Pudsey is a market town in West Yorkshire, England. Once independent, it was incorporated into the City of Leeds metropolitan borough in 1974. It is located midway between Bradford and Leeds city centres. Historically in the West Riding of Yorkshire, it has a population of 32,391.
Pudsey consists of: the town centre and the areas of Fartown, Troydale, Littlemoor, Lowtown, Uppermoor and Chapeltown. There is also the village of Fulneck, the district of Stanningley and part of Tyersall (most of which is in Bradford).
Wool manufacture was its principal industry in the 19th century.
Pudsey was formerley within the division of Morley in the wapentake of Agbrigg and Morley and the ecclesiastical parish of Calverley. During the era of the Poor Law and Sanitary Districts (1837-circa 1900), it was found in the Bradford Union. It became a Municipal Borough in 1889. For many years, despite being joined to the Leeds conurbation, it avoided being made part of Leeds County Borough. In 1937 the Farsley and Calverley urban districts were added to Pudsey. In 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, it became part of the metropolitan borough of the City of Leeds.
The place-name Pudsey is first recorded in the Domesday Book as Podechesaie and Podechesai, in 1086. Its etymology is rather uncertain: it seems most likely to derive from a putative personal name *Pudoc and the word ēg meaning 'island' but here presumably referring metaphorically to an 'island' of good ground in moorland. Thus the name would mean 'Pudoc's island'. Other possibilities have been suggested, however. In the early sixth century the district was in the Kingdom of Elmet, which seems to have retained its Celtic character for perhaps as many as two centuries after other neighbouring kingdoms had adopted the cultural identity of the Angles.
The town was famous in the 18th and 19th centuries for wool manufacture, and, from the 19th century, for cricket. Yorkshire and England cricketers Sir Len Hutton, Herbert Sutcliffe, Ray Illingworth and Matthew Hoggard all learned to play in Pudsey. A 19th century Yorkshire cricketer, John Tunnicliffe, was born in Lowtown.
During the Industrial Revolution Pudsey was one of the most polluted areas of the UK due to its position in a slight valley between the two industrial cities of Leeds and Bradford. As a result whichever way the wind blew Pudsey became covered in thick soot. The temperature inversion created by the valley led to the soot becoming trapped leading to dense smogs. This is believed to have led to jokes that pigeons in Pudsey Park flew backwards in order to keep the soot out of their eyes.