The Past Times Project

The Bradford Bulls foundation received funding from the Heritage Lottery to proceed with the Past Times project.

The principle aim of the project is to preserve the unique heritage and soul of The Provident Stadium  by:

By interviewing people who have participated in or were spectators at the plethora of events that took place at Odsal. To delve into various other sports and other organisations records to collate a comprehensible definitive history of the Stadium.

To share Odsal’s past with schools and community groups Odsal Stadium has hosted a plethora of sports and special events including, Rugby League, Speedway, Baseball, Show jumping, Stockcar racing, Micro-car racing, Dog displays, Rugby Union, Religious pageants, Football, Netball, Military parades, Tennis, Coronation celebrations, Basketball, Kabbadi Sports festivals, Baseball, American Football, Health and fitness displays, Cossack Horsemen. In 1954 over 102,000 people attended the Rugby League  Challenge Cup Final replay a world record. The two codes of Rugby played each other at Odsal. The North’s first floodlit rugby match was staged at Odsal. Floodlit cricket was played at Odsal decades before being introduced by the ICC. The world famous Harlem Globetrotters appeared here. World Championship speedway, Gymkhanas, International sports matches. Its unique structure led to it being used as the back drop for a motion picture.

A large proportion of our research results are on the project web-site www.odsalpasttimes.org .We shall also be publishing a book at the end of the project, featuring Odsal history and people’s memories.


Another function of the Heritage team is to create and maintain an archive of memorabilia, programmes, statistics film /DVD of all the various events that have taken place at Odsal. Currently the archive stands at over 3,000 items. The Foundation is credited by West Yorkshire Archive as competent in keeping an archive.

A follow on from the archive is the compiling of player records we currently have Bradford career records of around 100 players.

Various items from the archive are on display in the Trevor Foster suite together with artefacts from the Trevor Foster collection, which was kindly donated by Rugby League Cares who bought the collection to raise funds for the “hardship fund” during this summer’s crisis.

Stadium Tours

The project lends itself to school and history group visits to Odsal for a stadium tour and presentation. Due to the vast array of events that have taken place at Odsal we always manage to engage with all members of school groups. With elderly groups we generally find that we stimulate memories to an extend we find ourselves leaning about other aspects of the stadiums history.

Reminiscence sessions

We also hold reminiscence sessions for the elderly and dementia suffers. These are conducted either in hospitals or care or residential homes. Our experience with the elderly is that often the quieter members of groups begin to relate to the numerous activities hosted at Odsal and, start to tell their own story of events. Very often these experiences include tales of family and friends plus details of journeys across Bradford. Another aspect fondly remembered is where they stopped for food, pie and peas, fish and chips and maybe details of pubs.

Our type of approach to Dementia sufferers has a proven track record. Alzheimer Scotland, through the Football Reminiscence Project and, now with the Sporting Memories Network has reported the success of this type of project. Clinical evidence comes from Professor Debbie Tolson the director of the Centre for Evidence Based Care of Older People at Glasgow Caledonian University.

The Bullman Books

John and Anne Downes have written a series of five stories based around the Bulls’ mascots, Bullman and his little brother, Bullboy. These are entitled: – “Bullman and the missing boots”, “Have you seen Bullboy?”” Bullboy learns some safety lessons”,” Bullboy and the magic album” and the as yet unpublished story, based on the present project, “A load of rubbish!”

Each book has a theme and is aimed at a reading age of 5-8 years old, particularly at the reluctant male readers. Each published book has been published with the help of a grant from external funding which include Provident Insurance and the  Bradford and Bingley Building Society. The books are distributed to school libraries and are also available to purchase from the club shop.

Exhibiting Archival material and the club’s heritage.

Plans are in hand to exhibit more memorabilia within the Coral stand. The speedway fraternity are currently seeking sponsors to assist with this. If sponsorship fails to appear we are confident we can still manage to display items representing the plethora of non rugby league events that have taken place at Odsal.

We aim to create a “memory lane” on the top corridor of the Coral stand, representing the club’s roller coaster history through a time line and various text boards. This would enhance the stadium tour we offer and add to the Odsal experience for any visitor.

School  & Library Visits

Utilising all the above, together with the education package created in collaboration with Brian Heywood we can either deliver history based classroom activities which dovetail into the national curriculum or book readings. We also conduct book readings at public libraries for the younger children.

For more details please email:





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