The Council of the Mechanics’ Institute had voted to permit use of the Lecture Theatre and other offices at no charge to the city council. On 8th September the Telegraph declared it an “ideal recruiting station. It looked very inviting, being well equipped with recruiting and clerical staff.” Much emphasis was placed on the “special inducement, in that young men will serve shoulder to shoulder with their friends and colleagues in civil life.” Mr Philip Main Crowther, a 24-year old solicitor from Highfield Place, Manningham, was first to sign up. Two days later an analysis of trades and professions showed 106 occupations listed.
Over 1000 men attended the first drill in Manningham Park on 15 September but an estimated 10% would fall short of the height requirement. For a few weeks, in the absence of khaki, the men were wore navy blue uniforms and returned home in the evening. Winter quarters were found at Skipton and in Spring 1915 the men, now joined by an entire second battalion of Bradford Pals, moved to Ripon and later to Fovant in Wiltshire. War still seemed a long way off!