Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Leeds is a city in the county of West Yorkshire, in the north of England. The River Aire runs through the town. Leeds is part of a metropolitan borough named the City of Leeds. According to the 2001 census the urban area of the city had a population of 429,242, and the City of Leeds borough had a population of 716,513. The boundaries of the City of Leeds however include places which are separate from the urban area of Leeds itself and are not generally considered part of the urban city.
An inhabitant of Leeds is locally known as a Loiner, although such terms are rarely used or understood. However, the mock-classical adjectives Leodensian and Leodiensian are sometimes used by some local sports clubs.
The city was originally an agricultural market town in the Middle Ages, and received its first charter in 1207. In the Tudor period Leeds was mainly a merchant town manufacturing woollen cloths and trading with Europe via the Humber estuary. At one point nearly half of England's total export passed through Leeds. The city's industrial growth was catalysed by the introduction of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal in 1816 and the railway in 1848.
Industry & Economy
Leeds today has an extremely diverse economy with the service sector now dominating over the city's manufacturing industries. The city has in the past been served well by its canal; and today by its rail network at Leeds station, from where the MetroTrains operate to all parts of West Yorkshire. With the M1 and M62 intersecting at Leeds, it is one of the principal northern hubs of the motorway network. Leeds Bradford International Airport is located to the north west of the city and has scheduled flights to destinations within the U.K and Europe. These good transport links have been a major factor contributing to the growth of Leeds, and it has led to the city becoming a major centre for distribution, as well as banking, financial and legal services. Retail is another major service and employer in the city centre, with a retail economy which has experienced a recent boom resulting in several shopping centres and department stores. Although, like the rest of the North of England , Leeds had its fair share of tough economic times during the 1970s and 1980s, it was quick to bounce back by investing heavily in communications links. This helped it (along with Birmingham and Glasgow) become one of the major hubs for call-centres in the late 20th Century, particularly for service-oriented companies. Many outlying towns formerly relying on mining and heavy industry, found financial salvation in the 'reliable' sounding Yorkshire accent. However, many of these large employers are now outsourcing many of these jobs to places like Bangalore in India, where staff costs are considerably lower.
The city has a strong sporting heritage, with the Yorkshire County Cricket Club as well as Leeds Rhinos, the Rugby League team and Leeds Tykes, the Rugby Union team playing at Headingley, and Leeds United F.C. playing at Elland Road. Leeds United had a turbulent 2004, narrowly avoiding bankruptcy, and dropping from the Premier League into The Championship.
The city is the centre of media activities for the Yorkshire region. Yorkshire Post Newspapers Ltd , owned by Johnston Press plc is based in the city, and produces a daily morning broadsheet, the Yorkshire Post, and an evening paper, the Yorkshire Evening Post , as well as other publications such as Leeds Express .
Regional television and radio stations are also based in the city; BBC Television and Yorkshire Television both have studios and broadcasting centres in Leeds, albeit there is concern over the future of regional independent television with the consolidation of Independent Television franchises in the UK. BBC Radio Leeds, Radio Aire, Magic 828 , Galaxy 105 and Real Radio all broadcast from the city. In the 1980s, pirate radio stations including Rapid City Radio (RCR), amongst other, shorter lived stations broadcast a mainly reggae playlist from Chapeltown, later diversifying into hip hop and house. Later, Dream FM was one of the biggest pirate radio stations in the country, but folded soon after getting a license to operate legally.
In the late 90's dot-com boom, Leeds became one of the key hubs in the emerging new media sector - companies such as Freeserve, Energis, Sportal and Ananova emerged to dominate the UK internet industry, with Freeserve and Ananova going on to become part of Wanadoo and Orange within France TÚlÚcom. The City's Holbeck area is now home to the 'internet quarter' - an urban village with infrastructure and facilities for digital media and creative companies; at its heart is the Round Foundry media centre facility.
Museums & Arts
The city has a large number of museums, being the home of the Royal Armouries Museum (opened in 1996 when the collection was transferred from the Tower of London), the Leeds City Museum about the history of Yorkshire, the Museum of Leeds , being devoted to the city's industrial heritage, and Thackray's Medical Museum as well as the City Art Gallery . Leeds also boasts the Grand Theatre (which is where Opera North are based), the City Varieties (which claims to have hosted performances by Charlie Chaplin and Harry Houdini) and the West Yorkshire Playhouse .
The Leeds Festival takes place every year in Bramham Park (having moved from Temple Newsam after pressure from some local residents). It features some of the biggest names in rock and indie music. The city is home to the Leeds International Piano Competition, held every three years since 1963 and which has launched the careers of many major concert pianists. There is also the Leeds International Concert Season, the largest local authority music programme of any UK city outside London.
Though not as prolific as its neighbours Manchester and Liverpool across the Pennines, or indeed Sheffield in South Yorkshire, Leeds has still produced some notable bands. The Mekons and the influential Gang of Four came out of the 1970s punk movement, whilst in the early to mid 1980s the city was home to a large goth scene, famous local bands including The Sisters of Mercy. The avant-garde art scene centred around Leeds Metropolitan University's (then Leeds Polytechnic) Fine Art course led to the formation of early 80s electronic pioneers Soft Cell. Later 1980s and 1990s rock bands include The Wedding Present, Chumbawumba and Cud.
Like most major northern cities, house music had a big impact on Leeds when it arrived in the late 1980s. Early house nights included Downbeat at the Warehouse, Meltdown at the Astoria in Roundhay, and Joy and Kaos at various temporary venues, along with a thriving Shebeen or "Blues" scene in Chapeltown. Along with Sheffield and Bradford, Leeds was a centre for the Yorkshire Bleeps and Bass scene in 1989-1990, with influential bands such as LFO, Nightmares on Wax , Ital Rockers , Unit 93 and Juno on Sheffield's Warp Records and Leeds's Bassic Records.
This early, underground scene developed into the Leeds club scene of the 1990s, when for a while Leeds held the title of Britain's clubbing capital. Both Back to Basics and mixed gay night Vague enjoyed the title of best club in Britain at different points in the decade, whilst The Orbit in Morley was an internationally recognised techno mecca. Sadly this venue has now been converted into a restaurant.
Present Day Nightlife
The city has a very large student population and boasts a large number of bars and nightclubs, as well as venues for live bands such as the Cockpit , The New Roscoe , and Joseph's Well, which combine to generate a vibrant nightlife.
Leeds is also very well-known for its underground music scene. There is a vibrant and active community based around the DIY punk ethic, supported in part by Cops and Robbers, a monthly guide to DIY events in and around Leeds.
Listings can also be found online in the Leeds Gig Guide, an extensive online listings and venue guide.
In recent years a vibrant and active gay scene has developed. The old stalwarts The Bridge Inn and The New Penny , both on Call Lane , remain much as they always were. Queens Court offers a similar experience to its London counterpart Rupert Street . Recent additions, courtesy of Terry George , Bar Fibre , Lower Briggate and Mission , under the arches opposite, offer more contemporary mixed environments. Velvet , Hirst's Yard is a sophisticated little bar with a very agreeable restaurant on the upper floor. Also worth a visit The Base , Bridge End , is an alternative to Queen's Court
Leeds has two universities, the University of Leeds, with around 31,500 full-time students (and a further 52,000 on short courses) and Leeds Metropolitan University with around 26,000 (according to UCAS; the LMU website claims 37,000) as well as various higher education colleges including Trinity & All Saints College accredited by the University of Leeds, giving it one of the largest student populations in the country. The main campuses of both universities are near the city centre.
Leeds Girls' High School, is an independent, selective school for girls, located in Headingley and consistently ranked highly in education tables.
Morley High School was first founded as a grammar school in 1907, but became became a mixed comprehensive in 1975.
- LeedsNet - Information for the Leeds region
- Leeds City Council
- Information about public transport in the region
- Hyde Park Picture House
- Leeds Film Festival
- Leeds Music Festival
- West Yorkshire Playhouse
- Leeds United Football Club
- Leeds Rhinos (Rugby League) and Leeds Tykes (Rugby Union)
- BBC Leeds
- Leeds.biz - local search and directory
- Leeds Music Scene - Information about Leeds bands and musicians
- Leeds Grammar School
- Leeds Bradford International Airport
- Trinity & All Saints
- Leeds Girls' High School website
- LoveMyTown - City of Leeds civic pride facts and organisations in Leeds
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