Yorkshire Day: Here’s why we LOVE Yorkshire

GOD'S OWN: Hannah Cockcroft, Chris Chester, Sir Patrick Stewart, Sean Bean, Jarvis Cocker and Gentleman Jack.
GOD'S OWN: Hannah Cockcroft, Chris Chester, Sir Patrick Stewart, Sean Bean, Jarvis Cocker and Gentleman Jack.

It’s that time again to celebrate everything good about Yorkshire.

This year’s official August 1 Yorkshire Day celebration will be held in Whitby and will feature a procession with mayors from the three Ridings.

Salts Mill, Saltaire.

Salts Mill, Saltaire.

And it’s worth remembering just what we have to offer...

History

From the first arrival of the Vikings to decades spent scrapping with Lancastrians no one needs to be told twice that Yorkshire is a place with a past.

Looking at our towns and cities is looking back through the history of Britain and its place in the world.

Whitby bathed in afternoon sunshine.

Whitby bathed in afternoon sunshine.

After the churches, cathedrals and castles of our earlier history, the remaining industrial revolution and Victorian era buildings look back to a time when Yorkshire really was a powerhouse.

The mills of West Yorkshire and mines further south in the county show what we produced and gave to the world, while Hull’s Maritime Museum and York’s National Railway Museum show how we got it there.

Landscapes

Even aside from Yorkshire’s stunning national parks you barely have to leave the city to find spectacular countryside and parkland.

The Piece Hall.

The Piece Hall.

On the the right side of the Pennines the landscape around Castleford inspired the great sculptors Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, while the North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales could inspire anyone. The Stray in Harrogate and Leeds’ Roundhay Park – one of the biggest city parks in Europe – show Yorkshire is as good as it gets to be reacquainted with nature.

And in 2014 when Yorkshire hosted the Grand Depart of the Tour de France there couldn’t have been a better place for the world’s cycling elite as riders scrambled down the side of Grinton Moor.

Music

Pulp? Arctic Monkeys? The Cribs? The Human League? Gang of Four? Robert Palmer?

Throw in Calderdale-born Ed Sheeran, Bradford’s Zayn Malik and Wakefield’s very own Jane McDonald and you’ll find you’ve got quite a formidable Yorkshire playlist.

And the county’s list of venues is only getting better and more inventive with the advent of the revamped Piece Hall in Halifax, Scarborough’s Open Air Theatre – which will host Kylie Minogue tonight - and Wakefield’s converted Market Hall, which will hold a space-themed Festival of the Moon later this month.

Football

Sheffield United and Barnsley’s triumphant returns to the Premier League and Championship were two of the few big successes of the last football season in Yorkshire. With Huddersfield Town and Bradford City relegated, Leeds United falling at a late hurdle in their own promotion push, and Sheffield Wednesday and Hull City finishing in mid-table mediocrity not everyone had something to celebrate.

But it won’t be enough to stop the thousands upon thousands of fans bringing their grounds to life when the new season kicks off this weekend. And never mind – at least there’s Yorkshire’s Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow who helped carry England’s cricketers to World Cup glory.

Rugby league

As northern as gravy and chips and a testament to the region insisting on doing things its own way, the new code broke away from rugby union at Huddersfield’s George Hotel in 1895.

Intended to be simpler and quicker than union, the origins of the sport stem from issues over players’ pay, which hit those sportsmen from northern working class communities the hardest.

Between Batley Bulldogs, Bradford Bulls, Castleford Tigers, Dewsbury Rams, Doncaster, Featherstone Rovers, Halifax, Huddersfield Giants, Hull FC, Hull KR, Keighley, Leeds Rhinos, Sheffield Eagles, Wakefield Trinity and York, Yorkshire’s clubs have played a massive role in the biggest glories of the sport.

Food and drink

It’s simply not true anymore that Britain can’t do food.

And there’s more to this county’s culinary class that Yorkshire puddings and Wensleydale.

From country pub grub in the Dales, to high end street food in Leeds, to the four Michelin starred restaurants in North, West, and East Yorkshire this is a county that can compete.

Leeds-based The Man Behind the Curtain was the latest to receive the accolade.

People

From Hannah Cockroft to the Chuckle Brothers, a county more populous than Scotland is always bound to have some residents who go on to be household names.

Literature, stage and screen are all well-represented by God’s own county with likes of Patrick Stewart, Judi Dench and the Brontë sisters just a handful.

Michael Palin played a key role in developing some of strangest and most inventive comedy anyone had ever seen with his Monty Python pals, which was just one aspect of his distinguished writing, acting and presenting career.

How about Sean Bean? Surely the toughest ever screen presence whose characters never seem to last to the end of a film.

And where would the world be without the booming voice of Brian Blessed or the award-winning performances of Ben Kingsley?

Art

Yorkshire is home to some world class galleries and museums.

Between The Hepworth, Leeds Galley, Henry Moore Institute, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, York Gallery, Captain Cook Museum in Whitby, the county has a cultural collection to rival anywhere.

Screen

The historic buildings and landscapes of Yorkshire have played backdrop to all kinds of films and TV programmes.

Sally Wainwright-penned BBC One drama Gentleman Jack, which told the story of Halifax diarist Anne Lister, featured Shibden Hall, St Peter’s Church in Sowerby, and The Fleece in at Elland among others.

A Downtown Abbey spin-off due to hit cinemas in September will feature Harewood House in Leeds, Wentworth Woodhouse in Rotherham, Pickering Station on the North York Moors Heritage Line, and Bradford’s Little Germany district.

Parts of Bradford city centre have also been used for The ABC Murders, Gentleman Jack and Peaky Blinders. Wakefield’s St John’s Square also featured in the filming of the ABC Murders.