Leeds was historically a small manorial borough during the 13th century, evolving into a market town by the 16th century. A major production centre, Leeds saw the invention of carbonated water during the 1760s, and was predominantly a trading centre for wool during the 17th and 18th centuries. The Industrial Revolution brought the flax industry, iron foundries, engineering, and printing into focus for Leeds businesses, and by 1893 the area had been granted city status, with a popular urban centre forming during the following century which completely absorbed the surrounding villages.
Today, Leeds is regarded as one of the nation’s fastest growing cities, and is a driving force behind the UK’s business economy. The financial and business services account for 38% of Leeds’ total economic output, with retail, leisure, tourism, construction, manufacturing, and the creative and digital industries sitting among the other key sectors. Leeds also has one of the most diverse economies within the UK’s main employment centres.
From the ruins of Kirkstall Abbey, to the eighteenth-century Harewood House, to the Leeds Grand Theatre, Leeds is also home to some historic and stunning sights of architecture, as well as a total of five well-respected universities - The University of Leeds, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds Trinity University, Leeds Art University, and Leeds Conservatoire.