Kirklees

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Kirklees is a local government district of West Yorkshire, England, governed by Kirklees Council with the status of a metropolitan borough. The largest town and administrative centre of Kirklees is Huddersfield, and the district also includes Batley, Birstall, Cleckheaton, Denby Dale, Dewsbury, Heckmondwike, Holmfirth, Kirkburton, Marsden, Meltham, Mirfield and Slaithwaite. Kirklees had a population of 422,500 in 2011 and is therefore the most populous borough in England that is not a city; it is also the third largest metropolitan district by area behind Doncaster and Leeds.

The borough was formed on 1 April 1974 by the provisions of the Local Government Act 1972 as part of a reform of local government in England. Eleven former local government districts were merged: the county boroughs of Huddersfield and Dewsbury, the municipal boroughs of Batley and Spenborough and the urban districts of Colne Valley, Denby Dale, Heckmondwike, Holme Valley, Kirkburton, Meltham and Mirfield.

The name Kirklees was chosen by the merging councils from more than fifty suggestions, including Upper Agbrigg, Brigantia and Wooldale. It was named after Kirklees Priory, legendary burial place of Robin Hood, situated midway between Huddersfield and Dewsbury. The priory was located within the present-day Kirklees Park estate, most of which actually lies in the neighbouring borough of Calderdale.The name Kirklees is made up of the Scandinavian Kirk meaning Church and Lees meaning Meadows.

Under the original draft of the Act, the district would have included Ossett, part of the Dewsbury Parliamentary constituency at that time. It was eventually decided that Ossett was too remote to be governed from Huddersfield and the town was included within the Wakefield district instead.

The principal settlements of Kirklees are mill towns in the Colne Valley, Holme Valley, Calder Valley and Spen Valley. Those areas of the district with a more urban character bound Calderdale to the west, Bradford to the northwest, Leeds to the northeast and Wakefield to the east.

The district also includes several rural villages, with the largest rural area extending from the south of Huddersfield. The Pennine countryside to the southwest of Meltham and Holme lies within the Peak District National Park. This moorland area mostly bounds Saddleworth, a traditional part of Yorkshire but now locally governed from Oldham, Greater Manchester. There is then a relatively short border with the High Peak district of Derbyshire running across the summit of Black Hill, and then the main border to the south of Kirklees is with Barnsley.

The inclusion of two county boroughs resulted in a district without an obvious centre. Over the years there have been suggestions of splitting the district into two, administered from Huddersfield and Dewsbury. Graham Riddick, as MP for Colne Valley, campaigned for a split in the early 1990s. A similar ambition was mentioned by Elizabeth Peacock, MP for Batley and Spen in 1991. The boundaries of metropolitan boroughs were outside the remit of the Banham Commission appointed to review local government structures in 1992 or its successors, and only minor boundary changes were made with neighbouring districts in 1994.

The district includes parts of three postcode areas. Huddersfield and the rural areas to the south have HD postcodes, Birkenshaw, Cleckheaton and Gomersal have BD postcodes, and the rest of the Heavy Woollen area has WF postcodes. Similarly the district is split between several telephone dialling codes, with most residents in the 01484 (Huddersfield), 01274 (Bradford) and 01924 (Wakefield) codes. A small number of residents in Birchencliffe and Birkenshaw villages fall within the 01422 (Halifax) and 0113 (Leeds) codes respectively.

Note: this page is partly based on a Wikipedia page. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. Where possible, text is being updated to original, fully referenced research. ‘Our photos’ means we took the photographs. The Street View and street map visuals are courtesy of Google.

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