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Development

1300-1700
Maurice Paynel's new town grows to become a small market town. Already the woollen industry is important, with Leeds becoming a centre for the finishing of woollen cloth; fulling mills and dyehouses are  built on the banks of the river. There is a cloth market, with clothiers from the surrounding districts bringing their cloth to the market in Leeds. By the late 1500's people are moving to Leeds to set up in business, and the town becomes more prosperous than Wakefield and York. The Aire and Calder Navigation is built.

1700-1780
The woollen cloth market continues to grow, and moves to purpose built Cloth Halls. The business of the town is dominated by the wealthy cloth merchants, who trade both in Britain and abroad. Cloth manufacture is still a cottage industry, and dyeing and finishing are carried out in small workshops attached to the merchant's houses.

1780-1850
The Industrial Revolution comes to Leeds. Matthew Murray pioneers the engineering industry in Leeds, Benjamin Gott brings all the processes of woollen manufacture under one roof at his factory at Bean Ing, and John Marshall sets up as a flax spinner in Holbeck. The population grows as the new industries demand a larger workforce. The engineering, chemical and leather industries all expanded, and three new industries, clothing manufacture, footwear manufacture and printing grow in importance.

1850-1900
The textile industry begins to decline, but the engineering, chemical and leather industries all expand, and three new industries, clothing manufacture, footwear manufacture and printing grow in importance. This results in a diverse economy. Leeds becomes 'the city that makes everything.'

1900-1950
The engineering industry continues to thrive, and Leeds firms make armaments for use in the 1914-18 war. The clothing industry becomes increasingly important. Between the wars manufacturing industry declines, but the clothing industry, and the new distribution and service industries enable Leeds to survive the worst of the depression. After the war the traditional manufacturing industries continued to decline, and Leeds failed to attract new industries.
Click images to enlarge
Leeds in 1560
Leeds in 1560
Leeds in 1715
Leeds in 1715
Leeds in 1782
Leeds in 1782
Leeds in 1885
Leeds in 1885
Meanwood, 1930
Meanwood, 1930




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© 2003 Leeds City Council | Site created by: LCC electronic information team | 25 March 2003