The city of Leeds was first mentioned in in the book Historia ecclesiastica (Ecclesiastical History of the English People) by Saint Bede. The monk documents significant Anglo-Saxon history during his lifetime and refers to the city of Leeds about the death of a Pagan King. King Penda lost his life during a battle in the region of “Loidis”. King William the Conqueror also refers to the city in the Domesday Book by its Old English title, Ledes. Cartographer John Cossins who is known for creating the maps of the City of York in 1726 and Leeds in 1730 refers to the city as Leedes.
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Prior to human settlements, the area of Leeds was marshy, wild land. Deer, hippopotami and mammoth roamed the Leeds and the surrounding areas. The remains of red deer antlers, hippopotami remains, and mammoth tusks have been dug up in the regions of Kirkstall, Wortley and Thwaite Mills. The first human settlements can be traced back to the Mesolithic age with skeletons found in Thorpe Stapleton. It was after the Roman Invasion had come to an end and 300 years had passed that we see the first recorded reference to Leeds by Saint Bede.
By the fourteenth century, the textile industry Leeds was beginning to take off, and city boasted of two landlords, three smiths, and a butcher. By the 17th century, the trade in wool had become a prime business. Certain merchants started selling inferior quality textiles which angered the citizens. The citizens demanded the rights to regulate the products offered and Charles the I granted the city its first charter. The 19th century saw Leeds rise up to meet England’s reputation as the “workshop of the world” however overcrowding and poverty lead to riots and general dissatisfaction with the government’s refusal to Parliamentary Reform. Leeds was eventually bestowed with two MP’s in the year 1832. The Industrial Revolution and its demands for workers caused the population in Leeds to swell leading to the construction of modes of transport like Leeds and Liverpool Canal and the Leeds first railway, Leeds and Selby Railway. By the 21st Century, Leeds had established itself as one of the busiest cities in Europe and is the third largest city in the UK.
Today Leeds boats of a sound economy, a diverse population and a thriving cultural scene. The city is renowned as a top spot for shopping in the UK and proudly houses 16 museums and galleries. The assortment of lodgings options is surpassed only by the city’s collection of over 300 restaurants and bars. The theatre is very much alive in Leeds. Watch a play or be moved by the vocal prowess of musicals regularly hosted in the 04 theatres across the city. The city also hosts over 80 festivals and is play host to over 40,000 people at the ever- famous Leeds LGBT Pride festival.
Here are five things you can do for free in the city of Leeds:
- Roundhay Park.
- Kirkstall Abbey.
- Leeds City Museum.
- Royal Armouries.
- Hetchell Wood Nature Reserve.
The city dishes up delightful events be it indoor or outdoor activities like Ilkley Moor. It’s time we stopped touting the merits of the city and let you taste the flavours first hand. A wealth of experiences is about to unfold!
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