West Yorkshire

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WEST YORKSHIREWest Yorkshire Crestetropolitan county of Northeast England, in 1986, most of the functions of the former county council were transferred to the metropolitan borough councils. Yorkshire - The former county was divided administratively into North, East, and West Ridings, but reorganised to form a number of new counties in 1974: the major part of Cleveland and Humberside, North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, and West Yorkshire. Small outlying areas also went to Durham, Cumbria, Lancashire, and Greater Manchester. In 1996 Cleveland and Humberside were abolished, and a number of unitary authorities were created to replace them.


Local Links Bradford Metropolitan Borough Council - Leeds City Council - City of Wakefield Metropolitan District Council - Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council - Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council

owns and cities Bradford, Leeds, Wakefield (administrative centres for districts of the same name), Halifax (administrative centre of Calderdale district), Huddersfield (administrative centre of Kirklees district)
rea 2,040 sq. km / 787 sq. miles
opulation 2,105,700 (1995)
opography West Yorkshire's landscape was mainly industrial, with much of the of the county (203,914 ha / 503,658 acres) remaining semi-rural in character. In the west, there are unspoilt heather-clad moorlands, such as Ilkley Moor and Haworth Moor, intertwined with valleys along which sprawl textile villages; and in the east, arable and pastoral land is interspersed with former coal-mining villages.Ilkley Moor, Haworth Moor; high Pennine moorlands in the west, Vale of York to the east; rivers : Aire, Calder, Colne, Wharfe
ommerce Industries: woollen textiles, financial services; coal mining is in decline.
amous people the Brontės, J B Priestley, Henry Moore, David Hockney


HardcastleBradford, birthplace of J.B. Priestley, home to the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television and the magnificent interior of the Victorian Wool Exchange.
West Yorkshire has Ilkley Moor, which is made famous by the Yorkshireman's 'National' anthem 'On Ilkla Moor baht 'at'
Wakefield has many Georgian houses and its 13th century cathedral has the tallest spire in Yorkshire. The medieval bridge over the Calder is the best of only four remaining bridge chapels in England.

Haworth Parsonage; part of the Peak District National Park; British Library, Boston Spa (scientific, technical, and business documents)  Leeds, Bradford, Halifax, Huddersfield, Dewsbury, and Wakefield were formerly all built-up manufacturing centres. The coal that was extensively mined in the vicinity of these towns in the 19th century provided a foundation for West Yorkshire's prosperity. The area already had a long-established domestic clothing industry. The application of steam power to carding, combing, spinning, and weaving led to a rapid transformation of the wool textiles industry, and to a certain degree of specialisation in several centres. Hebden BridgeThe local coal-pits met the textile manufacturers coal needs, and the huge supplies of soft water required in the manufacturing process could be obtained from moorland reservoirs. The coal measures were also exploited for ironstone (a type of iron ore) which gave rise to the production of crude and pure forms of iron. These, in turn, contributed to the development of textile machinery and other engineering products.
 Inevitably, the coal seams were exhausted; iron smelting, which reached its zenith in about 1875, had disappeared by 1930. Fortunately, the mechanical and electrical engineering trades continued to expand and are found in all the major centres. The wool textile industry transformed itself into an industry dealing in all types of textile, but its importance has declined and many old mills have been demolished or been converted for other purposes.

Saltaire on the River Aire near Shipley, was founded in 1853 by the Victorian philanthropist and manufacturer Sir Titus Salt (1803 - 1876). Saltaire is a purpose-built "model" Victorian industrial village, just to the north of Bradford in West Yorkshire's Bronte Country. 

The village itself was built to provide self-contained living space for the workers at his woollen mills, and a welcome alternative to the then dark satanic mills of the cities of nearby Bradford and Leeds. 

Today Salts Mill has been converted by the late Jonathan Silver into the "1853 Gallery" which houses a collection of the works of the famous artist, David Hockney (who was born in Bradford). 

Other buildings in the village have now been similarly transformed into shops, licensed restaurants and pubs. 

The United Reformed Church - one of the nation's most precious Victorian buildings and a unique example of Italianite religious architecture. 

Nearby attractions include the villages of Haworth and Thornton (famous as birthplace of the Brontes), the spa town of Ilkley, and the beautiful Yorkshire Dales to the north. 

In December 2001 Saltaire was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, thanks to the hard work of a dedicated group of locals who mounted a successful bid to get the village recognised for its historical significance at the international level.