Rothwell, Yorkshire

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West Riding
Commercial Street, Rothwell.jpg
Commercial Street
Grid reference: SE345285
Location: 53°45’19"N, 1°28’25"W
Population: 21,010
Post town: Leeds
Postcode: LS26
Dialling code: 0113
Local Government
Council: Leeds
Elmet and Rothwell

Rothwell is a market town in the West Riding of Yorkshire, close by Leeds, with a population of 21,010 as at the 2011 census.

The town is part of the Rhubarb Triangle. It has benefited from recent improvements in the transport infrastructure, most notably the nearby A1/M1 link road. The nearest railway station though is Woodlesford.


Holy Trinity church in Rothwell

Rothwell is listed in the 1086 Domesday Book as Rodewelle. It has a long history and was once the site of a royal hunting lodge (at Rothwell Castle, off Wood Lane). One of the lodge's documented owners was John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster, who is supposed to have killed the last wild boar in England while hunting nearby (one of many places and ages to make the claim), hence a boar's head formed part of the arms of the former Rothwell Urban District Council.

The parish church (Church Street) is dedicated to Holy Trinity and is on the site of an Anglo Saxon predecessor. The current church, which has a ring of eight bells, is of mediæval origins but was substantially rebuilt in the 19th century: the tower retains mediæval fabric believed to be from the 15th century.

John Blenkinsop (1783–1831), a pioneer in the use of steam locomotives on the nearby Middleton Railway, is buried at Holy Trinity church.

The town was granted the rights of a market town in the 15th century and a twice yearly fair. The tradition of a fair is maintained by the annual Carnival which is organised by the Rothwell Entertainments Committee. The Carnival takes place in early July in Springhead Park.

20th century

St George's Hospital was situated off Wood Lane where now exists Castle Lodge Avenue and associated houses. It was built in 1903 to a design by Leeds architect Edward J Dodgshun by the Rothwell, Methley and Hunslet Joint Isolation Hospital Committee which was formed under the Isolation Hospitals Act 1893 by an order of the West Riding County Council 10 January 1900. When first constructed it was known as the New Union Workhouse and Infirmary for the Hunslet Union, On being taken over by the Leeds Public Assistance Committee in 1934 it was renamed St George's Hospital. In 1934 it was transferred to the Leeds Health Committee. In 1948 the hospital was managed by the Leeds Group B Hospital Management Committee. After local government reorganisation in 1974 it was transferred to the Leeds Eastern District and soon after to the Leeds Western District. The Hospital was closed in December 1991. From 1934 the hospital provided accommodation for the elderly ill, patients with chronic and acute mental illness, persons with learning disabilities, a maternity ward and a separate isolation ward. The site was developed for housing at the start of the 21st century but the original tall clock tower remains.[1]

Rothwell Temperance Band is a Championship section brass band founded in Rothwell in 1984. Although they do not rehearse in Rothwell itself, they have strong connections with the town and hold many concerts for the local community. They actually rehearse in Wakefield. The closest Champion Section Brass Band is the Yorkshire Imperial Urquhart Travel Band, formerly of the Yorkshire Imperial Copperworks based in Stourton, from which the band is named. The Imps, as they are more commonly known, merged with the original Rothwell Band (founded 1881) in the 1990s.

The Imps are one of the original great British brass bands, recording many studio albums, making various TV and radio appearances and for also having a performance pedigree second to none in many leading concert venues. The band has also made its name by winning many of the major titles including the National Championships of Great Britain in 1978, three British Open titles and BBC Band of the Year in 1981. The Imps did rehearse in Rothwell but after years of relentless vandalism, lack of support from the local community, the Temperance Society sold the band room on Butcher Lane forcing the band to relocate to Methley (about 2.5 miles away) in 2003.

Famous persons from Rothwell include the scientist Joseph Priestley. Joseph Priestley College in Rothwell was named after him, but became part of Leeds City College in August 2011.

Rothwell has a long history of coal mining. It was a site of early mining, using a system known as Bell pits. Coal mining has been carried out in the area for over 600 years, though coal production stopped on 9 December 1983. There were many local pits including the Fanny, the Rose, and Rothwell Water Haigh. In 1995, Leeds City Council and Leeds Groundwork formed a partnership which, together with local residents and community groups, transformed the former colliery into a country park.

Aerial map of Rothwell

21st century

Rothwell has a vibrant town centre, including several national high street chains, a computer repair centre and the largest Working Men's Club in the country. Since late 2007, the town centre has been undergoing significant redevelopment, which has already involved the erection of a large parade of shops at the rear of Jail Yard and Commercial Street, opened in February 2008, to replace the majority of those from the old precinct, which has been demolished. The new parade includes new stores, not of the highest quality but fine for a working man. Around half a dozen shops on Commercial Street were redeveloped.


Places of interest

  • Oulton Hall & Golf Course – Owned by De Vere who also own The Belfry
  • Rothwell Sports Centre
  • Rothwell Working Men's Club
  • Rothwell Labour Club
  • The remains of Rothwell Castle
  • Springhead Park
  • Rothwell Holy Trinity Church
  • Rothwell Colliery Country Park
  • World Famous Oldroyd's Rhubarb Farm

Outside links