Date Published 08 January 2021
Why we love Leek
Known as the Queen of the Moorlands, Leek is brimming with charm, character and community spirit. This small market town that we call home has much to offer both its residents and visitors which is why we believe it makes such a great place to live. Here's why we at Westwood Lettings love Leek:
1. A whole lot of history
During the Industrial Revolution Leek became known for its booming textile industry, in particular the production of silk. Textile designer and founder of the British Arts and Crafts Movement, William Morris, studied dyeing with Thomas Wardle, owner of the town's dyeworks, and Leek produced the silk for his textile design company. James Brindley, the 18th Century canal engineer, also lived in Leek and built his water-powered corn mill which still remains as the Brindley Water Mill and Museum on Mill Street.
2. Beautiful buildings
If you look out across Leek from the surrounding moors you'll see the lasting remains of the town's industrial heritage with its distinctive red-brick mill buildings, rows of terraced streets and the copper dome of the Nicholson Institute jutting out above the rooftops. Many of Leek's buildings were designed by Sugden & Son architects whose work included the Nicholson Institute, now the town's library, and our very own Sugden House, the former cottage hospital built in memory of silk manufacturer James Allsop.
3. Never too far from a country walk
Being situated on the edge of the Peak District means that there is no shortage of picturesque countryside around Leek. As Rudyard Lake, The Roaches and the Manifold Track are not too far out of town there is no excuse not to get out in the fresh air.
4. Markets, Markets, Markets
Leek has held a market charter for more than 800 years and with a weekly Wednesday market, Saturday antiques market and seasonal twilight markets, it well and truly maintains its reputation as a market town. The 'undercover market' held in the Victorian Butter Market is also open on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
5. Totally Locally
On the first Sunday of every month the town's community spirit comes to the fore as it becomes a hive of activity with artisan food, art and craft stalls lining Derby Street. With live music playing and many of Leek's independent shops and cafés opening for the occasion there is always a lively and vibrant atmosphere.
6. The independents
From the Market Place to Getliffes Yard, Bath Street, Stanley Street, Sheepmarket and St Edward Street, Leek is home to a wealth of independent retailers selling handmade chocolates, artisan bread, clothing, homeware and gifts which makes a mooch around town a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
7. It's all about the coffee
There are too many to mention but there is always an excuse to eat cake when Leek has such an abundance of cafés, coffee shops and tearooms to please even the most ardent of tea and coffee lovers.
If your tastes in furniture are more traditional than flatpack then Leek is the place to go. Having its own antiques quarter located in St Edward Street and Broad Street means there is always something for everyone.
9. The schools
Leek is one of just a few towns in the country to have a three-tier school system. With numerous primary schools, two middle schools and two high schools, the education system within the town offers plenty of options.
10. Location, location
Although Leek is nestled in the Staffordshire Moorlands it also has excellent road networks to other local towns and cities. With Stoke-on-Trent just over 10 miles away and Manchester and Derby around 30 miles away, commuting is a realistic prospect along with access to larger retailers. There are also direct roads to Ashbourne, Buxton and Macclesfield.
11. It has a gold post box
Derby Street's post box was painted gold in 2012 in honour of Dr Anna Watkins, who grew up in the town, after she won a gold medal in the London Olympics rowing in the double sculls with partner Katherine Grainger.
12. The lion
Many a photo has been taken on a night out around town with The Lion, situated at the entrance to the car park of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council's offices, but did you know it was actually commissioned for Alton Towers and was previously situated in Brough Park?
13. The Monument
The Nicholson War Memorial was commissioned by local manufacturer Sir Arthur Nicholson and his wife, Lady Marianne, after their son, Lieutenant Basil Lee Nicholson, was killed at Ypres in 1915. Situated at the bottom of the high street, it is now used to mark Remembrance Sunday and other key anniversaries.