Charlie Cake Park is a triangular plot of land between Whingate, Town Street and Springfield Mount in Armley, in west Leeds.
The land was once owned by the Gott family, who owned and operated Armley Mills. The park’s official name is 'Whingate Park', but it is affectionately known as Charlie Cake after a local character from Pudsey who peddled his cakes in Armley during the early nineteenth century.
Charlie made a spicy shortbread, and charged 1d for each biscuit.
There are lots of local legends about Charlie, some might be true, some maybe not. It’s for you to make up your mind, so here are a few of them:
- One story goes that anyone buying a dozen biscuits was given a free one, although this might be a reference to a ‘baker’s dozen' where bakers made sure their loaves were ‘too weight’ with an extra roll as they could be fined if they weren’t.
- Another story says that his biscuits were so legendary, that some were presented to Queen Victoria when she visited Leeds in 1858 to open the Town Hall.
- Another, that the park is were Charlie is reputed to have rested and fed his horse on the way home. This is more likely to be true, as both horse and Charlie would have needed a little rest before riding home.
- Another story goes that the shortbreads were triangular in shape in honour of the park where he rested.