Metropolitan county (pop., 2001: 2,079,217), northern England. Its main cities are Wakefield and Leeds. From 1974 to 1986 West Yorkshire was an administrative unit; in 1986 the metropolitan county lost its administrative powers, and its constituent boroughs became autonomous unitary authorities. Anglo-Saxons and Scandinavians from the east established the first settlements. While baronial power was strong in the medieval period, anarchic conditions often prevailed, and the area was the site of several 15th-century battles. In the same period, the wool textile industry developed. In the 18th and 19th centuries, abundant waterpower, and later steam power based on locally mined coal, stimulated factory-based industry. Worsted and woolen industries remain important, while an engineering industry has developed. Leeds, the area's largest city, is a major commercial and cultural centre.
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West Yorkshire is a metropolitan county within the Yorkshire and the Humber region of England with a population of 2.2 million. West Yorkshire came into existence as a metropolitan county in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972.
West Yorkshire, which is landlocked, consists of five metropolitan boroughs (City of Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, City of Leeds and City of Wakefield) and shares borders with the counties of Derbyshire (to the south), Greater Manchester (to the south-west), Lancashire (to the north-west), North Yorkshire (to the north and east) and South Yorkshire (to the south-east).
West Yorkshire County Council was abolished in 1986, and so its districts (the metropolitan boroughs) are now effectively unitary authorities. However, the metropolitan county, which covers an area of , continues to exist in law, and as a geographic frame of reference.
|District||Area km2||Population||Population density|
It 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. The Wakefield district's industrial heritage is significantly different from most of the rest of the county in that coal-mining was a large employer whilst textiles was not a particularly large industry (except in Ossett, where the two industries were both important).
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.
It initially had a two-tier structure of local government with a strategic-level county council and five districts providing most services. 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. Organisations such as West Yorkshire Police Authority and West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive continue to operate on this basis.
The carboniferous rocks of the Yorkshire coalfield further east have produced a rolling landscape with hills, escarpments and broad valleys. In this landscape there is widespread evidence of both current and former industrial activity. There are numerous derelict or converted mine buildings and recently landscaped former spoil heaps. The scenery is a mixture of built up areas, industrial land with some dereliction, and farmed open country. Ribbon developments along transport routes including canal, road and rail are prominent features of the area although some remnants of the pre industrial landscape and semi-natural vegetation still survive. However, many areas are affected by urban fringe pressures creating fragmented and downgraded landscapes and ever present are urban influences from major cities, smaller industrial towns and former mining villages.
In the magnesian limestone belt to the east of the Leeds and Wakefield areas is an elevated ridge with smoothly rolling scenery, dissected by dry valleys. Here, there is a large number of country houses and estates with parkland, estate woodlands, plantations and game coverts.
In Parliament, all but two of West Yorkshire's M.P.s are Labour. At local level, the councils are generally divided, apart from the Wakefield district, which has long been one of the safest Labour councils in the country.
|Year||Regional Gross Value Added||Agriculture||Industry||Services|
|Metropolitan county||Metropolitan borough||Centre of administration||Other places|
|West Yorkshire||City of Bradford||Bradford||Addingham, Baildon, Bingley, Burley-in-Wharfedale, Cottingley, Crossflatts, Cullingworth, Denholme, East and West Morton, Esholt, Gilstead, Harden, Haworth, Ilkley, Keighley, Menston, Oakworth, Oxenhope, Queensbury, Riddlesden, Saltaire, Sandy Lane, Shipley, Silsden, Stanbury, Steeton, Thornbury, Thornton, Tong, Wilsden|
|Calderdale||Halifax||Bailiff Bridge, Boothtown, Brighouse, Copley, Cragg Vale, Elland, Greetland, Hebden Bridge, Heptonstall, Hipperholme, Mytholmroyd, Norwood Green, Rastrick, Ripponden, Shibden, Sowerby Bridge, Todmorden|
|Kirklees||Huddersfield||Almondbury, Batley, Birkby, Birkenshaw, Birstall, Cleckheaton, Denby Dale, Dewsbury, Emley, Golcar, Gomersal, Hartshead, Hartshead Moor, Heckmondwike, Holmfirth, Honley, Kirkburton, Linthwaite, Liversedge, Marsden, Meltham, Mirfield, New Mill, Norristhorpe, Roberttown, Scammonden, Shelley, Shepley, Skelmanthorpe, Slaithwaite, Thornhill|
|City of Leeds||Leeds||Allerton Bywater, Beeston, Boston Spa, Collingham, Garforth, Guiseley, Harewood, Horsforth, Kippax, Kirkstall, Ledsham, Ledston, Methley, Morley, New Farnley, Otley, Oulton, Pool-in-Wharfedale, Pudsey, Rothwell, Scarcroft, Scholes, Swillington, Walton (Leeds), Wetherby, Yeadon|
|City of Wakefield||Wakefield||Ackworth, Alverthorpe, Castleford, Crigglestone, Crofton, Fairburn Ings, Ferrybridge, Fitzwilliam, Hemsworth, Horbury, Knottingley, Newmillerdam, Nostell, Ossett, Pontefract, Sandal, Stanley, Walton (Wakefield), West Bretton|