Rothwell, West Yorkshire

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One Stop Centre - - 1383019.jpg
former Rothwell Town Hall (now closed)
Rothwell is located in West Yorkshire
Rothwell shown within West Yorkshire
Population 20,354 (ward. 2011)
OS grid reference SE345285
Metropolitan borough
Metropolitan county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LEEDS
Postcode district LS26
Dialling code 0113
Police West Yorkshire
Fire West Yorkshire
Ambulance Yorkshire
EU Parliament Yorkshire and the Humber
UK Parliament
List of places
53°44′56″N 1°28′37″W / 53.749°N 1.477°W / 53.749; -1.477Coordinates: 53°44′56″N 1°28′37″W / 53.749°N 1.477°W / 53.749; -1.477

Rothwell is a market town in the south east of the City of Leeds metropolitan borough in West Yorkshire, England. It is situated between Leeds and Wakefield.

Rothwell has a population of 21,010,[1] and the Rothwell ward has an estimated population of 32,365.[2] At the 2011 Census only the Leeds Metropolitan Ward remained. This had a population of 20,354.[3] The town has benefited from recent improvements in the transport infrastructure, most notably the nearby A1/M1 link road. Rothwell is part of the West Yorkshire Urban Area. The nearest railway station is Woodlesford.


Holy Trinity Church in Rothwell.

One of the royal lodge's documented owners was John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster, who is supposed to have killed the last wild boar in England while hunting nearby[citation needed]; hence a boar's head formed part of the arms of the former Rothwell Urban District Council. The parish church (Church Street) is dedicated to Holy Trinity and is on the site of an Anglo Saxon predecessor. The current church, which has a ring of eight bells, is of medieval origins but was substantially rebuilt in the 19th century: the tower retains medieval fabric believed to be from the 15th century.[citation needed]

John Blenkinsop (1783–1831), is buried at Holy Trinity Church. He was a pioneer in the use of steam locomotives on the nearby Middleton Railway.

Whale jaws boundary marker

The town was granted the rights of a market town in the 15th century and a twice yearly fair. The tradition of a fair is maintained by the annual carnival which is organised by the Rothwell Entertainments Committee.[4] May Day is celebrated beside the stone cross and on the Pastures on the first Monday Bank Holiday in May, while Rothwell Carnival is held in Springhead Park on the second Saturday of July every year.

An arch made of whale jawbones has marked the northern boundary by the junction with Wood Lane and the A61 road for over 100 years.[5]

Rothwell is part of the historic Rhubarb Triangle, with the town and surrounding areas famed for having once produced 90% of the world's winter forced rhubarb from the forcing sheds that were common across the fields there.

20th century[edit]

Workhouse clock tower

St George's Hospital was situated off Wood Lane where now exists Castle Lodge Avenue and associated houses. It was built in 1903 to a design by Leeds architect Edward J. Dodgshun by the Rothwell, Methley and Hunslet Joint Isolation Hospital Committee which was formed under the Isolation Hospitals Act 1893 by an order of the West Riding County Council 10 January 1900. When first constructed it was known as the New Union Workhouse and Infirmary for the Hunslet Union, On being taken over by the Leeds Public Assistance Committee in 1934 it was renamed St George’s Hospital. In 1934 it was transferred to the Leeds Health Committee. In 1948, the hospital was managed by the Leeds Group B Hospital Management Committee. After local government reorganisation in 1974 it was transferred to the Leeds Eastern District and soon after to the Leeds Western District. The hospital was closed in December 1991. From 1934 the hospital provided accommodation for the elderly ill, patients with chronic and acute mental illness, persons with learning disabilities, a maternity ward and a separate isolation ward. The site was developed for housing at the start of the 21st century but the original tall clock tower remains.[6]

Rothwell Temperance Band is a Championship section brass band founded in Rothwell in 1984. Although they do not rehearse in Rothwell itself, they have strong connections with the town and hold many concerts for the local community. They actually rehearse in Wakefield. The closest Champion Section Brass Band is the Yorkshire Imperial Urquhart Travel Band, formerly of the Yorkshire Imperial Copperworks based in Stourton, from which the band is named. The Imps, as they are more commonly known, merged with the original Rothwell Band (founded 1881) in the 1990s.[citation needed]

Rothwell has a long history of coal mining. It was a site of early mining, using a system known as Bell Pits. Coal mining has been carried out in the area for over 600 years, though coal production stopped on 9 December 1983.[citation needed] There were many local pits including the Fanny, the Rose and Rothwell Water Haigh. In 1995, Leeds City Council and Leeds Groundwork formed a partnership which, together with local residents and community groups, transformed the former colliery into a 50 hectare country park.[citation needed]

Rothwell was constituted an urban district in the West Riding of Yorkshire under the Local Government Act 1894. In 1937 it was expanded by taking in the Methley urban district and Hunslet Rural District.[7]

Aerial map of Rothwell

It was incorporated into the City of Leeds metropolitan borough, West Yorkshire by the Local Government Act 1972. Its inclusion in the Leeds district as opposed to the Wakefield metropolitan district was controversial[citation needed]: originally planned for the Leeds district, it was added to the Wakefield district at the request of residents, but then moved to the Leeds district by the House of Lords.[8]

Rothwell Urban District[edit]

Between 1894 and 1972, Rothwell was constituted as an urban district. This district included the areas of Rothwell, Methley, Oulton, Woodlesford, Stourton, Carlton, Robin Hood, Lofthouse and Thorpe. The Rothwell Urban District had a total population of around 25,000, but if it still existed today, that figure would be closer to 30,000. In 1972 these areas were taken into the newly formed City of Leeds Metropolitan District, although Thorpe, Lofthouse, Carlton and some parts of Robin Hood have a Wakefield postcode.

Town centre[edit]

Rothwell has a town centre which includes high street chains as well as independent boutique shops.

Besides the two annual fairs, a Christmas Fayre takes place in the autumn, and a food and drink fayre in early spring.

Since 2007, the town centre has experienced a major redevelopment to respect the local area's conservation status,[9] pedestrianising and restoring the original route of Commercial Street.


There are several primary schools in Rothwell including:

  • Rothwell Church of England Primary Academy (Formerly Rothwell Church of England Primary School)
  • Rothwell Primary School
  • Rothwell Haigh Road Infant School
  • Rothwell Victoria Junior School
  • Rothwell St. Mary's Catholic School

There are two high schools in the Rothwell area:

  • Royds School (Formerly Royds Specialist Language College).
  • The Rodillian Academy – the former Rothwell Grammar School (actually in Lofthouse). When it was built it was in the Rothwell Urban District.

Both Royds and Rodillian have sixth form colleges integrated in the school environment.

Other further education colleges in Rothwell:

Notable and former residents[edit]




Rothwell is home to 3 football clubs:

  • Rothwell Town A.F.C[10] – who are based near Rothwell Labour Club
  • Rothwell Juniors [1] – Currently based at a purpose-built £1.5 million development at Fleet Lane, Woodlesford. Open age teams known as simply 'Rothwell FC'.
  • Rothwell Albion[11] – A newly formed club in the area.

There are numerous teams in the wider Rothwell ward, these include; Carlton Athletic and Robin Hood Athletic, among others.


Oulton Hall golf course, which is currently owned by hotel group De Vere is located adjacent to Oulton Lane. The only 5-star golf resort in the North of England.[12]


Bowling is also a popular sport, and there is a public bowling green in Springhead Park.

Notable places of interest[edit]

Location grid[edit]


  1. ^ "Key Figures for 2001 Census: Census Area Statistics". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 10 February 2011.
  2. ^ Rothwell UD through time | Administrative history of Local Government District: hierarchies, boundaries Archived 6 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved on 10 February 2011.
  3. ^ "City of Leeds Ward population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  4. ^ Rothwell Entertainments Committee
  5. ^ "Town claws jaws back in boundary changes". Wakefield Express. 8 August 2003. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
  6. ^ "Hospital Records Database". National Archives. HM Government. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
  7. ^ "Relationships / Unit history of Rothwell". A vision of Britain through time. Archived from the original on 6 May 2008. Retrieved 1 November 2007.
  8. ^ Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Lords. 16 October 1972. col. 1603–1614.
  9. ^ "Conservation Area document" (PDF). Leeds City Council documents. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
  10. ^ Home – Rothwell Town FC – 2010/2011. (13 November 2010). Retrieved 10 February 2011.
  11. ^;jsessionid=FA101900179E9115267011CF0C9978BE?teamID=3556986&divisionseason=9159333
  12. ^ De Vere : Golf. Retrieved on 10 February 2011.

External links[edit]

The ancient parish of Rothwell: historical and genealogical information at GENUKI.