Until the local boundary changes in the 1970s Stourton was a village in the Rothwell Urban District, attached to the southernmost border of Leeds, and administered by the West Riding County Council. Stourton dates from the Industrial Revolution, and was a community of about 2,500 people with its own churches and pubs, but from the 1970s the housing was demolished to make way for motorways and industrial developments, until by 1990 little remained of the village except its war memorial. This memorial to "the men of Stourton and Thwaitegate" lists 75 names from the First World War and 25 from the Second. It was moved from its orihinal site to a new one donated by Waddingtons in about 1973, when its previous home, St Andrew's Church, Pontefract Road, was demolished. One of the men named on the cenotaph is CQMS Denis Gill MM and Bar, York and Lancaster Regiment, who was killed in action on 5 January 1944 at Cassino, Italy. He is buried in the Cassino War Cemetery.
Stourton used to provide electricity for Leeds and the surrounding areas from a power station in the village, but it was demolished in the early 1990s. Its associated substation remains in use however.
The village was home to some significant industry: John Waddingtons, Yorkshire Copperworks, Camerons Iron Works, Concrete Northern (Bison) were among the larger companies, as well as a not insignificant railway shunting yard.
There is a substantial railfreight intermodal terminal at Stourton operated by Freightliner (UK). It has eight departures and arrivals on most days, going to and from Southampton, Felixstowe and London Gateway. There is also a thrice-weekly feeder service to Tees Dock, which conveys containers from Southampton services. Intermodal trains to and from Stourton are often used to bring locomotives to the Freightliner Group's Depot at nearby Midland Road in Hunslet for maintenance and repair.
- "Reunion for Stourton: the village that disappeared". Yorkshire Evening Post. Retrieved 28 July 2011.
- "War memorials in Leeds". Leeds City Council. Archived from the original on 3 March 2009. Retrieved 28 July 2011.
- "Leeds: Stourton and Thwaitegate Memorial". Roll of Honour. 2009. Retrieved 28 July 2011.
- Rawlinson, Mark (2015). Freightmaster 78. Freightmaster Publishing. pp. 58, 107, 114.
- "Leeds Terminal – Freightliner". Freightliner. Retrieved 8 October 2015.