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For the hamlet in Canada, see Armley, Saskatchewan. For the prison, see HM Prison Leeds.
Town Street
Town Street
Armley is located in West Yorkshire
Armley shown within West Yorkshire
Population 25,550 (2011) [1]
OS grid reference SE271335
Metropolitan borough
Metropolitan county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LEEDS
Postcode district LS12
Dialling code 0113
Police West Yorkshire
Fire West Yorkshire
Ambulance Yorkshire
EU Parliament Yorkshire and the Humber
UK Parliament
List of places
YorkshireCoordinates: 53°47′53″N 1°35′14″W / 53.7981°N 1.5872°W / 53.7981; -1.5872

Armley is a district in the west of Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. It starts less than 1 mile (1.6 km) from Leeds city centre. Like much of Leeds, Armley grew in the Industrial Revolution and had several mills, one of which is now the Armley Mills museum. Armley is predominantly and historically a largely working class area of the city, still retains many smaller industrial businesses, and has many rows of back-to-back terrace houses.


Armley is mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book reference to: "Ristone, Ermelai". At the time there were eight villagers in Ristone (now east Armley) and Ermelai (now west Armley).[2] The actual population is indeterminable as this only accounts for the 'head of household'.[3]

Armley Mills, now the Armley Mills Industrial Museum, was the world's largest woollen mill when it was built in 1788. In the 18th and 19th centuries Armley was, through its mills, a major contributor to the economy of the city of Leeds. Many of the buildings standing in and around Armley were built in the 1800s, including many of the churches, schools, shops and houses. Ledgard Way is named after the entrepreneur, Samuel Ledgard. Armley also has picturesque views over the rest of Leeds from certain vantage points. William Tetley started his business of malters in Armley in 1700, from this Joshua Tetley formed the Tetley's brewery in 1822.[citation needed]

Damage caused by a raid in the Leeds Blitz in March 1941[4] and later slum clearance schemes brought about the redevelopment of much of Armley in a programme beginning in the 1950s and finishing in the early 1970s.

From the 1870s until 1956, Armley was home to the J W Roberts asbestos mattress and boiler lining factory. This facility exposed residents to asbestos fibres and resulted in a mesothelioma cancer cluster which persists to this day. One of the victims June Hancock launched a court action against Turner & Newall, the company that owned the J W Roberts' factory in 1993. Although the court case was successful, corporate restructuring had, as of 2005, avoided the case being settled.[5] Hancock's story was the subject of a play, Dust, by Kenneth F. Yates, performed in Armley and at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in July 2009.[6]

The parish church, St Bartholomew's, is home to a notable pipe organ built by the German organbuilder, Edmund Schulze. Originally built for Meanwood Towers in 1866-69, it was opened by S.S. Wesley. It was moved to St Bartholomew's in 1879. Schulze's work, and this organ in particular, had enormous influence on the development of British organ building in the 19th century. Both church and organ have been restored.[citation needed] The smaller Christ Church is located at the end of Theaker Lane nearer the centre of Armley.

Legend has it that a pedlar called Charlie used to rest and water his pony and trap in Whingate Park in the 19th century. He apparently sold spicy shortbread to the citizens of Upper Armley for 1d a piece. Today the triangular-shaped park is known as Charlie or Charley Cake Park. According to Armley Through the Camera, written in 1901, the park was "within memory of many present residents of Armley, a patch of wasteland. Some of them regularly played cricket on its turf"[7]

There were two railway stations in Armley. Armley Moor railway station closed 1966, and Armley Canal Road railway station closed 1965.


Armley is located between the M621 motorway and the River Aire, stretching from roughly the New Wortley roundabout (the Armley Gyratory) to the start of the Stanningley By-pass and Cockshott Lane where it merges into Bramley.


Armley Town Street includes two high street names, charity shops and food and independent retailers. There are bus links to Leeds, Bradford, Halifax and Huddersfield. Armley's Town Street has free off-road car parking, but parking is mainly on-street, with few car parks in the centre. Armley's only supermarket is a Co-operative on Town Street, neighbouring Wortley has an Asda and Bramley has Tesco, Morrisons and Farmfoods. Towards Farnley there is a Sainsburys. Pudsey used to have a Kwiksave, where Sainsbury's now exists; a previous Somerfield is now a Co-operative.

The former Armley Sports and Leisure Centre

Other amenities include Armley (Gott's) Park, Gott's Park Golf Club and Armley Mills Industrial Museum, and numerous former cinemas and churches. The old Methodist chapel which is now a carpet outlet. A similar chapel in Holbeck is also a carpet shop. There are present-day Methodist churches in Wesley Road, built in 1987,[8] and in Whingate, built in 1884.[9] The Wesley Road Chapel is a Local Ecumenical Partnership also involving the Baptist and United Reformed Churches.[10] The current church is the fourth on this site, where the original Methodist Wesleyan chapel stood and where John Wesley once preached.[11]

Armley's original leisure centre, based on the old Armley swimming baths, was demolished in 2009. The land is now a large car park for the new leisure centre. The closure of the original 25-metre swimming pool with redundant and unused space attracted some controversy because of the age and local architectural significance of the building.[according to whom?] The new centre has state-of-the-art equipment.[citation needed] Morley and Beeston will also receive new leisure centres under a programme being run by Leeds City Council.[citation needed]

HM Prison Leeds, formerly Armley Gaol is located in Armley.


A view of Western Armley

Armley housing includes Victorian back-to-back houses, terraces and tower blocks.

There is much council housing, although most of the housing stock is privately built and dates from the 1960s. Back-to-back housing has been converted to through terraces.

Corporation residential tower blocks, built to replace older housing stock at the centre of Armley, and neighbouring Wortley, are amongst the tallest in Leeds.

Notable people[edit]

Popular culture[edit]

The tank scene in the 1963 film Billy Liar was filmed in Wellington Road, Armley, and local residents were used as extras.[citation needed]

Location grid[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Parsons, Edward; "The Civil, Ecclesiastical, Literary, Commercial, and Miscellaneous History of Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, Dewsbury, Otley, and the District Within Ten Miles of Leeds", Volume 1, pp. 184, 185, 187. Nabu Press. Retrieved 23 December 2011
  3. ^ "Armley Local History", Yorkshire Evening Post, 4 February 2008. Retrieved 23 December 2011
  4. ^
  5. ^ Lazenby, Peter (6 October 2005). "Asestos: the final reckoning". Yorkshire Evening Post. Retrieved 19 July 2009. 
  6. ^ Ahad, Nick (16 June 2009). "Echoes of Erin Brockovich as doughty campaigner for justice 'stars' in Dust". Yorkshire Evening Post. Retrieved 19 July 2009. 
  7. ^ Kirkby, T (1901) Armley Through the Camera, p.20, Hanson & Oak, Theaker Lane, Leeds.
  8. ^ Methodist Church, Wesley Road, accessed 22 December 2015
  9. ^ Methodist Church, Whingate, accessed 22 December 2015
  10. ^ Wesley Road Chapel History, accessed 22 December 2015
  11. ^ Methodist Church, Wesley Road, accessed 22 December 2015
  12. ^ Alfred Atkinson
  13. ^ The Guardian profile: Alan Bennett The Guardian, 14 May 2004

Further reading[edit]

  • Kirkby T. (1901) Armley Through The Camera, Hanson & Oak, Theaker Lane, Armley, Leeds.

External links[edit]