West Yorkshire

West Yorkshire

West Yorkshire, former metropolitan county, N central England. Created in the 1974 local government reorganization, the county largely embraced the Leeds conurbation and comprised five metropolitan districts: Calderdale, Bradford, Leeds, Wakefield, and Kirklees. The county was abolished in 1986, and the districts became responsible for all services except police, fire, and civil defense, which are supervised jointly.

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.

Learn more about West Yorkshire with a free trial on Britannica.com.

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.

West Yorkshire encompasses the West Yorkshire Urban Area, which is the most built-up and biggest urban area within the historic county boundaries of Yorkshire.

Divisions and environs

West Yorkshire is divided into five local government districts; they are the City of Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, the City of Leeds and the City of Wakefield.
District Area km2 Population Population density
366.42 493,100 1,346
Calderdale 363.92 198,500 545
Kirklees 408.60 398,200 975
551.72 750,200 1,360
338.61 321,200 949

History

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.

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.

Geography

The county borders, going anticlockwise from the west: Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Derbyshire, South Yorkshire and North Yorkshire. It lies almost entirely on rocks of carboniferous age which form the southern Pennine fringes in the west and the Yorkshire coalfield further eastwards. In the extreme east of the metropolitan county there are younger deposits of magnesian limestone. The Bradford and Calderdale areas are dominated by the scenery of the eastern slopes of the Pennines, dropping from upland in the west down to the east, and dissected by numerous steep-sided valleys.There is a close conjunction of large scale industry, urban areas and transport routes with open countryside.The dense network of roads, canals and railways and urban development, confined by valleys creates dramatic interplay of views between settlements and the surrounding hillsides.

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.

The rivers Aire and Calder drain the area, flowing from west to east.

Politics

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.

There are currently plans for a tram system in West Yorkshire, but those for a Leeds Supertram were rejected by the government in 2005.

Economy

This is a chart of regional gross value added for West Yorkshire at current basic prices with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.
Year Regional Gross Value Added Agriculture Industry Services
1995 21,302 132 7,740 13,429
2000 27,679 80 8,284 19,314
2003 31,995 91 8,705 23,199

Cities, towns and villages

The table below outlines many of the county's settlements, and is formatted according to their metropolitan borough.
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

Places of interest

Historic environment

Museums

Natural environment

Waterways

See also

References

Search another word or see West Yorkshireon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature