Wakefield History- Things You Might Not Know

Like many large cities, Wakefield has evolved over the years but does have a historical story to tell. We’ve taken a look at some of Wakefield’s memorable spots and landmarks to see how they’ve changed over the years. As Estate Agents in Wakefield - we have a passion for the area.

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Manning Stainton

1. Wakefield Cathedral

Wakefield Cathedral

Situated in the heart of the city and standing for what is thought to be over a thousand years Wakefield Cathedral has been home to many peoples worship. Although the surrounding areas may have changed over years Wakefield Cathedral spire stands at 247feet making it the tallest church in Yorkshire to date and a key part of Wakefield’s skyline, take a look at this view of Wakefield Cathedral from Bread Street in the 1890’s.

2. Wakefield Market

Wakefield Market

Wakefield has been home to numerous markets over the years all offering a range of produce and many have been at the heart of Wakefield’s history. In recent years the reconstruction and demolition of Wakefield Market Hall has made the headlines with a demolition plan being granted in July 2018 only 10 years after its completion. Many of the traders moved to other sites to continue their long-standing businesses, the below image shows Wakefield indoor Market in the 1970s.

3. Wakefield Corn Exchange

Wakefield Corn Exchange

Opening in 1838 the Corn Exchange initially opened to serve the corn trade but soon became home to numerous concerts, exhibitions and even a roller skating rink. Over the years the Corn Exchange hosted a range of companies, one of the most memorable was General Electric Theatres who established Wakefield’s first cinema. After a fire in 1957 destroyed a large proportion of the Corn Exchange, it was sold to developers who soon after demolished the entire building. Despite its demolition, the Corn Exchange was a large part of Wakefield's history this picture shows its impressive architecture at the peak of its popularity.

4. The Ridings Shopping Centre

Ridings Shopping Centre

A somewhat more modern landmark The Riding Shopping centre in Wakefield opened its doors in 1983. A combination of IT, American and Canadian influences saw the design of the Ridings shopping centre come to life. The centre was a hit; hosting over 4000 visitors before trading had even begun. The centre has won the ‘European Shopping Centre of the Year’ award on numerous occasions. Despite facing an increase in competitors, The Ridings continues to be home to some of the biggest high street names. It may be younger than a lot of us but Ridings has still evolved over the years seeing many shops come and go and even had a few makeovers.
Take a look at this picture from 1989 from the Upper Kirkgate entrance compared to a more recent view of The Ridings shopping centre.

Wakefield has many different memories for many people. Whether you grew up working at the markets or saw your first film at Great Electric, Wakefield has a lot to offer both past and present and that’s what makes it such an exciting city to live in.


Manning Stainton Wakefield | 62-64 Northgate, Wakefield WF1 3AP | Tel: 01924 234888