Yorkshire’s two very different Chapeltowns share the same name – but have very little in common

Yorkshire is home to two locations with the exact same name and 30 miles apart.

Chapeltown, Leeds, is a suburb to the northeast of the city, only about a mile from the city centre. Its name is short for the nearby chapel of Allerton. Chapeltown in Sheffield, however, is much further from the city centre. It’s a large village on the outskirts of town as you head towards Barnsley.

However, their names and presence in Yorkshire is about all these two places have in common.

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Chapeltown in Leeds hosts many cultural and creative events, including the famous Leeds Carnival and the Northern Contemporary Dance Centre. It is a diverse region that has become home to many emigrant populations – and now has significant West Indian and Jewish communities.

As such, it is also home to the Leeds West Indian Centre. Arthur France, a student at Leeds from St. Kitts, helped organize that country’s first West Indian carnival in the region in 1967.

Chapeltown in Sheffield may not have its own carnival, but it was the site where Churchill tanks were produced during WWII. There used to be an army tank in the village which was a monument to the village’s history, but one day the locals woke up to find it was missing. The mystery has never been solved.

The former Staindrop Lodge Hotel in Chapeltown, Sheffield

According to the 2019 Multiple Deprivation Indexes, much of Chapeltown in Leeds was at the time in the top 10% of the country’s most deprived areas. Chapeltown in Sheffield is not as deprived in general.

Deprivation can impact crime rates in an area, as those in difficulty become desperate, and Chapeltown in Leeds has struggled with crime before. It was the site of riots in 1975, 1981 and 1987, but locals say Chapeltown’s association with crime is often exaggerated.

The historic riots occurred due to racial tensions, poverty, substandard housing and high unemployment rates across the country and in Leeds.

Talk to LeedsLive last year, lifelong resident Andrew said he always felt safe in the area even when the riots took place.

He said: “It wasn’t scary at all, there was a great community base and everyone was in it together. Everyone looked out for each other, there was more community spirit than there is now.

Crowds line the streets of Chapeltown for the Leeds West Indian Carnival
Crowds line the streets of Chapeltown for the Leeds West Indian Carnival

“I felt safe. The riots were about one thing in particular, people didn’t just riot because they wanted to riot. Something happened to get it all started, and if it doesn’t was not produced, the riots would not have taken place.

“Just because there were riots doesn’t mean it was a bad place. Something started that riot.” Ajay Akkar, who lives near Chapeltown, also spoke to LeedsLive Last year.

He said: ‘Since the riots the area has improved 100 per cent. It’s totally different, back then there were too many robberies and too many fights out in the streets, and too many drug dealers. And now he has been totally changed. The people are the best here.

“They are helpful and they are lovely and always ready to chat.

Can you think of other examples of places in Yorkshire with the same name? Let us know in the comments!

“Anyone who thinks badly of Chapeltown thinks badly. Unless you live or work in the area, people don’t know what’s going on. It’s just gossip.

According to the Crime Rate website, Chapeltown in Sheffield has a crime rate of 68 crimes per 1,000 population. This is well below the average crime rate for South Yorkshire. That’s big for a village – with a population of over 10,000

George Newton and Thomas Chambers arrived in Chapeltown from Sheffield in the 18th century to form Newton, Chambers & Co. It started as an ironworks before expanding into ironstone and coal mining. This later became one of the largest industrial enterprises in England.

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