With its office market is the best
in Europe for value, Leeds is considered a Gamma World City, alongside cities
such as Rotterdam, Phoenix, St. Petersburg and Valencia.
The name Leeds derives from
"Loidis" which was the name given to the forest covering most of the
Brythonic Kingdom of Elmet, which existed during the 5th century and into the
early 7th century. The inhabitants of Leeds are locally known as Loiners - a
word of uncertain origin.
Leeds developed as a market town in
the Middle Ages as part of the local agricultural economy. Prior to the
Industrial Revolution it had become a co-ordination centre for the making of
woollen cloth with white broadcloth being traded at the Leeds White Cloth Hall.
In 1770, Leeds was responsible for one sixth of England's export trade.
Leeds city centre is contained within
the Leeds Inner Ring Road which is formed from parts of the A58 road, A61 road,
A64 road, A643 road and the M621 motorway. Leeds has a pedestrianised principle
shopping street -Briggate - and in addition there is Queen Victoria Street
which is roofed in glass and the White Rose retail centre.
Leeds significant urban focus point
is Millennium Square at the heart of the city and unusually the Leeds postcode
area covers most of the City of Leeds and is almost entirely made up of the
Leeds post town.
Leeds and its surrounding areas
possess a variety of natural and built landmarks including the Fairburn Ings
RSPB reserve and the gritstone outcrop of Otley Chevin. Leed's city's parks at
Roundhay and Temple Newsam have long been owned and maintained by the council
for the benefit of the council taxpayers and among the open spaces in the
centre of Leeds are Millennium Square, Leeds City Square, Park Square and
Victoria Gardens is the site of the
central city war memorial commemorating the many men and women who gave their
lives in the service of their country. The suburbs, towns and villages in the surrounding
Leeds district have 42 other war memorials.
Like all of Yorkshire Leeds is a
hotbed of competitive sport and the city has teams representing the city and
county in all the major national sports. Leeds main football club is Leeds
United A.F.C. who plays at Elland Road football ground. Leeds Rhinos (Rugby
League), Leeds Carnegie (Rugby Union) and Yorkshire County Cricket Club are
also based in the city. Both the rugby and the Yorkshire cricket team play at and
Leeds is the starting-point of the
A62, A63, A64, A65 and A660 roads, and is also situated on the A61 and A58. The
M1 and M62 intersect to its south and the A1(M) passes to the east. The
northern motorway network has thus created a principle hub in Leeds. Traffic is
taken from the M1 and M62 into Leeds via the radial M621 ring road. There is an
outer ring road and an inner ring road with part motorway status.
Leeds is culturally vibrant as
befitrs its status as a county town and second only in size to the Notting Hill
carnival, the Leeds Carnival is Western Europe’s oldest West Indian Carnival.
It attracts around 100,000 people over 3 days to the streets of Chapeltown and
Harehills. There is a large procession that finishes at Potternewton Park,
where there are stalls, entertainment and refreshments. The Leeds Festival,
featuring some of the biggest names in rock and indie music, takes place every
year in Bramham Park. The Leeds Asian Festival, formerly the Leeds Mela, is
held annally in Roundhay Park.