The origins of Beeston can be traced back to the medieval period. It remained a small settlement until the latter part of the Victorian era when it became a primarily residential area for people working in Leeds and surrounding industrial areas like Holbeck and Hunslet.
Beeston has a population of about 20,000 people. At the time of the 2011 census Beeston had been included in the City and Hunslet Ward of Leeds City Council. Some parts of the area, around Cross Flatts Park, suffer from relatively high levels of deprivation, while areas to the centre and south are generally considered more affluent. Beeston is home to the Leeds United football club stadium on Elland Road and Hunslet rugby league club.
The Spinning Wheel pub, Beeston
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Beeston is first mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book as Bestone, when it had recently been granted to Ilbert de Lacy (1045–93); in 1066 it had been worth 40 shillings (£2), but in 1086 it was considered waste, presumably because of the Harrying of the North. The name seems to come from Old English *bēos 'bent-grass' (L. Agrostis) and tūn 'estate, village', and the origin of the settlement is likely to be Anglo-Saxon. It was one of the ten 'out-townships' of the Parish of Leeds until the parish was broken up in the 1840s-50s.
In the medieval period, Beeston was associated with sheep-farming: the monks of Kirkstall Abbey grazed 240 sheep there. Founding Drax Priory in the 1130s, William Paynel granted it land in Beeston. A small hospital seems to have been founded in the township around 1233, and a chapel dedicated to St Mary the Virgin may also have been founded in the 13th century.
The oldest buildings in Beeston today date to the 15th century. Cad Beeston (also Cad-Beeston, Cat Beeston, Cat-Beeston) manor house has been dated by dendrochronology to about 1420, and is a grade II* listed building; recently used as private offices, it is now a private dwelling, with no public access. Parts of Stank Hall Barn, a grade II* listed scheduled ancient monument originally built for the storage of crops, have been dated to between 1448 and 1490.
in December 1688 rumours abounded in the town [of Leeds] that an army of Roman Catholics were ravaging the surrounding area. Ralph Thoresby recorded, 'Beeston is actually burnt, and only some escaped to bring the doleful tidings! The drums beat, the bells rang backward, the women shrieked, and some doleful consternation seized upon all persons ... (B)lessed be God! The terror disappeared, it being a false alarm, taken from some drunken people.'
Between 1740 and 1820, the Leeds-Elland and Dewsbury-Leeds turnpike roads were built through Beeston; nationalised in the 1870s these roads remain as Elland Road and Dewsbury Road respectively. By 1822, Beeston had a population of 1,670. Up until the 19th century, Beeston had been a small mining village situated on a hill overlooking Leeds. However, during the Industrial Revolution, land that had been occupied by open pits, as well as land formerly utilised for farming, was snapped up for high density residential development. By 1872, Beeston is recorded as having a population of 2,547 with 537 houses, a railway station and a post office, and 'by the end of the 19th century Beeston was predominantly a working class community living in back-to-backs'. Beeston was a township and civil parish 1866-1904, then was absorbed into Holbeck civil parish before this was absorbed into Leeds in 1925.
On the night of 14 March and early hours of 15 March 1941, during the Second World War, Leeds received its worst night of German aerial bombing. Beeston had more bombs dropped on it than any other district of the city and although Flaxton Terrace was damaged during the night time air raid, escaped with the less damage than most other areas of Leeds with nearly all the other bombs landing on Cross Flatts Park. In his 2005 poem "Shrapnel", Tony Harrison, who was in Beeston on the night of the raid, speculates whether this was an act of heroism by the German pilot, a theory that has been explored ever since the raid. Holbeck Cemetery, in Beeston, also features prominently in Harrison's 1985 poem "V".
Beeston was formerly home to card and board game manufacturer Waddingtons, though the factory was vacated in the 1990s, and is now home to Nampak Cartons.
In 2006 the district was the setting for much of the film Mischief Night.
Beeston is an inner-city area located close to Leeds city centre. Beeston is severed from the areas to the north by the M621 motorway. Beeston is separated from Middleton by Middleton Park and from Cottingley by the Leeds Outer Ring Road.
Beeston can be described as three distinct areas. Beeston - Parkside and Cross Flatts area and Beeston Hill are separated by Cross Flatts Park which runs between Dewsbury Road and Town Street: Beeston Hill to the east, and Parkside and Cross Flatts to the west. The distinction between these two areas has probably existed since medieval times when they were two separate manors. Beeston - Elland Road and Millshaw is primarily industrial and centred on Elland Road to the west of the area.
The Parkside and Cross Flatts area of Beeston, sometimes locally known as Beeston Village, is centred on a shopping centre comprising a Co-operative store and a number of smaller shops. Housing in this part of Beeston is made up of almost equal proportions of late Victorian and early-20th-century terraced housing to the east of Old Lane, and newer semi-detached family and housing association properties to the west. To the south side of Dewsbury Road, there are significant areas of industrial premises.
Indicators for health, economic activity and community safety in this area are broadly consistent with averages for the City of Leeds as a whole.
Beeston Hill is largely made up of areas of older Victoria terraces and newer social housing, which comprises around a third of the housing stock in the area. In April 2008, a £93 million PFI scheme to build 700 private and housing association dwellings and regenerate some existing stock was announced. As a particularly deprived area, Beeston Hill along with Holbeck was the beneficiary of Objective 2 European funding. Beeston Hill has a relatively high level of empty housing as well as a number of significant unoccupied commercial premises. Beeston Hill has a significant ethnic minority population, with around 40% of the population from BME Communities.
The area suffers from a high level of deprivation, with indicators for health, economic activity and community safety substantially worse than for the City of Leeds as a whole.
The west of Beeston around Elland Road has significant amounts of industrial estates, with a substantial amount of mainly semi-detached and terraced housing to the western edge of the Parkside and Cross Flatts area.
Beeston has a mainline railway line running along its western edge along which all services between Leeds and London King's Cross and London St Pancras run. However, there are no stations along it as Beeston station closed to passengers in 1953. Beeston is served by a number of bus services along Dewsbury Road, Elland Road and Town Street. The frequent No 1 bus service, operated by First Leeds largely follows the route of the former Leeds Tramway route 5 through Beeston and Beeston Hill and Beeston is severed from Leeds by the M621 and therefore benefits from very good links with the M621 motorway, as well as the M62, which runs close to Beeston to the south of Morley. There are a several taxi companies operating in the Beeston area, while there are proposals to create a park-and-ride site at Elland Road.
Much of Beeston's traditional heavy industry and fabrication works have closed throughout the last forty years. However, there are substantial areas of industrial and commercial development around Elland Road and to the south of Dewsbury Road and Beeston is surrounded by areas which have become popular with businesses, such as Leeds city centre, Tingley and many of the business districts along the south side of the River Aire. The neighbouring White Rose Shopping Centre employs thousands of full- and part-time staff.
Beeston is home to the Leeds College of Technology School of Mechanics situated towards the south side, the Beeston Centre of the Leeds City College (formerly Joseph Priestley College) and Elliott Hudson College. Beeston has one secondary school, Cockburn School which is a specialist arts college. Matthew Murray High School situated between Beeston and Holbeck closed down in 2004 and was merged with Merlyn Rees High School in Belle Isle, to form South Leeds High School in Belle Isle. In September 2009 South Leeds High School was reopened as the South Leeds Academy. There are seven primary schools in the area.
Beeston has a range of facilities. It has two large health centres, Elland Road stadium and the John Charles Centre for Sport. Leeds city centre is a short distance away and the M1 and M62 motorways are easily accessed. Cross Flatts Park has many facilities, which include 5-a-side football pitches, tennis courts, two separate play areas one for older children and one for younger children and a bowling green.
Beeston is home to two stadiums. Elland Road, home of Leeds United AFC has a 39,640 capacity, all-seater stadium on Elland Road, adjacent to the M621 in the north of Beeston. The South Leeds Stadium, part of the John Charles Centre for Sport is situated on Middleton Grove (off Dewsbury Road) on the southern edge of Beeston. This is home to Hunslet rugby league club, as well as hosting athletics and aquatic sports in the new Aquatic Centre (the replacement for the Leeds International Swimming Pool) which opened in October 2008 and provides an Olympic standard swimming pool and diving pool. The centre also has indoor bowling, indoor Tennis Centre, athletics stadium, 5 a side football pitches, rugby pitches, and outdoor gym equipment.
Cross Flatts Park covers an area of 44 acres (17.8 hectares) in the centre of Beeston. While the park formerly suffered from neglect and had a high crime rate, through the work of the Council and community groups such as Friends of Cross Flatts Park and Beeston in Bloom the park has been cleaned up and made safer and more welcoming.
The park has a large multi-use games area which includes five-a-side football pitches, basketball courts and tennis courts, while the park boasts an artificial cricket pitch, a children's play area and outdoor gym equipment. The park is the venue for the Beeston Festival which takes place annually in June, and in summer and school holidays is host to numerous activities for young people. The park hosts a weekly 5 km Parkrun every Saturday morning at 9am, over 1,000 runners have taken part in the event since it began on 30 March 2013.
Holbeck Cemetery in Beeston opened in 1857 and closed to general burials in the 1940s. During the period it was operational, thousands of people were buried there with many in 'guinea graves' with several unrelated people buried in the same plot. The graves were so called for the shared headstones on which a single-line inscription cost one guinea (21 shillings).
The poem "V" by Tony Harrison, published in 1985, describes a visit to Holbeck Cemetery and his reaction to finding his parents' tombstones vandalised.
In 2008 Shaftesbury House, a working men's hostel designed for the council by George C. Robb in 1936, was converted by Citu to the Greenhouse, an eco-friendly housing project. The building had been empty for a number of years and had previously been earmarked for demolition.
The development, which includes 172 homes, office space and other facilities, is one of the UK's first low-carbon housing developments and incorporates wind turbines, solar panels and ground source heating as well as energy efficient materials and rainwater and greywater recycling. The development has won a large number of awards, including, in 2011, the Regeneration and Renewal Magazine Regeneration Award for Sustainability, with judges praising the holistic way it addressed sustainability and provides real regeneration benefits to a deprived area.
Beeston has at least ten churches of several denominations including Church of England, Roman Catholic, Methodist and Baptist. The Anglican churches of St Mary on Town Street and St Luke on Malvern Road were constructed in the 1870s, though the former is on the site of a much older church. The more modern church of St David Waincliffe on Dewsbury Road, constructed in the 1960s was designed by Geoffrey Davy and won a Hoffman Wood (Leeds) Gold Medal for Architecture.
There are three mosques in Beeston, all located within the Beeston Hill area. There is also a Sikh Gurdwara.
Parts of Beeston Hill to the north of Cross Flatts Park are located within the Hunslet and Riverside ward. This was created in 2018, and largely corresponds to its predecessor City and Hunslet, created in 2004. This was too has invariably returned Labour councillors since 2004.
Hilary Benn (Labour) has been MP since 1999 when he won the seat following the death of Derek Fatchett who had been MP for Leeds Central since 1983. Before the 1997 general election, Beeston was part of the Morley and Leeds South constituency, represented from its creation in 1983 to 1992 by Merlyn Rees and from 1992 to 1997 by John Gunnell. Before the creation of the Morley and South Leeds constituency the area was part of the Leeds South constituency represented until 1963 by Hugh Gaitskell, leader of the Labour Party from 1955 to his death in 1963, after whom a primary school in the area is named.
The playwright Willis Hall attended Cockburn High School in Beeston as did the academic and author of The Uses of Literacy, Richard Hoggart. The poet Tony Harrison was brought up on Tempest Road and went to what was then Cross Flatts county primary school. More recently, the actress Holly Kenny who starred in the BBC drama serial Waterloo Road was a pupil at the school.
Beeston was the focus of press attention following 7 July 2005 London bombings when it was revealed that two of the four bombers had lived in the area. On 12 July, two properties in Beeston were raided by police in connection with the attacks. According to West Yorkshire Police, a significant amount of explosive material was found in the raids and a controlled explosion was carried out at one of the properties.
The link between 7 July bombings and Beeston became known several days after the event took place. When news began to emerge of the Beeston link to the attacks, community and religious groups from across Beeston came together to condemn the atrocities. There was a significant pulling together of people across the community with two Beeston Together for Peace marches being held. Each were joined by hundreds of people, some as the procession passed. The second procession ended at Millennium Square in Leeds city centre, uniting with people from other parts of Leeds for an interfaith vigil.
Following the London press, Beeston was thrust into the local, regional, national and international press, with journalists from as far away as North America and Japan arriving in the area to cover the reaction to the events of the previous week. The tone of the reporting was mixed, some sympathetic to the area, many even describing Beeston as a 'leafy suburb', whereas others painted a less salubrious picture of Beeston.
Writing a year after the bombings, a journalist from The Guardian visited Beeston with the aim of going "beyond the stereotypical pictures of veiled women and bearded men strolling past dilapidated buildings." The article reported that the community in Beeston had on the whole condemned the attacks.
American news network NBC described Beeston as "a drab and derelict neighbourhood in Leeds, three hours north of London, where three of the four London suicide bombers were born and raised". The article later stated, "Beeston, a poor racially mixed community, is lined with small row houses built in another era to house the factory workers who were one of the cornerstones of the British industry. The neighbourhood has long accommodated immigrant communities — from Asia in the 1960s to Eastern Europe and Africa today. Reportedly, almost half the households now are on some sort of state assistance."
Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles Times described Beeston as an "ethnically mixed, downtrodden suburb". Setting the scene, it also said "Peeping from lacy curtains in red-brick rowhouses, tattoed white men, turbaned Sikhs and olive-skinned women in gauzy headscarves shared what they knew."
International Herald Tribune
One year after the London Bombings, the International Herald Tribune described Beeston as a "grim northern neighbourhood". The paper also said "It is a poor and racially mixed neighbourhood of back-to-back row houses with a population of just a few thousand where successive waves of immigrants from Asia in the 1960s, and now from East Europe and Africa, have spread a tangled overlay on a cityscape forged in Victorian Britain. The bright pink and turquoise saris of Asian women offer chromatic relief from drab brick homes".
The Socialist Worker focused on Beeston's positive aspect and reported on the 'Beeston United for Peace' vigil, organised by Beeston members of the Stop the War Coalition. The 150 strong march from Hyde Park was also covered.
Ben Jones (born 18 October 1988) is an English former professional rugby league footballer. He played as a prop.Bill Jukes
William "Bill" Jukes (c. 1883 – 1939) was an English professional rugby league footballer who played in the 1900s and 1910s. He played at representative level for Great Britain, England and Yorkshire, and at club level for Featherstone Rovers (who were a "junior" club at the time, so a Heritage № has not been allocated) and Hunslet (281 official matches, plus 26 wartime matches) as a prop, hooker or second-row, i.e. number 8 or 10, 9, 11 or 12 during the era of contested scrums.Brian Shaw (rugby league)
Brian Shaw (1931 – 13 February 2011) was an English World Cup winning professional rugby league footballer who played in the 1950s and 1960s. He played at representative level for Great Britain, English League XIII and Yorkshire, and at club level for Hunslet and Leeds, as a prop, Second-row, or loose forward, i.e. number 8 or 10, 11 or 12, or 13 during the era of contested scrums,City Evangelical Church, Leeds
City Evangelical Church is an independent evangelical church in Beeston, Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. It is situated on Cemetery Road in the former Beeston Hill Baptist Chapel.The church is affiliated to the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches.Cockburn School
Cockburn School (formerly Cockburn High School) is a mixed secondary school located in the Beeston area of Leeds, West Yorkshire, England.The original school on this site was Parkside secondary modern which was an all boys school. The headmaster for much of the time was Mr C Wadswirth
It was previously a foundation school administered by Leeds City Council and The Learning Trust (South Leeds). The Learning trust also includes Beeston Primary School, Clapgate Primary School, Hugh Gaitskell Primary School, Lane End Primary School, Middleton Primary School, Middleton St Mary's CE Primary School, St Philip's RC Primary School and Westwood Primary School. However Cockburn School was converted to academy status in February 2016. The school is now part of a multi-academy trust, and hopes that other schools within The Learning Trust (South Leeds) will convert to academy status and join the trust, whilst continuing to work closely with the partner schools.Cockburn School offers GCSEs and BTECs as programmes of study for pupils. The school also has a specialism in the performing arts.Elliott Hudson College
Elliott Hudson College is a sixth form located in the Beeston area of Leeds, West Yorkshire, England.Established in 2015, Elliott Hudson College is located in the Millshaw Business Park. The college offers A-Level courses for up to 1000 students from the Leeds City Region. In 2017, the college began construction on a new building that will replace the two separate buildings currently used by students and staff. The construction is estimated to cost ₤11.1m.Elliott Hudson College is part of The GORSE Academies Trust which also includes The Morley Academy, The Farnley Academy and The Ruth Gorse Academy.Greenhouse (Leeds)
Greenhouse is an eight-storey, mixed-use block of eco-flats in Beeston, Leeds. The building took its present form in 2010, after renovation of a 1938 development, Shaftesbury House. As Shaftesbury House, the building was noted for its technologically innovative, modernist housing of migrant workers. As Greenhouse, it has been noted for an approach to promoting ecological and social sustainability far ahead of most of the UK building industry.Harry Duggan
Henry Anthony Duggan (1903–1968), commonly referred to as Harry Duggan, is an Irish former footballer. Described as a talented and speedy right winger, he played for both Leeds United and Newport County. Duggan was a dual internationalist and played for both Ireland teams – the FAI XI and the IFA XI.Holbeck railway station
Holbeck railway station was a railway station that served the district of Holbeck, in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England.John Scholey (cricketer)
John Colin Scholey (born 28 September 1930) is a former English first-class cricketer who played ten matches for Worcestershire as a wicket-keeper in the early 1950s.
He twice made five dismissals in an innings. The first occasion was against Sussex at Eastbourne in August 1952, when he claimed four catches and a stumping.
The other was in what proved to be his final first-class game, against Lancashire at Worcester in July 1953; on this occasion all five of his victims were caught.Jordan Baldwinson
Jordan Baldwindson (born 11 October 1994) is an English professional rugby league footballer who plays as a prop, second-row or lock for Wakefield Trinity in the Super League.Leigh Francis
Leigh Francis (born 30 April 1973) is an English stand-up comedian, actor, director, producer, writer, voice artist and former caricaturist, best known for creating Channel 4's Bo' Selecta! and portraying Keith Lemon in several ITV and ITV2 shows including Celebrity Juice, Keith Lemon's LemonAid, Through the Keyhole and The Keith Lemon Sketch Show.Matthew Burrows
Matthew Burrows (18 August 1855 – 29 May 1893) was an English first-class cricketer, who played for Yorkshire in 1880, and for Derbyshire in 1884.
Burrows was born in Chesterfield, Derbyshire. He is first recorded as turning out for Holbeck in 1877, when like many of his team he was bowled by W. G. Grace. He played for Holbeck again in 1878. In 1880, he made his debut for the Yorkshire side against Middlesex, when he opened the batting in the first innings. After making four runs, he moved down the order in the second innings, when he made his highest score of 23. He played five more matches for Yorkshire in the season, but his only game for the club in 1881 was not of first-class status.
In the 1884 season, Burrows played one match for Derbyshire against Surrey.
In seven first-class matches he scored 95 runs at 7.91, with a best of 23. He bowled 10 balls of round arm fast medium without success.Burrows died in Beeston, Leeds aged 37.Mohammad Sidique Khan
Mohammad Sidique Khan (20 October 1974 – 7 July 2005) was the oldest of the four homegrown suicide bombers and believed to be the leader responsible for the 7 July 2005 London bombings, in which bombs were detonated on three London Underground trains and one bus in central London suicide attacks, killing 56 people including the attackers and injured over 700. Khan bombed the Edgware Road train killing himself and six other people.
On 1 September 2005, a videotape emerged featuring Khan. The videotape, shown by Al Jazeera Television, also shows Ayman al-Zawahiri, who is the highest leader of al-Qaeda. The two men do not appear together, and the British government says that al-Qaeda was not connected with the bombing. The Home Office believes the tape was edited after the suicide attacks and dismisses it as evidence of al-Qaeda's involvement. In the film, Khan declares, "I and thousands like me have forsaken everything for what we believe" and refers to his expectation that the media would already have painted a picture of him in accordance with government "spin". He goes on to say, "Your democratically elected governments continually perpetrate atrocities against my people all over the world. Your support makes you directly responsible. We are at war and I am a soldier. Now you too will taste the reality of this situation."Paul Madeley
Paul Edward Madeley (20 September 1944 – 23 July 2018) was an English footballer, who played for Leeds United and the England national team. During his career with Leeds, Madeley played in a variety of different playing positions which led to him being described as a utility player. Madeley made more than 500 appearances for Leeds in the Football League and appeared in 24 internationals for England between 1971 and 1977.Stratford Street Mosque
Stratford Street Mosque (officially the Omar Mosque or Masjid-e-Umar) is a mosque in Beeston, Leeds, England.
Three people responsible for the 7 July 2005 London bombings (Shehzad Tanweer, Mohammad Sidique Khan and Hasib Hussain) were regulars at Friday prayers at the mosque. Stratford Street mosque is just a few streets away from the Colwyn Road home of Tanweer, who caused the Aldgate explosion..Mumir Shah, the imam of the mosque, condemned the London bombings at Friday prayers a day after the attacks, telling worshippers "that all human beings are brothers because of our grandfather, Adam (reported elsewhere as Abraham)" and that the message of Islam is one of "peace and friendship."Tom Mennard
Tom Mennard (11 February 1918 – 2 November 1989) was an English comedian and actor. Mennard had a long career in variety, radio and television.
Mennard was born in Beeston, Leeds, the son of an undertaker. He subsequently settled in Brighton where he worked as bus driver. Whilst in Brighton he became involved in an amateur revue company where his performances attracted the attention of singer Donald Peers, who was appearing in variety in the town. On Peers' recommendation Mennard got an audition for the BBC and as a result was given a spot on The Centre Show, a television programme for new talent presented by Benny Hill.Following Hill's advice he auditioned for the Windmill Theatre and, after two rejections, was accepted with a routine in which he played a road sweeper. His first appearances at the theatre were alongside Bill Waddington and Jill Summers. Variety and theatre work followed, including a tour with Harold Fielding's Music for the Millions during which Mennard worked with his idol Robb Wilton, whose slow, deliberate style of story-telling was the main influence on Mennard's own delivery style. He also made several appearances on BBC TV's long running variety programme, The Good Old Days, at The City Varieties Theatre in Leeds, his home town.
Mennard became a regular feature on Mike Craig's radio shows in Manchester and these helped him to reach a wider national audience. His radio work included his own show, Local Tales. He also managed a handful of film appearances, including the horror The Flesh and Blood Show and the sexploitation film Four Dimensions of Greta.On television he made appearances in Dad's Army, Open All Hours and Harry Worth vehicle Oh Happy Band!, amongst others. In 1985 he joined the cast of Coronation Street in the role of Sam Tindall, remaining in the part irregularly until 1989, with his real life dog Dougal also featuring as the character's pet.Mennard died from cancer in 1989 at Salisbury hospital.West Yorkshire Association Football League
The West Yorkshire Association Football League is a football competition based in Yorkshire, England. It was previously known as the Leeds League until the name change in 1939. Although it is named the West Yorkshire League, clubs from the Harrogate and York areas of North Yorkshire also play in the competition.
Currently the league has three senior team divisions, and two for reserves. Officially part of the National League System, the Premier Division is a step 7 (or level 11) league in the pyramid. Clubs are able to be promoted to the Northern Counties East Football League or the North West Counties Football League; Knaresborough Town in 2012 were accepted by the Northern Counties East League and Shelley Community were accepted by the North West Counties League in 2018.
Some other teams who once played in the West Yorkshire League but now play their football at higher levels of the pyramid, include AFC Emley, Harrogate Town, Harrogate Railway Athletic, Ossett Town (now merged with Ossett Albion to form Ossett United), Thackley and Garforth Town.
Places adjacent to Beeston, Leeds