Yorkshire Day, celebrated on August 1st, may have passed, but given the contributions my home county has made to the world, it seems to me that every day is Yorkshire Day – we just didn’t know it.
Who for instance doesn’t have at least one piece of stainless steel in their kitchen drawer? This over one-hundred-year old life hack was discovered in 1913, by Harry Brearley who hailed from Sheffield in South Yorkshire. Brearley’s discovery revolutionized the industry and Sheffield continues to be the home of quality high end stainless steel.
We also have a Yorkshireman to thank for the first commercial steam locomotive, which was designed and built in Holbeck, West Yorkshire, by Matthew Murray 1812.
Yorkshire County Cricket Club 1885
And talking of Yorkshiremen, a slew of them have given cricket fans an immeasurable number of hours of pleasure over the years, as Yorkshire has produced more cricket playing greats than any other county. The legendary Geoff Boycott for instance played in 108 test matches, in which he scored 8,114 runs and 22 hundreds for England. (To figure out what is meant by a "test match" a "run" and a "hundred", I’m afraid you’ll have to ask a Yorkshireman.)
Still on the topic of sports and returning again to Sheffield, it was there that back in 1857 the world’s first ever football (soccer) club was formed by Nathaniel Creswick and William Preset.
Bronte Sisters statue, Haworth Parsonage
Yorkshire also gave us The Bronte sisters; Charlotte, Emily and the lesser known Anne. The village of Thornton near Bradford in West Yorkshire, in which they were born, and neighboring Haworth where they later lived, are popular tourist destinations. Charlotte and Emily’s novels Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights are considered masterpieces and have been adapted for television, stage and screen. Other well-known Yorkshire authors include Alan Bennett and J. B. Priestley.
Yorkshire born national treasures,
The list of well-known actors who hail from Yorkshire is a long one; Dame Judi Dench, Dame Diana Rigg, Sir Ben Kingsley, Sir Tom Courtney, Sir Patrick Stewart, James Mason, Michael Palin, Sean Bean, Peter Firth, Charles Loughton, Charlton Heston (descended from Yorkshire stock via his maternal great-grandmother), to name just few.
"Original Penny Bazaar"
And who knew that the iconic clothing, home goods and food store, Marks and Spencer, started out back in 1894 as a penny bazaar stall on Kirkside Market in Leeds. It was first run by an Eastern European refugee called Michael Marks, but after going into partnership with Thomas Spencer, the pair quickly expanded and Marks and Sparks became a high street fixture all across the country.
Since 1150, Wensleydale in Northern Yorkshire has been producing the crumbly cheese that almost one thousand years later would gain international recognition through the stop motion clay animation comedy series Wallace and Gromit.
Finally, we shouldn’t forget Yorkshire Pudding, which was first referenced in the 1747 book The Whole Duty of a Woman. Made with just three simple ingredients, milk, eggs and flour, it’s the perfect accompaniment to a Sunday roast and when served as a plate sized portion is a meal in itself.