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Leeds – What You Need To Know
While Leeds became a city in 1848, the wider Leeds area has had city status since 1974. According to the 2001 census report, Leeds District has a population of 7,015,404 while Leeds City has a population of 4,043,247. Although the term is rarely used, residents of Leeds are known locally as Loyners. Leeds dates back to 1086AD when it was a merchant town dealing mainly in woolen goods. At that time its population was around one thousand. However, gradually the city developed into an industrial city and as a result its population began to grow. Leeds is one of the largest centers for financial and business services in the United Kingdom, with more than 30 national and international banks located in the city. The University of Leeds is the number one student destination in the UK. Leeds city center has over a thousand shops and is one of the UK’s leading shopping destinations. Leeds is connected to the rest of England by rail and road while it is connected by air to major European business and holiday destinations via Bradford International Airport. Another favorite in the city is the Leeds Arts Gallery. Leeds is also famous for sporting activities such as cricket, rugby and football. The city also has a good musical background of jazz and folk.
The name Leeds probably derives from the Anglo-Saxon name ‘Leodis’ and dates back to around 1086 AD. In the Middle Ages, Leeds was an agricultural market town. But gradually industrialization gained momentum and the population began to grow, reaching 30,000 by the end of the 18th century. The export business was so boosted that about half of English trade passed through Leeds. The Eyre and Calder Navigation Act in 1699, the construction of canals at Liverpool and Leeds in 1816, and the establishment of the Middleton Railway in 1848 led to this change.
In the 20th century many educational institutions made their appearance. These include the University of Leeds, Leeds Trinity University College and The Metropolitan University of Leeds. In addition, medical studies at The Leeds General Infirmary and St James’s Hospital were also improved.
Leeds is one of the major industrial cities in England. However, secondary industries suffered a setback after World War II. Currently, the largest industries in Leeds manufacture turbine blades, alloys, valves, pipelines, printers, motors, radiators, copper alloys and large quantities of hospital equipment. Today Leeds is one of eight cities in England and is also known as the chief town of the ceremonial county of West Yorkshire.
In 1974, the government was restructured. Before that the city of Leeds consisted of about eighteen major parishes. Later Garforth, Middleton and Rothwell were also included. After that, new areas have been included in the district along with the city. Leeds has received many awards in the tourism sector, one of which is ‘Visitor City of the Year’. Notable developments in the city include the regeneration of Holbeck Urban Village, the establishment of the Quarry Hill Cultural Quarter, The Metropolitan University of Leeds renovation works, Millennium Square, the modernization of the railway station, Trinity Shopping Center and South Leeds Sports Centre.
Leeds is the sixth busiest railway station in the United Kingdom. Metro trains run to all parts of West Yorkshire and there are other train services such as GNER and the Midland Mainline that serve the whole country. Some other notable services are Virgin Cross Country and First TransPennine Express. Leeds station has recently been extensively redeveloped to improve facilities. For information and schedule regarding this, you should visit the website of National Railways. Relaxing on the train, enjoying the natural scenery as you travel back down memory lane to the days of the first steam engines is an experience to remember. Leeds is linked by rail to London King’s Cross with a journey time of two hours on the electrified GNER East Coast Main Line.
The city has expanded bus services despite calls to restore the tram network. Roads are adequate to support an efficient transport system. Leeds city center is pedestrian oriented and surrounded by a path that can be difficult at first. Leeds has a number of excellent bus services. For information and timetables you should visit the West Yorkshire Metro website or Fast Leads. From Monday to Saturday from 6.30am to 7.30pm, Metro’s free City Bus connects Leeds rail and bus stations. It also links to business and shopping areas, the General Infirmary, universities and Park Lane College. There are 6 buses with 29 seats each, also wheelchair accessible. The service was launched in January 2006 and has become extremely popular. More information is available on Metro Line 0113 2457676.
The city of Leeds has a very strong and long sporting heritage. Notable bearers of the torch are Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Leeds Rhinos Rugby League Football Club and Leeds United Association Football Club. Leeds Athletics Club is one of the largest athletics clubs in the North of England. The club has consistently placed in the top four in championships at national level cross country events. In terms of sports facilities you will find the world famous Headingley Stadium used for cricket and sometimes rugby, stadiums in the south of Leeds for sporting activities, football and tennis, Xscape for indoor games in real snow, Garforth Jets. Badminton Club and sailing at Yeadon Tarn Centre.
Newspapers Limited of Yorkshire leads the print media arena, but don’t forget the Yorkshire Evening Post and the Leeds Express, Wharf Valley and Pudsey Times. Popular books include the Leads Guidebook and another book called Perfect Leads. They cover a wide range of topics and are well disseminated. Local electronic media such as TV and radio operate side by side and Yorkshire Television, Air Radio Station, Magic 828, Galaxy 105 and Real Radio are prominent among them. Leeds is the third largest media city in England, the first two being London and Manchester respectively. In addition Yorkshire will host the International Film Academy Awards for Indian films and Leeds will take the lead in this area.
Information technology has also gained momentum in the city of Leeds. Many companies related to computers and computer technology, the Internet and the World Wide Web have sprung up in Leeds. Today, more than a third of the United Kingdom’s Internet traffic is transported through Leeds, making it the United Kingdom’s largest Internet city. Every university and educational institution in Leeds today offers Information Technology as one of their subjects. Many recruitment companies are using campus recruitment of bright IT engineers. For the past 50 years, The Leeds Met or The Metropolitan University of Leeds have included ‘Introduction to Computer Science’ in their courses. Numerous seminars and discussion forums are organized throughout the year in Leeds related to information technology and its implementation. Today Leeds has more computer trained staff than most cities not only in the UK but worldwide. Hence information technology occupies a major part in education as well as in the business sector of Leeds. One good thing that has happened with the advent of information technology is that thousands of potential job seekers don’t need to hit the streets in search of jobs, they can easily visit the relevant web pages including official employment information webpages of UK to find job opportunities. And they can also apply online.
The city of Leeds has many things to offer visitors. There are many attractions for tourists including museums, art galleries, city squares. A traveling businessman has a lot of scope to expand his business. There are agencies that provide regular services for business expansion of potential entrepreneurs. Students from all over the world come for higher education with information technology. All types of accommodation from luxury hotels to cheap accommodation, all kinds of restaurants and excellent travel facilities make a tourist’s stay in Leeds truly enjoyable. Sports lovers will really love cricket, rugby and football matches while music lovers will enjoy jazz and folk music and if they can attend during the Leeds Music Festival it will be a memorable experience for them. For all these reasons, Leeds is not an ordinary city but considered to be the best business and visitor city in England.
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