Talk:Leeds/Archive /March 2008

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Areas of the city

Several places have been included and excluded repeatedly recently. I've looked at the histories at and as far as I can see Middleton became part of Leeds in 1920 (having previously been part of Hunslet Rural District since 1894), and Shadwell from 1912, while the other 5 places (Bramhope, Guiseley, Horsforth, Pudsey, Yeadon) were all outside Leeds when the Met District was created in 1974 - eg Bramhope was in Otley, and Pudsey was independent. So I've amended the list of areas of Leeds accordingly, to include Middleton and Shadwell but not the others. PamD (talk) 08:51, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

It seems to me that the general problem we are having here is that this article is about an ill-defined geographical entity. I have found no sources on the web that give a definition of Leeds, the city, as opposed to the metropolitan district. (Yours sounds like a good one, but it is historical, and even if it may still make sense today this is likely to change in the future, as rural areas around the city become more urban. I admit this is a weak argument because we needn't worry about this now.) The slow revert war between anonymous IPs from Leeds and established editors who know what the article is supposed to be about might be due to this problem. I wonder if the existence of separate articles on Leeds (the city) and City of Leeds (the metropolitan district) is original research, and this situation is how we are being punished for it.
Don't some other big cities in England have the same problem? How do they solve it? --Hans Adler (talk) 09:36, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
There is no such thing as a city with a small c, as per your edit summary. Please revert your edit or I will. Chrisieboy (talk) 19:44, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
Yes there is. The term "city" has multiple meanings. Take, as I pointed out, London. The formal City of London is the one-mile area around the financial district. However the larger conurbation is still commonly and properly referred to as a city which is called London. Leeds may have the opposite "problem" where the common notion of the city of Leeds is smaller than the formal Metropolitan District known as the City of Leeds. That doesn't mean that the entity described in this article is not a city. Gwernol 19:56, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
As I stated in my edit summary, properly the City of London and the other 32 london boroughs, including the City of Westminster are in the London Region of England, which includes the ceremonial counties of both Greater London and the City of London. This is an encyclopedia and we must be correct in our use of these terms, especially if we are using them to defend our position. Chrisieboy (talk) 21:39, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
The opening words "Leeds is a city in the county of West Yorkshire, in the north of England. It is the main settlement in the City of Leeds,..." were introduced in September 2004, and despite hundreds of edits to the article the description of Leeds as a city within "City of Leeds" has remained with little change. It is clear that there is a consensus to accept this wording or thereabouts. Please do not continue to edit against the consensus, as you have done twice today. Thanks. PamD (talk) 20:33, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
Actually the opening wording has been discussed previously on this talk page, and for a while the lead contained qualification of the terminology used. It seems to me that this article is about the Leeds urban area as defined by ONS (at least that is the population figure used in the article), and I agree with Hans Adler above that the use of the term city to refer to this urban area seems like original research. —Jeremy (talk) 21:03, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
I agree with both Hans Adler and Jeremy. I would also like to add that I see this edit as a compromise, see discussion at Merger, A city in a city? and Merge with City of Leeds above. City status in the United Kingdom is granted by letters patent, that status, held by the former county borough of Leeds since 1893, was transfered (again by letters patent) to the wider area in 1974. This article refers to the urban and historic core of the City of Leeds, properly defined by the ONS as Leeds urban area. Chrisieboy (talk) 21:16, 20 March 2008 (UTC)

If we can't merge the two articles, why not create another one?

If I understand this correctly, the problem is that the natural political entity is an area called "City of Leeds", while the natural geographical entity is a city called "Leeds urban area". This is extremely confusing, and so it would be best to cover both in a single article where 1) we can explain the distinction, and 2) people are free to ignore it if they are not interested. On the other hand, our users want statistics, which vary a lot between the two, and we need homes for two big templates; therefore merging doesn't seem to be an option. How about the following structure:

  • Leeds - Essentially this article, but without the big template and the list of areas. Almost everything else is quite relevant to places like Morley and Pudsey, even if it is not about them. The article could start with a section on the urban area (main article: Leeds urban area) and a section on the metropolitan district (main article: City of Leeds), to make the distinction clear. This would be the article to bring to FA or GA standard.
  • Leeds urban area - Discussing those things which are only relevant to the urban area, such as the template now in this article and the areas. It would be quite short, similar to the present City of Leeds article.
  • City of Leeds - Unchanged.

The Leeds article would be about all those aspects of Leeds for which it is counterintuitive to distinguish, e.g. the town twinning (which is currently forked). --Hans Adler (talk) 22:43, 20 March 2008 (UTC)

If major change is on the agenda, I would rather see City of Leeds redirect to Leeds and the current article at City of Leeds merged with Leeds City Council. Anything else is both counter-intuitive and anachronistic. The City of Peterborough, for instance, redirects to Peterborough (a FA) and the surrounding villages are, since the 1974 local government reform, considered an integral, if outlying, part of that city. Indeed the city's boundaries were previously extended to include parts of the former Peterborough Rural District in 1929, so adopting pre-LGA72 boundaries would be quite arbitrary. A good article will explain the historical evolution of boundaries and divisions in a context which is current. Chrisieboy (talk) 01:18, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
My inclination would be to go for just two articles Leeds(urban area), which would have all the usual sections about a settlement, and City of Leeds which would have a section on Leeds City Council which would be the information presently in the article of that name.Leeds City Council could then redirect to the section in the City of Leeds article. Most of the outer areas/settlements of the City already have individual articles written about them, which are or can be linked from within the City of Leeds article. There will have to be discussion about the boundaries of the urban area.In this way the old city and the outer districts and settlements each get independent coverage.--Harkey Lodger (talk) 08:32, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
OK, so that would mean merging Leeds City Council into City of Leeds. We would also move Leeds to Leeds (urban area) (with a redirect from Leeds), and update the article to say that it is about the urban area as it is defined by the Office for National Statistics. Obviously we would need to find a source that actually defines the urban area, as opposed to just giving statistics about it. What I like about this proposal is that it is a relatively small change, which still has a chance of stopping the slow edit war on Leeds areas because "(urban area)" will be included in the title and the relevant section could start like "The ONS defines the Leeds urban area as consisting of the following areas". We can still talk about more drastic solutions later, if this one doesn't work. (We can even postpone merging Leeds City Council, which seems to be a pretty obscure page anyway.) The possible objections that I can see are the cosmetic problem of having "(urban area)" in the title, and problems such as where to put the twin towns. Personally I am not too worried about that. --Hans Adler (talk) 10:54, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
May I suggest that this is at very least taken to WP:YORKS, if not WP:UKGEO??? The outcome of this discussion has implications well beyond this article, e.g. Salford/City of Salford, Bradford/City of Bradford, Carlisle/City of Carlisle etc. Simillarly, there's no reason why towns within Boroughs and districts are to be treated differently - Oldham/Metropolitan Borough of Oldham, Barnsley/Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley etc.
My personal point of view is that the current situation is the right way forwards. --Jza84 |  Talk  23:00, 22 March 2008 (UTC)

(unindent) Ah, thanks Jza84, this answers my question above about other cities: Leeds is not a rare exception. Of course all cities in a "City" need to be treated in a uniform way. One thing I notice is that Salford City Council redirects to City of Salford and Bradford Metropolitan District Council redirects to City of Bradford, while there seem to be no council articles for Salford, Carlisle, Oldham or Barnsley. This looks like a strong case for merging Leeds City Council into City of Leeds.

It is also interesting to note that the other cities don't have our "Areas of the city" edit war problem, presumably because they don't have such lists for the settlement itself. (The sections Carlisle#Districts/suburbs of Carlisle and Oldham#Divisions and suburbs serve similar purposes, but they are not formatted as lists.) I wonder if the following would make sense here:

Write a text that mentions all the areas in Leeds#Areas of the city to replace that list. Replace the section City of Leeds#Places in the metropolitan district (now a single alphabetical list that doesn't seem to be very useful) by short descriptions of the historical boroughs and districts, each followed by a short list of the relevant areas. The 1-sentence section City of Leeds#History could then be replaced by a shorter sentence in the lede. --Hans Adler (talk) 01:29, 23 March 2008 (UTC) / 09:32, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

I think this should be tried out to keep uniformity with other UK articles.It is true that the 'lists' are tempting to casual (good faith) editors who have not seen the distinction between the two articles.--Harkey Lodger (talk) 07:12, 23 March 2008 (UTC)
Turning lists into prose is always a good idea and is often something required for GA or FA status. It also gives the opportunity to group the places by feature: inner urban, suburban, outer rural, ribbon development etc. MRSCTalk 07:15, 23 March 2008 (UTC)
After the positive feedback, I have replaced the alphabetic list of areas in City of Leeds by proper text. I have also been bold and merged Leeds City Council into City of Leeds. I would expect that at least the language needs improving in a couple of places. --Hans Adler (talk) 19:55, 23 March 2008 (UTC)
Jza84, the issue here is that it is incorrect to claim that Leeds is a city within the metropolitan borough of the City of Leeds. No evidence has been cited to support this claim. City status, which in the United Kingdom is granted by letters patent, was transferred to the metropolitan borough in 1974. This is quite different from stating that a town is in a MB of the same name and to confuse the two is misleading and unhelpful. Chrisieboy (talk) 20:13, 23 March 2008 (UTC)
Since you asked for it, here is evidence that Leeds is a city: "A city is a large town where there are many houses, offices, factories, shops, theatres, etc, and where many people live and work. […]" I venture to say this definition fits pretty well. It is from the Collins COBUILD Dictionary, 1st edition.
Some people will expect us to use your definition, some (I suspect most) will expect us to use mine, and some will be open minded. We need to explain the situation briefly in such a way that everybody gets it. Including US dwellers, who might insist on a third definition (see city) if they are pedantic.) I am looking forward to doing this in a constructive way. --Hans Adler (talk) 23:11, 23 March 2008 (UTC)
PS: This is from Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, 1896 edition: "City (A), strictly speaking is a large town with a corporation and cathedral; but any large town is so called in ordinary speech. In the Bible it means a town having walls and gates." --Hans Adler (talk) 11:54, 24 March 2008 (UTC)
The definition of a city is only relevent outside the UK (and a few other countries with similar systems). As has been pointed out above the Monarch alone decides when a town becomes a city status in the United Kingdom. The status is awarded to the district so when Leeds expanded to today's idiotic size everyone all the way out to Wetherby is now part of the city. To call the urban core alone a city would be inaccurate. josh (talk) 00:29, 24 March 2008 (UTC)
Chrisieboy, I understand the point you make. Leeds itself no longer has city status - the wider local government district does. I agree with you that Leeds (proper) does not have city status. However, I'm not comfortable with merging districts and cores together where they are not conterminate. It is a tricky situation I know, i.e. Morley isn't in Leeds (proper) like Milnrow isn't in Rochdale (proper); citation supports this too. What I'm saying is that Leeds and City of Leeds are not coterminate, and it makes little sense to target specific articles for a merger where there are perhaps 30-40 pairs of articles for cities in England that have this problem, and perhaps another 100 boroughs. Simillarly, if we are to remove "city" from Leeds (proper), we need to consider what we do in other articles and if it's likely to stick with a consensus (as well as remove the term from the entire article/encyclopedia where the settlement is used, not just the lead here remember).
What we need is a consensus on how to tackle the issue on a national basis, not just here, and be consistent. I can't see there being a strong consensus for merging Salford/City of Salford, Bradford/City of Bradford, Carlisle/City of Carlisle for example, as the districts each contain other settlements. I'm concerned that ips and such are likely to restore the term rather quickly and robustly due to local convention. --Jza84 |  Talk  01:06, 24 March 2008 (UTC)
I have read the information, kindly supplied by Chrisieboy, about City status in the UK. However, I believe that the majority of readers, worldwide, will interpret the word city in its colloquial sense, not its UK legal sense.Therefore I support the use of the word city (small c) to describe the settlements which fit the dictionary definition supplied by Hans Adler.--Harkey Lodger (talk) 10:35, 24 March 2008 (UTC)
A city in the UK can be quite small. For example Ripon has a population of only 16,468 and is the 7th smallest city in the UK (4th smallest in England). smallest cities in the United Kingdom. 24 March 2008. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:37, 24 March 2008 (UTC)
At the risk of appearing belligerent, the council's own website states Leeds is a lively city, rich in culture and heritage with lots to explore. More than 750,000 people live within our city boundaries, this usage of Leeds (the city) contradicts usage in this article, the "city's boundaries" clearly being the boundaries of the MD; the origins of the city are traced from ...about 730, [when] Venerable Bede [wrote] in his Ecclesiastical History and the site goes on [in] 1974 Leeds becomes a Metropolitan District – population increases by 50%, suggesting that the two entities we refer to here are one and the same. WP is a reference work and must be authoritative or it is in danger of losing credibility. We do not take the minority view that the historic counties still exist with the former boundaries and neither should we take that view about cities. Chrisieboy (talk) 15:27, 24 March 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Chrisieboy, and I would dispute the suggestion that the majority of readers will interpret city to mean large town—as far as I can tell, in most of the English speaking world the word city refers to some special status that has been granted by government. The Encyclopedia Britannica seems to handle the issue much better than we do: Besides the historic town and urban area of Leeds, the city and metropolitan borough include the towns of Morley, Pudsey, Horsforth, Garforth, Kippax, and Rothwell and an area of open countryside, woodlands, and rural villages.[1]Jeremy (talk) 16:30, 24 March 2008 (UTC)
I would also dispute the suggestion (OR?) that the majority of readers interpret city to mean large town and in any case it is quite irrelevant if they do, at least in a UK context, as has been demonstrated above. In my view readers look to us as a resource for precisely this sort of clarification.
I propose occurrences of city in this article are changed to read urban area, settlement, etc. where the entire metropolitan district is not meant. Ideally, in my opinion, City of Leeds should then redirect here with the existing article at that page renamed Leeds local governance, Leeds metropolitan district or something along those lines. Chrisieboy (talk) 15:55, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

There is an entity which is the city / large town of Leeds, which is distinct from the Metropolitan District of the City of Leeds. Both are notable and need WP articles, but they are different. The city is known as Leeds, not "Leeds Urban Area" (this term only being used by statistics readers). WP:NAME specifies that the article have as its title "what the greatest number of English speakers would most easily recognize". The name, by that description, of this city, the home of LUFC, two universities, Opera North, the Kaiser Chiefs etc, is Leeds. The present situation, with one article at Leeds and one at City of Leeds is correct and should not be changed. With appropriate hatnotes and lead sections it is quite clear what is covered by which article, and how they relate. I agree with the point made by Jza84 above, that any drastic moving of this pair of articles or their content should not be done without wider consultation. I would be happy to see Leeds City Council merged with Leeds Metropolitan District, as the one is the governing body of the other, but the Leeds article needs to remain as a separate article. PamD (talk) 16:17, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

Leeds Metropolitan District redirects to City of Leeds. As I mentioned above, I have been bold and merged Leeds City Council into City of Leeds, for consistency with other cities and for article size / maintenance reasons. --Hans Adler (talk) 19:08, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
The point here, which started with your revert of my edit at 19:07 on 20 March 2008, is the description of this entity as a city. It is not. Chrisieboy (talk) 16:32, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
Furthermore, the content of the article currently located at City of Leeds is not actually about the city, just governance of the city. Chrisieboy (talk) 16:57, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
I have given you above a (British!) dictionary definition that suggests that PamD is right. Last night I asked a longterm resident of Leeds the following question: "Morley and Otley are parts of the City of Leeds. But are they parts of the city?" To which he replied: "Otley certainly not, but I am not sure about Morley." This does seem to suggest that we are not a negligeable minority. How about trying this "original research" yourself on a few random people? Basing editorial decisions on OR is perfectly OK, otherwise we would get nothing done here.
It is normal for a word to have various definitions, none of which is a generalisation of the other, but with substantial overlap. The exact meaning depends on the context, and most competent readers have no problems with sentences like the following: "Some cities do not have city status; on the other hand there are also some small towns that do." --Hans Adler (talk) 17:15, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
Hans, "Some cities do not have city status; on the other hand there are also some small towns that do" is utter nonsense. I would like to think of myself as a "competent" reader and I have a problem with that statement (particularly in the context of an encyclopedia) so where does that leave incompetent readers? Why the reluctance to make what amounts to a very small change? Chrisieboy (talk) 17:49, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
We can certainly discuss whether it makes sense to avoid referring to the urban area as a city because it is not a city under all definitions of the word. But I would prefer to do this in a constructive atmosphere in which each side acknowledges that the other side's point of view has a certain degree of merit and a compromise needs to be found. (Which may or may not, in the end, be exactly what one side or the other wanted in the first place.) Currently I am under the impression that we are discussing whether the only definition in my dictionary, the first definition in City, and also Brewer's "ordinary speech" definition are sufficiently defensible to be included in the search for a compromise, or whether on the grounds that it contradicts the correct definition it is so obviously meritless that it needs to be discarded at once. Please help me to correct this impression if it is wrong.
I am also afraid that if we spend too much time defending against imaginary or unintended personal attacks we are likely to miss the deadline. --Hans Adler (talk) 19:08, 25 March 2008 (UTC) (I misread one of Chrisieboy's sentences and thought he had misread one of mine, which I now see he hasn't. Sorry. --Hans Adler (talk) 23:19, 25 March 2008 (UTC))
I can't find the COBUILD definition but every other definition I've found includes a line that states that in the UK a city has to have had letters patent bestowed upon it. This is a British article about a British city so we have to follow the British definition. What is commonly percived cannot be relied upon when its wrong. I'm sure if you ask most people in Rochester they will still believe that they live in a city. That does nothing to change the fact that it isn't. josh (talk) 20:06, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
In each of the three entries you cited, my definition is the first and yours is the second. Yours is marked as being valid only in Britain, but this doesn't mean that it is the only one valid in Britain. Of course, a note "less common in Britain" might be missing in the first definition in each of these three dictionaries, but I think that's very unlikely. It's normal for a word to have a normal meaning and a (technical or) legal meaning, where both overlap but don't coincide. The existence of a legal meaning doesn't make the normal meaning wrong in non-legal contexts. That's what my example sentence was about. Sorry if it wasn't clear. --Hans Adler (talk) 23:19, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
The word "city" can be avoided or qualified where it is ambiguous; e.g. "The incorporated city had population X in the census..." vs "the metropolitan area has population Y according to the chamber of commerce" etc. Most sentences won't need such specificity, e.g. "Leeds is in the UK". It seems to me that fighting over this signifies Wikexcess. Pete St.John (talk) 21:23, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
Just another nudge that this situation is not unique to Leeds. It would probably be helpful to get more input from WP:YORKS, WP:ENGLAND and WP:UKGEO.
To clarify my position, I believe Leeds and City of Leeds need seperate articles. However, what we call Leeds (proper) here, I really don't mind too much so long as it's consistent with the rest of the UK. My concern is how we go about that effectively; I can't see "Leeds is a town" or "Leeds is a settlement" or even "Leeds is an urban area" lasting, or reading very well.
Perhaps we could go for "Leeds lies at the heart of the wider City of Leeds, a metropolitan district of West Yorkshire, England. It has a population of so and so...."??? --Jza84 |  Talk  22:44, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

Edit conflict ... A proposal: I suggest that we add a sentence or two to the end of the lead paragraph, saying "In 1974 the city status was transfered from the former County Borough of Leeds to the larger new Metropolitan District named "City of Leeds". Thus Leeds, although commonly referred to as a "city", does not have this legal status unless the wider area is being discussed." Or words to that effect, and with whatever links seem appropriate. And then we can all move on to improve the article, which does not at present do justice to this major urban settlement, whatever we call it. PamD (talk) 22:53, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

It looks like we have the choice between two excellent suggestions now. I agree with both. --Hans Adler (talk) 23:19, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
I think both could be incorporated into the lead. I have no objections to you (or anyone else) giving it a blast. --Jza84 |  Talk  23:49, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
I went ahead and had a go at incorporating both ideas. See what you think. —Jeremy (talk) 01:05, 26 March 2008 (UTC)
Looks like the right way forwards to me, although the first paragraph is now a little thin. --Jza84 |  Talk  01:24, 26 March 2008 (UTC)
To fatten up that thin first para, and make the city/non-city explanation more prominent, I've moved it to the end of that first para, with a bit of tidying up as well. Improvement? PamD (talk) 08:07, 26 March 2008 (UTC)
A hundred times better in my opinion. Chrisieboy (talk) 10:49, 26 March 2008 (UTC)
Essentially, the original proposal here is to create three articles on Leeds, where Sheffield and Bristol (both in a similar, if not more confusing legal state, since Bristol is also a county) manage to keep only the one.
The basic problem here is with legal boarders. These discussions about Leeds have gone on for a long time, but do not occur with Huddersfield/Kirklees, Halifax/Calderdale as the boroughs are not named for their principle settlement. even in cases where they are, such as Rotherham/Metropolitan Borough of Rotherham, there is rarely if ever an arguement, so I woud have to say that egos are getting in the way here, in the form of a kind of "my settlement is bigger than yours" one-up-man-ship. Wetherby is not a part of Leeds, and ought to be discussed in it's own article, and one named City of Leeds Metropolitan Borough. The lead for Leeds ("Leeds (pronunciation (help·info)) is located on the River Aire in West Yorkshire, England. It is the urban core and administrative centre of the wider City of Leeds metropolitan district. The county borough of Leeds was awarded city status in 1893, but in 1974 this status was transferred to the larger new metropolitan district named "City of Leeds". Thus Leeds, although commonly referred to as a "city", does not have this legal status unless the wider area is being discussed.") is fantastic. Can it now be left alone? L.J.Skinnerwot|I did 02:44, 27 March 2008 (UTC)