West Yorkshire

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  1. 1 2 Queensbury and Shelf Urban District was split between Bradford and Calderdale in 1974: Queensbury civil parish became part of Bradford; Shelf civil parish became part of Calderdale.

West Yorkshire was formed as a metropolitan county in 1974, by the Local Government Act 1972, and corresponds roughly to the core of the historic West Riding of Yorkshire and the county boroughs of Bradford, Dewsbury, Halifax, Huddersfield, Leeds, and Wakefield.

West Yorkshire Metropolitan County Council inherited the use of West Riding County Hall at Wakefield, opened in 1898, from the West Riding County Council in 1974. Since 1987 it has been the headquarters of Wakefield City Council. [13]

The county initially had a two-tier structure of local government with a strategic-level county council and five districts providing most services. [14] In 1986, throughout England the metropolitan county councils were abolished. The functions of the county council were devolved to the boroughs; joint-boards covering fire, police and public transport; and to other special joint arrangements. [15] Organisations such as the West Yorkshire Police (governed by the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner) continue to operate on this basis.

Although the county council was abolished, West Yorkshire continues to form a metropolitan and ceremonial county with a Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire and a High Sheriff.

Green belt

West Yorkshire contains green belt interspersed throughout the county, surrounding the West Yorkshire Urban Area. It was first drawn up in the 1950s. All the county's districts contain large portions of green belt.


A small section of West Yorkshire forms scattered settlements into Rochdale in Greater Manchester with the villages of Walsden and Rishworth in Calderdale which are only 8 and 11 miles apart from the main town centre. West Yorkshire also has close ties with Lancashire in terms of history, local identity and infrastructure including with the War of the Roses and Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway. [16] [17] Up until the 19th century, the town of Todmorden was in Lancashire but was moved into Yorkshire. [18] In the 1974 boundary review. The towns of Earby and Barnoldswick were moved into the Pendle district of Lancashire. [19] The towns of Halifax, Hebden Bridge, Keighley and the city of Bradford border the boroughs of Pendle, Burnley and Rossendale. The civil parish of Saddleworth in Oldham was the only part of West Riding of Yorkshire to be moved into the county of Greater Manchester. The villages in the parish border the towns of Huddersfield and Holmfirth. There is a strong identity debate with Saddleworth residents who still maintain close connections with Yorkshire. Including the Saddleworth White Rose Society. [20]


Population density in the 2011 census in West Yorkshire. West Yorkshire population density map, 2011 census.png
Population density in the 2011 census in West Yorkshire.
West Yorkshire
Aspley Basin (edited, cropped).jpg
Piece Hall (40524583501).jpg
Stones on Ilkley Moor (2438832878) (edited).jpg
West Yorkshire UK locator map 2010.svg
West Yorkshire within England
Coordinates: 53°45′N1°40′W / 53.750°N 1.667°W / 53.750; -1.667
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
Region Yorkshire and the Humber
Established1 April 1974
Preceded by West Riding of Yorkshire
Origin Local Government Act 1972
Time zone UTC±00:00 (Greenwich Mean Time)
  Summer (DST) UTC+01:00 (British Summer Time)
Members of Parliament List of MPs
Police West Yorkshire Police
Ceremonial county
Lord Lieutenant Edmund Anderson
High Sheriff Jonathan Thornton [1] (2020–21)
Mayor Tracy Brabin
Area2,029 km2 (783 sq mi)
  Ranked 29th of 48
Population (2021)2,320,214
  Ranked 4th of 48
Density1,143/km2 (2,960/sq mi)
  • 76.6% White
  • 15.9% S. Asian
  • 3.1% Black
  • 2.8% Mixed
  • 1.7% Other
The county's boroughs
DistrictArea km2PopulationDensity
City of Bradford 366.42523,1001,346
Calderdale 363.92200,100545
Kirklees 408.61401,000975
City of Leeds 551.72761,1001,360
City of Wakefield 338.61321,600949
The county's settlements by metropolitan borough
Metropolitan boroughSeatOther places
City of Bradford
Bradford City Hall, Bradford Addingham, Baildon, Bingley, Burley in Wharfedale, Cottingley, Crossflatts, Cross Roads, Cullingworth, Denholme, East and West Morton, Eccleshill, Eldwick, Esholt, Great Horton, Gilstead, Harden, Haworth, Ilkley, Keighley, Manningham, Menston, Oakworth, Oxenhope, Queensbury, Riddlesden, Saltaire, Sandy Lane, Shipley, Silsden, Stanbury, Steeton, Thornbury, Thornton, Tong, Undercliffe, Wibsey, Wilsden.
Halifax Town Hall, Halifax Bailiff Bridge, Boothtown, Brighouse, Copley, Cragg Vale, Elland, Greetland, Hebden Bridge, Heptonstall, Hipperholme, Holywell Green, Luddendenfoot, Mytholmroyd, Norwood Green, Rastrick, Ripponden, Rishworth, Shelf, Shibden, Sowerby Bridge, Todmorden
Huddersfield Town Hall, Huddersfield Almondbury, Batley, Birkby, Birkenshaw, Birstall, Cleckheaton, Dalton, Denby Dale, Dewsbury, Emley, Golcar, Gomersal, Hartshead, Hartshead Moor, Heckmondwike, Holmfirth, Honley, Kirkburton, Kirkheaton, Linthwaite, Liversedge, Marsden, Meltham, Mirfield, New Mill, Norristhorpe, Roberttown, Scammonden, Shelley, Shepley, Skelmanthorpe, Slaithwaite, Thornhill
City of Leeds
Leeds Civic Hall, Leeds Allerton Bywater, Beeston, Boston Spa, Collingham, Garforth, Guiseley, Harewood, Harehills, Headingley, Holbeck, Horsforth, Hyde Park, Gipton, Kippax, Kirkstall, Ledsham, Ledston, Methley, Middleton, Morley, New Farnley, Otley, Oulton, Pool-in-Wharfedale, Pudsey, Rothwell, Rawdon, Scarcroft, Scholes, Stourton, Swillington, Walton (Leeds), Wetherby, Yeadon, Woodhouse
City of Wakefield
West Riding County Hall, Wakefield Ackworth, Alverthorpe, Castleford, Crigglestone, Crofton, Durkar, Fairburn Ings, Featherstone, Ferrybridge, Fitzwilliam, Hemsworth, Horbury, Knottingley, Newmillerdam, Normanton, Nostell, Ossett, Outwood, Pontefract, Ryhill, Sandal, Sharlston, Stanley, Walton (Wakefield), West Bretton, Wrenthorpe
Ethnic GroupYear
1991 [21] 2001 [22] 2011 [23] 2021 [24]
White: Total1,849,48091.8%1,842,81388.6%1,819,81881.8%1,801,35276.6%
White: British 1,798,41386.5%1,746,29578.4%1,693,84572.0%
White: Irish 18,8590.9%14,9100.7%13,8930.6%
White: Gypsy or Irish Traveller 1,6600.1%2,3110.1%
White: Roma3,9820.2%
White: Other 25,5411.2%56,9532.6%87,3213.7%
Asian or Asian British: Total129,8316.4%185,9079%291,54713.1%372,72815.9%
Asian or Asian British: Indian 34,82942,4302.0%53,1522.4%62,4072.7%
Asian or Asian British: Pakistani 80,531122,2105.9%189,7088.5%250,49710.7%
Asian or Asian British: Bangladeshi 5,9878,2130.4%15,6320.7%20,0990.9%
Asian or Asian British: Chinese 3,8925,7340.3%10,7830.5%12,5160.5%
Asian or Asian British: Other Asian4,5927,3200.4%22,2721.0%27,2091.2%
Black or Black British: Total23,9061.1%20,7711%46,4762.1%72,2573.1%
Black or Black British: African2,5694,2160.2%24,6851.1%47,8882.0%
Black or Black British: Caribbean 14,79814,4090.7%15,5810.7%15,5880.7%
Other Black6,5392,1460.1%6,2100.3%8,7810.4%
Mixed or British Mixed: Total25,0811.2%48,1262.2%64,9472.8%
Mixed: White and Black Caribbean11,2630.5%20,8270.9%23,5731.0%
Mixed: White and Black African1,8420.1%4,6240.2%7,7560.3%
Mixed: White and Asian8,0490.4%15,0980.7%21,0140.9%
Mixed: Other Mixed3,9270.2%7,5770.3%12,6040.5%
Other: Total10,4090.5%4,6390.2%20,0910.9%40,2951.7%
Other: Arab 9,2120.4%11,5150.5%
Other: Any other ethnic group10,4090.5%4,6390.2%10,8790.5%28,7801.2%

West Yorkshire is ethnically diverse, hosting large populations of multiple ethnic minority groups. Most notably, the city of Bradford is well known for its large concentration of British Pakistanis, the highest by percentage in the country. Leeds and Kirklees also have large British Pakistani populations. Kirklees also hosts a large population of British Indians. West Yorkshire is home to a large Eastern European population, particularly British Poles. Ethnic minorities totalled to over 21% of West Yorkshire's population in 2011. [25]



Leeds has since attracted investment from financial institutions, to become a recognised financial centre, with many banks, building societies and insurance companies having offices in the city. Wakefield has also attracted many service-based industries, in particular call centres. Two of the big four supermarkets are from West Yorkshire. Morrisons is based in Bradford, while Asda is based in Leeds.

West Yorkshire grew up around several industries. Wakefield, Castleford, Pontefract and South and East Leeds were traditional coal mining areas.


Bradford, Halifax and Huddersfield grew through the development of woollen mills. Leeds' traditional industry was the manufacturing of cloth while heavier engineering industries facilitated growth in South Leeds.

The Heavy Woollen District covered towns such as Dewsbury, Batley, Morley, Ossett, Cleckheaton and Heckmondwike. The woollen and cloth industries declined throughout the twentieth century.


The Rhubarb Triangle is wholly in West Yorkshire and still produces the vegetable in considerable quantities. [26] Twelve farmers who farm within the Rhubarb Triangle applied to have the name "Yorkshire forced rhubarb" added to the list of foods and drinks that have their names legally protected by the European Commission's Protected Food Name scheme. [27] The application was successful and the farmers in the Rhubarb Triangle were awarded Protected Designation of Origin status (PDO) in February 2010. Food protected status accesses European funding to promote the product and legal backing against other products made outside the area using the name. Other protected names include Stilton cheese, Champagne and Parma Ham.


The last pit in West Yorkshire to close was Hay Royds Colliery at Denby Dale in 2012 after a flood. [28]

Film and television productions

Several films and television series have been filmed in West Yorkshire's historic areas, particularly around the town of Halifax. [29] [30] For example, portions of the BBC television series Happy Valley were filmed in Huddersfield; in addition to exteriors, some of the studio filming was done at North Light Film Studios at Brookes Mill, Huddersfield. As well, interiors for the BBC's Jamaica Inn , for the BBC's Remember Me and for ITV series Black Work , were also filmed at the studios. [31] [32] [33] [34] More recently, many of the exteriors of the BBC series Jericho were filmed at the nearby Rockingstone Quarry and some interior work was done at North Light Film Studios. [35]


Titus Salt's mill in Saltaire, Shipley is an UNESCO World Heritage Site Saltaire from Leeds and Liverpool Canal.jpg
Titus Salt's mill in Saltaire, Shipley is an UNESCO World Heritage Site

Urban tourism varies. National interest features include sporting stadia, museums, theatre and galleries. Royal Armouries is in Leeds, as is the Leeds Playhouse (formerly the West Yorkshire Playhouse), Opera North and The Grand Theatre. The First Direct Arena in Leeds seats around 15,000 people. Sheffield Arena is also popular, as is the Bradford Alhambra, St Georges Hall and the Media and Science Museum in Bradford. Leeds is the most popular shopping destination in West Yorkshire, probably Yorkshire and rivals Manchester having claim to Briggate, the Headrow, Trinity Leeds, Victoria Gate, the Victoria and Northern Quarters, the biggest indoor market in Europe and the White Rose Centre, as well as many 'first outside of London' labels such as Harvey Nichols and Victoria's Secret. Leeds is also a popular nightlife destination domestically, which is not surprising given its accessibility and central location. All cities are well connected via rail and road, Leeds railway station is an important hub seeing 29.7 million passengers 2015–16, making it the fourth busiest station in the UK after London stations, Birmingham New Street and Glasgow Central. It is the busiest in Northern England.

Signposted walks follow rivers and the escarpment of the Pennines, which is scaled in meandering stages and tunnels by the recreational Leeds-Liverpool Canal and Rochdale Canal, navigable by barge, canoe or kayak. Other tourism features include abbeys, castles, countryside walks, landscapes, picturesque villages, architecture, stately homes, tea rooms, real ale breweries, farmer's markets, restaurants and hiking in villages including Hebden Bridge, Ilkley with its scenic riversides, cherry blossoms and suspension bridge and equally in Wharfedale, Otley.


Leeds Bradford Airport LBIA terminal 1.jpg
Leeds Bradford Airport

West Yorkshire lies in arguably the most strategic part of Yorkshire: the M62, M1 and the A1(M) pass through the county, as well as the internal urban motorways in Leeds and Bradford. West Yorkshire has two mainline railway stations, Leeds and Wakefield Westgate. Leeds railway station is the only Network Rail principal station in Yorkshire and North East England, and one of only three in the North of England along with Manchester Piccadilly and Liverpool Lime Street. Other important railway stations in West Yorkshire include Bradford Interchange, Bradford Forster Square, Huddersfield, Halifax, Dewsbury, Keighley and Shipley. West Yorkshire also has Yorkshire's largest airport, Leeds Bradford Airport.

Unlike South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire has no light transit system; the Leeds Supertram was proposed but was later cancelled after the withdrawal of government funding. Public transport is run under the authority of West Yorkshire Metro.

In October 2021, £830 million of funding was announced for the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to develop mass transit for the region. [36] [37]

Additionally, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority won its bids for the Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme and Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) scheme, the successful ZEBRA funding will see the introduction of between 179 and 245 zero-emission electric buses with the necessary infrastructure whilst the BSIP plan will give the West Yorkshire Combined Authority £70 million out of a desired £168 million to implement the improvements outlined in the authority's BSIP. [38] [39] [40] [41]


Headingley Cricket Ground in 2021 England v India day 2 test, Headingley Stadium (26 August 2021) 019.jpg
Headingley Cricket Ground in 2021

Major football clubs in West Yorkshire include Leeds United, Huddersfield Town, and Bradford City.

Rugby league is also big in West Yorkshire. The teams who are, or have been, in the Super League are Bradford Bulls, Castleford Tigers, Halifax Panthers, Huddersfield Giants, Leeds Rhinos, and Wakefield Trinity. Other rugby league clubs in West Yorkshire include Batley Bulldogs, Dewsbury Rams, Featherstone Rovers, Hunslet Hawks and Keighley Cougars. Any combination of these teams playing against each other would be called a West Yorkshire derby even if the rivalry is not as great as other rivalries between teams in the area. The main rugby union club in the county is Yorkshire Carnegie.

Elland Road is the largest stadium in the area, hosting Leeds United. The Headingley Stadium, a stadium complex also in Leeds, consists of a cricket and a rugby ground. The cricket ground is home of the Yorkshire County Cricket Club and the rugby ground is home to Leeds Rhinos. In Huddersfield, the John Smith's Stadium is home to Huddersfield Town and Huddersfield Giants. In Bradford, Valley Parade is the home of Bradford City, whereas the Odsal Stadium is the home of the Bradford Bulls. Other stadiums include Wheldon Road (Castleford), The Shay (Halifax), Belle Vue (Wakefield), Mount Pleasant (Batley), Crown Flatt (Dewsbury), Post Office Road (Featherstone), John Charles Centre for Sport (Hunslet) and Cougar Park (Keighley).

There are two racecourses in West Yorkshire: Pontefract and Wetherby.

West Yorkshire also used to host regular speedway meetings, having the Halifax Dukes and the Bradford Dukes teams. Odsal Stadium used to host BriSCA stock cars. Leeds has a hill climb event at Harewood speed Hillclimb.

Places of interest

Historic environment

AP Icon.svg Abbey/Priory/Cathedral
UKAL icon.svg Accessible open space
Themepark uk icon.png Amusement/Theme Park
CL icon.svg Castle
Country parks.svg Country Park
EH icon.svg English Heritage
Forestry Commission
HR icon.svg Heritage railway
HH icon.svg Historic House
AP Icon.svg Places of Worship
Museum icon.svg
Museum icon (red).svg
Museum (free/not free)
NTE icon.svg National Trust
Drama-icon.svg Theatre
Zoo icon.jpg Zoo


Natural environment


See also

Related Research Articles

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