Hockney is a Bradfordian artist who is considered a seminal member of the pop art movement of the 60s. He is widely considered one of the most influential artists of 20th century Britain. Although he now resides in California, Salts Mill has a gallary dedicated to his work, and Cartwright Hall recently hosted an exhibition of his work, which looked at his career and his passion for Bradford as a city.

Zayn Malik

Undoubtedly the Bradfordian with the most followers on Instagram, Zayn Malik shot to fame as a member of the boy band One Direction, before persuing a solo career. He grew up in East Bowling and is said to be fiercely proud of his Bradford routes. In an interview with Vogue Magazine in 2017, he described ““I am from Bradford. There’s a sense of pride knowing you hail from a place, to feel you are accepted into the secret code of its knowledge.

“It’s a place that has seen its fair share of hardship and wears its scars boldly. A place with a long history of survival, an essential beat in the heart of what makes Britain great.”

JB Priestley

John Boynton Priestley, was an English novelist, playwright and social commentator who was well known for his Yorkshire background. Growing up in Manningham in Bradford, he had an illustrious career and was a left-wing broadcaster who was credited with strengthening civilian morale during the Battle of Britain. Although he was cancelled by the BBC for being too critical of the Government, he remains an icon to many. Perhaps his most famous work is his 1945 play An Inspector Calls.

Terry Uttley

A founding member of the band Smokie, Terry Uttley attended St.Bedes Catholic Grammar school in Heaton and went on to have a number of hit singles, including “If You Think You Know How to Love Me,” and “Living Next Door To Alice.” Interestingly, they founded the original band in Moore’s Music Shop on North Parade. The band are still touring in 2018 and released new material in 2010.

Ricky Wilson

Ricky Wilson

Although associated with Leeds, frontman of the Kaiser Chiefs, Ricky Wilson was born in Keighley, which is part of Bradford. Since his rise to fame with the Kaiser Chiefs in 2003, he became a household name in the UK as one of the judges of The Voice.

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