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Bramley – A Brief History

8th March 2016

Bramley is a district in west Leeds around 5 miles from the city centre. The area is an old industrial area with lots of 19th century architecture and 20th century  housing. Having a train station that has you in Leeds city centre in just 9 minutes and an abundance of bus routes it’s a great place for commuters and families.


The first mention of Bramley comes in the Domesday Book compiled for William the Conqueror in 1086.

In the generations that followed the Norman landlords were to develop the economic potential of the Aire Valley, which was at the time still a relatively isolated pastoral area and not the suburb of a big city as it is today.

This was particularly true of Kirkstall Abbey founded by Henry De Lacy in 1152. As time passed the new Cistercian house began to acquire land throughout the area, given to them as acts of piety by landholders both rich and small. One of these was tenement at Whitcote: the name is medieval despite the popular local tradition that the area got its name from a platoon of soldiers with white coats who were stationed there during the Civil War.

Kirkstall began to build up a large holding in Bramley as it did elsewhere in the Aire valley, and the tenement at Whitcotes probably became the centre of a monastic grange, or farm. This would be worked by local people, but the profits would go to the Abbey.

After the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539 the Abbey’s lands at Bramley passed into the hands of Tudor entrepreneurs who continued to develop the resources offered by the land for their own use. Two centuries later came the mill owners and all the associated trades that the woollen industry brings with it.

Today there’s only the woodland of Bramley Fall to remind us of Bramley’s rural past, and even in Bramley Fall there are quarries.

Local interest

Two great outdoor areas are Bramley Falls Wood, which runs beside the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, and Bramley Park, which contains an underground reservoir at its highest point. At Bramley Park a fireworks display and the Bramley Carnival is held most years. A popular Boot Camp from Trailblazer Fitness is held in the park at 6.30pm each Monday and a Park Run at 9am each Saturday.

Bramley Baths are an example of Edwardian swimming baths. Built in 1904, and restored, it has a 25-metre pool, a gymnasium and a Russian steam room. The baths were used for dances during its early years, when the pool was covered with a large dance floor. The baths are among the best remaining examples of an Edwardian baths in Leeds today. They have a great selection of fitness classes and a full and convenient timetable of swimming lessons. Great discounts are given with a Leeds Card.

Bramley Shopping Centre is a 1960s-style shopping plaza which was erected to replace the traditional stone-built village centre. Shops include charity shops, banks, travel agents, bakeries, pawnbrokers, pharmacists, a post office, Tesco, Greggs, Pizza Hut Delivery, a thrift shop, a dental practice and fast food takeaways.

The Daisy fish and chip shop on Stanningley Road many locals would argue is the best one in Leeds or perhaps even Yorkshire! The queues round the block at opening time and people that travel for miles around speak for themselves.

There are too many pubs in Bramley to list! A popular one with locals is The Old Unicorn which has recently undertaken a huge re-furbishment and is known for its excellent and reasonable priced ‘pub grub.’


There are lots of primary schools in Bramley, including Stanningley Primary, St Peter’s C of E and Whitecote Primary.

The local High School is West Leeds Academy http://www.leedswestacademy.org.uk/.


Bramley railway station has regular services to Leeds, Bradford, Halifax and Manchester Victoria http://www.nationalrail.co.uk.

Bramley is easily accessible by regular bus routes from Leeds city centre, operated by First Leeds http://www.firstgroup.com/leeds.
















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