Wakefield Facts – Interesting & Unusual

  • Wakefield is the principal City of the West Riding and County Hall was the administrative centre for West Riding County Council from 1898.
  • The name “Wakefield” may derive from “Waca’s field” (but then it would be near Liverpool surely) meaning open land belonging to someone named “Waca”. More likely it is derived from witch or wake a festival in a field.

Wakefield's Trinity Shopping

The Arts and Wakefield

  • ‘There is no such thing as bad weather, every sky has its beauty.’ A quotation from Wakefield’s Victorian novelist George Gissing. His former home is open on a Saturday as the Gissing Centre in Thompsons Yard. The centre houses family memorabilia, exhibition material and a large collection of books by and about George Gissing.
  • For an unusual museum visit the Museum of Mental Health at Stephen Beaumont museum Ouchthorpe Lane (what an address for Fieldhead hospital).
  • Drury Lane London eat your heart out! Drury Lane Wakefield is the home of our own Theatre Royal, The Art House and the Artwalk. John Godber and company are based at the theatre.
  • ‘The Hepworth’ sculpture gallery is already speaking for itself as a new art space designed by architects David Chipperfield (like a circus tent then?). Thursday evenings looks like a favourite with late opening, dining and shopping until 9.00pm.

Wakefield drinking

  • Coal was dug from Wakefield from the 15th Century. By 1869, there were 44 different coal pits.
  • In the post-war period the National Coal Board was the biggest employer.
  • The two biggest coal mines – Manor Colliery on Cross Lane and Park Hill colliery at Eastmoor were closed in 1982, one of the first major closures of the 1980s
  • In 1906, Scottish/American businessman Andrew Carniege gave a grant of £8,000 for the Wakefield Library on Drury Lane.

History of Wakefield

  • The area around Wakefield was the home of the Brigantes until it was occupied by the Romans around 43 AD.
    During the Wars of the Roses, Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York was killed in the Battle of Wakefield on 30 December 1460.
  • During the Civil War, Wakefield was a Royalist stronghold until Sir Thomas Fairfax captured the town for the Parliamentarians in 1643.
  • An Act of Parliament was passed in 1699 creating the Aire-Calder Navigation which provided the town with access to the North Sea and helped Wakefield become a prosperous market town.

Injured Observation

The medieval Chantry bridge and Chantry Chapel over the River Calder in Wakefield.


Photo: J3MRs

Odd Unusual Facts about Wakefield

  • Two children’s nursery rhymes already have local ‘connections; “Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush” which may have been sung by women inmates at Wakefield prison and “The Grand Old Duke of York” which may allude to the Battle of Wakefield in 1460, referring to Richard Plantagenet, the 3rd Duke of York.’ From wikipedia
  • In the Middle ages Wakefield was known as the “Merrie City”
  • Wakefield Trinity renamed themselves the Wildcats for Rugby League premiership.

Wakefield is known as the capital of the Rhubarb Triangle.

The Hepworth Wakefield

Photo Credits
Injured Observation by neonbubble CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 at Wakefield Trinity match
The Hepworth Wakefield by diamond geezer CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 ‘Wakefield’s new landmark sculpture gallery rises up at the foot of a weir on the river Calder’
Northgate Wakefield & Cathedral Silhouette by rofanator CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Northgate Wakefield & Cathedral Silhouette

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