Leeds, city and metropolitan borough (1991 pop. 445,242), N central England, on the Aire River. It lies between one of England's leading manufacturing regions on the west and south and an agricultural region on the north and east. The city is a communications, financial, and regional government center and a junction of transportation routes, both rail and water; canal and river connect Leeds with both east and west coasts. Manufactures include woolens (produced since the 14th cent.) and clothing, for which Leeds is a center of wholesale trade. Metal goods (locomotives, machinery, farm implements, and airplane parts), leather goods, and chemicals are also produced. Extensive slum-clearance and rehousing efforts have been successful since 1920.
Yorkshire College, founded in 1874, became in 1887 a constituent college of Victoria Univ. and in 1904 the independent Univ. of Leeds. Among the other educational institutions is a 16th-century grammar school. Leeds has a classical town hall (1858) in which triennial musical festivals are held. Several sports arenas were constructed and opened there in the 1970s and 80s. Also of interest are St. Peter's Church, the Cathedral of St. Anne, St. John's Church, the City Art Gallery, and the Royal Armouries Museum. Kirkstall Abbey, founded in the 12th cent., is near the city. Joseph Priestley was pastor at Mill Hill Chapel.