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The History of Leeds

The history of Leeds has a significant impact on the city of today. Without the adventurous mindset of ancestors passing down through the generations, Leeds wouldn’t have reached its economic position today.  

Amidst the Anglo-Saxon era, 11th century, Leeds labelled as Loidis, had started as a village with only a population of 200 and farming was the primary source of income. But then in the 13th century, Maurice Paynel founded a new town which is now called Briggate, this paved the way for the development of trade and commerce. The Lord of Manor established villages and subsequently the city become distinctive, dividing the area between habitation and commercial activity. Down to the 14th century, the population soared to 1,000. Apart from making wool, Leeds started to come up with another source of livelihood and turned into a busy place. The beginning of the textile trade where dye vat has been mentioned, combined with a butcher, three smiths and two innkeepers were said to have existed in this century. 

  The History of Leeds

From being a small town, Leeds has expanded and grown into being one of the most prominent and prosperous towns in the County of York now called Yorkshire. The massive rise of wool cloth trade took place in the 17th century and turned out to be the town’s primary industry. Cloth market has expanded and eventually moved to Briggate’s market. The city happened to be a wealthy town. Nonetheless, Leeds’ history didn’t appear fortunate most of the time. In 1645, the year brought a misfortune where people suffered from severe plague outbreaks which caused the death of 1,300.  

The birth rate started to increase in the 18th century with a population of 11,000 and more people were looking and competing for jobs. Fortunately, the Industrial Revolution occurred, and Leeds stood up from impediments and brought back industrial strength. Merchants lived close to their businesses with houses made by decorating bricks. Wool trading evolved and the first exported wool was recorded during this century. Furthermore, textile factories, coal mines, expanded along with the entry of pottery, artisans and brick being the primary industry through the years.   

By the 19th century, Leeds had become part of the major success of the UK. Street lights were powered by gas. The wool and linen industry continued to boom, but at the same time, the town was already overcrowded. The population had reached 100,000 and poverty had begun to rise. Some families lived in the streets and children were forced to work instead of attending school. People were hardy and in succeeding years the economy gradually improved. In 1822, Tetley’s brewery was founded, Marks and Spencer opened up his first penny bazaar stall in Leeds Market in 1884 and Leeds were declared a city in 1893.  

In modern times, Leeds continues to grow and has become the fastest evolving city due to its diversified, cultural trademark and thriving business centres around the corner.  Originating with woollen cloth making at its centre, cottage craft businesses and diverse businesses involving leisure, productive enterprises, window cleaning in Leeds and financial hubs make up a significant part of the industry in today’s city.  Nevertheless, society has pledged to maintain the image of the city that has been moulded by its iconic history and makes it what it is today.  Leeds may emulate some of the metropolia of the country in the hopes of increasing the tourism rate of Leeds City in the present day on to the future.  

If you would like to find out more about this fantastic city read our article on Leeds Attractions 

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