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Boston Spa

Coordinates: 53°54′14″N 1°21′00″W / 53.904°N 1.350°W / 53.904; -1.350
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Boston Spa
High Street, Boston Spa
Boston Spa is located in Leeds
Boston Spa
Boston Spa
Location within City of Leeds
Boston Spa is located in West Yorkshire
Boston Spa
Boston Spa
Location within West Yorkshire
Area1.37 sq mi (3.5 km2)
Population4,079 (2011 census)
• Density2,977/sq mi (1,149/km2)
OS grid referenceSE431455
• London170 mi (270 km) SSE
Civil parish
  • Boston Spa
Metropolitan borough
Metropolitan county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtLS23
Dialling code01937
PoliceWest Yorkshire
FireWest Yorkshire
UK Parliament
List of places
53°54′14″N 1°21′00″W / 53.904°N 1.350°W / 53.904; -1.350

Boston Spa is a village and civil parish in the City of Leeds in West Yorkshire, England. Situated 3 miles (5 km) south of Wetherby, Boston Spa is on the south bank of the River Wharfe across from Thorp Arch. According to the 2001 census, the parish had a population of 4,006 rising to 4,079 in the 2011 census.[1]

It sits in the Wetherby ward of Leeds City Council and Elmet and Rothwell parliamentary constituency.



The origin of Boston Spa's name is not entirely clear; the name is not attested prior to appearing on printed maps in 1771, when it was labelled Thorp Spaw. At this stage, then, the name Thorp Spaw presumably meant 'the spa associated with Thorp Arch' (the nearest pre-existing settlement). The Boston element of the name is first attested in 1799 as Bostongate and then in 1822 simply as Boston. It is thought probable that Boston was the surname of a local family, whose name itself derives from Boston, Lincolnshire, and that their name was given to the settlement that grew up around the spa.[2]


Thorp Arch Bridge

The Boston Spa hoard, a Romano-British coin hoard dating to the mid second-century AD and comprising a grey ware vessel and 172 silver denarii, was found in the town in 1848.[3]

In 1744, John Shires established a spa town when he discovered sulphur springs in the magnesian limestone. It was known as Thorp Spa but declined when Harrogate became very popular as a spa town.

In 1753, a turnpike was built on the Tadcaster to Otley road, which passes through Boston Spa. In the same year, Joseph Taite built a house to accommodate visitors that became the Royal Hotel, which is still standing, but converted into flats and shops. By 1819, Boston Spa had a population of more than 600, and several inns and other houses offering accommodation had been built.[4] Spa baths were built to allow visitors to take the waters. On the north bank of the river is the village of Thorp Arch, which predates Boston Spa by several centuries.

High Street, Boston Spa in 2008; Crown Hotel on the right

The Boston Spa and Thorp Arch Conservation Area,[5] designated in 1969, extended across both Boston Spa and Thorp Arch parishes. It was revised in 2009, restricting the boundaries to Boston Spa parish and reshaped to exclude areas of late-20th-century estate housing to the south of the High Street. The current conservation area boundary focuses on the historic settlement. It was extended to the west, to encompass West End, an area of dwellings constructed during the Second World War to house workers from Thorp Arch munitions factory. The war had a major effect on Boston Spa's population, society and surroundings, and the buildings stand as a testament to that history.



When Boston Spa was founded in 1744 it was in the township of Clifford in the old parish of Bramham, in the upper division of the wapentake of Barkston Ash, in the West Riding of Yorkshire.[6] From 1866 to 1896, it was part of the civil parish of Clifford with Boston, and became a separate civil parish in 1896.[7] The parish was in Wetherby Rural District in the West Riding of Yorkshire until 1974,[8] when it was transferred to the City of Leeds in the new county of West Yorkshire.


Costcutter on High Street

Boston Spa has a post office, a small library and a filling station. There are three public houses, (the Admiral Hawke and the Fox and Hounds both owned by Samuel Smith Old Brewery) and the Crown Hotel on the high street owned by an independent group of investors, a small Costcutter supermarket in the former Royal Hotel and several independent retailers in the village centre (a butcher, hardware shop and several takeaway restaurants).

The Crown Hotel closed in 2012 and was subject to a public inquiry as to its future use. Arguments presented in 2014 by Tesco that the premises "had little or no use as a hotel facility" were accepted at appeal.[9]

The Boston Spa (within Thorp Arch Trading Estate) branch of the British Library (the Document Supply Service) is 1.5 mi (2.4 km) north-east of the village and outside the civil parish.[10] This branch contains almost the complete British Library newspaper collection.[11]

There are two churches St Mary's Anglican Church and Boston Spa Methodist Church.


The Crown Hotel in 2009

There are three primary schools in the village: Primrose Lane Primary School,[12] St Edward's Catholic Primary School[13] and St Mary's CE Primary School.[14]

Close by, in the parish of Clifford, is Boston Spa Academy, the local secondary school taking pupils from areas which also feed comprehensives in Wetherby, Garforth and Pendas Fields. The school has success in sports and science teaching, and caters for pupils undertaking GCSEs, A levels, GNVQs and those with special needs according to its Ofsted reports.[15]

Other educational establishments with postal addresses of Boston Spa, although sited in the nearby parish of Clifford, include the children's hospice Martin House and St John's Catholic School for the Deaf which has a UK-wide catchment.



Local news and television programmes are provided by BBC Yorkshire and ITV Yorkshire. Television signals are received from the Emley Moor TV transmitter. [16] Local radio stations are BBC Radio Leeds, Heart Yorkshire, Capital Yorkshire, Greatest Hits Radio West Yorkshire, Pulse 1 and Tempo FM, a community based station which broadcast from Wetherby. Local newspaper is served by the Wetherby News.


Boston Hall, a Georgian house in the village, owned by Geoffrey Boycott

Boston Spa has a mix of private and council houses. Most of the council housing is situated around Clifford Moor Road and Wickham Avenue. The east side of Boston Spa comprises mainly larger houses. There are many Georgian villas and town houses on High Street.



The village annual gala is held in June. Since 2009 a beer festival takes place in the village hall.[17] The village hall has hosted a nationally renowned[18] weekly jazz night since January 2005[19] and an annual arts festival usually in October.



The route of The White Rose Way, a long-distance walk from Leeds to Scarborough, North Yorkshire passes through the village. As does the Ebor Way which passes over the river at Thorp Arch village before continuing towards Tadcaster.


See also



  1. ^ "Boston Spa". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Archived from the original on 10 March 2016. Retrieved 25 January 2016.
  2. ^ Harry Parkin, Your City's Place-Names: Leeds, English Place-Name Society City-Names Series, 3 (Nottingham: English Place-Names Society, 2017), p. 25.
  3. ^ Historic England. "Monument Number 54886 (54886)". Research records (formerly PastScape). Retrieved 3 November 2021.
  4. ^ "Boston Spa". AboutBritain.com. Retrieved 22 October 2021.
  5. ^ "Leeds City Council designation" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 July 2011. Retrieved 26 March 2011.
  6. ^ "Clifford cum Boston". GenUKI. Retrieved 30 August 2010.
  7. ^ "Vision of Britain website: Clifford With Boston". Archived from the original on 31 December 2013. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
  8. ^ "Vision of Britain website: Boston Spa". Archived from the original on 1 January 2014. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
  9. ^ "The Crown Hotel Building", Bostonspapc.org.uk. Retrieved 16 March 2015
  10. ^ Wight, Colin. "Finding the British Library, Boston Spa". Bl.uk. Retrieved 25 January 2016.
  11. ^ Wight, Colin. "British Newspaper Archive". Bl.uk. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  12. ^ "Welcome to Primrose Lane Primary School". Primroselane.leeds.sch.uk. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  13. ^ "About Our School". St-edwards.leeds.sch.uk. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  14. ^ "Welcome to our school". Stmaryscofe.org.uk. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  15. ^ "Boston Spa School". Ofsted. Retrieved 25 January 2016.
  16. ^ "Emley Moor (Kirklees, England) Full Freeview transmitter". UK Free TV. 1 May 2004. Retrieved 12 April 2024.
  17. ^ "Slideshow: Boston Spa Beer Festival hailed a success". Wetherby News. 25 February 2016. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  18. ^ "Top musicians and all that Jazz". Yorkshire Evening Post. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  19. ^ "Boston Spa - A Success Story". Jazz North West. Retrieved 14 December 2017.