In 1887, John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles described West Riding like this:
Yorkshire, West-Riding, in W. and SW. of co.; area, 1,768,380 ac., pop. 2,175,314. The surface rises towards the W. and NW., reaching in Whernside Mountain an alt. of 2414 ft. The principal rivers are the Ribble, Nidd, Calder, Don, Aire, and Wharfe. The West-Riding is the seat of Yorkshire industrial enterprise. The great Yorkshire coalfield, on which all the staple mfrs. of the Riding are situated, is a space 45 miles by 20 miles, between the Aire and the Don. Some of the leading branches of national industry have long had their seat in the West-Riding - woollens at Leeds, Bradford, Halifax, Dewsbury, and Huddersfield; linens at Leeds and Barnsley; and hardware, cutlery, and plated goods at Sheffield. ...
There are mineral waters at Harrogate, Knaresborough, and Ilkley Wells. On the N. and E. sides corn and other crops are largely grown; and in the NW., round Settle and Skipton, it is all grass and dairy land. (For agricultural statistics, see Appendix.) The West-Riding comprises 9 wapentakes; 724 pars, and parts of 6 others; the parl. and mun. bors. of Bradford (3 members), Dewsbury (1 member), Halifax (2 members), Huddersfield (1 member), Leeds (5 members), Pontefract (1 member), Sheffield (5 members), and Wakefield (1 member); and the mun. bors. of Barnsley, Batley, Doncaster, Mprley, Ripon, and Rotherham. It is mostly in the dioceses of York, Ripon, and Manchester. For parliamentary purposes it is divided into 3 parts - viz., North, East, and South. The northern part is divided into 5 divisions - viz., Skipton, Keighley, Shipley, Sowerby, and Elland, 1 member for each division. The eastern part is divided into 6 divisions - viz., Ripon, Otley, Barkston Ash, Osgoldcross, Pudsey, and Spen Valley, 1 member for each division. The southern part is divided into 8 divisions - viz., Batley, Normanton, Colne Valley, Holmfirth, Barnsley, Hallamshire, Rotherham, and Doncaster, 1 member for each division. The representation of the West-Riding was increased from 6 to 19 members in 1885.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing West Riding has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Leeds. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering West Riding and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of West Riding, in Leeds and Yorkshire | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 11th December 2013
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