Coordinates: Aireborough is a distinctive character district in the West Riding of Yorkshire, England that for many centuries was known as the Parish of Guiseley. It is made up of the 'sibling settlements' of Guiseley, Hawksworth, High Royds, Nether Yeadon, Rawdon, Yeadon, West and East Carlton - until 1974 it also included Esholt.
The area sits on the sandstone and millstone grit of the South Pennines, in a landscape shaped by human endeavour since ancient times. Water in the form of becks, tarns and wetlands, is a key natural resource, mostly draining towards the River Aire. Local stone features in the drystone walls and solid stone buildings - as well as in the foundations of the Houses of Parliament. Whilst green-ways used for travelling to church, market, mill or dispersed farmsteads still cut across the town and landscape.
The main townships of Guiseley, Rawdon and Yeadon grew into industrial textile and manufacturing townships from their medieval farming/weaving origins. The smaller areas of Nether Yeadon, Carlton, and Hawksworth still retain their pre-industrial character. High Royds was a former Victorian Mental Hospital that was turned into a village in the beginning of the 21st century.
Aireborough, in common with the South Pennines Heritage area, was an important area for social developments such as non-conformist religion (e.g. Quakers, Baptists and Methodists), co-operative movements and philanthropy from a chain of self-made men who, from the nineteenth century, donated public buildings and facilities e.g. Jonathan Peate.
Aireborough is now the north west limit of the City of Leeds metropolitan borough,(apart from Esholt which is now in Bradford MD) Aireborough used to be an autonomous urban district from 1937 to 1974. Before 1 April 1937 the district was known as the Parish of Guiseley, but in 1936 the urban councils of Guiseley, Yeadon and Rawdon decided to merge with the smaller local settlements in the Wharfedale Rural District, in a spirit of harmony "to wipe out old jealousies, and concentrate more readily on the problems ahead, working together as a team" - source: Yorkshire Post 2 December 1936. Aireborough lost its autonomy when it was subsumed into the Leeds area under the 1974 local government reorganization.
The name Aireborough was chosen by the new 1937 Council, in preference to the Parish of Guiseley, so that all townships could feel equal in their collective future. Many thought the name came from the nearby River Aire. However, Aireborough was not a new name. It had been first used in 'short stories' written for newspapers of the late 19th century, by an Irish Inland Revenue Officer called Charles Darcy Friel: Aireborough was a fictional wealthy manufacturing town. Charles Friel, lived and worked in Leeds during his life and died there in 1910.
The name Aireborough is used in many local organisations who draw members or provide services across the district as a whole, in the same 'spirit of harmony' as was originally intended - recognizing the sibling relationship the different communities have; they may battle out their rivalry on a day-to-day basis, but will come together when the need arises. Yeadon and Guiseley Secondary School was renamed as Aireborough Grammar School in 1937, when the Aireborough Urban District was formed, but closed in 1991 - the names of the different townships emblazoned on the school frontage are now set into the stone wall opposite Nunroyd Park. The Pudsey Constituency is made up of Pudsey, Horsforth and Aireborough, the Royal Mail has an Aireborough delivery office, there is the Aireborough Civic Society, Aireborough Neighbourhood Development Forum, and Aireborough Historical Society, alongside services such as Aireborough Learning Partnership, Aireborough Extended Services, and Aireborough Voluntary Services for the Elderly. Clubs cover sports such as Aireborough RUFC, Aireborough Swimming Club, and Aireborough Rifle & Revolver Club, and pursuits such as Aireborough Bridge Club, Aireborough Camera Club and Aireborough Gilbert & Sullivan Society. Charities with the name include Rotary Club of Aireborough, Soroptimist International Aireborough, Aireborough Fundraising Group (Marie Curie. Then there are a range of private businesses working alongside the big brand chains that have opened in the area since 2000.
Aireborough used to have a range of top brand names working in the district including Shires (Bathrooms), Silver Cross (Prams), Crompton Parkinson (lamps and motors), and Wendy Wools - not forgetting Harry Ramsden's original Fish and Chip shop. Many of the mills made fabric or supported the textile industry for national companies such as Jaeger and Marks & Spencer. However, since 2000 most of the bigger industry has left, and Leeds Bradford International Airport is one of the biggest employers. There are though still some successful quality textile firms such as Abraham Moon who have survived and thrived, and a range of smaller and medium size businesses who base themselves in the area to take advantage of the setting and the local skilled labour force.