Influential and greatly respected local historian
whose research and teaching inspired many
others to follow in his footsteps, Jack Reynolds,
taught at Bradford Technical College and Bradford
College of Advanced Technology.
It is fitting that a leading historian of Bradford
and the Labour movement locally should begin
his life in a house that had once belonged to one
of the founder members of the Independent
Labour Party. Jack was born in Tennyson Place,
Undercliffe, at the former home of Edward Roche, in 1915.
His distinguished career was delayed by WWII.
After attaining his History degree from the
University of Birmingham and completing a
teacher training course, he was called up for army
service, initially in Iceland, and then with the
Intelligence Corps in North Africa and Italy.
After the war he began teaching English and History at Grange High School for Boys, plus GCE evening classes at Bradford Technical College. He also delivered some evening classes in medieval history for a University of London external degree. He then joined Bradford College of Advanced Technology as Lecturer in History in 1959, continuing as it became the University of Bradford in 1966.
In subsequent years he taught
and inspired a substantial number of students,
greatly developing local studies and directing the
research of around 30 postgraduate students.
Jack also lectured on local history for the WEA and
the University of Leeds Extra-Mural Department
for 15 years during this period.
This extensive teaching greatly restricted Jack’s time writing time, although he had published journal articles from the 1970s and was editor of the Bradford Antiquary for 3 years. When he retired from the University after 19 years, he was finally able to give his own research the attention it deserved. However before his work made it into print, a volume Victorian Bradford: Essays in Honour of Jack Reynolds was published as a tribute to his immense contribution. Many of the contributors had been his former students and presenting him with this volume of their research personally dedicated to him demonstrated his legacy as well as the high regard he was held in.
His authoritative work The Great Paternalist: Titus Salt & the Growth of Nineteenth-Century Bradford (1983) was followed by 2 books co-authored with Keith Laybourn, who he had taught in Bradford; Liberalism and the Rise of Labour 1890-1918 (1984) and Labour Heartland (1987).
Jack died in June 1988. His daughter, Jennifer, has taught at Bradford College for 30 years.
Many thanks to Jennifer Reynolds for the photograph of her father.