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West Yorkshire is a metropolitan county within the Yorkshire and the Humber region of Englandmarker 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 Bradfordmarker, Calderdalemarker, Kirkleesmarker, City of Leedsmarker and City of Wakefieldmarker) and shares borders with the counties of Derbyshiremarker (to the south), Greater Manchestermarker (to the south-west), Lancashiremarker (to the north-west), North Yorkshire (to the north and east) and South Yorkshiremarker (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 Areamarker, which is the most built-up and biggest urban area within the historic county boundaries of Yorkshiremarker.


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 Yorkshiremarker 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 Ossettmarker, where the two industries were both important).

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

The county 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.

The only ancient cathedral city in what is now West Yorkshire was Wakefield, however the industrial revolution, which changed West and South Yorkshire significantly, led to the growth of Leeds and Bradford, which became the area's two largest cities (Leeds being the largest in Yorkshire). Leeds was granted city status in 1893 and Bradford in 1897. The name of Leeds Town Hallmarker reflects the fact that at its opening in 1858 Leeds was not yet a city, while Bradford renamed its Town Hall as City Hall in 1965.

post-1974 pre-1974
Metropolitan county Metropolitan borough County boroughs Non-county borough Urban districts Rural districts

West Yorkshire is an amalgamation of 53 former local government districts, including six county boroughs and ten municipal boroughs.

Bradfordmarker Bradford Keighley Baildon • Bingley • Denholme • Ilkley • Queensbury and Shelfmarker •Silsden • Shipley • Skiptonmarker
Calderdalemarker Halifax Brighouse • Todmorden • Elland • Hebden Royd • Queensbury and Shelfmarker • Ripponden • Sowerby Bridge •
Kirkleesmarker Huddersfield • Dewsbury • Batley • Spenboroughmarker • Colne Valley • Denby Dale • Heckmondwike • Holmfirth • Kirkburton • Meltham • Mirfield •
Leedsmarker Leeds Morley • Pudsey • Aireboroughmarker • Garforth • Horsforthmarker • Otleymarker • Rothwellmarker • Tadcastermarker • Wharfedalemarker • Wetherbymarker •
Wakefieldmarker Wakefield Castleford • Ossett • Pontefract • Featherstone • Hemsworth • Horbury • Knottingley • Normanton • Stanley • Hemsworthmarker • Osgoldcrossmarker • Wakefield •


Geology of Yorkshire
The county borders, going anticlockwise from the west: Lancashiremarker, Greater Manchestermarker, Derbyshiremarker, South Yorkshiremarker 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 Airemarker and Calder drain the area, flowing from west to east.

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 Bradfordmarker Bradfordmarker Addinghammarker, Baildonmarker, Bingleymarker, Burley-in-Wharfedalemarker, Cottingleymarker, Crossflattsmarker, Cullingworthmarker, Denholmemarker, East and West Mortonmarker, Eldwickmarker, Esholtmarker, Gilsteadmarker, Hardenmarker, Haworthmarker, Ilkleymarker, Keighleymarker, Menstonmarker, Oakworthmarker, Oxenhopemarker, Queensburymarker, Riddlesdenmarker, Saltairemarker, Sandy Lanemarker, Shipleymarker, Silsdenmarker, Stanburymarker, Steetonmarker, Thornburymarker, Thorntonmarker, Tongmarker, Wilsdenmarker
Calderdalemarker Halifaxmarker Bailiff Bridgemarker, Boothtownmarker, Brighousemarker, Copleymarker, Cragg Valemarker, Ellandmarker, Greetlandmarker, Hebden Bridgemarker, Heptonstallmarker, Hipperholmemarker, Mytholmroydmarker, Norwood Greenmarker, Rastrickmarker, Rippondenmarker, Shibdenmarker, Sowerby Bridgemarker, Todmordenmarker
Kirkleesmarker Huddersfieldmarker Almondbury, Batleymarker, Birkbymarker, Birkenshawmarker, Birstallmarker, Cleckheatonmarker, Denby Dalemarker, Dewsburymarker, Emleymarker, Golcarmarker, Gomersalmarker, Hartsheadmarker, Hartshead Moormarker, Heckmondwikemarker, Holmfirthmarker, Honleymarker, Kirkburtonmarker, Linthwaitemarker, Liversedgemarker, Marsdenmarker, Melthammarker, Mirfieldmarker, New Millmarker, Norristhorpemarker, Roberttownmarker, Scammondenmarker, Shelleymarker, Shepleymarker, Skelmanthorpemarker, Slaithwaitemarker, Thornhillmarker
City of Leedsmarker Leedsmarker Allerton Bywatermarker, Beestonmarker, Boston Spamarker, Collinghammarker, Garforth, Guiseleymarker, Harewoodmarker, Horsforthmarker, Kippaxmarker, Kirkstallmarker, Ledshammarker, Ledstonmarker, Methley, Morleymarker, New Farnleymarker, Otleymarker, Oultonmarker, Pool-in-Wharfedalemarker, Pudseymarker, Rothwellmarker, Scarcroftmarker, Scholesmarker, Swillingtonmarker, Walton marker, Wetherbymarker, Yeadonmarker
City of Wakefieldmarker Wakefieldmarker Ackworthmarker, Alverthorpemarker, Castlefordmarker, Crigglestonemarker, Croftonmarker, Fairburn Ingsmarker, Ferrybridgemarker, Fitzwilliammarker, Hemsworthmarker, Horburymarker, Knottingleymarker, Newmillerdammarker, Nostellmarker, Ossettmarker, Pontefractmarker, Sandalmarker, Stanleymarker, Walton marker, West Brettonmarker


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.

Certain services are provided across the county by West Yorkshire Joint Services, and the West Yorkshire Police and West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service are also county-wide.


District Area km2 Population Population density
366.42 497,400 1,346
Calderdalemarker 363.92 200,100 545
Kirkleesmarker 408.60 401,000 975
551.72 761,100 1,360
338.61 321,600 949


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


West Yorkshire grew up around several industries. Bradford, Halifax and Huddersfield were grown through the development of woollen mills, Leeds' traditional industry was the manufacturing of cloth, while heavier engineering industries facilitated growth in South Leeds. Wakefield, Castleford, Pontefract and South and East Leeds were traditional coal mining areas. The woollen and cloth industries declined throughout the twentieth century, while mining in West Yorkshire declined through the late 1980s and 1990s, leaving only Kellingley Colliery and a few open cast mines today.

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, inparticularly 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 lies in arguably the most strategic part of Yorkshire: the M62, M1 and the A1marker pass through the county, as well as the internal urban motorways in Leedsmarker and Bradfordmarker. West Yorkshire has two mainline railway stations, Leedsmarker and Wakefield Westgatemarker. 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 Piccadillymarker and Liverpool Lime Streetmarker. Other important railway stations in West Yorkshire include Bradford Interchangemarker, Bradford Forster Squaremarker, Huddersfieldmarker, Halifaxmarker, Dewsburymarker, Keighleymarker and Shipleymarker. West Yorkshire also has Yorkshire's largest airport, Leeds Bradford International Airportmarker.

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; the Leeds Trolleybus is the current proposed scheme. Public transport is run under the authority of the West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (Metro).

Places of interest

Historic environment

See also: List of castles in West Yorkshire

See also: List of historic houses in West Yorkshire

See also: List of Museums in West Yorkshire


Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds: Looking up the main stairwell

Natural environment

Emley Moor Mast


See also


  1. Arnold-Baker, C., Local Government Act 1972, (1973)
  2. Office of National Statistics – Gazetteer of the old and new geographies of the United Kingdom, p. 48. Retrieved 14 December 2006.
  3. Metropolitan Counties and Districts, Beginners' Guide to UK Geography, Office for National Statistics, 17 September 2004. Retrieved 11 January 2007.
  4. Yorkshire and Humber Counties, The Boundary Commission for England. Retrieved 14 February 2007.
  5. Redcliffe-Maud and Wood, B., English Local Government Reformed, (1974)
  6. Kingdom, J., Local Government and Politics in Britain, (1991)
  7. The urban district of Queensbury and Shelf was split between Bradford and Calderdale in 1974: Queensbury civil parish was amalgamated into Bradford; Shelf civil parish was amalgamated into Calderdale.
  8. The urban district of Queensbury and Shelf was split between Bradford and Calderdale in 1974: Queensbury civil parish was amalgamated into Bradford; Shelf civil parish was amalgamated into Calderdale.
  9. Components may not sum to totals due to rounding
  10. includes hunting and forestry
  11. includes energy and construction
  12. includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured

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