Monday, 27 July 2009

The Golden Dawn in Bradford

The history of The Golden Dawn in Bradford was to a great extent controlled by Mr Thomas Henry Pattinson, leader of the Bradford Horus Temple of the Golden Dawn and later, co-leader together with Dr Edwards, of The August and Oriental Order of Light Garuda, based on the teachings of a Mr Portman who had spent much time in India and who revived the Indian Cult of Garuda, the bird God of Hindu and Buddhist religions. Mr Pattinson was also a very prominent Theosophist, following the teachings of Madam Blavatsky.

The kingpin to all this was Dr William Wynn Westcott, a Freemason, Theosophist and one of the founders of The Golden Dawn along with Dr Woodman and Mr Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers. Dr Westcott visted Bradford, in West Yorkshire frequently and also attended meetings of the Theosophical Society in Bradford. He knew Mr Pattinson and it was Dr Westcott who authorised the setting up of both The Golden Dawn Temple of Horus in Bradford and also later persuaded Mr Pattinson to co-head The August and Oriental Order of Light Garuda, along with Dr Edwards, with the agreement of Mr Portman who had studied the teachings of the Cult of Garuda in India.

There are many conflicting stories about exactly what went on. In the late 19th and early 20th century, Bradford, West Yorkshire was bursting with very earnest mystical societies.

One version of the Bradford Horus Temple re-surfaced again in 1983, when Salvo and Sindy IIardi discovered it in the attic of their newly purchased restaurant, New Gobbles, the event was even mentioned in The New York Times, as the fame of the discovery had spread. Mr and Mrs IIardi tried to re-furbish the temple to turn in to a local heritage landmark. Although the temple was clearly a replica of the original Horus Temple of the Golden Dawn, confusingly, it had also been used as a Garuda Temple. The original Garuda Temple was in premises at Kings Arcade, Bradford, (now demolished) and had the Garuda painted on the back wall in place of Horus, the art work done by a lady who had spent much time in India.

By 1984, Mr and Mrs IIardi had ordered ceremonial magical equipment for display and had parts of the temple repainted. One expert brought in, insisted the original paintings were from the early 1900's, but had been replenished in the 1950's. Predictably, the IIardis ran out of money and left the premises, their dream unrealised and the important find largely unrecognised after the original bursts of publicity.

Curiously, the author of the piece was witness to the temple during a visit to the building in 1986. It is now understood that there remains little to suggest the property at Godwin Street, Bradford, was once home to such a significant faction within the occult fraternity.