Historically a part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, Leeds can trace its recorded history to fifth century when the Kingdom of Elmet was covered by the forest of "Loidis", the origin of the name Leeds. In the 17th and 18th centuries Leeds became a major centre for the production and trading of wool. Then, during the Industrial Revolution, Leeds developed into a major industrial centre; wool was still the dominant industry but flax, engineering, iron foundries, printing and other industries were important. From being a compact market town in the valley of the River Aire in the 16th century Leeds expanded and absorbed the surrounding villages to become a populous urban centre by the mid-20th century.
Leeds: the university
The University of Leeds is a major teaching and research university in the city of Leeds, West Yorkshire. With over 33,000 full-time students, the university is the second largest single site university in the United Kingdom. Dating back to the establishment of the Leeds School of Medicine in 1831 and consolidated as a university in 1904, it is one of the six original civic 'red brick' universities, and in 2006 was ranked second in the UK for the number of applications received.