Townships, villages and districts: descriptions over time.
Leeds received its first charter as a borough from King John in 1207 and its boundaries remained relatively unchanged until the twentieth century when the process of expansion began, absorbing surrounding villages and settlements.
This map from 1839 (click on ‘Map’ on the left for a larger version) shows the individual townships that comprised the Borough of Leeds at that time: ten out-townships, clustered around the central township of Leeds itself. Often the township included a number of distinct villages and settlements. If you click on the township name on the left you will be taken to the relevant page where there is a larger extract of the map for that township if it is one of the original eleven. This map does not of course cover later additions to the city like Roundhay, Seacroft, Shadwell and Cross Gates (added in 1912); Middleton (1919); Adel (1925) or Alwoodley, Temple Newsam, and Eccup (1927).
The original and later townships, villages and districts are listed on the left: click on the name and you will find the relevant description from Kelly’s Directory over a number of decades, sometimes together with other historical material, listed by date. Together these help to provide a picture of the development of each place over time. Some items are extracts from books, like the Kelly entries, while others are complete books or articles presented in their entirety, the most recent ones contributed by our members.
Under the heading of Leeds itself you will a complete copy of the first Leeds directory from 1798 (in a reprint from 1898, presented to the Society by the publisher); also a complete copy of Baines's Directory of 1817 (with some press cuttings, added by a previous owner, of the moot hall and its demolition, and a response to a question about the first Leeds Directory). Dodgson's Guide to Leeds from 1879 can also be read here in its entirety.
Some of the pages are illustrated using maps or images from our extensive collections. Eventually all pages will have an illustration.
Since these pages are scanned it is not possible for you to search within them, but we hope you will enjoy browsing and exploring the story of these many different areas of Leeds, including your own neighbourhood.
As this part of the website is still being developed, we would welcome your feedback and suggestions for additional material. We can only display a small portion of our collections here but you are welcome to come and view the originals. Contact our librarian to arrange a time to come to the Library.