West Yorkshire’s largest city has earned an exceptional reputation as an arts and culture hub, renowned retail destination, and a foodie’s dream. There are, however, a number of lesser-known interesting facts about the city – and staff at The Store Room’s Leeds self storage facility have brought a few together here:

The first steam locomotive was made in Leeds

The first commercially successful steam locomotive, the Salamanca, was built in 1812 by Matthew Murray. The train transported coal along the Middleton railway, between Middleton and Leeds. This Leeds-based invention helped shape modern train travel as we know it today.

The board game Cluedo was first made and sold here

“Cluedo!!!” by spi516 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The popular board game Cluedo, created by Birmingham-born Anthony E. Pratt, was first published by Leeds games company Waddingtons. Although some minor changes have been made to the characters, rooms and weapons since the initial publication, the Leeds-originating game is now a household name globally.

Fizzy drinks were invented in Leeds – over 250 years ago

Carbonated water was first discovered in Leeds. The inventor Joseph Priestley is thought to have created carbonated water by accident in 1767 at a brewery in Leeds. This discovery began to be produced on a large scale in 1781, with the first factory being built in Manchester.

Leeds is the home of M&S

“File:Marks & Spencer original penny bazaar (24th June 2013).jpg” by Flickr user:Tim Green aka atouch is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Perhaps a more well-known fact, the leading British retailer Marks & Spencers began in 1884 in Leeds as a penny bazaar. Staying true to their roots, the M&S Company Archive – which contains over 70,000 items about the company’s long and significant history – is stored at the University of Leeds.

Leeds West Indian Carnival is the oldest Caribbean carnival in Europe

“File:Leeds West Indian Carnival (9600002391).jpg” by Bryan Ledgard is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Leeds West Indian Carnival is the oldest authentic Caribbean carnival in Europe, beginning in 1966 as a carnival fete organized by Arthur France MBE. Although there are now carnivals in towns and cities across the UK, Leeds’ Carnival is the second biggest after Notting Hill, and attracts over 100,000 each year.

The world’s first moving was picture shot in Leeds

The Lumiere brothers and Thomas Edison are often credited with the first creation of a moving image. However, Leeds may also be able to stake a claim as the location for the shooting of the first film. In 1888, French-born Leeds resident Louis Le Prince filmed a moving-picture sequence of family members in Roundhay Garden, and his son playing the accordion. It is believed that Le Prince’s work pre-dates that of Edison and the Lumieres. Whilst preparing for a trip to New York to premiere his work, Le Prince mysteriously disappeared at some point on a train journey to Paris. Although there are many theories, there are still no concrete answers as to what happened!

JRR Tolkein was a professor at the University of Leeds

“Yorkshire Dales” by rockcatch is licensed under CC BY 2.0

JRR Tolkein is best known for his world-renowned fantasy works, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Although most associated with Oxford, prior to writing his most famous works Tolkein lived in Leeds. In 1920 Tolkein took up a post of Reader in English language at the University of Leeds, subsequently becoming the youngest professor there. Many academics also believe that the dramatic landscapes of Yorkshire may have been a crucial influence in the creation of Tolkein’s fantasy worlds.


Finding out these interesting facts about the city and it’s history make us love it even more – if you live in the Leeds area and are in need of a storage unit, then get in touch with our team!