I suspect a lot of people in the United States have never heard of my home city of Leeds. It’s the 3rd largest city in the UK by population, after London and Birmingham. In this post I wanted to highlight some interesting facts about the city, and maybe next time when you are travelling to England, you’ll visit.
First moving images filmed in Leeds
In October 1880 Louis le Prince recorded the very first moving images with a Leeds back garden as his subject. The Inventor and cinema pioneer then shot the first motion pictures “Crossing Leeds Bridge” in the city centre in 1888.
Confusion over the location of Leeds Castle
Leeds castle is not in the city of Leeds, but in Kent, some 250 miles away. It is amazing how many guides on the city have photos of the castle. We do have the impressive looking Kirkstall Abbey, where the foundations of Kirkstall Abbey were built in 1152.
Largest indoor market in Europe
Leeds Kirkgate Market is Europe’s largest indoor market with over 600 stalls. It is open 6 days a week. There are over 400 stalls inside and a further 200 stalls outside. Michael Marks opened his Penny Bazaar in 1884, leading to the founding of Marks & Spencer in 1890.
Famous people born in Leeds
I am sure you will have heard of Peter O’Toole, an actor famous for his role in Lawrence of Arabia. Then there’s Ernie Wise of the comedy duo Morecambe and Wise and finally Barbara Bradford-Taylor, who is a novelist and has written 25 novels, of which all have been best sellers.
Temple of Horus… in Leeds
Temple Works is a former flax mill, built between 1836 and 1840 and was based on the Temple of Horus at Edfu in Egypt. At the time it was said to be the biggest single room in the world. An unusual feature of the building is that sheep used to graze on the grass-covered roof.
This served the purpose of retaining humidity in the mill to prevent the linen thread from becoming unmanageable.
Editor: for more information about Leeds check out Darren’s local guide called My Life in Leeds.