We’re proud to be a part of one of the most vibrant and modern cities in the country, but Leeds also has a colourful history and can lay claim to several innovations and ‘firsts’. This week we’re going to share 10 of our favourite facts about Leeds – some of which might even surprise the locals!
- Leventhorpe Vineyard in Woodlesford is the most northerly commercial vineyard in the country. If it’s warm enough for grapes, it’s warm enough for us!
- During construction of the Armley Gyratory in 1984, the bones of a 130,000 year old hippo were discovered and are now housed in Leeds City Museum. Don’t worry, though – we’re pretty sure that no modern day hippos have been spotted in the area!
- Ranked sixth in the list of ‘greenest’ cities, Leeds environmental performance and quality of life makes it a great place to live.
- Visually imposing as it is, former flax mill, Temple Works in Holbeck, was based on the Temple of Horus at Edfu in Egypt. Built between 1836 and 1840, it was considered the biggest single room in the world at the time, but that wasn’t the oddest feature. No, the grass-covered roof was used to graze sheep! Honestly!
- In 1884, Leeds Market was host to a small penny bazaar stall run by a young man from Belarus called Michael Marks. So successful was he that ten years later he enlisted the help of Tom Spencer and, eventually, expanded to become the much loved national brand Marks & Spencer.
- Originally called ‘Loidis’, Leeds has undergone a few name changes over the years. Registered in the 1086 Doomsday Book as the Old English ‘Ledes’, it appears that the ‘d’ and ‘e’ were rearranged sometime in the following 300 years.
- Famous furniture maker Thomas Chippendale was born and bred in Otley. His piece known as The Harrington Commode is still the most valuable item of furniture ever sold in the UK, raking in a whopping £3,793,250!
- According to ‘Visit Britain” (2008) Leeds attracted more visitors than holidays hotspots like Torquay and Brighton.
- The internet began in Leeds! In 1998 the very first internet service provider, Freeserve, started up right here. Proving that innovation is profitable, it sold for the princely sum of £1.65 billion just three years later.
- One of the largest stations outside of London, Leeds Railway Station has 17 platforms and feels the feet of over 50,000 people every single day.
As you can see, Leeds has a rich history, but even better than that it has a wonderful present, so drop your car with us at Trafalgar Street car park and soak up some of the city’s wonderful atmosphere.