How Leeds has changed the world!

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Leeds is amazing, we know that, writes Alex Miller. From revolutionising pop music to designing the White House, the world simply wouldn’t be the same without Leeds.

The WOW247 team have created a list of eight reasons why:

1) We designed the White House

The grandly named Benjamin Henry Latrobe was heavily involved in designing large sections of the White House with James Hoban and Thomas Jefferson, including the east and west colonnades, which give the building’s fascia its iconic look. Latrobe was a prolific architect in America, also designing the Taft Museum of Art and the central section of the Capitol building.

2) We gave the world ‘Girl Power’

We know what you’re thinking, and yes, only one fifth of the biggest girl band of all-time is a Loiner, but without Mel B’s brash Leeds attitude, the Spice Girls may never have made it off the the drawing board. After initial auditions and a lukewarm response from Heart Management, ‘Scary Spice’ led the quintet through the doors of several other labels, before signing with Simon Fuller.

3) We gave the world Marks & Spencer

Marks & Spencer was established as a humble market stall on Kirkgate Market in 1884 and has grown into one of the country’s biggest and most trusted retailers.

4) We changed TV forever

Playing host to much-loved shows such as Rising Damp, Emmerdale and Countdown isn’t Leeds’ only contribution to the world of television. The television studios on Kirkstall Road were the first in Europe to design and build purpose-built colour studios, the first to try breakfast television as we now know it, and were the first station to go 24-hour in 1986.

5) We dramatically improved road safety

The world’s first fully automated traffic light system was trialled and implemented on little old Park Row in 1928. This improved road safety immeasurably, replacing the gas light system and taking human error out of the equation altogether.

6) We invented Cluedo

Everyone has played Cluedo, and despite being thought up by a Brummie, it was Leeds-based Waddington’s who took a punt on the popular board game as far back as 1949. 
Along with dozens of others, a Leeds version of the game was devised to celebrate 100 years of the company being based in the city.

7) We paved the way for the discovery of DNA

Whilst experimenting with X-Ray technology at Leeds University, father and son partnership William Henry Bragg and William Lawrence Bragg discovered the structure of crystals, allowing scientists to look into the structure of DNA. The pair were awarded a Nobel Prize in 1915.

8) We contributed to literary history

Alan Bennett, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Jilly Cooper, Helen Fielding, Arthur Ransome, Tony Harrison, Barry Tebb, Alfred Austin, Keith Waterhouse. The link? 
They’re all established Leeds writers of course, of huge stature.

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