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Coordinates: 53°40′48″N 1°29′31″W 53.6801°N 1.4920°W / 53.6801; -1.4920


The name "Wakefield" is often said to derive from "Waca’s field" - the field belonging to Waca. However, it is more likely to have evolved from Old English wacu, meaning "a watch or wake", and feld, an open field in which a wake was held.[1] In the Domesday Book of 1086, it was listed as Wachefeld.[2] also as Wachefelt.

A view of Wakefield

Early history

Wakefield shown within West Yorkshire

Population OS grid reference Metropolitan borough Metropolitan county Region Constituent country Sovereign state Post town Postcode district Dialling code Police Fire Ambulance European Parliament UK Parliament

79,885 SE335205 City of Wakefield West Yorkshire Yorkshire and the Humber England United Kingdom WAKEFIELD WF1,WF2 01924 West Yorkshire West Yorkshire Yorkshire Yorkshire and the Humber Wakefield

Wakefield Westgate c1900 Much of what is now Wakefield, including Lupset, was held by William Earl Warenne, Earl of Surrey, as conferred on him by King William I.[3] As early as 1203 William Earl Warenne received a grant to have a market in Wakefield. Wakefield and its environs formed the caput of an extensive baronial holding by the Warennes that extended to Cheshire and Lancashire. The Warennes, and their feudal sublords, continued to hold the area until the 14th century, when it passed to Warenne heirs.[4] Those Norman tenants also holding land in the region, and particularly at Lupset, included the Lyvet (Levett) family, who had given their name to the nearby hamlet of Hooton Levitt.[5][6] In 1460, during the Wars of the Roses, the Duke of York was killed on 30 December 1460 near the city (then a town) in the Battle of Wakefield at Sandal Castle. The ruins of the castle can still be visited, and are a popular walking spot for locals.

List of places: UK • England • Yorkshire

Wakefield is the main settlement of the City of Wakefield metropolitan district in West Yorkshire, England. Located by the River Calder, it had a population of 76,886 in 2001. Wakefield was dubbed the "Merrie City" in the Middle Ages.


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Wakefield Cathedral Wakefield was incorporated as a municipal borough in 1848 under the Municipal Corporations Act 1835. Wakefield Cathedral is a 14th century parish church, which was restored by Sir George Gilbert Scott in the 19th century. There is also a 14th century Chantry Chapel which is the oldest and most ornate of the four remaining in England.[7] The chapel tops a buttress on a bridge over the River Calder.

The Town Hall, Wood St. Parkinson’s of Wakefield held a well respected position due to their wealth and fairness. Many of the family now live in Normanton on the outskirts of Wakefield, however Andrew Parkinson, does still live within the centre of Wakefield and many hold the same respect for him as those held for his ancestors of old. In the early 20th century, large areas of council housing were built on the fields that surrounded the town, and the formerly independent villages of Sandal Magna, Belle Vue and Agbrigg became suburbs of Wakefield. As many of the new council estates depended on the expansion of coal-mining for their employment, the National Coal Board eventually became Wakefield’s largest employer. The city was also surrounded by pit villages, but also by the old mill towns of Batley, Dewsbury and Ossett to the west. Wakefield is known as the capital of the Rhubarb Triangle, an area notable for its early forced rhubarb. Wakefield is one of the points of the triangular area with the neighbouring towns of Morley and Rothwell as the other two. In July 2005 a statue was erected to celebrate this facet of Wakefield.

Industrial history
The town was a centre for cloth dealing and had its own Piece Hall. For much of the 18th and 19th century, Wakefield had an unusually diverse economy for Yorkshire, but it was a much smaller town during that period. Textile mills grouped around the River Calder, and a large glass works in the east of the city was a large employer. There were several collieries around the outskirts of the town, and engineering works in the centre that had strong links to mining. The Eastmoor area was once home to large brickyards. Its position as the seat of local government for the West Riding also provided many local jobs in the councils, courts and prison. Many Wakefield families were and indeed still are prominent in the Wakefield area. The


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There are two railway stations in the city centre, Wakefield Westgate and Wakefield Kirkgate. Wakefield Westgate station is situated on the Doncaster to Leeds line, giving it a connection to the East Coast Mainline, there are trains to Leeds, Doncaster, Sheffield and stations towards London King’s Cross using National Express East Coast (NXEC). Additionally, services are available with CrossCountry for Newcastle upon Tyne, Edinburgh, Birmingham and the South West. East Midlands Trains also run trains via Sheffield, Leicester to St Pancras International. Wakefield Westgate is situated on the Wakefield Line of the MetroTrain network. Wakefield Kirkgate has trains to Barnsley, Meadowhall, Sheffield, Normanton, Pontefract, Knottingley, Leeds, Castleford and Nottingham. The station serves the Hallam Line, Huddersfield Line and the Pontefract Line of the MetroTrain network. Wakefield Westgate is maintained by National Express East Coast (NXEC), who operate the Leeds-London service, and is manned with facilities such as secure car parking, ticket office and shops. In contrast, Wakefield Kirkgate is unmanned, and there is no ticket office or machine. Most of the windows at the front of the station are boarded-up, and the grade 2 listed[8] pub opposite, "The Wakefield Arms", has stood derelict for the last 3 years.[9] Kirkgate station is operated by Northern Rail. Following the success of the FreeCityBus in Leeds, and the FreeTownBus in Huddersfield, a six month trial of a zero-fare Wakefield FreeCityBus scheme began on 23 April 2007.[10] The route connects key locations in the city including the bus station, railway stations, retail parks and shopping areas. The service runs every 10 minutes between 7:30 am to 7:00 pm, Monday to Friday and 8:30 am to 5:00 pm on Saturdays. Four hundred and fifty passengers used the service on its first running day.[11] The nearest airport to Wakefield is Leeds Bradford International Airport, located 19 miles to the north of the city between Leeds and Bradford. Leeds airport is Yorkshire’s busiest and the 16th busiest airport in the United Kingdom, with flights to destinations such as Islamabad, Larnaca, Paris and Alicante.

Post-industrial history
As with most industrial areas, Wakefield suffered many years of decline. The glass and textile industries faded out in the 1970s and 1980s. Margaret Thatcher’s contraction of the coal industry began with a particular focus on Wakefield: all six pits within a two mile radius of the centre were closed between 1979 and 1983. By the time of the 1984 Miners’ Strike, there were still 15 pits in the rest of the district, and demonstrations in support of the strike frequently took place in the city. The city suffered a double blow through the closure of local pits and the abolition of West Yorkshire County Council, which had been based in Wakefield; many local people had been employed in administration ever since the establishment of the old West Riding council. The city long remained a depressed area, but fortunes have risen recently and unemployment is now around the national average.


Wakefield Westgate station

Wakefield Kirkgate station


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Further education
Wakefield College is the major provider of further education in the area, with around 3,000 full-time and 10,000 part-time students,[12] and campuses in both the city centre and surrounding towns. The college has a 6th form, and in addition to A-levels also offers GCSE courses and a wide range of vocational qualifications. 6th form colleges in the Wakefield District include: Outwood Grange College 6th form in Outwood, QEGS Wakefield, WGHS, Silcoates, and the NEW College 6th Form in Pontefract. Wakefield City Council has recently announced that it is planning in co-operation with Wakefield College, to establish the University Centre of Wakefield, which would offer students in the Wakefield district a new local university as an option to the offer by the University of Leeds.

Social housing
In 2004, Wakefield’s council tenants voted to transfer the entire council housing stock to a new registered social landlord, the registered charity Wakefield and District Housing (WDH),[13] although the properties concerned are still often referred to as "council houses". Wakefield itself contains seven excouncil estates. The largest estate is Lupset, in the west; the others are Flanshaw, Plumpton, Peacock, Eastmoor, Portobello (known affectionately as "bella") and Kettlethorpe. WDH are working with partners such as Wakefield’s Metropolitan District Council to invest over £700 m regenerating the district and improving the houses. Improvements have been taking place since 2005 and to date over £150 m has been spent improving homes. In August 2007 WDH completed the first in a programme of new Social Housing developments, located at Chiltern Avenue in Whitwood. WDH is building a reputation for excellent customer care, with the latest survey reporting 83% of tenants satisfied with the service being provided and 79% believing the services provided offer value for money. At its recent Audit Commission inspection WDH was awarded the highest level of award, three stars with excellent prospects for improvement. This was only the third time this award has been granted, and WDH were the first Northern Housing Association to receive it.

Wakefield is less celebrated, but nevertheless well known, for its prisons. Its combined prison population was 1,657 in 2001. Wakefield Prison is a maximum security prison, one of the most secure in Britain, and has included many notorious inmates including Klaus Fuchs, Ian Huntley(no longer in the prison moved for safety resons), Harold Shipman and Charles Bronson. Wakefield was originally built as a house of correction in 1594. The former governor R.S. Duncan has suggested that the well-known nursery rhyme "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush" finds its origins at the prison. During its days as a female prison, the women convicts would supposedly take their children on exercise with them and sing the now well-known tune. The original tree is claimed to be still there today. The current prison was designated a dispersal prison in 1966 (longest of remaining original group). It is now a lifer main centre with the focus on serious sex offenders. The current governor is David R. Thompson, Director-General elect of Her Majesty’s Prison Service. The nearby HMP New Hall is a multi-use prison for women, young female offenders and girls on Detention and Training Orders (DTOs).

The indie-punk band The Cribs are from Wakefield as were the heavy metal band Vardis. Prior to their emergence, Jane McDonald was the most celebrated Wakefield-born contributor to the music industry. Jane regularly mentions Wakefield when acting as a panellist on ITV1’s Loose Women, for various reasons, usually when talking about her childhood. The Wakefield area also has a variety of local pubs and clubs which serve a wide selection of different rock-style groups. The Strafford Arms and Escobar clubs being noted among these. The Wakefield Cathedral Choir consists of boys, girls and men who perform at religious


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services, concerts and recitals at the cathedral. Choral Evensong with the boys is on Tuesdays, and on Thursdays the boys are joined by the men. The girls perform Evensong on Wednesday evenings and Parish Eucharist on Sunday mornings. The boys and men also sing at Choral Eucharist and Evensong on Sundays. The girls, on occasion, sing choral Eucharist or Evensong with the Lay Clerks on Thursday or Friday evenings. Once each term, the boys and the girls swap their Sunday duties. The choir, directed by Jonathan Bielby and assisted by Thomas Moore, is one of the most successful cathedral choirs in the UK, but paradoxically has also been described by many as ’Wakefield’s best kept secret’. The choir have had appearances on BBC 1’s Songs of Praise and BBC Radio 3’s Choral Evensong.


Museums and the arts
Wakefield city-centre is host to a small art gallery and a city museum. These will be added to by a Barbara Hepworth gallery being built as part of the rejuvenation of the city centre’s waterfront. The National Coal Mining Museum for England (an Anchor Point of ERIH, The European Route of Industrial Heritage) and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, one of Europe’s foremost sculpture parks, are within the metropolitan area. The Wakefield Theatre Royal hosts a variety of performing arts. Wakefield is also known for the Wakefield Cycle, a collection of 32 mystery plays, dating from the 14th century, which were performed as part of the summertime religious festival of Corpus Christi and revived in recent times.

Notable songs about Wakefield
• "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush" "may have begun life as a song or chant by inmates of Wakefield prison"[14] • "The Grand Old Duke of York" - commonly attributed to be written about the battle of Wakefield, referring to Richard, the Grand Old Duke (of York). • "Ancient History" and "I’ve Tried Everything", by The Cribs

Parks and historical sites

Film and television
The film This Sporting Life is set in Wakefield and depicts the hard realities of the mines and Rugby League. It was directed by Lindsay Anderson, written by David Storey and starred Richard Harris. Many of the images of the city centre are very different from how it is today, yet the Belle Vue area, which surrounds the rugby ground, has not changed nearly as much. The film is now something of a relic; it is not closely identified with Wakefield in the way that, say, Kes is with Barnsley, The Full Monty is with Sheffield or Rita, Sue and Bob Too is with Bradford. In June 2005 Wakefield was the scene of the television programme Most Haunted, who hosted a summer solstice special in various locations around the city, including Wakefield Opera House. During the course of the show they attempted to contact the spirit of James Ellison, a former city councilman. National Coal Mining Museum • Pugneys Country Park, offering nonpowered watersports and a nature reserve • The ruins of Sandal Castle • The National Coal Mining Museum • Walton Hall, set in what was the world’s first nature reserve, created by the explorer Charles Waterton • Yorkshire Sculpture Park and nearby Bretton Hall • Wakefield Cathedral, which has the highest spire in the county • Nostell Priory, a stately home • Anglers Country Park and the Heronry, and nearby Haw Park Wood • Clarence, Holmfield and Thornes Park [1]

Wakefield hosts an annual Rhubarb Festival to celebrate its historical association as a


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grower of the plant and consists of various themed tours, talks, exhibitions and markets. Clarence Park Festival is held annually in Clarence Park, playing free live music for the 16th time in 2008.

Wakefield F.C. play their football in the Northern Premier League Division One North after their merger and move from the village of Emley in 2001. They played at Belle Vue as tenants of Trinity until the end of the 2005/6 season following their relegation. They have moved to College Grove for the start of the 2006/7 season, Wakefield RFC’s former ground. Wakefield has often been quoted as the largest city in the country without a team in the football league, although it is arguable that this title belongs to York now. Frickley Athletic F.C. and Ossett Town F.C. are the leading football clubs in the district, both clubs playing in the UniBond Premier Division. Wakefield Harriers A.C. is the athletics club located at Thornes Park Athletics Stadium and is home to international athletes including Martyn Bernard, Emily Freeman and Charlene Thomas. There are a number of cricket and amateur rugby league teams that play in many of the villages around the city. One other notable team was skater hockey’s Wakefield Warriors, which during their short life, were crowned British and European Champions. Wakefield has two successful current senior international swimmers (Ian Perrell and Rachel Jack). West Yorkshire Canoe Club is a canoe club based in Wakefield. They have sessions in Wakefield, Batley and Pontefract throughout the week. The club is well known in the kayaking world because of two of their members: Joe Morley, GB Slalom paddler and 5th in Premier Division; and Russell Johnson, GB U23 Slalom paddler hopeful and 27th in Division 2. The Wakefield Archers A target [archery] club founded in June 25, 1834. The club has members that shoot Olympic recurve, Compound and longbows.

Night life
The area of Westgate was historically held to have the largest number of adjacent pubs in England. The Westgate Run attracts drinkers from across the region. The Westgate Run (locally referred to as ’The Westgate run’) consists of starting at the bottom of the road named ’Westgate’, in a pub called ’The Redoubt’ and progressing though each of the pubs, having a drink in each of the 15 or so pubs. Other pubs along the route include ’The Smiths Arms’, ’The Swan with Two Necks’ and ’Henry Boons’. This remains a popular pastime for many of Wakefield’s youth today.

Wakefield is known for its rugby league club, Wakefield Trinity Wildcats. Formed in 1873, the club has had a chequered history, with their most successful period coming in the 1960s with Neil Fox, Derek ’Rocky’ Turner, Keith Holliday and Harold Poynton under coach Ken Traill helping the club to 3 Challenge Cup successes and 2 Championships. They now play in the elite Super League division of the sport. Playing as the Wildcats, Wakefield’s best season was in 2004 when they reached the Super League playoffs defeating Hull F.C and narrowly losing to Wigan Warriors. Their best Challenge Cup run since 1979 came in 2008 but ended with defeat to Hull FC in the semi finals. There is also a very successful amateur rugby league association in Wakefield which goes back almost 100 years. Presently there are 14 teams in the area playing in various local leagues: Ackworth, Crigglestone All Blacks, Crofton Cougars, Eastmoor Dragons, Kettlethorpe, Kinsley, Normanton Knights, Ryhill Hammers, Sharlston Rovers, Stanley Rangers, Wakefield City, Walton and Westgate Wolves Wakefield RFC was the city’s rugby union club from 1901 to 2004 when the club ceased playing after relegation and lack of funding. Sandal RFC are now the area’s largest rugby union club.

Wakefield has its own newspapers, The Wakefield Express,[15] the Wakefield Guardian, and radio station Ridings FM. It also has a number of free magazines including Excelle, Solo and The Wakefield Review.


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Chantry Waters is a regeneration of Calder Island alongside Vauxhall. Phase one is completed and Chantry Waters Flats were completed in February 2007. Phase Two includes office blocks and begins in 2008. This development lead to the closure of Springtime Studios in 2006, the recording/rehearsal studio run by The Cribs.

Wakefield is currently undergoing major development and re-development projects, aiming to bring new life into the city.

City centre
• Trinity Walk is a £175 m development to the south-east of Wakefield city centre that will see original market hall and surrounding area demolished and replaced with a new indoor market, retail units and library. Work began in autumn 2007,[16] with the entire project scheduled for completion in 2010.[17]The developers had to stop building work early in 2009: nothing more is yet known • Marsh Way -part of a proposed inner ring road, Marsh Way, has been rerouted to facilitate the development. • ABC Cinema Flats - The original ABC cinema, which closed in 1997, has been given a new lease of life and a £13.5 m redevelopment converting the cinema into flats.[18] • Ings Road - Plans to demolish most of the current Ings road shopping park and redevelop into a "city centre like" shopping plaza, also to re-route the "motorway-like" Ings road to leave an uncongested street. • Ridings Shopping Centre - Owners of the centre (Moorfield Real Estate Fund) have refurbished the 1980s city centre shopping mall, replacing the original entrance with a new glazed front.[19] • Community Stadium - For many years in the planning stages, and after a number of false starts, a new stadium will replace the old Belle Vue ground, the home of the Wakefield Trinity Wildcats. It is planned (April 2009) on the site of the old Newmarket Colliery in Stanley, north of the city and close to the M62.

• Westgate Station - A regeneration of the station by the city council and the English Cities Fund, moving the station down the railway line, extending the platform and building a new hotel.[20] • Westgate Key Development Area - The current station and goods yard will be converted into a retail and commercial hotspot. • Wakefield Theatre Royal - The theatre is to be extended for the inclusion of new facilities including studio space, bar/ restaurant and an education suite.[21]

Notable people born in or near Wakefield
• Jennet Brenton, tried for witchraft[22] • Lee Briscoe, footballer Sheffield Wednesday F.C. • Andrew Burt, actor • John Carr, architect • Claire Cooper, actress • Janet Davies, actress • Reece Dinsdale, actor, Home to Roost, Ahead of the Class, Coronation Street • Anne O’Hare McCormick, journalist, first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize • Brian McDermott, Rugby League player and coach • Jane McDonald, singer and television personality • David Mercer, playwright • Henry Moore, sculptor • Bill Nelson, guitarist, songwriter, painter, and founder of 70s progressive rock band Be Bop Deluxe • Ian Nelson, saxophonist, keyboardist, brother of musician Bill Nelson, and member of Fiat Lux • Jonty Parkin, former rugby league player and England captain

• Waterfront Wakefield - £150 m development of the Old Fernandes brewery in Kirkgate. The development will see new retail and industrial units built alongside the Hepworth Gallery, an art gallery built to honour the sculpture and art of Wakefield-born Barbara Hepworth • Chantry Waters - Adjacent to the development at Wakefield Waterside,


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• Jean Fergusson, actress • Helen Fielding, author, best known for Bridget Jones’s Diary and sequel Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason • Emily Freeman, British female athlete, 100 m & 200 m • Martin Frobisher, explorer, found the Northwest Passage • Noel Gay, popular composer • George Gissing, novelist and misanthrope • Chris Greenacre, footballer for Tranmere Rovers FC • John George Haigh, 1940s serial killer known as the Acid Bath Murderer • John Harrison, clockmaker, the genius who solved the longitudinal problem, leading to sea power and GMT • Chanelle Hayes, Famous ’Big • Denis Parkinson, Motorcycle Grand Prix winner and commentator • Dave Penney, former manager of Doncaster Rovers FC, now manager of Darlington FC • Carolyn Pickles, actress, great niece of Wilfred Pickles • John Radcliffe, scientist and founder of the eponymous library in Oxford • Jayne Sharp, TV presenter • Richard Stoker, composer • Jonathan M. Stone, 2006 national president of Junior Chamber International (JCI) United Kingdom (formerly known as British Junior Chamber of Commerce) • David Storey, novelist and playwright • Paul Sykes, champion heavyweight boxer • Mike Tindall, England and Gloucester Rugby Union player • Jane Tomlinson, athlete and cancer charity fundraiser (from Rothwell in Leeds - on Wakefield border) • Robert Ullathorne, former Premiership footballer with Norwich City, Leicester City • Charles Waterton, naturalist • Sarah Whitley, the oldest woman ever to appear in a motion picture brother’ contestant, now a glamour model. John Healey, politician and the former Financial Secretary to the Treasury Barbara Hepworth, sculptor Reenie Hollis, bassist in indie band The Long Blondes David Hope, former Archbishop of York Ryan Jarman, Gary Jarman and Ross Jarman, indie band The Cribs Russell Johnson, canoe/kayak slalom paddler[23] Kenneth Leighton, composer Johnny Longden, champion jockey, founder of Jockey’s Guild










Sister cities
• • • • • Castres, France Hénin-Beaumont, France Herne, Germany Belgorod, Russia Konin, Poland


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North: Leeds West: Horbury, Ossett, Dewsbury Wakefield South: Barnsley, Doncaster


East: Pontefract, Castleford

• Cheapside is the longest continuous street of woolstaplers’ warehouses in England. • The Vicar of Wakefield, protagonist of the influential novel of that name by Oliver Goldsmith, lives there in the first chapters. • The Big Brother 2007 contestant Chanelle Hayes is from the village of Middlestown, near Wakefield. • The M. Night Shyamalan film Signs mentions a crop circle in Wakefield in a TV report. • Helene Speight and Claire Young who were both in the final of The Apprentice 2008 are from Wakefield.

Location grid References
[1] Reaney, P.H. (1964). The origin of English place-names (corrected 3rd pr.). London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. p. 161. ISBN 0-71002-010-4. [2] Mills, A.D. (1998). A dictionary of English place-names (2nd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 361. ISBN 0-19280-074-4. [3] The Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, 1886 [4] The Encyclopedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, New York, 1911 [5] Lupset, The Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, 1882 [6] Dodsworth’s Yorkshire notes, the wapentake of Agbrigg, Roger Dodsworth, 1884 [7] Bridge Chapels - Edward Green [8] Current Listed Building Files. Listed Buildings 26th April 2005, Wakefield District Council 40 - Listed buildings in Central Wakefield [9] Shock as pub becomes den for junkies and squatters - Wakefield Express article on deterioration of The Wakefield Arms pub

[10] "Wakefield FreeCityBus due for April 2007". West Yorkshire Metro. 070207.htm. [11] "Four hundred and fifty passengers used Wakefield FreeCityBus on first day". West Yorkshire Metro. 0704020-1.htm. [12] Wakefield College Information [13] Wakefield and District Housing - About WDH [14] The story of Wakefield Prison & the origin of a nursery rhyme [15] The Wakefield Express [16] "Work begins on major city centre development". Wakefield Express City (Johnston Press). 2007-09-07. Retrieved on 2007-11-29. [17] "Marsh Way Area (Trinity Walk)". Regeneration/Wakefield/MarshWay.htm. Retrieved on 2007-11-29. [18] "Cinema takes on a new role". Wakefield Express City (Johnston Press Digital). 2007-08-31. Retrieved on 2007-11-29. [19] "Ridings’ £25 m expansion plan". Wakefield Express City (Johnston Press). 2007-08-24. Retrieved on 2007-11-29. [20] City Gateway in £10 m [21] "Planning permission granted for the extension!". capitaldevelopment.asp. Retrieved on 2007-11-29. [22] ~wakefield/wake_worthies.html [23]


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• Forum for Wakefield residents in Polish • Wakefield District Development Agency

External links
• City of Wakefield Metropolitan District Council

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