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Title: Harehills  
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Subject: Chapeltown, Leeds, Architecture of Leeds, 2001 Harehills riot, Gipton, A58 road
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Harehills Lane
Harehills is located in West Yorkshire
 Harehills shown within West Yorkshire
Population 9,687 
OS grid reference
Metropolitan borough City of Leeds
Metropolitan county West Yorkshire
Region Yorkshire and the Humber
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LEEDS
Postcode district LS8/LS9
Dialling code 0113
Police West Yorkshire
Fire West Yorkshire
Ambulance Yorkshire
EU Parliament Yorkshire and the Humber
UK Parliament Leeds North East
List of places

Harehills is an inner-city area of east Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. It is approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) north east of Leeds city centre. Harehills is situated between the A58 (towards Wetherby) and the A64 (towards York). Harehills had a population of 9,687 in 2011.[1][2]


  • Overview 1
  • History 2
  • Amenities 3
  • Transport 4
    • Leeds Overground 4.1
  • Religion 5
  • Crime 6
  • Bad Press 7
  • Regeneration 8
  • Gallery 9
  • Location grid 10
  • See also 11
  • References 12
  • External links 13


It is situated between Burmantofts and Gipton, and adjacent to Chapeltown. As the name suggests it is a hill area, basically a south-facing slope, with many streets of terraced houses on hills. In the middle is Banstead Park, a grassy slope with trees and play areas, giving a view over the city of Leeds. Banstead Park was home to rioting in 2001.[3] Along with neighbouring Chapeltown, Harehills has suffered from rioting and sporadic unrest.[4] However, there have been no notable incidents of unrest in Harehills since 2001.

The cheaper housing has made it attractive to immigrants, with the result that it has a considerable cultural and ethnic mixture. There are two main shopping streets, Harehills Lane and Harehills Road which join at the junction of Roundhay Road (A58 road) leading to Oakwood. Also, heading 0.6 miles (1 km) up Harehills Lane towards the A64 York Road at the junction with Compton Road, is Harehills's other main shopping area.

Official Government figures have listed Harehills as the 429th most deprived of England’s 8,414 electoral wards – in the top 5%. Unemployment in Harehills is at 9%, compared to less than 4% across the City of Leeds.[5]

St James' University Hospital is partly situated in Harehills.

On the August Bank Holiday the Leeds Carnival is held with a procession through Harehills and Chapeltown.

IMPaCT is a community partnership which aims to improve the Chapeltown and Harehills areas.


Contrary to popular belief, the name is more likely to derive from Old English hār meaning "grey" rather than having anything to do with hares.[6]

Bayswater Avenue in 1953

By 1850, Leeds had grown through industrialisation, to the North, South and West, however there was a particular lack of development to the East of the city. The existing villages did not seem to stimulate any suburban growth in this area. The mining activity to the East of the city also failed to stimulate growth. At this time there was open countryside only a mile from Briggate. The building of the Leeds tramway along York Road and Roundhay Road began to stimulate some growth, and by the time of the production on the 1906 Ordnance Survey Map, Harehills was an established community. At this time Harehills was home to a purpose built reservoir, owned by the Leeds Corporation Water Works. There were also by this time two large textile factories on Hudson Road, as well as two large brick works, The Harehills Brickworks and the Gipton Brickworks (the latter being on Darfield Road in Harehills and not in Gipton as the name would suggest), there was the York Road Iron Works as well as a few farms, which were quickly redeveloped.

Harehills and the surrounding area also had significant mining infrastructure, with collieries at York Road, Killingbeck, Neville Hill, Osmondthorpe and Burmantofts. However none of these collieries survived beyond the 1960s. Throughout the second half of the Twentieth century, coal was generally brought from Rothwell, Castleford and Pontefract.

Until 1900 the tramways on York Road were pulled by horses, however in 1900 they were electrified. This improved transportation and stimulated further growth around Harehills, Burmantofts and Osmondthorpe. The location of St James' Hospital also stimulated growth in the area. The Hospital quickly grew to be one of the city's main hospitals, and is now the largest in Yorkshire.

Ashley Road and Darfield Crescent

By the 1960s, the mining and textile industry in Harehills was dwindling and the area was particularly run down. This led to the development of new housing, particularly around the hospital, such as the building of the Shakespeare high rise flats. Most of Harehills stayed the same, and even now, most of the Victorian terraces and back to backs still stand. Most of the council development around East Leeds was in new communities such as Gipton, Seacroft, Halton Moor, Swarcliffe and Whinmoor. Throughout the latter decades of the twentieth century Harehills' industrial areas generally declined and have been converted into car garages, light warehouses, self-storage centres and such.

Low rental prices coupled with the fact that most could not qualify for a council house attracted many commonwealth immigrants to Harehills, throughout the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Harehills now has significant Asian and Afro-Caribbean communities. Crime and deprivation continue to be an issue in Harehills. Racial tension has caused problems in the area, resulting in rioting in 2001.[7]


Harehills Parade, Roundhay Road

Harehills' amenities are not located within one centre but spread across the area, mainly on Roundhay Road and Harehills Lane. Harehills Lane is a traditional shopping street with many individual shops and the library. Harehills [8] There are several public houses in Harehills, although considerably fewer than there once were. This has been partly ascribed to the increase in the Muslim population, who do not drink alcohol.[9] Pubs remaining in Harehills include Delaney's Irish Bar, The Dock Green and the Samuel Smiths pub, The Brown Hare. There are no secondary schools actually in Harehills but many situated close by.


Construction of the former Leeds Tramway along Roundhay Road in Harehills.

Harehills is situated between the A58 and the A64. It has no form of public transport other than the numerous bus routes that run through various parts of the district. It was formerly on the network of the Leeds Tramway and was on a proposed route of the Leeds Supertram before its cancellation. However it may yet gain a light transit system, if its inclusion on the Leeds Trolleybus comes to fruition as suggested. The location of St James' University Hospital has prompted the inclusion of Harehills in such projects. In 1949 Tetley's Coaches, a local coach operator, was founded in Harehills. However since then the coach operator has moved its offices to Hunslet.[10] Harehills is well placed for access to Leeds city centre and Wetherby. Buses run through Harehills to Leeds city centre, Oakwood, Roundhay, Gipton, Seacroft and Wetherby. Buses running through Harehills are operated by First Leeds, while other infrastructure is maintained by Metro.

Leeds Overground

Harehills is served by four bus services on the 'Leeds Overground' (frequent bus services identified by a schematic colour-coded map similar to that used on the London Underground). The Orange line runs along the A58 Roundhay Road, linking Harehills with Seacroft, Leeds city centre and Horsforth. The Purple line also runs along Roundhay Road linking Harehills with Seacroft, Leeds city centre and Bramley. The Blue line runs along Roundhay Road linking Harehills with Oakwood, Roundhay and Leeds city centre. The Mauve line runs along Harehills Lane, linking Harehills with Gipton, Leeds city centre and Farnley.[11]


The area has at least eight places of worship, indicative of the changing population of the area, with an Anglican church being the oldest and a mosque the most recent.[9] The oldest is St Aidan's, the Anglican parish church, a Victorian brick building, noted for its Frank Brangwyn mosaics. It was completed in 1894, and is on Roundhay Road, on the south side of Banstead Park. The vicar of St Aidan's Church, Alan Taylor, is also (2010) a Leeds City Councillor.[12] Another Anglican Church is St Wilfrid's on Chatsworth Road, a 1927 brick building, part of the Forward in Faith movement.[9] The Roman Catholic parish church is St Augustine's, a 1937 brick building on Harehills Road, a little to the north of Banstead Park.[13] On Banstead Terrace, the north side of Banstead Park is the Trinity United Church a 1983 brick building.[14] It combined congregations from a Methodist and two United Reformed Churches in the area. On Harehills Lane is the Baptist Church, a 1928 brick building [15] and the Jamia Masjid Bilal Mosque built in 1996 to serve the local Pakistani community, but now having a much more diverse congregation of recent immigrants.[9] On Easterly Road an old school building is (since 1988) home to the New Testament Church of God, a Pentacostal congregation of mainly African or Afro-Caribbean origin.[9] The only Greek Orthodox Church in Leeds is The Three Hierarchs, in a former Methodist Church (1906 stone building) on Harehills Avenue, which attracts worshippers from all over Yorkshire.[9]


The continental supermarket on the A58 Roundhay Road, was formerly the Fforde Grene, a troubled pub which eventually closed.

Harehills has a poor reputation in the Leeds area, as does neighbouring [8][18][19][20][21][22]

Bad Press

A Kooky Old Place, a BBC Report

The area has been subject to much bad press over the years. In 2002, the BBC[23] interviewed local residents. One resident described Harehills as "a horrible place to live" and complained about joy riding, rubbish, drug dealing, arson and vermin. The man's report went on to say:

"Often you will see a group of young children chasing vermin into an overgrown backyard. This is a sight you would expect to see in a third-world country not the modern, vibrant city that Leeds portrays itself to be."[24]

Another resident described it as being a pleasant place since the 1970s, but has since changed 'beyond recognition'.[23]

However a third interviewed resident was more positive, although critical in her report, and echoing many of the complaints before, she mentions the 'pride of the residents in the upkeep of their houses'.[25]

Yorkshire Evening Post

The Yorkshire Evening Post has reported on numerous crimes in Harehills. Most articles regarding Harehills are regarding serious crime in the area, including assault, robbery and shootings.[26] From June to August 2008, the Yorkshire Evening Post reported on four serious assaults including one murder (including the use of firearms)[27][28][29][30]

The Yorkshire Evening Post has also reported on the poor state of public space in Harehills.[31]


Street sign in Harehills

In October 2003, Harehills received £100,000 toward regeneration from Harehills Festival and the improvements to the local library to include a one stop shop for the local council.Leeds City Council


Images of Harehills

Location grid

See also


  1. ^ Harehills is made up of 13 output areas in the Gipton and Harehills Ward, all of these are in the south-east part of the ward
  2. ^ Harehills is made up of 20 output areas in the north of the Burmantofts and Richmond Hill ward
  3. ^ BBC News 6 June, 2001 No excuse for Leeds riot
  4. ^ [4]
  5. ^ a b [ARCHIVED CONTENT] New hope for Harehills as regeneration process set to begin - Yorkshire Forward
  6. ^ Ekwall, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place Names (1960)
  7. ^ a b No excuse' for Leeds riot"'". BBC News. 2001-06-06. Retrieved 2010-05-04. 
  8. ^ a b [5]
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Harehills 2008 Hufton et al. Religious Mapping of Leeds, University of Leeds Dept of Theology and Religious Studies
  10. ^ Tetley's Coaches
  11. ^ Maps | Leeds | FirstGroup plc
  12. ^ Councillor Alan taylor
  13. ^ St Augustine's Webpage
  14. ^ Trinity United Webpage
  15. ^ Foundation Stone
  16. ^ "More photos released in hunt for rioters". BBC News. 2001-08-07. Retrieved 2010-05-04. 
  17. ^ BBC - Leeds Features - Guide to Harehills
  18. ^ "Funeral held for shooting victim". BBC News. 2008-08-01. Retrieved 2010-05-04. 
  19. ^ "'"Girl 'was found with throat cut. BBC News. 2008-04-24. Retrieved 2010-05-04. 
  20. ^ "Dozens pay respects to gun victim". BBC News. 2008-08-01. Retrieved 2010-05-04. 
  21. ^ "Masked gunmen target man in house". BBC News. 2008-06-25. Retrieved 2010-05-04. 
  22. ^ "Man remanded over takeaway murder". BBC News. 2008-06-12. Retrieved 2010-05-04. 
  23. ^ a b BBC - Leeds Features - Harehills: A kooky old place
  24. ^ BBC - Leeds Features - Harehills
  25. ^ BBC - Leeds Features - Harehills: Not so kooky
  26. ^ [6]
  27. ^ Harehills street sealed off after assault - Yorkshire Evening Post
  28. ^ Leeds Harehills shooting: FIRST PICTURE OF VICTIM - Yorkshire Evening Post
  29. ^ VIDEO Leeds Harehills shooting: victim dies - Yorkshire Evening Post
  30. ^ Leeds Harehills shooting: e-fit issue - Yorkshire Evening Post
  31. ^ LET US PLAY - city's park shame - Yorkshire Evening Post
  32. ^ Children's Centre to Boost Harehills Regeneration (Leeds Liberal Democrats)

External links

  • IMPaCT Community Website
  • BBC Guide to Harehills
  • Appeal after take-away shooting
  • "The Ancient Parish of Leeds". Historical and genealogical resource for area including Harehills  
  • Leodis Aerial view of Harehills (1990s)
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