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Leeds

Leeds. The earliest mention of Leeds is in Bede's Ecclesiastical History as the region of Loidis in the 7th cent. The derivation of the name is unclear. It is mentioned in Domesday but not as a place of particular importance. But by 1207 it had been granted a charter by the lord of the manor and it developed with the cloth trade from the 14th cent. onwards, less as a manufacturing centre than as a market for the surrounding villages. A bridge across the Aire is first mentioned in 1384 but may have existed much earlier. Charles I gave Leeds a charter in 1626 and its assessment for ship money in the 1630s suggests a town of importance—£200 as against £520 for York and £140 for Hull. Cromwell gave the town parliamentary representation but Leeds lost it again at the Restoration and until 1832 had to be content with the influence it exerted in the elections for the county. In 1698 Celia Fiennes found Leeds ‘esteemed an excellent town of its bigness in the count(r)y, its manufactures in the woollen cloth, the Yorkshire cloth in which they are all employed, and are esteemed very rich and very proud’. Before Defoe visited the town in the 1720s, improvements to the rivers Aire and Calder had encouraged export through Hull of cloth and coal: ‘large, wealthy and populous’ was his comment; ‘the cloth market not to be equalled in the world.’ Communications were further improved by the opening of the Leeds and Liverpool canal, in stages, between 1770 and 1816. The first railway, in a complex network, was the Leeds to Selby line in 1834, followed by lines to Derby (1840), Manchester (1841), and Thirsk (1849). By 1801 Leeds was the fifth largest provincial town with a population of 53,000 and its prodigious expansion in the 19th cent. took it into fourth place by 1861, having overtaken Bristol. The Kirkgate covered market, opened in 1857, housed Marks's Penny Bazaar in the 1880s—the forerunner of Marks & Spencer's. In the 20th cent., as the cloth trade moved to Bradford, Leeds diversified, with engineering, chemicals, banking, and services becoming important. The construction of the M1 and M62 motorways in the 1970s, when canals and railways had faded, preserved its importance as a great commercial centre, the crossroads of the north–south and east–west highways.

J. A. Cannon

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Leeds

Leeds, city and metropolitan borough (1991 pop. 445,242), N central England, on the Aire River. It lies between one of England's leading manufacturing regions on the west and south and an agricultural region on the north and east. The city is a communications, financial, and regional government center and a junction of transportation routes, both rail and water; canal and river connect Leeds with both east and west coasts. Manufactures include woolens (produced since the 14th cent.) and clothing, for which Leeds is a center of wholesale trade. Metal goods (locomotives, machinery, farm implements, and airplane parts), leather goods, and chemicals are also produced. Extensive slum-clearance and rehousing efforts have been successful since 1920.

Yorkshire College, founded in 1874, became in 1887 a constituent college of Victoria Univ. and in 1904 the independent Univ. of Leeds. Among the other educational institutions is a 16th-century grammar school. Leeds has a classical town hall (1858) in which triennial musical festivals are held. Several sports arenas were constructed and opened there in the 1970s and 80s. Also of interest are St. Peter's Church, the Cathedral of St. Anne, St. John's Church, the City Art Gallery, and the Royal Armouries Museum. Kirkstall Abbey, founded in the 12th cent., is near the city. Joseph Priestley was pastor at Mill Hill Chapel.

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Leeds

Leeds City and county district on the River Aire, West Yorkshire, n England. Founded in Roman times, it forms part of one of England's major industrial regions. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Leeds was famous for its cloth manufacture and it remains the centre of England's wholesale clothing trade. Leeds has two universities (1904, 1992) and is host to an international piano competition. Industries: aircraft components, textile machinery, engineering, chemicals, plastics, furniture, paper and printing. Pop. (1997) 726,800.

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Leeds

Leedsadze (US adz) •Everglades • Palisades •Leeds • proceeds • Perseids •Geminids •besides, ides •upsides • Mods • towards • Rhodes •crossroads • Lloyd's • adenoids •goods, Woods •backwoods • suds • soapsuds •Richards • innards • backwards •Edwards • inwards • forwards •downwards • outwards • afterwards •Fields, Shields •Bluefields • Reynolds • Sands •badlands • odds and ends • calends •zounds • Falklands

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