While Leeds became a city way back in 1848, the expanded part of Leeds has held the status of a city since 1974. As per the 2001 Census report, Leeds as a district has a population of 7,015,404 whereas Leeds city has a population of 4,043,247. Though the term is rarely used, the inhabitants of Leeds are locally known as Loiners. The origin of Leeds dates backs to 1086AD when it was a merchant town mainly dealing in woollen goods. At that time it had a population of only around a thousand. Gradually, however, the city developed into an industrial one and as a result its population started multiplying. Leeds is one among the largest centres for financial and business services in the United Kingdom, it has over 30 national and international banks based in the city. The Leeds University is the number one student destination in UK. Leeds city centre has over a thousand shops and is also among the prime shopping destinations in UK. Leeds is linked to other places in England by rail and road whereas it is linked with major European business and holiday destinations by air through the Bradford International Airport. Another destination of interest in the city is the Leeds Arts Gallery. Leeds is also famous for sports activities like cricket, rugby, and football. The city also has a good music background of Jazz and Folk.
The name Leeds perhaps is an origin from the Anglo-Saxon name ‘Leodis’ and it goes back to around 1086AD. In the middle ages, Leeds was an agricultural market town. But gradually industrialization got a firm hold and the population started growing, reaching 30,000 by the end of the 18th century. Export business had so much impetus that around half of English trade was carried on through Leeds. This change of scenario came via a few milestones like the Aire & Calder Navigation Act in 1699, the construction of the Canals at Liverpool and Leeds during the year 1816 and last but not least, the setting up of the Middleton Railways during 1848.
A number of academic institutions made their appearance in the 20th century. These include the Leeds University, Leeds Trinity University College, and The Metropolitan University of Leeds. Side by side there were also improvements in medical studies at The Leeds General Infirmary and St. James’s Hospital.
Leeds over the years has been one of the major industrial cities in England. However, secondary industries suffered a set back following the Second World War. Presently, the largest of the industries in Leeds manufacture turbine blades, alloys, valves, pipelines, printers, motors, radiators, copper alloys and a large quantity of hospital accessories. Today Leeds is one of eight cities considered as core ones in England and is also known as the dominant city of the ceremonial county of West Yorkshire.
The Government was reorganized in 1974. Prior to that Leeds city included around eighteen major parishes. Later, Garforth, Middleton and Rothwell were included too. Since then new areas have been included in the City as well as in the district. Leeds has also received a lot of honours in the area of tourism bagging several awards, one of them being the ‘Visitor’s City for the Year’. The noted developments that have taken place in the city include the Holbeck Urban Village regeneration, the setting up of the Quarry Hill Cultural Quarter, The Metropolitan University of Leeds renovation works, Millennium square, the modernization of the railway station, Trinity shopping center, and south Leeds sports center.
Leeds has the sixth busiest railway station in United Kingdom. Metro trains run to all parts of West Yorkshire and there are other train services like GNER and Midland Mainline that provide services throughout the country. Virgin Cross Country and First Transpennine Express are a couple of other notable services. Leeds station has recently undergone massive redevelopment to improve facilities. For information on this and timetables, you should visit the National Rail Website. Relaxing on a train, enjoying the natural scenery all around while going back down memory lane to the days of the first steam engine is an experience to remember. Leeds is linked by rail to London King’s Cross with a journey time of two hours on the electrified GNER East Coast Main Line.
The city also has extended bus services though there is a demand for the restoration of a tram network. The roads are more than adequate to support an efficient transport system. Leeds city centre is pedestrian oriented and is encircled by an initially tricky one way system. There are a number of excellent bus services in Leeds. For information and timetables you should visit the West Yorkshire Metro Website or Fast Leeds. From 6.30am to 7.30pm on Mondays to Saturdays, Metro’s free city bus links Leeds rail and bus stations. They also connect the business and shopping areas, the General Infirmary, universities and Park Lane college. There are 6 buses with 29 seats each, plus the facilities to carry a wheel chair. This service was introduced in January 2006 and has become highly popular. More information is available at Metro Line on 0113 2457676.
Leeds city has a very strong and old sporting heritage. Notable bearers of the torch are Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Leeds Rhinos Rugby League Football Club and Leeds United Association Football Club. Leeds Athletics Club is among the biggest athletics clubs in Northern England. The club has always been among the top four in the championship in cross country events at national level. Among the facilities for sports you’ll find the world famous Headingley Stadium used for cricket mostly and sometimes for rugby, The Stadium in the southern part of Leeds for sporting activities, football, and tennis, Xscape for indoor games in real snow, Garforth Jets Badminton Club and sailing at Yeadon Tarn centre.
In the arena of print media the Newspaper Limited of Yorkshire holds the front seat, but don’t forget the Yorkshire Evening Post and Leeds Express, the Wharfe Valley and Pudsey Times. Famous books include the Leeds Guide book and another book named absolute Leeds. They cover a variety of subjects and are well circulated. Local electronic media like TV and radio work side by side and prominent among them are Yorkshire Television, Aire radio station, Magic 828, Galaxy 105 and Real radio. Leeds ranks as the third largest media city of England, the first two being London and Manchester respectively. In addition Yorkshire will be hosting the International Film Academy Awards for Indian films and Leeds will take a lead in this area.
Information technology has been gaining momentum in Leeds city too. A lot of companies dealing with computers and computer technology, internet and the World Wide Web have emerged in Leeds. Today, more than one third of the United Kingdom’s Internet traffic is channelled through Leeds, so it has turned out to be United Kingdom’s largest Internet city. Every university and educational institution in Leeds today offers Information Technology as one of its subjects. A number of recruitment companies are using campus recruitment of bright IT engineers. For the last 50 years, The Leeds Met or The Metropolitan University of Leeds has incorporated ‘Introduction of Computer Science’ into its courses. Numerous seminars and discussion forums are held round the year in Leeds relating to information technology and its implementation. Today Leeds has more computer trained personnel than most of the cities not only in the UK but the world. Information technology has therefore occupied a predominant part in education as well as in the commercial arena of Leeds. One good thing that has occurred with the advent of information technology is that thousands of prospective job seekers need not pound the streets in search of jobs, they can simply surf through the relevant web pages including the UK official employment information webpage to find out job opportunities and they can even apply online.
Leeds city has many things to offer a visitor. For tourists there are many attractions including museums, art galleries, the city square many more. For a businessman on tour there is ample scope to expand his business. There are agencies providing regular services for the expansion of business of prospective entrepreneurs. Students all around the world come in pursuit of higher studies including information technology. Accommodations of all types from luxury hotels to cheap lodgings, restaurants for all types, and excellent facilities for travel make a visitor’s stay in Leeds really enjoyable. Sports lovers will really love the cricket, rugby, and football tournaments while music lovers will enjoy the jazz and folk music and if they can be present during the Leeds Music Festival, it will be a memorable experience for them. For all these reasons, Leeds is considered as not an ordinary city but the best business city and visitor’s city in England.