Gildersome is a village and civil parish in the City of Leeds metropolitan borough 5 miles (7 km) south west of Leeds city centre in West Yorkshire, England. Historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, it is situated midway between Leeds, Wakefield and Bradford but is in the LS27 (Leeds) postcode area while the village telephone numbers are "0113", the Leeds prefix.
Gildersome was an urban district, established in 1894. In 1937 it was absorbed into the Municipal Borough of Morley. In 1974 the borough was abolished and combined with neighbouring authorities in the City of Leeds. Although the village is still classed as part of the Morley urban area in the census, it is technically separate, and is not governed by Morley Town Council. In 2004 a civil parish was established and the village now has a parish council. At the 2011 Census the population of this civil parish was 5,804. Gildersome is sits in the Morley North ward, which elects three councillors to Leeds City Council, and the Morley and Outwood parliamentary constituency.
Gildersome is one of the highest parts of the Leeds district area at 561 feet above sea level (Hart Hill).
The M621 motorway begins at M62 motorway junction 27 which is Gildersome. The A62 Leeds to Huddersfield (Gelderd Road) also runs by the village.
Gildersome has many services such as a library, doctor's, fast food restaurants, laundrette and a small Co-op store. A playground sits next to the library. A war memorial is situated on the village green. Perhaps slightly unusual for a village of its size, it has always had a number of schools, right through its history. At present, there are two primary schools; Gildersome Primary and Birchfield Primary. The schools are both feeder schools to a range of high schools in the area, as the village is allocated centrally between the likes of The Farnley Academy and the Morley schools, Bruntcliffe Academy and The Morley Academy.
Gildersome has a largely sporting community, especially within football and cricket sectors. The village team, Gildersome Spurs, trains and plays teams in football from an early age, and holds an annual gala. The cricket club, located at the top of Street Lane, has been successfully operating for decades. In 2007, they broke records, when their junior team played four matches, one in each country in the space of 12 hours, a feat which was recorded by local and national media. In September 2007 Gildersome entered rugby league with a team playing in the CMS Yorkshire league Division 4.
The earliest known reference to the area occurred in 1249, when the name was spelt Gilhusum. According to historian Armitage Goodall, the name is likely derived from the archaic northern dialect word gill ("stream", "ravine", or "narrow valley") and the Old Norse word husum ("houses"). According to Goodall and other historians, a persistent rival theory, that Gildersome is a corruption of a Dutch place name such as "Guelderzoom" and derived from immigrants from Guelderland, some time between the 16th and 18th centuries, is almost certainly incorrect.
The first church in the village, Gildersome Baptist Church was constructed in 1707. It was built for public worship with an intended capacity of 250 people. In 2007 there were many celebrations and events to coincide with the 300th year anniversary of the original place of worship. In 1866, for a cost of approximately £2,000, a new chapel was built, much larger than the original. It was opened on 2 May 1866, and the original building remains. However, in recent years, the church was redeveloped, with the adjoining halls and facilities being converted into flats. The original hall was renovated, with a new and modern interior and brand new facilities. Through grants, volunteering schemes and assistance from various sources, the graveyard has also been converted into a community garden, which encourages local school children to learn more about the environment and nature.
Turton Hall in Gildersome (now three residential dwellings) was a prominent and wealthy school, for higher education pupils, during the 1700s. It is said that preacher John Wesley visited and preached in the dining room. The hall returned to private ownership in 1879, and remains a Grade II listed building, with several TPOs (tree preservation orders) covering the grounds.
Gildersome also used to have two fully functioning railway stations. One was on the Great Northern Railway line from Wakefield to Bradford which ran at the turn of the 20th century, and it was located at the crossroads at the top of the village (towards Morley). This station closed in 1962 along with railway station In the recent roundabout replacements a tunnel on the GNR line was uncovered and then resealed. The second railway station was on Rooms Lane and was on the Leeds to Huddersfield LNWR "Leeds New Line" opened in 1900. This station closed in 1923 to passengers.