Yorkshire Day: 15 surprising things Yorkshire gave the world

Here in Yorkshire we are a proud folk and with so many great inventions to emerge from our great county, we have every reason to be.

Yorkshire has certainly made its mark on the world with these inventions

From technology and engineering, to board games and confectionery, the county has produced some pretty amazing things - some of which you might be surprised to learn originated from Yorkshire.

Motion Pictures

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The very first motion pictures were captured in Leeds in 1888 by French artist and inventor, Louis Le Prince.

Birstall-born Joseph Priestley has been credited with the discovery of oxygen

Prince filmed moving picture sequences of Rounday Garden and Leeds Bridge on his own single-lens camera, although he disappeared before he could claim his place in cinema history.


Master board game makers, Waddingtons, were based in Leeds and gifted the world with some of the best-loved family games of all time - including Cluedo.

Originally called 'Murder!', the mystery themed game was later changed to Cluedo and launched in 1949, with a special Leeds version released in 1993 to celebrate Waddingtons centenary.

Jelly Tots were invented by accident by Horsforth-born Brian Boffey

Cat's Eyes

Dubbed the most brilliant invention ever produced in the interests of road safety, Yorkshireman Percy Shaw is to thank for the simple reflective cat's eyes which we see lining our roads today.

Stainless Steel

Sheffield-born Harry Brearley first discovered stainless steel in 1913 while working at Firth Brown's research laboratory and the city has been synonymous with steel ever since.

Marks and Spencer

The retailing giant originally started life as a Penny Bazaar in Leeds Kirkgate Market, which opened in 1884 with 'Don't ask the price, it's a penny' as its slogan.

The Blackburn Type D

Made in 1912 by Robert Blackburn, the Type D (also known as the single seat monoplane) is the oldest flying aeroplane in the UK and was made right here in Leeds.

Jelly Tots

These tasty treats were invented by accident by Horsforth-born Brian Boffey, who came up with the sweets while he was trying to create powdered jelly. Boffey was working for Rowntree's at the time and saw his sweets come to fruition in 1965.

Sooty and Sweep

These adorable children's puppets were brought to life by Guiseley native Harry Corbett. Bought from a Blackpool stall in 1948 for his son, Sooty inspired the popular TV show, with Corbett originally using soot to make the puppet's ears and nose stand out on screen.

The first commercial railway

Middleton Railway was the first ever commercial railway to use steam locomotives successfully and having been in operation since 1758, it is the oldest continuously working public railway in the world.

Liquorice Allsorts

Confectionery giant Bassett's was founded in Sheffield and while it has given the world many a delicious sweet, the most famous is arguably Liquorice Allsorts.

The colourful mixture was reportedly invented by accident after a salesman dropped samples of several products while visiting a prospective client, inspiring the idea to enjoy the nibbles all mixed up.

The Harrington Commode

Leeds can take credit for being the home of the most expensive piece of English furniture in the world, as this beautifully crafted chest of drawers (made by the renowned Thomas Chippendale) sold for an eye-watering £3.8 million.

Terry's Chocolate Orange

Created by Terry's at the Chocolate Works factory in York in 1932, this melt in your mouth delight is still one of the most popular confectionery products today.

Sparkling Water

Birstall-born Joseph Priestley has been credited with the discovery of oxygen - and in turn, carbonated water - when he suspended a bowl of water above a beer vat at a brewery near his home in Leeds, in 1767.

Pudsey Bear

The lovable Children in Need mascot is something of a national treasure in the UK and takes his name from the Yorkshire town, Pudsey - the hometown of his creator, Joanna Lane.

The Mouse Trap

Although an American inventor takes the credit for the first lethal mouse trap, the classic spring-loaded trap was invented just a few years later by Leeds-born James Henry Atkinson in 1899.

His 'Little Nipper' proved so effective that Proctor bought the patent for his creation in 1913 and still produce them today.