City of Leeds

Not to be confused with Leeds or Leeds City Region.
For other uses, see Leeds (disambiguation).
City of Leeds
City and Metropolitan borough

Coat of arms
Motto: "Pro Rege et Lege" "For King and the law"

Leeds shown within West Yorkshire and England
Coordinates: 53°47′59″N 1°32′57″W / 53.79972°N 1.54917°W / 53.79972; -1.54917
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
Region Yorkshire and the Humber
Ceremonial county West Yorkshire
Admin HQ Leeds
Borough Charter 1207
Town Charter 1626
City status 1893
City of Leeds Met. District created 1974
  Type Metropolitan borough, City
  Governing body Leeds City Council
  Lord Mayor Cllr Judith Chapman
  Leader of the Council Cllr Judith Blake(Labour)
  Chief Executive Tom Riordan

Stuart Andrew (C)
Hilary Benn (L)
Richard Burgon (L)
Fabian Hamilton (L)
Andrea Jenkyns (C)
Greg Mulholland (LD)
Rachel Reeves (L)

Alec Shelbrooke (C)
  Total 213 sq mi (551.72 km2)
Highest elevation[1] 1,120 ft (340 m)
Lowest elevation[2] 30 ft (10 m)
Population (mid-2014 est.)
  Total 766,399 (Ranked 2nd)
  Density 3,574/sq mi (1,380/km2)
(2011 census)[3]
85% White
5.7% Asian or Asian British
3.5% Black or Black British
2.7% Mixed Race
3.1% Other
Time zone Greenwich Mean Time (UTC+0)
  Summer (DST) British Summer Time (UTC+1)
Postcode areas LS, WF, BD
Area code(s) 0113, 01924, 01937, 01943, 01977
ISO 3166-2 GB-LDS
ONS code 00DA (ONS)
E08000035 (GSS)
OS grid reference SE296338
Euro. Parlt. Const. Yorkshire & the Humber
Primary Airport Leeds Bradford Airport

Coordinates: 53°47′59″N 1°32′57″W / 53.79972°N 1.54917°W / 53.79972; -1.54917 The City of Leeds (/ldz/[4]) is a local government district of West Yorkshire, England, governed by Leeds City Council, with the status of a city and metropolitan borough. The metropolitan district includes the administrative centre Leeds and the ten towns of Farsley, Garforth, Guiseley, Horsforth, Morley, Otley, Pudsey, Rothwell, Wetherby and Yeadon.[5] It has a population of 766,399 (mid-2014 est.), making it the second largest local government district in England by population behind Birmingham; it is also the second largest metropolitan district by area behind Doncaster.

The current city boundaries were set on 1 April 1974 by the provisions of the Local Government Act 1972, as part a reform of local government in England. The city is a merger of eleven former local government districts; the unitary City and County Borough of Leeds combined with the municipal boroughs of Morley and Pudsey, the urban districts of Aireborough, Garforth, Horsforth, Otley and Rothwell, and parts of the rural districts of Tadcaster, Wharfedale and Wetherby from the West Riding of Yorkshire.

For its first 12 years the city had a two-tier system of local government; Leeds City Council shared power with the West Yorkshire County Council. Since the Local Government Act 1985 Leeds City Council has effectively been a unitary authority, serving as the sole executive, deliberative and legislative body responsible for local policy, setting council tax, and allocating budget in the city, and is a member of the Leeds City Region Partnership. Thc City of Leeds is divided into 31 civil parishes and a single unparished area.



The Borough of Leeds was created in 1207, when Maurice Paynel, lord of the manor, granted a charter covering a small area adjacent to a crossing of the River Aire, between the old settlement centred on Leeds Parish Church to the east and the manor house and mills to the west. In 1626 a charter was granted by Charles I, incorporating the entire parish as the Borough of Leeds; it was reformed by the Municipal Corporations Act 1835. The parish and borough included the chapelries of Chapel Allerton, Armley, Beeston, Bramley, Farnley, Headingley cum Burley, Holbeck, Hunslet, Leeds, Potternewton and Wortley. The borough was located in the West Riding of Yorkshire and gained city status in 1893. When a county council was formed for the riding in 1889, Leeds was excluded from its area of responsibility and formed a county borough. The borough made a significant number of territorial expansions, expanding from 21,593 acres (87.38 km2) in 1911 to 40,612 acres (164.35 km2) in 1961;[6] adding in stages the former area of the Roundhay, Seacroft, Shadwell and Middleton parishes and gaining other parts of adjacent districts.


A review of local government arrangements completed in 1969 proposed the creation of a new large district centred on Leeds, occupying 317,000 acres (1,280 km2) and including 840,000 people. The proposed area was significantly reduced in a 1971 white paper; and within a year every local authority to be incorporated into it protested or demonstrated.[7] The final proposal reduced the area further and following the enactment of the Local Government Act 1972, the county borough was abolished on 1 April 1974 and its former area was combined with that of the municipal boroughs of Morley and Pudsey; the urban districts of Aireborough, Horsforth, Otley, Garforth and Rothwell; and parts of the rural districts of Tadcaster, Wetherby and Wharfedale. The new district gained both borough and city status, as had been held by the county borough; and forms part of the county of West Yorkshire.

Formation of the metropolitan district in 1974
The former county borough is shaded in grey. Other areas:
  1. Municipal Borough of Morley
  2. Municipal Borough of Pudsey
  3. Aireborough Urban District
  4. Horsforth Urban District
  5. Otley Urban District
  6. Garforth Urban District
  7. Rothwell Urban District
  8. 8a. Tadcaster Rural District (part)
  9. Wetherby Rural District (part)
  10. Wharfedale Rural District (part)


The district and its settlements are situated in the eastern foothills of the Pennines astride the River Aire whose valley, the Aire Gap, provides a road and rail corridor that facilitates communications with cities to the west of the Pennines. The district extends 15 miles (24 km) from east to west and 13 miles (21 km) from north to south; with over 65% covered with green belt land. The highest point, at 1,115 feet (340 m), is at its north western extremity on the eastern slopes of Rombalds Moor, better known as Ilkley Moor, on the boundary with the City of Bradford. The lowest points are at around 33 feet (10 m), in the east: where River Wharfe crosses the boundary with North Yorkshire south of Thorp Arch Trading Estate and where the River Aire (at this point forming the City of Wakefield boundary) meets the North Yorkshire boundary near Fairburn Ings. To the north and east Leeds is bordered by North Yorkshire: Harrogate district to the north and Selby district to the east. The remaining borders are with other districts of West Yorkshire: Wakefield to the south, Kirklees to the south west, and Bradford to the west.[8]


Leeds City Council is the local authority of the district. The council is composed of 99 councillors, three for each of the city's wards. Elections are held three years out of four, on the first Thursday of May. One third of the councillors are elected, for a four-year term, in each election. 2004 saw all seats up for election due to boundary changes. It is currently run by a Labour administration. Before the 2011 election, the council had been under no overall control since 2004. The Chief Executive of Leeds City Council is Tom Riordan while the Leader of the Council is Councillor Judith Blake of the Labour Party. West Yorkshire does not have a county council, so Leeds City Council is the primary provider of local government services. The district forms part of the Yorkshire and the Humber region of England.

Most of the district is an unparished area, comprising Leeds itself (the area of the former county borough), Pudsey, Garforth, Rothwell and the area of the former urban district of Aireborough. In the unparished area there is no lower tier of government. Outside the unparished area there are 31 civil parishes, represented by parish councils. These form the lowest tier of local government[9] and absorb some limited functions from Leeds City Council in their areas. The councils of the civil parishes of Horsforth, Morley, Otley and Wetherby are town councils.[10] The 27 other civil parishes are:

The district is represented by eight MPs, for the constituencies of Elmet and Rothwell (Alec Shelbrooke, Conservative); Leeds Central (Hilary Benn, Labour); Leeds East (Richard Burgon, Labour); Leeds North East (Fabian Hamilton, Labour); Leeds North West (Greg Mulholland, Lib Dem); Leeds West (Rachel Reeves, Labour); Morley and Outwood (constituency shared with City of Wakefield) (Andrea Jenkyns, Conservative); and Pudsey (Stuart Andrew, Conservative). Leeds is within the Yorkshire and the Humber European constituency, which as of May 2014 is represented by three UKIP, two Labour, and one Conservative MEPs. The voting figures for Leeds in the European Parliament election in June 2009 were: Conservative 22.6%, Labour 21.4%, UKIP 15.9%, Lib Dem 13.8%, BNP 10.0%, Green 9.4%.[11]


Main article: Demography of Leeds
Leeds compared
2001 UK Census[12]City of Leeds
metropolitan district
and the Humber

At the 2001 UK census, the district had a total population of 715,402.[12] Of the 301,614 households in Leeds, 33.3% were married couples living together, 31.6% were one-person households, 9.0% were co-habiting couples and 9.8% were lone parents, following a similar trend to the rest of England.[13] The population density was 1,967/km2 (5,090/sq mi)[13] and for every 100 females, there were 93.5 males. Of those aged 16–74, 30.9% had no academic qualifications, higher than the 28.9% in all of England.[14] Of the residents, 6.6% were born outside the United Kingdom, lower than the England average of 9.2%.[15]

The majority of people in Leeds identify themselves as Christian.[16] The proportion of Muslims is average for the country.[16] Leeds has the third-largest Jewish community in the United Kingdom, after those of London and Manchester. The areas of Alwoodley and Moortown contain sizeable Jewish populations.[17] 16.8% of Leeds residents in the 2001 census declared themselves as having "no religion", which is broadly in line with the figure for the whole of the UK (also 8.1% "religion not stated").

The crime rate in Leeds is well above the national average, like many other English major cities.[18][19] In July 2006, the think tank Reform calculated rates of crime for different offences and has related this to populations of major urban areas (defined as towns over 100,000 population). Leeds was 11th in this rating (excluding London boroughs, 23rd including London boroughs).[20] The table below details the population of the current area of the district since 1801, including the percentage change since the last available census data.

Population growth in City of Leeds since 1801
Year 1801 1811 1821 1831 1841 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891 1901 1911 1921 1931 1941 1951 1961 1971 1981 1991 2001
Population 94,421 108,459 137,476 183,015 222,189 249,992 311,197 372,402 433,607 503,493 552,479 606,250 625,854 646,119 668,667 692,003 715,260 739,401 696,732 716,760 715,404
% change +14.87 +26.75 +33.13 +21.40 +12.51 +24.48 +19.67 +16.44 +16.12 +9.73 +9.73 +3.23 +3.24 +3.49 +3.49 +3.36 +3.38 5.77 +2.87 0.19
Source: Vision of Britain[21]


Main article: Economy of Leeds

Leeds has a diverse economy with the service sector now dominating over the traditional manufacturing industries. It is the location of one of the largest financial centres in England outside London. New tertiary industries such as retail, call centres, offices and media have contributed to a high rate of economic growth. This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of Leeds at current basic prices with figures in millions of British pounds sterling.[22]

Year Regional Gross
Value Added4
Agriculture1 Industry2 Services3
1995 8,713 43 2,652 6,018
2000 11,681 32 2,771 8,878
2003 13,637 36 3,018 10,583


Education Leeds, a non-profit company owned by Leeds City Council, provided educational services between 2001 and 2011. From April 2011 Leeds City Council has since disbanded Education Leeds and has consolidated educational services into a Children's Services Department of the council itself.[23]


FTR bus service
Main article: Transport in Leeds

Leeds city centre is connected to the National Rail network at Leeds railway station. Public transport in West Yorkshire is coordinated by the West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive, under the control of a joint-board of local authorities in the county and including Leeds City Council.

Twin cities

The City has several twinning or partnership arrangements:

The city also has "strong contacts" with the following cities "for the purposes of ongoing projects":[27]

Notes and references



  1. Max at SE140445 Hawksworth Moor in extreme west of city
  2. Min at points where city boundary crosses Rivers Aire and Wharfe in extreme east.
  3. National Statistics: Neighbourhood Statistics. "Ethnicity and National Identity in England and Wales 2011". Retrieved 2015-04-29.
  4. "Leeds". Collins Dictionary. n.d. Retrieved 24 September 2014.
  5. Van den Berg 2006, p. 179.
  6. Great Britain Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, Leeds MB/CB (historic map) population (area ). Retrieved on 2009-09-24.
  7. Derek Fraser (1982). A History of modern Leeds. Manchester University Press.
  8. "Leeds Maps - Leeds City Region". Leeds City Council. Retrieved 2009-04-16.
  9. "Parish and Town Councils". Leeds City Council. Retrieved 2009-04-01.
  10. "Leeds civil parish map 2008". Leeds City Council. Retrieved 2009-04-01.
  11. Rogers, Simon (10 June 2009). "Exactly how well did the BNP do where you live?". Guardian: Data Blog. London. Retrieved 14 July 2009.
  12. 1 2 "Leeds Metropolitan Borough ethnic group". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 2009-07-22.
  13. 1 2 "Leeds Metropolitan Borough household composition (households)". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 2009-07-22.
  14. "Leeds Metropolitan Borough key statistics". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 2009-07-22.
  15. "Leeds Metropolitan Borough country of birth data". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 2009-07-22.
  16. 1 2 "Leeds Census 2001".
  17. M. Freedman (1988) "The Leeds Jewish Community" pp. 161174 in L. S. Tate (ed) Aspects of Leeds ISBN 1-871647-38-X
  18. "Crime figures in Leeds". Archived from the original on 9 October 2008.
  19. "Crime Statistics for Leeds Apr 2005 - Mar 2006". Home Office.
  20. "Urban Crime Rankings" (PDF). July 2006.
  21. "Leeds District: total population". Vision of Britain. Retrieved on 19 December 2008.
  22. "Regional Gross Value Added" (PDF). Office for National Statistics. pp. 240–253. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 May 2006.
  23. "Education Leeds the organisation". Retrieved 2009-07-22.
  24. "Leeds – Brno partnership". Retrieved 14 October 2008.
  25. "City of Brno Foreign Relations - Statutory city of Brno". (in Czech). Retrieved 6 September 2011.
  26. "Brno – Partnerská města". (in Czech). 2006–2009. Retrieved 17 July 2009.
  27. 1 2 "International relations". Retrieved 14 October 2008.
  28. "Leeds – Dortmund partnership". Archived from the original on 4 December 2008. Retrieved 14 October 2008.
  29. "List of Twin Towns in the Ruhr District" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 November 2009. Retrieved 28 October 2009.
  30. "Leeds – Durban partnership". Retrieved 14 October 2008.
  31. "Leeds – Hangzhou partnership". Retrieved 14 October 2008.
  32. "British towns twinned with French towns". Archant Community Media Ltd. Archived from the original on 5 July 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-11.
  33. "Leeds – Lille partnership". Retrieved 14 October 2008.
  34. "Leeds – Louisville partnership". Retrieved 14 October 2008.
  35. "Leeds – Siegen partnership". Retrieved 14 October 2008.


  • Burt, Steven; Grady, Kevin (1994), The Illustrated History of Leeds, Breedon Books, ISBN 1-873626-35-5 
  • Fraser, Derek (1982), A History of Modern Leeds, Manchester University Press, ISBN 978-0-7190-0781-1 
  • Van den Berg, Leo (2006), The Safe City: Safety and Urban Development in European Cities, Ashgate, ISBN 978-0-7546-4723-2 

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