City Square, credit Carl Milner


10 Things You Probably Didn’t know About Leeds

17th September 2020

One of the most famous cities in the UK, Leeds is known for its historical moments and its economic vibrancy. It excels in areas such as music, sports, arts, and politics. As a result, there are several things that Leeds is known for. From being the pioneer of X-ray technology to bestselling authors, a world without Leeds wouldn’t be an ideal place.
The birthplace of notable people and brands. First World War Prime Minister Henry Herbert Asquith was born in Morley. In addition to these lists, Leeds is also a rich industrial city.
With that in mind, let me introduce you to the top ten facts that I consider a must-know about Leeds. Enjoy!

10 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Leeds
There’s more to the city of Leeds than you might know – stay updated with these 10 amazing facts about this brilliant city.

1. The world’s first steam locomotive was made in Leeds
The oldest airworthy aircraft in the UK was made here in Leeds. Designed by Robert Blackburn in 1912 for Cyril Foggin, the Blackburn Monoplane Type ‘D’ is often called the Single-Seat Monoplane. At that time, it could only fly an individual per flight. Incredibly, the aircraft is maintained in flying condition by the Shuttleworth Collection in Old Warden, Bedfordshire.

2. We gave the UK the internet
Founded in 1998, Freeserve – the first-ever British internet service provider (ISP) – had a great role to play in UK’s renovation.
In the year 2000, it was bought by a French Telecom firm called Wannadoo for £1.65 billion. In 2004, Freeserve was rebranded as Wannadoo UK plc. But today, it’s known as EE’s broadband service.

3. Leeds has the oldest running commercial railway in the world
Middleton Colliery Railway is the world’s oldest running public railway, situated in Leeds. It was established in 1758 to transport coals to neighboring quarries. But today, it’s a railway operated to re-create history and events. It’s kept in form over the years by friendly volunteers and locomotives.
You can ride the same tour from Moor Road to Park Halt Station, and just explore the Middleton park museum.

Middleton Railway, credit visit leeds
4. We helped build America’s most famous buildings
Benjamin Henry Latrobe, a neoclassical architect from Leeds was one of the most impactful architects in America. Although he was British, he made several impressive works in the Washington DC, USA. His works include redesigning the United States Capitol building and America’s first Roman Catholic Cathedral.
Additionally, Latrobe’s work in the US involved several architectural projects, including town planning, landscaping, and sewage works.

5. We have one of the biggest parks in Europe
Roundhay Park in Leeds, West Yorkshire, is now one of the most popular parks in Europe. Created by William the Conqueror, its ownership passed on to the De Lacy family. Succession saw ownership of Roundhay Park pass to John of Gaunt, then his son Henry IV.Located in the Northern part of Leeds, in Oakwood, it covers over 700 acres of rolling parkland with woodlands, lakes, and playground. Should you find yourself in Leeds anytime, join the nearly 1 million people that visit the park annually.

Roundhay Park, Cedit Shaun Gregory

6. The world’s first-ever films were made in Leeds
Undoubtedly true; cinema is one of the most notable kinds of entertainment in the world today. Over the years, there have been distinguishing upgrades in the industry. And yet, the humble beginnings of the motion pictures trace back to Leeds.
The very first motion pictures were shot in a garden in Roundhay in 1888, by a Frenchman named Le Prince.
While it’s true that the origin of the film traces back to Thomas Edison and the Lumiere Brothers, historians believe Le Prince existed in the game before them.

7. Leeds has the world’s largest animal armour
Talking about animals, the Royal Armouries is home to incredible collections of Arms and Armor. Among other artefacts, the elephant armour is the most impressive. It was acquired in India by Lady Clive, wife of Governor of Madras, and moved to Britain in 1801.
The armour currently holds the title as the world’s biggest animal armour and weighs about 118 kilograms. Presently, it comprises six elements: a shaffron, three panels for the left of the body, a throat defence, and one central panel for the right. It’s also worth mentioning it comprises about 5,840 plates at the moment.

elephant armour, credit royal armouries
8. We pioneered x-ray technology
The residents of Leeds surely have several innovative developments to be proud of; and the x-ray is one of them. Sir William Henry Bragg discovered the structure of X-rays at the University of Leeds. His works have birthed discoveries, including using X-rays to reveal hidden injury in humans and the structure of DNA.
In 1915, Bragg and his son William received a Nobel Prize in Physics for their invention of the X-ray spectroscope.

9. We designed the first country maps of England
A Yorkshire surveyor named Christopher Saxton was the first person to map the Counties of England and Wales together. He was appointed by Queen Elizabeth I’s right-hand man – William Cecil, Lord Burghley – as the Royal cartographer. Using the already available information and improving its accuracy on the earth, he crafted the counties on a map.

10. We have the longest-running West Indian Carnival in Europe
YES! Leeds West Indian Carnival is the longest-running event in Europe and has been going since 1967. It’s the first to feature all three important attributes of Caribbean Carnival, music, masquerade scene, and costumes.
It’s a three-day event that starts and ends in Potternewton Park in Chapeltown. Activities include a parade of floats and dancers along the streets of Roundhay and Barrack road, as well as music and refreshment.

West Indian Carnival, credit Terry Jeavons
More interesting facts about Leeds
• We have one of the tallest maypoles in the UK
• Playwright and actor, Alan Bennett was born in Leeds
• Leeds was the original motorway city
• Comedy legend, Ernie Wise born in Leeds
• Fizzy drinks were invented in Leeds 250 years ago
• The most expensive furniture in the UK was made in Leeds

Isn’t Leeds just amazing?


Author Bio: Damien Downing is the Director of Techomatic Web Services a SEO & website design company based near Leeds/Bradford airport. Damien is also an author of various marketing tips you will see across the internet on various websites.