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Facts


Yorkshire, as a whole, is divided into four parts, north, south, east and west. This is not, by size, an equal division as North Yorkshire is about one and a half times bigger than the other three put together. Of all other English counties, only Sussex is also divided, this time into west and east.

WEST YORKSHIRE

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FUN FACTS

West Yorkshire is the 29th largest county or metropolitan borough in England.
West Yorkshire has the 4th highest population in England.
West Yorkshire is in 8th place for density of population.

  1. The Royal Connection
  2. This was proving a little bit difficult, finding a royal connection to West Yorkshire. My father lived in Leeds for 3 years and once shook hands with the Queen. When we did live in Leeds I remember going to the bottom of our road and waving at a black car which drove past. I know royalty was in the car but I now can't remember whether it was the Queen or Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

    Then I had a stroke of luck. Michael Middleton, father to the Duchess of Cambridge, was born in Leeds in 1949. That's a connection, I thought. He was born, so my research said, on June 23rd which makes him less than a month older than me. He grew up, it said, in Moortown.

    Then I had another thought. How long was he in Leeds for and where did he go to school because I moved to Leeds for 3 years in 1956 and lived less than 3 miles from Moortown. We were the same age. In the same town, maybe I have a royal connection. Sadly my trail ran dry and we may never know unless Mr Middleton reads this and decides to let me know. It's sometimes quite amazing to trace your history and discover who you MIGHT have met.

  3. West Yorkshire Eats
  4. Here I consider myself a bit of an expert. My paternal grandmother, that means my father's mother, was born in York and brought up in York. Her father was a choir master at York Minster and my grandmother was born in Minster Gate. With that background I am sure she knew how to serve Yorkshire Puddings.

    For those of you that don't know, Yorkshire Puddings are made from a batter of eggs, flour and milk or, if you haven't got milk, water. My grandmother's father was an upholsterer and I guess the family were not that wealthy, especially as she was one of ten children. Yes, ten. When she married, her husband was also one of ten. My father had rather a lot of aunts and uncles.

    Yorkshire puddings were originally served as a first course, brought out before the main dish, and were a way to fill you up with cheap food so you did not eat so much of the expensive meat. That is exactly how we had them when we used to go to Sunday lunch with my grandmother. I remember it well. 3 or 4 little Yorkshire puddings served on a large dinner plate with a jug of gravy. Once you had eaten them, the plates would be taken to the kitchen and returned a few minutes later with the main Sunday lunch. It used to be great fun pouring the gravy into the middle and seeing how long it took to drain through until you got told off for taking too long with the gravy.

    When you cooked the puddings you used the juice, fat, from the joint you were roasting and this made the traditional northern Yorkshire puddings quite crispy and was probably why gravy was needed to soften the pudding. Certainly I remember grandmother's Yorkshires being failry crispy. Nowadays people tend to have their Yorkshire puddings with the main meal.

  5. West Yorkshire VIPs
  6. Seven random people who were born in West Yorkshire in the last 100 years:-
    Harold Wilson (Politician and Prime Minister), Sue Ryder (Charity Worker), Ed Sheeran (Singer/Musician), Nicola Adams (Athlete/Double Olympic Gold Medallist), Chris Moyles (Radio Presenter), Gabby Logan (TV Presenter) and Alan Bennett (Actor/Author/Playright).

  7. Now That's Weird
  8. There is an area of West Yorkshire known as the Rhubarb Triangle. Seriously. It is about 9 square miles and within it are farms that produce what is called early forced rhubarb. In 2010 Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb was awarded Protected Designation of Origin status which basically means no one else can use the name.

    You may be asking why West Yorkshire for rhubarb. It appears that rhubarb is native to Siberia and it thrives in the wet, cold winters of West Yorkshire. Not so long ago West Yorkshire produced 90% of the world's winter forced rhubarb.

    Your next question should be what is forced rhubarb and I will attempt to give you some sort of answer. The method was developed in the early 1800s. Fields were fertilised with horse manure and other unpleasant things and the rhubarb plants spend 2 years in the fields. While there the plants store energy from the sun in their roots as carbohydrates (this is getting a bit scientific). They are then moved to sheds in a November where they are kept in complete darkness. Here the plants grow and the carbohydrates are transformed into glucose. Forced rhubarb is apparently more tender than summer grown rhubarb.

    There is a permanent exhibition about forced rhubarb at the Wakefield Museum. Wakefield Council also holds an annual Rhubarb festival in February each year. Tours of the forcing sheds are among the attractions. In 2005 they erected a sculpture showing a rhubarb plant in Holmfield Park, Wakefield. Rhubarb is big in Wakefield.

  9. It Happened Here
  10. When you are making a movie or a TV programme you have a few choices about where it is set. You can, if you want, build a complete village, town or whatever on a set at a studio. This is how EastEnders for example is filmed. Another thing you can do is find a suitable location somewhere and film there. In fact when I was travelling around some of the island countries in the Pacific Ocean in 2007 I met up with a couple of movie producers who said I should have a job looking for locations for movies or TV programmes as such a job does exist. Unfortunately I had another job working with schools but I quite fancy the idea of popping off somewhere to find a suitable location to film a blockbuster. The village in the picture on the right is called Holmfirth in West Yorkshire.

    Between 1973 and 2010 a British sitcom called Last of the Summer Wine was broadcast by the BBC. It ran for 296 episodes and is the longest running comedy programme in Britain and the longest running sitcom in the world. It centred on a trio of old men and their misadventures. It was filmed in and around that village of Holmfirth. There is now an exhibition to Last of the Summer Wine in the village.

  11. Richard Remembers
  12. Although West Yorkshire has no coastline it does have memories for me as I lived in Leeds for 3 years between 1956 and 1959. It was while there we bought our first television, I saw my first reservoir (it was at the side of the road we lived on), I went to Iley Moor wthout a hat and met a TV celebrity. None of you would know him but ask your parents, or more likely your grandparents, who was Eddie Waring? His son and I went to the same school for a year and he came and picked his son up one day and his car was surrounded by boys asking for his autograph. He was, at that stage, far better known in Yorkshire and I had just arrived from London so I really had no idea who he was.

    For two years I attended Leeds Grammar school, junior branch, which, if memory serves was in Claredon Road. On my second coastal trip I went back to Leeds to find my school and discovered both it and the senior school where we walked each day for lunch, had been moved miles away. Bit of a shock.

    Weather in that part of England in winter is cold. One afternoon, when we were due to play rugby, there was several feet of snow. We still went to the playing fields and were divided into teams and had a snowball fight having first built a protective snow-wall.

    I aslo remember another weather related incident. Despite being only 8 I had to get home on my own each day. This involved a walk of about a mile and then a 3 mile bus ride on a normal bus, not a special school bus. The walk involved going across an open space called Woodhouse Moor, shown in the picture.

    One day, I think in November, it was very foggy when we left school. The first part of my walk was along a pavement and I could see a few yards in front of me but when I reached Woodhouse Moor I genuinely could not see more than a foot in front of me. There were no landmarks and I had to pick my direction from memory. I walked very slowly, had several close encounters with trees but eventually, more by luck than skill, came out on Woodhouse Lane where I would catch my bus to Ancaster Road. When the bus arrived the bus conductor, yes we had those, was walking in front of the bus with a lamp as the driver couldn't see anything. The journey, normally about 40 minutes, took me nearly two hours and with no mobile phones I couldn't let my mother know.

    Just looked this all up on a map and it turns out I could have continued along Clarendon Road, I got that right, and still reached Woodhouse Lane but I would not have made friends with so many trees. In this modern world, neither the snowball fight nor the foggy walk home would have been allowed. We were brought up to be tough, especially in Yorkshire.

  13. Owlbut's Birdwatch
  14. The magpie is not only quite a common bird but it is also very distinctive. It is mainly black and white with a little bit of blue and green. You can notice this more if you can see one close-up. Their leg colour is black while the beak is of medium length and powerful and chunky. They are omnivores, which means they will eat almost anything, and scavengers, which means they will look for their food almost anywhere as well.

    They are about 45 cms in length, have a wingspan between 52 and 60 cms and weigh between 200 and 250 grams. There are nearly a million birds in England. They can be found in woodland, farmland, grassland and in the country and in towns,;in fact almost anywhere. There are a lot of superstitions about magpies. It is said you should always greet a magpie by saying "hello" or something similar. This is to avoid bad luck or to have good luck. My son used to say "aye, aye captain", if he saw a lone magpie. I've no idea why.

    There is also a nursery rhymen about magpies depending on how many you see at one time. The rhyme goes, One for sorrow, Two for joy, Three for a girl, Four for a boy, Five for silver, Six for gold, Seven for a secret never to be told. Eight for a wish, Nine for a kiss, Ten for a bird you must not miss.

We have asked the local Tourist Board(s) for a small contribution (50 pounds) to the cost of running this project and, in anticipation of their agreement, we are providing a link to their site(s) for the next five years. I can assure you we won't see anywhere near everything when we are there, so, if you fancy taking a trip into westyorkshire check it (them) out for some great information. Apart from anything else it will get you out in the fresh air, walking around and one day you might be over 70 and still enthusiastically mobile.

All figures the latest available as at July 2020