Bradford University - The W.R. Mitchell Archive

Clogs © W.R. Mitchell from his scrapbooks at Bradford University Special CollectionsClogs © W.R. Mitchell from his scrapbooks
at Bradford University Special Collections

W.R. ‘Bill’ Mitchell has donated many of his tapes and works to many University Collections, in particular the University of Bradford Special Collections. This archive includes many of his printed books up until 1988, a selection of his early Scrapbooks and photographs and Bill's correspondence with Dalesman contributors. If you would like to find out more about the archive at the University of Bradford click here.

The University of Bradford houses the J.B. Priestly Library. Bill often tells a tale about meeting the famous author ‘J.B.’ one day in Settle when he arrived home for his dinner to be greeted on the doorstep by his wife Freda in her baking apron. Freda told Bill that J.B. Priestly and his wife Jacquetta Hawkes were in Bill's living room. Through connections at the Dalesman the couple had decided to pop in and see Bill whilst they were in the area. However, Bill's connection with the University of Bradford Special Collections and the J.B. Priestley Library does not stem from this meeting, but rather from his work as a naturalist.

Bill Mitchell spent over 20 years watching Sika deer in the Forest of Bowland. Originally imported from Japan to Lord Ribblesdale's estates in Bowland, these deer had escaped into the wild. Bill wrote many articles for the Deer Journal of the British Deer Society and the International Sika Society. In 1985 Professor Delaney from the University of Bradford 's Department of Environmental Sciences edited the book 'Yorkshire Mammals' which is recognised as the classic book on mammalian distribution in Yorkshire. The chapters on deer species were written by Bill, who was widely acknowledged as a leading authority on these animals. It was this connection that in 1996 led to the University awarding Bill the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters.