A Brief History of Leeds

Following on from our first article about York and all of the interesting things it has to offer, here’s our next one.

As we said in our post about York, we’re known for our conservatories, orangeries and many other home improvement items but we’re going to delve into a bit of Leeds history in this post.

First Moving Images

The first moving images were shot in Leeds back in 1880 by Louis le Prince who lived and worked in Leeds. The inventor and cinema pioneer then went on to shoot the first ever motion picture “Crossing Leeds Bridge” in the City Centre in 1888.

He also recorded some images at Roundhay Park in Leeds. These are believed to be among his first ever moving pictures recorded.

Leeds Castle: The Actual Location

There’s many a City guide out there that has pictures of Leeds castle in their guide but that’s not entirely true. The castle can actually be found in Kent, some 250 miles down south. This isn’t to say that Leeds don’t have any nice looking, old buildings. They do.

The very beautiful Kirkstall Abbey can be found in Leeds. The foundations for this building were built in 1152. The acquisition of the Abbey was in the late 19th century as it was a gift from Colonel North to the Leeds Corporation and it was then opened to the public with the gatehouse becoming a museum.

Leeds Population

Leeds started out as a small village and by the time of the Domesday Book (1086) the then village had a population of around 200, which at the time was a very large village. In 1207, Leeds was then turned into a town and had a population of around 1,000.

Due to a rapid growth of the woollen cloth industry in the town in the 16th century, the population of the town had reached 3,000 and by the middle of the 17th century the population was getting close to 6,000.

By 1801 the population of Leeds had reached a somewhat staggering 30,000, which at the time meant that it was considered a very large town. By 1851 it had reached 101,000.

In 1901 the population had gotten to over 175,000 and now, in the modern day it is well above the 750,000 mark. It’s ranked second behind Birmingham in terms of the biggest population which tells you all you need to know about the City and its popularity.


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