Skip to Content


« Back to Glossary Index

**Historical Background and Development**:
– Leeds was a small manorial borough in the 13th century and gained city status in 1893.
– It evolved into a mill town during the Industrial Revolution and diversified its economy into various sectors like manufacturing, engineering, and finance.
– Leeds handled a significant portion of England’s export trade in the past.
– The city has seen rapid private-sector job growth and is considered the cultural, financial, and commercial heart of the West Yorkshire Urban Area.

**Geography and Infrastructure**:
– Leeds is located on the River Aire in the eastern Pennines foothills and extends over 15 miles from east to west.
– The city has multiple motorway links like the M1, M62, and A1(M) and a busy railway station.
– Over 65% of Leeds is green belt land, and it is close to the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
– The city center is predominantly urban, with various urban parks and continuous built-up areas.

**Economic Landscape**:
– Leeds has a diverse economy worth £64.6 billion and is forecasted to grow by 21% over the next 10 years.
– Major sectors in Leeds include public administration, finance, distribution, and hotels.
– The city has the highest ratio of public to private sector jobs among UK Core Cities.
– The finance and business service sector contributes significantly to the city’s total output.

**Demographics and Governance**:
– Leeds forms the main area of the City of Leeds metropolitan borough, with a diverse population of over 3 million in the Leeds City Region.
– The city’s residents have an average weekly earnings of £471, and the employment rate was 68.8% in 2012-2013.
– Leeds City Council, with 99 councillors, is the local authority, currently controlled by the Labour party.
– The district is represented by eight Members of Parliament.

**Education, Culture, and Tourism**:
– Leeds is served by four universities and has the fourth largest student population in the UK.
– The city offers facilities for sporting and cultural activities, hosting various music festivals and museums.
– Leeds attracts a significant number of tourists, generating over £1.6 billion in revenue in 2016.
– The tourism industry in Leeds supports over 19,000 full-time equivalent jobs and is a significant contributor to the city’s economy.

Leeds (Wikipedia)

Leeds is a city in West Yorkshire, England. It is the largest settlement in Yorkshire and the administrative centre of the City of Leeds Metropolitan Borough, which is the second most populous district in the United Kingdom. It is built around the River Aire and is in the eastern foothills of the Pennines. The city was a small manorial borough in the 13th century and a market town in the 16th century. It expanded by becoming a major production centre, including of carbonated water where it was invented in the 1760s, and trading centre (mainly with wool) for the 17th and 18th centuries.

Coat of arms
Leeds is located in Leeds
Location within City of Leeds
Leeds is located in West Yorkshire
Location within West Yorkshire
Area111.6 km2 (43.1 sq mi)
Population536,280 (2021 estimate; ONS)
• Density4,805/km2 (12,440/sq mi)
OS grid referenceSE299339
Metropolitan borough
Metropolitan county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Areas of the city
Post townLEEDS
Postcode districtLS1-20, LS25-27
Dialling code0113
PoliceWest Yorkshire
FireWest Yorkshire
UK Parliament
List of places
53°47′51″N 01°32′37″W / 53.79750°N 1.54361°W / 53.79750; -1.54361

Leeds developed as a mill town during the Industrial Revolution alongside other surrounding villages and towns in the West Riding of Yorkshire. It was also known for its flax industry, iron foundries, engineering and printing, as well as shopping, with several surviving Victorian era arcades, such as Kirkgate Market. City status was awarded in 1893, and a populous urban centre formed in the following century which absorbed surrounding villages and overtook the population of nearby York.

Leeds economy is the most diverse of all the UK's main employment centres, and has seen the fastest rate of private-sector jobs growth of any UK city and has the highest ratio of private to public sector jobs. Leeds is home to over 109,000 companies generating 5% of England's total economic output of £60.5 billion, and is also ranked as a gamma world city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. Leeds is considered the cultural, financial and commercial heart of the West Yorkshire Urban Area. Leeds is the largest legal and financial centre in the UK, with the financial and insurance services industry worth £13 billion to regional economy.

Leeds is also served by four universities, and has the fourth largest student population in the country and the country's fourth largest urban economy. The student population has stimulated growth of the nightlife in the city and there are ample facilities for sporting and cultural activities, including classical and popular music festivals, and a varied collection of museums.

Leeds has multiple motorway links such as the M1, M62 and A1(M). The city's railway station is, alongside Manchester Piccadilly, the busiest of its kind in Northern England. Public transport, rail and road networks in the city and wider region are widespread. It is the county's largest settlement with a population of 536,280, while the larger City of Leeds district has a population of 812,000 (2021 census). The city is part of the fourth-largest built-up area by population in the United Kingdom, West Yorkshire Built-up Area, with a 2011 census population of 1.7 million.

« Back to Glossary Index