Monday, November 12, 2007

Happy Birthday

Not a who but a what.

Cryptic enough for you ?

Leeds is 800 years old today - if one can trust exactly when it's charter was signed in 1207. Why it didn't happen before noon is beyond me. Har har.

It was supposedly given it's John Hancock on 12th November so for most people, that makes the old girl 800 today.

But as it was mentioned in the Doomsday Book as early as 1086 as a Saxon village with a population of about 200 so I'm not sure why we're not celebrating it's 921st birthday instead ? I guess these sort of things need to start from whenever a charter is signed - whatever that means.

To add to my confusion, Leeds was granted city status as late as 1893 so on THAT basis, maybe it's only 114 years old.

Those of us who draw breath tend to start counting our ages from the day we do so and taking that as a guide, then I'd have to think Leeds began when Freddy Eadweard and his good lady, Udela sauntered into the general area known now as Briggate and decided to stay a while. I'm sure it looked a bit different back then although the City Varieties was probably still advertising that years pantomine. With Ken Dodd in the lead role no doubt. He's about that age.

So after Freddy and Udela did a spot of begatting (I read my bible and begatting was very popular back then) and a few more geographically challenged Saxons wandered in during panto season, I'm sure it didn't take long for Leeds to grow to that population of 200 in 1086.

Obviously a LOT more begatting went on after that as the population is now over 720,000 (estimates vary) to make Leeds the 3rd largest metropolitan area in the UK................or about 1.2% of the entire population if you want to belittle 'us' any more.

I'm not going to sing it's praises as for one thing it'd be a short song. It has probably the most hated team in British soccer so at least we're at the top of that list. I'll leave it at that.

But I like round numbers and 800 is a nice round number. I'm not likely to be blogging when the 114 (city) becomes 200 or the 921 (Doomsday) becomes 1000 so I'm going to fall in line with those who regard the city as being 800 today.

Even for some of the residents here in Buttonwood Bay, that's still an impressive age.


Daphne said...

How come you knew about this out in Florida and I didn't know a thing about it here in - er - Leeds?
I like the sound of the exhibition of photographs celebrating Leeds 1207 - 2007. Those early photos of mediaeval peasants must be quite rare.

Silverback said...

It was a real pain getting the peasants to stand still for 2 weeks while a sketch artist captured their souls in woad.

They'd miss 10 episodes of Corrie for a start - when Elsie Tanner was a teen rebel, Hayley Cropper was a man and Ken Barlow......well Ken was probably still an old fart.


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