A to Z of Leeds: The city's own 'Factory King'

We all know Leeds is a great city, right?
Richard Oastler.Richard Oastler.
Richard Oastler.

There are many reasons for this bold claim, from the people who've called this place home, to the history of the region, the developments underway and the talent and creativity we see on a daily basis. Here, we go through the alphabet to give you some reasons to be proud.


Hidden away in the grounds of St Stephen’s Church in Kirkstall lies the grave of one of its most famous sons. Richard Oastler was most famous for his campaigning for civil rights.

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He became known as the 'Factory King' after his campaign against children working long hours in the mills and factories.

Born in Kirkstall in 1789, he died in 1861 in Harrogate and is buried in a crypt, only accessible via a set of gates.

Oastler was a vociferous campaigner for children’s rights. In 1830, he wrote passionately to the Leeds Mercury, attacking the morals of those who used children in the workplace for long hours and little pay, something he refered to as ‘Yorkshire slavery’.

It was through his dedication that the Ten Hours Bill became law in 1847.


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