41 Facts About Wakefield


Wakefield is a cathedral city in West Yorkshire, England located on the River Calder.

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Battle of Wakefield took place in the Wars of the Roses, and the city was a Royalist stronghold in the Civil War.

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Wakefield became an important market town and centre for wool, exploiting its position on the navigable River Calder to become an inland port.

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Flint and stone tools and later bronze and iron implements have been found at Lee Moor and Lupset in the Wakefield area showing evidence of human activity since prehistoric times.

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The Saxon church in Wakefield was rebuilt in about 1100 in stone in the Norman style and was continually enlarged until 1315 when the central tower collapsed.

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In medieval times Wakefield became an inland port on the Calder and centre for the woollen and tanning trades.

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At the time of the Civil War, Wakefield was a Royalist stronghold.

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Wakefield was the site of the founding of the Miners' Association of Great Britain and Ireland, the country's first national trade union for miners, in 1842.

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Up to 1837 Wakefield relied on wells and springs for its water supply; water from the River Calder was polluted, and various water supply schemes were unsuccessful until reservoirs on the Rishworth Moors and a service reservoir at Ardsley were built providing clean water from 1888.

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The coal mines around Wakefield were amongst the first in Yorkshire to close under the government of Margaret Thatcher, which altered the national energy policy from a reliance on British coal and opposed the political power of the NUM.

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Wakefield was anciently a market and parish town in the Agbrigg division of the wapentake of Agbrigg and Morley in the West Riding of Yorkshire.

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Wakefield was the de facto seat of regional government in Yorkshire for two centuries and became the county headquarters of the West Riding County Council created by the Local Government Act 1888.

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Wakefield is covered by four electoral wards of the Wakefield Metropolitan District Council.

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Parliamentary seat of Wakefield had been held by the Labour Party continuously from 1932 until the 2019 general election, when the Conservative Party's Imran Ahmad Khan defeated the incumbent Mary Creagh.

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Wakefield announced three days after his conviction that he would be resigning as an MP, and left his post on 3 May, triggering the 2022 Wakefield by-election, which was held on 23 June and won by Labour's Simon Lightwood.

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Wakefield is 9 miles south-east of Leeds and 28 miles south-west of York on the eastern edge of the Pennines in the lower Calder Valley.

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Wakefield includes the former outlying villages of Alverthorpe, Thornes, Sandal, Portobello, Belle Vue, Agbrigg, Lupset, Kettlethorpe and Flanshaw.

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Wakefield is a member of the Leeds City Region Partnership, a sub-regional economic development partnership covering an area of the historic county of Yorkshire.

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Regeneration projects in Wakefield included the Trinity Walk retail development to the north east of the city centre, including a department store, a supermarket and shop units.

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Developments by the river and canal, the "Wakefield Waterfront", include the refurbishment of the Grade II listed Navigation Warehouse and office, retail, restaurant and cafe units.

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The development includes the art gallery, The Hepworth Wakefield named in honour of local sculptor, Barbara Hepworth which opened in May 2011.

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Wakefield is crossed by the A61, A638, and A642 roads and is the starting point of the A636 and A650 roads.

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Wakefield Westgate is on the Wakefield Line of the West Yorkshire Metro network.

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Wakefield is served by inter-city express trains from both its railway stations.

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Wakefield Kirkgate is unstaffed and operated by Northern who operate trains to Barnsley, Meadowhall Interchange, Sheffield, Normanton, Pontefract, Knottingley, Leeds, Castleford and Nottingham.

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In 1356 the Chantry Chapel of St Mary the Virgin on Wakefield bridge was built originally in wood, and later in stone.

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Church of England diocese of Wakefield covered parishes mainly in West Yorkshire, parts of South Yorkshire and five parishes in North Yorkshire.

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Wakefield has two Catholic parishes – in the north St Martin de Porres incorporates the churches of St Austin's, Wentworth Terrace, opened in 1828, and English Martyrs, opened in 1932, on Dewsbury Road, Lupset, and in the south, St Peter and St Paul's off Standbridge Lane which has a modern church built in 1991.

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Wakefield Museum moved from the former Mechanics' Institute on Wood Street to Wakefield One at the same time.

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In May 2011 the Hepworth Wakefield gallery opened on the south bank of the River Calder near Wakefield Bridge, displaying work by local artists Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore and other British and international artists.

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Wakefield's three adjoining parks have a history dating back to 1893 when Clarence Park opened on land near Lawe Hill.

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Wakefield is known as the capital of the Rhubarb Triangle, an area notable for growing early forced rhubarb.

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Wakefield Trinity is a Rugby League club currently playing in the Super League.

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Wakefield briefly had a football team when Emley F C moved to play at Belle Vue, the ground of Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.

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Wakefield Archers meet at QEGS in Wakefield or at Slazengers Sports Club, Horbury and has archers shooting Olympic re-curve bows, compound bows and longbows.

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Local teams Newton Hill and Wakefield Thornes are members of the Leeds-West Riding Cricket League.

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Wakefield Prison, originally built as a house of correction in 1594, is a maximum security prison.

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Wakefield is policed by the West Yorkshire Police force and is within the DA, Wakefield division, which covers the whole district.

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Wakefield is the location of the West Yorkshire Police Headquarters.

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David Storey born in Wakefield in 1933 was a novelist and playwright who in 1960 wrote This Sporting Life, which was made into a film in 1963 and shot largely on location in the city.

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Wakefield was previously twinned with Belogorod, Russia, but this agreement was ended in response to the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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