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Cholera outbreaks in 18 caused the authorities to address the problems of drainage, sanitation and water supply.Water was pumped from the River Wharfe, but by 1860 it was too heavily polluted to be usable.Leeds is also the UK's third largest manufacturing centre with around 1,800 firms and 39,000 employees, Leeds manufacturing firms account for 8.8% of total employment in the city.
Leeds developed as a market town in the Middle Ages as part of the local agricultural economy.
The main built-up area sub-division has a population of 474,632 (2011), Today, Leeds has the most diverse economy of the all the UK's main employment centres and has seen the fastest rate of private sector jobs growth of any UK city and has the highest ratio of public to private sector jobs of all the UK's Core Cities.
The city has the third largest jobs total by local authority area with 480,000 in employment and self-employment at the beginning of 2015.
In 1866 Leeds, and each of the other townships in the borough, became a civil parish.
The borough became a county borough in 1889, giving it independence from the newly formed West Riding County Council and it gained city status in 1893.