Wakefield is a city in West Yorkshire, England, on the River Calder and the eastern edge of the Pennines.
In the 18th century, Wakefield traded in corn, coal mining and textiles and in 1888 its parish church acquired cathedral status. It became the county town and seat of the West Riding County Council in 1889 and the West Yorkshire Metropolitan Council from 1974 until it was dissolved in 1986.
In 2001, the Wakefield urban area had a population of 76,886 & the City of Wakefield had a total population of 315,172. Of the 132,212 households in Wakefield, 39.56% were married couples living together, 28.32% were one-person households, 9.38% were co-habiting couples and 9.71% were lone parents.
The economy of Wakefield declined in the last quarter of the 20th century as the coal mines and traditional manufacturing industries closed, contributing to high rates of unemployment.
However, employment grew by 12% between 1998 and 2003 as the economy recovered and enjoyed growth as the economic base of the district was diversified. Growth has been supported by inward investment from European and United Kingdom government funding which has impacted on the regeneration of the area.
Manufacturing remains an important employment sector although the decline is projected to continue whilst distribution and the service industries are now among the main employers.
At the 2001 census, there were 33,521 people in employment who were resident within Wakefield. Of these, 20.74% worked in the wholesale and retail trade, including repair of motor vehicles; 14.42% worked within manufacturing industry; 11% worked within the health and social work sector and 6.49% were employed in the transport, storage and communication industries.
Regeneration projects in Wakefield included the Trinity Walk retail development to the north east of the city centre, including department stores, a supermarket and shop units. The central square at the Bull Ring has been redesigned with a water feature and the Ridings Shopping Centre refurbished.
Wakefield Westgate Station goods yard and land on Westgate and Balne Lane have been developed to create retail, residential and commercial space including new offices, a multi-storey carpark serving the station, and a hotel. Developments by the river and canal, the "Wakefield Waterfront", include the refurbishment of the Grade II listed Navigation Warehouse and office, retail, restaurant and cafe units. The development includes the art gallery, The Hepworth Wakefield named in honour of local sculptor, Barbara Hepworth which opened in May 2011. The gallery has ten internal spaces, exhibiting many examples of Hepworth's work. The gallery added about £10 million to the local economy by attracting 500,000 visitors in its first year. Flats and offices were built at Chantry Waters, on an island between the river and canal.
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