Wetherby as viewed from Micklethwaite across the River Wharfe.
Wetherby shown within West Yorkshire
|OS grid reference|
|Metropolitan borough||City of Leeds|
|Metropolitan county||West Yorkshire|
|Region||Yorkshire and the Humber|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||Yorkshire and the Humber|
|List of places: UK • England • Yorkshire|
Wetherby is a market town and civil parish within the metropolitan borough of the City of Leeds, in West Yorkshire, England. It stands on the River Wharfe, and has been for centuries a crossing place and staging post on the Great North Road, being mid-way between London and Edinburgh. It has a population of 11,155.
Historically a part of the Wapentake of Skyrack within the West Riding of Yorkshire, Wetherby is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Wedrebi, thought to derive from wether- or ram-farm or else meaning "settlement on the bend of a river". Local folklore has it that when heavy snow storms hit the county, Wetherby does not get as much because the Weather Goes By.
Wetherby Bridge, which spans the River Wharfe, is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a Grade II listed structure. As a result of its situation on the main road, a large number of coaching inns were established in Wetherby, and many are still used today by travellers. The Old Great North Road is still in place and "Toll Bar House" is still present today. It underwent refurbishment in the late 90's but the main part of the house is unchanged apart from the two chimney pots being reversed during the refurbishment.
In the 12th and 13th centuries the Knights Templar and later the Knights Hospitallers were granted land and properties in Yorkshire. The local Preceptory founded in 1217 was at Ribston Park. In 1240 the Knights Templar were granted by Royal Charter of Henry III the right to hold a market in Wetherby (known then as Werreby). The Charter stated the market should be held on a Thursday and a yearly fair was permitted lasting three days over the day of St James the Apostle.
From 1318 to 1319 the North of England suffered many raids from the Scots. After the Battle of Bannockburn Wetherby was burned and many people taken and killed. According to the blue plaque at the entrance to the lane, Scott Lane could be named after the Scottish raiders in 1318, or perhaps after the 18th century drovers who used Wetherby as a watering place.
Wetherby had a small part to play in the English Civil War in 1644. Before marching to Tadcaster and then to Marston Moor, the Parliamentarians spent two days in Wetherby while joining forces with the Scots.
For many years the town was home to Wharfedale Brewery which became Oxley's mineral water factory during the inter-war years. The factory was demolished in the 1950s and was redeveloped as the West Yorkshire bus depot and bus station, and has since been further redeveloped to include shops, offices, and a restaurant in addition to the bus station. The nearby watermill, which was situated by the weir, is now the site of luxury riverside flats.
During World War II, nearby Tockwith airfield was renamed 'Marston Moor Airfield' to avoid confusion with Topcliffe Airfield. Part of the airfield is now used as a driver training centre and the old control tower is used as the offices. Parts of the runways can still be seen.
Heart-throb of the American silver screen, Clark Gable was stationed during the war at Marston Moor Airfield. USAAF Captain Gable was a member of the ground staff, he was later transferred to RAF Polebrook in Northamptonshire, during this time Adolf Hitler offered a reward to anyone who was able to catch the airman.
Wetherby had the only landship north of London, built on Hallfield Lane in 1942 (it later become the local secondary school), named in turn; HMS Cabot, Demetrius, Rodney and Ceres. The base was closed in 1958 and transferred to Chatham.
Throughout the 1960s the town council deliberated over how best to enlarge the town centre to cope with the needs of a growing population and to provide the town with a purpose built supermarket. Plans were put forward to enlarge the town over the ings, or to develop the town centre into a pedestrian precinct. In the end it was decided to build a purpose built shopping precinct, which was built in the 1970s and underwent a significant redevelopment throughout 2003. By 2006 the remaining open parts of the Horsefair Centre were enclosed under a glass canopy roof.
For many years from 1959, the town's bypass started from at a roundabout near a Forte Posthouse hotel, which was prone to lengthy queues at busy periods. The roundabout still remains, but the A1 was diverted in July 1988 at a cost of £11.5 m. On December 18, 2004, the northern section of the bypass was substantially diverted to a new section of the A1(M), bypassing Kirk Deighton, after construction work had begun in August 2003. The upgrade of the section between Bramham and Wetherby started in July 2007 and is scheduled to be completed in 2009. The upgrading of the A1 includes a new motorway service station at the Wetherby North Junction (near Kirk Deighton). This will include another large hotel, the only one in Wetherby, North of the River Wharfe. The current upgrading of the A1(M) in Wetherby should be the final development of it, after 50 years of gradual development to the modern motorway it is now becoming. With the diversion of the A1 away from the Selby Fork (which had once housed a large service area), Wetherby are the next services directly on the A1 after Ferrybridge.
Wetherby Town Council have for some years commissioned blue plaques to mark points of notable history, these have been erected at the site of the former castle, the former watermill, the town hall, the Angel public house, the former cattle market, the Red Lion public house, The Shambles, St James' Church as well as other landmarks. The town has no museum of its own, yet the town's history is well documented in Leeds Central Library.
Wetherby is represented by Labour Party MP Colin Burgon. Wetherby is in the Elmet Constituency, a traditionally marginal seat, taking in towns and areas such as Garforth, Swarcliffe, Kippax, Cross Gates and former mining villages such as Allerton Bywater.
Wetherby has both residential and industrial districts within the town, although some of them are not officially recognised as settlements, they are commonly referred to by local residents, community groups and businesses that operate in the areas.
The following is a list of significant towns and places and their distance from Wetherby; all are taken from Wetherby Town Hall, the shortest road distance is used.
|NW: Harrogate||Knaresborough||NE: Boroughbridge|
|SWNorth and central Leeds||East Leeds, Garforth||SETadcaster|
According to the 2001 UK Census, the Wetherby ward has a population of 22,000 and the immediate town has a population of 11,155. However since this was taken, the immediate town area has grown considerably. 150 new dwellings were built in one development in Micklethwaite, then a further 20 were added, flats have also appeared at the former Motorworld, La Locanda Restaurant, Deighton Road car garage, Fields Works and the cattle market.
Since the relocation of the A1(M), to the North of Wetherby, several acres of previously cut off land has become part of the town. A smaller piece of land will also become available to the south of Wetherby. Although there are no plans to develop these as yet, high land values and demand for housing may bring about large scale development in the near future.
Wetherby has a large manufacturing presence, both in the town and on the near by Thorp Arch Trading Estate. The majority of residents in Wetherby work in Leeds, however many work on the Sandbeck industrial estate, major retailers in the town centre or the Thorp Arch Trading Estate. Particularly big employers in Wetherby are the British Library, Morrisons, Goldenfry Foods and, Moores Furniture and The Forensic Science Service. It is also not uncommon for Wetherby residents to work in York, Harrogate, Bradford or Wakefield.
Perhaps the most notable company to emerge from Wetherby is Goldenfry. Goldenfry started life as a Wetherby fish and chip shop, the company now make many products, the most notable being their own brand gravy. Goldenfry manufacture every UK supermarket own brand gravy.. Goldenfry is situated on Sandbeck Way
Formerly Safepack and Mondipack, Inspirepack have a large factory in Wetherby producing boxes and packaging on Sandbeck Lane.
Moores Furniture Group Limited has a large furniture factory on the Thorp Arch Trading Estate. The employee bus picks up many of their employees from various parts of Wetherby and is a common sight on the streets of Wetherby.
Farnell (also trading as Premier Farnell or Farnell Instruments) opened their first factory in Wetherby in 1956 (made up of former W.D. huts) on Wetherby's York Road Industrial Estate. The company grew so much that by 1963 they required new premises and moved to a purpose built factory on the town's Sandbeck Industrial Estate. The company specialise in the manufacture and wholesale distribution of Electrical, Electronic and Measurement, Control and Instrumentation equipment. In the 1990s the company left the town and now have their main offices in Armley. The company is one of the largest engineering wholesalers.
The bus station is at the lower end of the Market Place, it was redeveloped in 1995. Since the partial pedestrianisation of the lower end of the Market Place in 2007 the capacity of the bus station has been reduced. The Hallfields Estate, Ainsty Estate and Sandbeck Industrial Estate also have bus services. From Wetherby Bus Station, many services operate, including several National Express services. The 98, X98 and 99 run to Leeds, the 770 runs to Leeds, Boston Spa and Harrogate, the 780 runs to Knaresborough, while Arriva buses run to York, Selby, Wakefield and Garforth and the Utopia bus runs to Tadcaster and Otley. The daily footfall is estimated at 1634.
Local passenger services between Leeds-Wetherby-Harrogate, and Wetherby and Church Fenton were withdrawn on January 6, 1964, involving closure of Wetherby railway station, amongst others. Currently the closest mainline station to Wetherby is Leeds railway station. Cross Gates railway station, Garforth railway station, Harrogate railway station, Knaresborough railway station and Cattal railway station are also close.
The closest Airport to Wetherby is Leeds Bradford International Airport. This is situated in the town of Yeadon. Currently the York Airbus (bus service from York Railway Station to Leeds Bradford International Airport) runs through the town but does not stop. Currently to get a bus to the airport you must catch a 98/X98/99 bus into Leeds and then a 757 bus to the airport.
There are four primary schools situated in Wetherby and one secondary school. There is a further secondary school serving Wetherby situated in Boston Spa. The local college in Wetherby is Park Lane College. There are larger colleges in the area such as Thomas Danby College, Leeds College of Technology, Leeds College of Building, Wakefield College and Bradford College. Outside of West Yorkshire there is also York College and Harrogate College. The nearest Universities are The University of Leeds and Leeds Metropolitan University. There are also smaller universities in the are such as The University of York, York St John University, The University of Bradford and The University of Huddersfield.
The Forensic Science Service has a laboratory in Wetherby on Sandbeck Way. This is part of the town's large Sandbeck Industrial Estate, also home to Goldenfry Foods, Swift Research Ltd and the town's working men's club.
Wetherby racecourse is a National Hunt racecourse, situated on the B1224 York Road. Opposite the racecourse is Wetherby Young Offender Institution. There is also Wealston Prison situated at Thorp Arch just outside of the town.
Wetherby has a pedestrianised shopping centre The Horsefair Centre, which includes a Morrisons supermarket, Boots the Chemist, Superdrug, Clinton Cards, Specsavers and many other shops. The centre was built in the 1970s after the council decided in the 1960s to opt for a purpose built shopping precinct as opposed to developing the existing town centre into a pedestrian precinct. It underwent further significant development between 2002 and 2005. Original plans for the redevelopment of the town centre, speculated pedestrianising either the High Street or Market Place, building a relief road, bypassing the High Street and demolishing the Red Lion public house and replacing it with modern offices.
The town's branch of Kwiksave recently closed down and has since reopened as a Sainsbury's. This is now Wetherby's fifth supermarket, competing with two Co-ops, a Marks and Spencers and the largest of all, the Morrisons branch, which carries the large modern layout of Morrison's flagship branches. For many years, the Co-op in the Horsefair Centre was the town's main supermarket, other chains looked at moving into the town to compete with the Co-op, Sainsburys looked at building on Micklethwaite Farm, Tesco looked at building on the Jarvis Hotel, Safeway looked at demolishing the lorry park and Hallfields Mansions, diverting Hallfield lane and building a supermarket there, in the end, however Morrisons purchase the Horsefair Centre and went about reveloping much of the shopping centre as well as the former Co-op supermarket.
Since its closure in the 1990s, the town's cattle market has been redeveloped as flats and a Marks and Spencer store. This is an indication of the changing aspect of Wetherby, no longer a rural town but a growing town situated within the Leeds commuter belt.
In August 2008 the Wetherby service station opened on the B1224, A1(M) intersection, this consists of a BP filling station, a WH Smiths, the town's second Costa Coffee, the town's second Marks and Spencer and a Burger King. A hotel is expected to be opened here.
On 1 October 2008 the new Wetherby healthcare centre Hallfield Lane Wetherby was officially opened by Colin Burgon Labour Member of Parliament for Elmet The centre was completed in May 2008 and services have been provided from the building since June 2008. The centre has revamped healthcare in Wetherby bringing a range of services under one roof, these include Podiatry Physiotherapy and a baby clinic. The centre is home to Dr Knight and partners GP practice.
Wetherby is the home to the Martin House Hospice, which provides care and support to families in which there is a child or children with a short life expectancy.
The town is home to several sporting clubs: Wetherby Athletic AFC, Wetherby Bulldogs RLFC and Wetherby RUFC, all playing at a higher amateur level. Collingham Colts FC and Kirk Deighton Rangers FC also play close to the town.
Wetherby Athletic play in the West Yorkshire League. The club was formed in 1949, from Wetherby AFC and Wetherby Rovers FC. The club groundshare with Wetherby Bulldogs RLFC at the newly refurbished ground on the South bank of the Ings.
Formed in October 2004, the Wetherby Runners Athletic Club are based at Wetherby Sports Association with a membership of over 160. The club has a mix of male and female athletes, spanning a range of abilities and caters for ages from 10 years and upwards. A junior section compete in West Yorks Track & Field & cross country Leagues. They compete throughout the region in Harrogate Road League, Black Sheep Race Series , West Yorks Cross Country League as well as taking part in cross country, fell, road races and marathons. 
Wetherby Bulldogs are the town's rugby league side who play at the Ings with Wetherby Athletic. The Wetherby Bulldogs play in the Pennine League Division Four (out of a possible eight). The club was formed in 1983, originally playing in the York and District Sunday League. In the 1997/98 season, Wetherby won the league without losing a game, and won the White Rose Cup, playing the final at Featherstone Rovers' Post Office Road ground. By 1999 the club had worked their way up to Yorkshire League Division One.
Wetherby Cricket Club play at Grange Park (adjacent to the South Wetherby A1(M)/A661 intersection). They play in the Wetherby League and the Whixley Evening League. They field two senior sides and a full complement of junior sides, from U-9s to U-17s.
The town's rugby union club also play at Grange Park (adjacent to the South Wetherby A1(M)/A661 intersection). They ground share here with the town's cricket and bowls clubs. Although the ground is also situated adjacent to the River Wharfe, unlike the Ings it is not prone to flooding due to its height above the river. The club relocated here after playing temporarily at Kirk Deighton Rangers AFC's Loshpot Lane ground in 1990. Since then they have built a new clubhouse, car parking and floodlit pitches. The club have plans to develop their Grange Park ground in the future. These plans include the extending of the current clubhouse (which has been planned now in some form for over a decade) and a new stand. adjacent to the first pitch.
Wetherby Golf Clubproudly boasts an 18-hole golf course, constructed in two loops of 9-holes, with stunning views of the River Wharfe as it winds its way from Collingham to Wetherby along the Wetherby Ings where, 100 years ago, steeplechase racing was the major sporting activity. In order to meet the requirements of the modern game the course has been recently extended to almost 6,700 yards with five variable tee positions providing a course to suit all ages and golfing abilities. The clubhouse also boasts a snooker room and 100 seat diners lounge.
Besides Horse Racing no professional sports are played in Wetherby. However, within a 20 mile radius a whole host of professional sports are played. The nearest professional football team is Leeds United, the nearest professional Rugby League side is Leeds Rhinos and the nearest professional rugby union side are Leeds Carnegie.
Crime is generally lower in Wetherby than in most areas of the City of Leeds metropolitan borough. In recent years the town centre has had problems with anti social behaviour. To combat this CCTV has been installed, the Horsfair Centre is closed at night and a series of ASBOs have been issued by Leeds City Council. Problems with anti social behaviour have been blamed for driving away shoppers.
The town has slight problems with shop lifting, burglary, anti social behaviour, vandalism and violence in the town centre on a night after closing time. More serious crimes are on the whole rare.
Although crime is low in comparison to that across Leeds, it is higher than the national average. Wetherby has above average statistics for theft of motor vehicles, theft from motor vehicles, burglary and violence against the person.
Wetherby Town Council released the following statement, following the recent 'epidemic' of anti social behaviour in the town centre.
The antisocial behaviour of the few is once again affecting the pleasure of living, working or just visiting Wetherby. There are reports of a group of 'hoodies' intimidating people down at the River Wharfe. They are targeting every age range with their obscene language, threatening remarks and general conduct. In addition, I think we have all seen the havoc and devastation to the picnic area which may have been the handiwork of the same group.
There are five churches in Wetherby:
The Baptist Church was originally Anglican and was known as Barleyfields Church. Early in 2009 it became part of the Baptist Union of Great Britain. The church originally met in the Barleyfields Centre, but moved to Deighton Gates School in September 2009. There is also All Saints C of E church in Kirk Deighton which for many in North Wetherby is the closest church.
The regional BBC televised news is Look North (Yorkshire), although topographical features between Emley Moor transmitter and the town mean many buildings can only receive Tyne Tees from the Bilsdale transmitter. Regional radio stations include Radio Aire (Leeds), The Pulse of West Yorkshire (Bradford), BBC Radio Leeds, Minster FM (York), Viking FM (Kingston Upon Hull). The regional newspaper in the area is the Yorkshire Evening Post which is published every evening in Leeds.
Wetherby Racecourse is a medium sized racecourse situated on the B1224 York Road. It is the only racecourse in Yorkshire to solely run jump racing. The course is a left hand oval with easy bends. In 1999 the new millennium stand opened, providing the racecourse with executive facilities - something which it had lacked, making it difficult for the racecourse to compete with other courses in the area (e.g. York, Pontefract, Ripon and Thirsk). The racecourse has three stands, one constructed in the 1930s with football style terracing, a two tier seated stand constructed in the 1970s and the aforementioned Millennium Stand.
There has been some debate in recent times whether to introduce a flat course. The racecourse was originally located on the King George V playing fields (commonly referred to locally as the Ings or Scaur Bank) on Linton Road.
Wetherby is a firm favourite with northern race-goers, who come to enjoy the Wetherby Steeplechases. Total Travel
In 1914, 100 dwellings in Wetherby were considered unfit for habitation. This and previous reports under the Housing and Town Planning Act 1909 led to the building of many 'villas'. There are many surviving examples of these, such as Park Villas, York Place, Grosvenor Terrace and Sandringham Terrace. Landlords found these hard to let due to exorbitant rents and many remained empty for years. This also led to the demolition of the town's Bishopgate Area. In 1910 the parish council started a programme to install street lighting in the hope of bettering the standard of living and reducing crime. It was not until the post war years the large housing estates appeared throughout Wetherby. From the 1940s until the 1980s, many large estates were built from scratch. Both the local corporation and the private sector built many houses to satisfy the huge demand for homes in Wetherby. Developer Norman Ashton's company Ashtons were responsible for much of the housing in Wetherby, particularly around the Ainsty Estate, Hall Orchards and Templar Gardens area. Most housing in the town is from these years. There is a wide variety of housing types in Wetherby, including waterside penthouses, council flats and maisonettes, large detached houses, small terraces and probably the most common, the three bedroomed twentieth century semi-detached home.
In its hey-day Wetherby had seventeen pubs in its town centre. There are now only twelve pubs and bars in the town centre. A local pub crawl "The Wetherby Eleven" involves consecutively drinking in each one of these establishments. The town's oldest surviving pub The Brunswick closed in 2003 and reopened as Harris' Bar, the Three Legs public house closed in 2007 and became "bar Thr3" (Wetherby's first non smoking pub).
During the Second World War, The Angel public house served German and Italian prisoners of war from the nearby camps. They were the only pub in Wetherby to do so and attracted some controversy in their policy
Pubs in Wetherby
The Market Place
Private members clubs
Wetherby has several private members clubs. The Wetherby Sports Association is based on Lodge Lane, adjacent to the swimming baths and the ings. The facilities there were recently built with National Lottery funding. This serves both the football and rugby league teams as well as other members of the association. There is also a similar club at Grange Park, serving members of the town's rugby union, cricket and bowls clubs as well as members of its committee and association. The town's main Working Men's Club, Wetherby and District Social Club is based on the Sandbeck Industrial Estate. This burnt down in a fire in 2002. The fire was initially treated as suspicious by West Yorkshire Police, however investigations were taken no further. The club was rebuilt in its original location. As was the case in Belle Isle the rebuilt club was significantly larger than its predecessor and offered its members far superior facilities.
Mock news article
A mock news article was filmed regarding a fictional pub in Wetherby, 'The Kings Head'. It was broadcast on Soccer AM. The article reported on the Kings Head being converted into a new 'American style sports bar'. 'Wetherby residents' (who were all working class northern stereotypes) were interviewed in the film. All of them were dismayed by the conversion, and agreed that 'Change was bad'.
Wetherby is the starting point for the Great Yorkshire Bike Ride. This is an annual event, held every June. The seventy mile ride starts at Wetherby Racecourse and ending in Filey. The event has raised nearly two million pounds for charity since starting out in 1984 with only 284 riders. In 2007 1,494 riders raised £119,575.
The Wetherby Festival is held in the town, across various venues, annually. Both Leeds City Council and Wetherby Town Council sponsor the event. The Wetherby Festival is on every year it is a festival put on to promote the arts in Wetherby by providing a platform for local groups to perform and to bring in other performers and art forms. Total Travel
Wetehrby service station opened in 2008. Located on the town's northern junction with the A1(M) near Kirk Deighton and Ingmanthorpe, the new service station uses the latest 'green technologies' in its construction and running, making it the UK's first carbon neutral service station. The service station shall include a 126 bed Days Inn hotel and shall be run by Moto. This would be the first major hotel in the North of the town. The service station will actually fall into North Yorkshire and so technically be under separate jurisdiction to Wetherby. The services opened (except for the hotel) in August 2008.
thumb|right|The Black Bull
Wetherby shown within the United Kingdom
|OS grid reference|
|Metropolitan borough||City of Leeds|
|Metropolitan county||West Yorkshire|
|Region||Yorkshire and the Humber|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|European Parliament||Yorkshire and the Humber|
|List of places: UK • England|
[[File:|thumb|left|River Wharfe at Wetherby]] Wetherby is a town in West Yorkshire, England. It is part of the City of Leeds borough. Wetherby is on the River Wharfe. The town has a market every Thursday. There are 11 pubs in Wetherby and many shops. There are Morrisons and Sainsbury's supermarkets in the town. Wetherby is on the A1 motorway. 22,000 people live in Wetherby. Wetherby has an historic town hall. Wetherby is also close to York and Harrogate.
Wetherby has a market every Thursday in the Market Place. While the market is on, all cars are stopped from entering the area around the town hall. There is also a farmers market one Sunday in every month. A market and car-boot sale are held at the racecourse every Sunday during the summer months.
Wetherby has its own racecourse as well as amateur football, cricket, rugby league, rugby union and bowls teams. There is also a golf course. Besides horse racing, there are no professional sports teams in Wetherby but there are many nearby in Leeds.
Wetherby has several primary schools, a large secondary school and Park Lane College. There are universities nearby in Leeds. Wetherby High School used to be a secondary modern school but is now a comprehensive school.