Gildersome is a village and civil parish in the City of Leeds metropolitan borough 5 miles (7 km) south west of Leeds city centre in West Yorkshire, England. Historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, it is situated midway between Leeds, Wakefield and Bradford.
Gildersome was an urban district, established in 1894. In 1937 it was absorbed into the Municipal Borough of Morley. In 1974 the borough was abolished and combined with neighbouring authorities in the City of Leeds. Although the village is still classed as part of the Morley urban area in the census, it is technically separate, and is not governed by Morley Town Council.
The earliest known reference to the area occurred in 1249, when the name was spelt Gilhusum. According to historian Armitage Goodall, the name is likely derived from the archaic northern dialect word gill ("stream", "ravine", or "narrow valley") and the Old Norse word husum ("houses"). According to Goodall and other historians, a persistent rival theory, that Gildersome is a corruption of a Dutch place name such as "Guelderzoom" and derived from immigrants from Guelderland, some time between the 16th and 18th centuries, is almost certainly incorrect.
The first church in the village, Gildersome Baptist Church Chapel was constructed in 1707. It was built for public worship with an intended capacity of 250 people. In 2007 there were many celebrations and events to coincide with the 300th year anniversary of the original place of worship. In 1866, for a cost of approximately £2,000, a new chapel was built, much larger than the original. It was opened on 2 May 1866, and the original building remains. However in recent years, the church was redeveloped, with the adjoining halls and facilities being converted into flats. The original hall was renovated, with a new and modern interior and brand new facilities. Through grants, volunteering schemes and assistance from various sources, the graveyard has also been converted into a community garden, which encourages local school children to learn more about the environment and nature.
Turton Hall in Gildersome (now three residential dwellings) was a prominent and wealthy school, for higher education pupils, during the 1700s. It is said that preacher John Wesley visited and preached in the dining room. The hall returned to private ownership in 1879, and remains a Grade II listed building, with several TPOs (tree preservation orders) covering the grounds.
Gildersome also used to have two fully functioning railway stations. One was on the GNR line from Wakefield to Bradford which ran at the turn of the 20th century, and it was located at the crossroads at the top of the village (towards Morley). This station closed in 1962 along with Drighlington & Adwalton. In the recent roundabout replacements a tunnel on the GNR line was uncovered and then resealed. The second railway station was on Rooms Lane and was on the Leeds to Huddersfield LNWR "Leeds New Line" opened in 1900. This station closed in 1923 to passengers. Gildersome Tunnel (LNWR) was recently visited by the L.H.E.S.
Gildersome has changed beyond recognition in 100 years, when the village was a thriving mining community with many local pits. A lot of the original mining locations remain, such as the 'brownhills', a large area of land which separates Gildersome from neighbouring Drighlington. The provisions created for the miners, including the increased number of housing remain today, including the town houses and terraces built on Street Lane. A lot of the land has subsequently been redeveloped. The land on which Mill Lane and its subsequent housing now sits was, as the name suggests, a large industrial area, with Maiden Mills built on the site. Originally, there was a flax mill, but during an incident in 1914, the mill burnt down, and a new one was built.
On 4 February 1974, the village and surrounding area gathered widespread national attention, as result of the M62 coach bombing: 12 people including soldiers and members of their families, died in the incident, which the media claimed to be the work of the IRA.
In the 1990s, much former industrial land in Gildersome was cleared and re-developed for housing.