Wakefield (population 316,000 - UK Office for National Statistics, London, Winter 2003)
in Yorkshire, England is either a city and a metropolitan district, one of
five in West Yorkshire. The District incorporates Wakefield City, and also places like
Ossett, Horbury, The Five Towns, South Elmsall, South Kirkby and Upton.
Wakefield's economy has for many years been diversified between textiles, coal mining
and agriculture. It is particularly renowned as a producer of liquorice and rhubarb.
Wakefield historically formed part of the Rhubarb Triangle along with Dewsbury and
Leeds (I kid you not), and today produces 90% of the British crop of forced rhubarb
(according to the Wakefield Express, April 2004). Wakefield has even been described as
the Home of Rhubarb Pie but I don't know if this has any historical basis.
Local weekly broadsheet The Wakefield Express claims a remarkable 110,000 circulation
(source - front page of Wakefield Express, April 2004). Last time I looked its sports
section reflected the local enthusiasm for Rugby League.
Nearby attractions include the National Coalmining Museum for England, Yorkshire
Sculpture Park and Xscape indoor skiing at Castleford. Although it's across
the apparently arbitrary boundary of Kirklees, Dewsbury is Wakefield's cultural
sibling. Leeds is like a towering metropolitan parent to both.