Pudsey

in the West Riding of Yorkshire

 

Pudsey is an ancient township lying on the eastern foothills of the Yorkshire Pennines. It has a long and proud history, being mentioned in the Domesday Survey of l087/l088, and from the earliest times has been associated with the manufacture of woollen cloth.

During the late nineteenth century Pudsey fought off territorial ambitions of the adjoining cities of Leeds and Bradford, and in 1900 proudly received the last Charter of Incorporation granted by Queen Victoria.
In 1937 it annexed the neighbouring villages of Farsley and Calverley. But in 1974 came keen humiliation when, following local government reorganisation, Pudsey became part of the Metropolitan City of Leeds.

The Pudsey Pudding

In 1846 Pudsey celebrated the repeal of the Corn Laws by making an enormous plum pudding which was drawn through the town on a 'wherry' (an open cart), heralded by a brass band. It was subsequently consumed by the good people of Pudsey, seated at long tables in Crawshaw woollen mill yard.

Find out more about the original pudding.

The recipe still exists if you want to try it for yourself.


and what of today's Pudsey?

Today most of the mills have gone, the smoke too. The nonconformist chapels are reduced to four and the handloom weavers' cottages, distributed about the town 'like seeds scattered unawares', have become increasingly sought-after for their 'old-world' quality.

There is some light industry although Pudsey has largely become a dormitory for Leeds and Bradford, yet it retains much that was best of the old town.

It has a busy shopping centre with an open market on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Dilapidated property in Booth's Yard has been transformed into an attractive cobbled shopping street.

Pudsey also has an 'out-of-town retail park', the Owlcotes Centre.

Near the town centre is a new Sports Centre and a spacious park with attractions including a bowling green, modern aviary, aquarium, miniature zoo and childrens' playground.


The Cricket Connection.

In a town which produced both Herbert Sutcliffe and Len Hutton the cricketing tradition is still strong.

At the 'top end' Pudsey St Lawrence celebrated its 150th anniversary in 1995, whilst at the 'bottom end' Britannia Cricket Club's ground was recently acquired by a survivor of the local Sunday School League, the 'Pudsey Congs'. Both teams acquit themselves well in local leagues and have faithful and sagacious followings of those in who knowledge of the subtleties of cricket is inbred.


The Moravians

In the 1740s a group of Moravian brethren settled in the south of the town. Here they built their settlement of Fulneck, the architectural merit of which is now recognised by its' Grade I listing.

The Moravians' extensive estate was never developed industrially. With the adjoining estates of Tong Hall and Tyersal Hall it forms an oasis of countryside between the busy-ness of Leeds and Bradford.

The Pudsey Civic Society is cooperating in a Countryside Commission initiative to conserve its many ancient rights of way, some of which retain stretches of old 'causeys', for centuries plied by generations of packhorses.


Local Architecture

Pudsey is still essentially a stone town, built from the wealth of local quarries. As well as the clusters of stone cottages the town is studded with Larger, detached, two or three storeyed houses built by cloth manufacturers and woolstaplers nearly two hundred years ago. It also has some elegant Georgian houses, notably Nesbit Hall and Height House. But the town is dominated by the great parish church of St Lawrence, externally little altered from when it was built in 1821-1824. From whichever direction the town is approached the tower of Pudsey Church stands boldly on the horizon.

article written by Ruth Strong

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