The county of Yorkshire experienced great industrialisation during the 19th century. It was at the heart of the rapid growth of industry in towns and cities in England, which saw the associated rapid population growth in these areas. This has brought great wealth to the county but as well as bringing success there has been problems especially with the onset of deindustrialization. Yorkshire has had to adapt its industry to changing economic patterns in order to employ its inhabitants.
The oldest industry in the county is agriculture. For as long as man has been living in the county the land has been farmed for the population to feed upon. A great deal of the county has poor upland soils but in the lower areas such as river flood plains there are richer soils which allows more agricultural produce to grow. With their being different rainfall patterns and landscapes there is a wide variety of agricultural produce that is grown or reared, and farming has always been productive in the county. Over time the extractive industries have been successful. Large quantities of coal and iron ore have already been taken from the ground and this kick started the industrial revolution. However, these finite resources are now exhausted and most has now gone. In 1984 there were 54 collieries remaining in the county but today there are none left.
Another major feature of the industrialization in Yorkshire was the rapid expansion of the textile industry. There were textile mills in Leeds and Bradford and both of these cities grew primarily as a result of the success of these mills. The success of the wool industry created more mills which were opened in Huddersfield, Halifax. Dewsbury and Keighley. This over reliance on these heavy industries led to problems when they declined and there was great social unrest when jobs were lost in these areas.
The steel industry in Sheffield and Rotherham was at its peak in 1969 when 3.6 million tons of steel was produced and by 2008 it had dropped to 1.3 million tons. It now accounts for only 10% of the UKs output of steel. The county has responded to try and reverse this trend. Tourism is an expanding industry as the county has much to offer. Two National parks, a number of seaside resorts, big modern cities and easy access to the natural countryside means that many visitors are attracted to the general area.
The cities themselves have been attracting different types of industry in the area. Leeds has all the hall marks of an international city and this has helped with its wide diversity of employment. Instead of relying on the large industries Leeds has 1800 firms which employ over 39,000 people. It now has branched successfully into the service and high tech sector. Outside of London there are more people employed in Leeds than in any other city in the UK, with 480,000 people being employed. Leeds has also managed to attract over 30 national and international banks into the city, and its financial and insurance service industry in 2011 was worth 2.1 billion pounds. The legal and financial industries in Leeds are worth more than another UK city, other than London. Leeds appears to be one of the most successful British cities in terms of its industries. It is a good location for high tech companies as it has a good transport network with quick roads, a large extensive rail network and an international airport on its doorstep.
Yorkshire is also a great place to live for employees as the housing is relatively cheap and there is an abundance of countryside to relax in. The city of Leeds is vibrant in terms of the entertainments that is on offer. Leeds is not the only Yorkshire city that is attracting new industry into the county. All of the major cities are actively using the benefits offered by Yorkshire to get new business to relocate there. Business is successful in Yorkshire, but it is totally unrecognizable from the industrial landscape of barely half a century ago.