Weekly City Spotlight: Leeds


Leeds by Night

Located in West Yorkshire, the city of Leeds offers a lively and vibrant break with a great range of attractions to visit. With first class shopping facilities located across the city including the Victoria Quarter, Leeds is home to a number of attractions from the amazing treasures of the Royal Armouries Museum and Leeds City Museum, to the splendour of stately homes such as Temple Newsam House. Attracting thousands of visitors, the university city of Leeds includes historic places of interest such as Kirkstall Abbey as well as the Armley Mills, in contrast to the recently opened First Direct Arena, a modern super-theatre entertainment centre.  With a fantastic array of restaurants and clubs, Leeds also holds a number of festivals throughout the year, celebrating all this great city has to offer.

Historic Leeds
Leeds takes its name from Loidis, part of the Elmet Kingdom in the Middle Ages, dating from the 5th to the 7th century, the area would later be known as the West Riding of Yorkshire.  Originally a market town, Leeds developed extensively and became recognised as an important location for the manufacturer and trading of textiles.  The development of networks such as the Aire and Calder Navigation and the growth of the Leeds and Selby Railway, would see Leeds’ trading capability and development continue, and would also allow for the expansion into international markets with Leeds diversifying into new industries including engineering, printing and chemicals.

Today Leeds is one of the largest cities in the UK, and the largest centre for commerce, financial and legal services second only to London, and as such has been recognised as a Gamma World City following GaWC Study in 2010.

Leeds is also home to a number of public sector and government departments including the HMRC, and Department for Work and Pensions, as well as Public Health England, Care Quality Commission and the Department of Health, NHS England.  A centre for education Leeds has 3 universities in the city, with the University of Leeds, Leeds Metropolitan University and Leeds Trinity University providing higher education for over 250,000 students, as well as boasting the largest teaching hospital in Europe, St James’s University Hospital, more commonly known as Jimmy’s.

Popular Culture
Leeds is a historic and cultural city, and has also been a focus in popular culture.

Films & TV
The Damned United (2009) – Starring Michael Sheen and Timothy Spall, The Damned United is a film about Brian Clough during his time as Manager at Leeds United.  Filmed on location throughout the UK, Elland Road Stadium features in this drama which is set in Leeds.

Tyrannosaur (2011) – Paddy Considine both wrote and directed this gritty film, which stars Peter Mullan, Eddie Marsan and Olivia Coleman, and tells the troubled tale of an unemployed widower, a Christian charity worker and an abusive husband.  Leeds featured in the filming locations of this British drama.

The Beiderbecke Affair (1985), The Beiderbecke Tapes (1987) and The Beiderbecke Connection (1988) were TV mini-series which starred James Bolam and Barbara Flynn.  Filmed throughout the north of England, scenes were regularly filmed in Leeds and featured the Town Hall, Moor Grange, and Woodhouse Lane areas.

The Cupid Effect – written by the bestselling author Dorothy Koomson, this heart-warming tale follows Ceri- D’Altroy as she travels to Leeds in the hope of becoming a psychology lecturer, but it seems she also has a talent as a matchmaker for those who she meets along the way.

The Broken Token – Chris Nickson set this crime novel in Leeds, with Constable Richard Nottingham trying to solve the mystery which surrounds the death of his former housemaid.  This gripping tale follows the police investigation with plenty of twists and turns on the way.

Hope Road – written by John Barlow is the first in the LS9 Crime series, and focusses on John Ray, son of an infamous crime boss, whose life is in turmoil following a gruesome discovery in his car. Fast paced, this page turner is also set in Leeds.

Social Media
Additional information on Leeds can be found on its official website Visit Leeds as well as its Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts.

Famous Faces
Alan Bennett – born in Leeds on 9 May 1934, Bennett is an actor, author, playwright and screenwriter whose award winning work includes The Madness of King George, Talking Heads and The History Boys. In the 60’s Bennett performed Beyond the Fringe, at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival working with Jonathan Miller, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore.

Barbara Taylor Bradford – with her first novel entitled A Woman of Substance achieving global sales of over 30 million copies, Bradford has written a total of 27 novels many of which have been best sellers.  Bradford was born in Leeds on 10 May 1933.

Jeremy Paxman – TV broadcaster, author and journalist, Paxman was born in Leeds on 11 May 1950 and is best known for presenting Newsnight and University Challenge, having also worked on programmes such as Tonight and Panorama, as well as having been a newsreader.



Leeds Town Hall

Leeds Town Hall
Designed by Cuthbert Brodrick, Leeds Town Hall was opened by Queen Victoria and dates back to 1858.  A glorious example of both classical and baroque architectural styling, and located in The Headrow in the centre of Leeds, the Town Hall now operates as a Register Office and is also a popular venue for concerts and functions.

Corn Exchange
The distinctive Corn Exchange also dates back to Victoria times, and again is the work of Cuthbert Brodrick having been completed in 1864.  Following a successful conversion in the 1980’s and subsequent restoration in 2007, the Exchange offers visitors a unique shopping venue with an excellent selection of independent retailers all under one roof.

The First Direct Arena
This state of the art venue can be found in the centre of Leeds, and was officially opened in September this year.  The first in the UK to have a fan shaped orientation, the Arena’s capacity exceeds 13,000 with each seat promising excellent views through its unique design.  With stars including Elton John and Bruce Springsteen already having appeared on stage, the Arena looks set to attract the biggest names to perform in Leeds.

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