Wortley, West Yorkshire

Wortley, West Yorkshire

Wortley (pronounced "Wurt-lee") is a district of Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. It begins a one kilometre (⅔ of a mile) to the west of the city centre. In the 1086 Domesday Book it is mentioned as "Wirtlei", also "Wirtleie" and "Wrleia".

Later it was known as "Wirkelay" until about 1700. The manor, once situated on what is now Green Hill Lane, was owned by the Hopton family until the English Civil War and then afterwards by the Smyth family. Wortley was a weaving township independent of Leeds before it became industrial with coal pits, brickworks, railway yards and engine sheds – including a roundhouse, on Wellington Road. This Listed building, originally constructed to house a dozen or so steam locomotives, is now the premises of a major commercial vehicle hire company. In the 1880s, Wortley became incorporated into the expanding (then) town of Leeds.

Wortley is divided into three areas. New Wortley is the area closest to Leeds City Centre, Armley and Holbeck; Lower Wortley is furthest from the city centre and close to Farnley, and Upper Wortley is situated between Armley and Lower Wortley.

Today, Wortley has a major 'cash and carry' warehouse, as well as many car dealerships, including main dealers for brands such as Honda, Porsche, Ford and Mazda located in Lower Wortley. These are popular in this area of the city due to the location of the Leeds Outer Ring Road that passes through Lower Wortley and connects with the M621 motorway.


As Wortley is largely a residential area, with a fairly high population density, it has two high schools and two primary schools. Although it is close to the main shopping centres of Leeds (and even closer to to Armley), there are still many parades of smaller local shops and a supermarket. There are about 12 pubs, and although there are no restaurants, there are numerous take-away establishments.

There are three parks, although only two can be seen! Wortley Park is closer to the city centre, and offers as surprisingly good views over city. Cliffe Park and Western Flats Park form one large park, though they were once the grounds of separate mansions – Cliffe House and Western Flats House. The latter was demolished a long time ago, but in the 1930s the former was handed over to the then Leeds Education Committee and turned into a residential school for 'difficult' boys, though now it has been lying derelict for many years.


"Wortley: People & Places in Wortley" by Wortley Local History Group 1993

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