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Woodhouse – A Brief History

6th March 2016

The area of Woodhouse would originally have been a village separate from the city centre, unlike today, where it has become almost an extension of it. It is not mentioned in the Doomsday Book as it was considered as part of the manor of Leeds.

The park, Woodhouse Moor was once part of a much larger moor of the same name, including land now occupied by the University of Leeds. As high position above Leeds, it became a military rallying point. During the Civil War in 1642, Parliamentary forces led by Thomas Fairfax massed on Woodhouse Moor before taking Leeds from the royalists.

Several important persons have visited the Moor; Queen Victoria in 1858 – in Leeds for the opening of the Town Hall, Gladstone in 1881, Lloyd George in 1902 and the Pankhursts in 1908. Woodhouse Moor was acquired as a result of the Victorian “urban parks movement”, an attempt by social reformers of the time to provide a means of escape from urban squalor. When it was first acquired, the Moor was known as “the Lungs of Leeds” due to its clean fresh air which contrasted sharply with the smoky atmospheres of Hunslet and Holbeck, where many of the city’s factories were located, and the town centre.

The Moor was one of the locations of the Festival of Britain in 1951, opened by the Princess Royal (Mary, Princess Royal, the daughter of King George V and aunt of the future Queen Elizabeth II).

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