infobox UK place
country = England
population= 43,867 (2001 Census)
region= South East England
postcode_district = OX16
Banbury is a
market townlocated on the River Cherwellin northern Oxfordshire, England. It had a population of 43,867 at the 2001 census, though this figure has increased markedly in recent years. [ [http://www.statistics.gov.uk/statbase/ssdataset.asp?vlnk=8271&More=Y 2001 urban areas headcounts] ] Banbury is part of the Cherwell district. The Member of Parliamentfor Banbury is Tony Baldry.
Banbury is a significant commercial and retail centre for the surrounding area, which is predominantly rural. Banbury has a shopping centre called Castle Quay. Banbury's main industries include car components, electrical goods, plastics, food processing, and printing. Banbury is home to the world's largest coffee-producing facility (
Kraft Foods), built in 1964. The town is famed for Banbury cakes– similar to Eccles cakes but oval in shape. Since July 2000 it has hosted a unique gathering of traditional mock animals, from around the UK and beyond, at the annual Banbury Hobby Horse Festival.
The surrounding area is known informally by some as
Banburyshireand covers the north half of the Cherwell district and neighbouring areas. It has one of the fastest growing populations in the country. As Banbury lies near the Oxfordshireborder, "Banburyshire" includes parts of Northamptonshireand Warwickshire.
During excavations for the building of an office in Hennef Way in 2002, the remains of an Iron Age settlement with circular buildings, dating back to 200 AD were found. The site contained around 150 pieces of pottery and stone. Later, there was a
Roman villaat nearby Wykham Park.
Banbury itself developed in the Anglo-Saxon period under strong Danish influence, starting in the latter half of the fifth century. The name Banbury may have derived from "Banna", a Saxon chieftain said to have built his stockade there in the sixth century, and "bury" meaning settlement. The Saxon spelling was Banesbyrig. The name appears as "Banesberie" in the
The Saxons built Banbury on the west bank of the River Cherwell. On the opposite bank they built Grimsbury, which was later incorporated into Banbury.
Banbury stands at the junction of two ancient roads: Salt Way (still used as a bridle path to the west and south of the town), its primary use being the transportation of salt; and Banbury Lane, which began near Northampton and closely followed the modern 22-mile-long road before running through Banbury's High Street and on towards the Fosse Way at Stow-on-the-Wold. Banbury's mediæval prosperity was based on wool.
Banbury Castlewas built from 1135 by Alexander, Bishop of Lincoln, and survived into the Civil War, when it was besieged. Due to its proximity to Oxford, the King's capital, Banbury was a Royalist town, but the inhabitants were known to be strongly Puritan. The castle was demolished after the war.
Banbury played an important part in the Civil War as a base of operations for
Oliver Cromwell, who purportedly planned the Battle of Edge Hillin the back room (which can still be visited) of a local inn, The Reindeer, a noted hostelry to this day. [http://www.hooky-pubs.co.uk/pubs/location_maps/reindeer.html]
For centuries, trading in wool, ale, cakes and cheese created wealth for the town. Wool was first referred to in 1268, and cheese was manufactured from the 15th to the 18th centuries. Communications have always played a major role in the town's prosperity and prevented it from being just a quiet rural market town. It was a notable
stagecoachstop and both the Red Lion and White Lion were coaching inns of note. Wealthy travellers would leave well supplied with Banbury Cakes.
Banbury was ravaged by fire in 1628. Although some buildings have survived to the present day, many were destroyed.
The construction of the
Oxford Canalin 1790 greatly aided the town's growth. Later the railways also helped its expansion: in 1850 the first rails reached Banbury, one line from the Great Western Railwayand one from the London and North Western Railway, giving Banbury two stations side by side: the Great Western station, always the town's main station, later became known as Banbury Bridge Street, while the London & North Western became Banbury Merton Street. Merton Street closed in 1959 to allow all traffic to be concentrated on the main station. The railway lines to Brackleyand Woodford Halse(both in Northamptonshire) closed in 1961 and 1966 respectively, but the main station, called Banbury, is a busy commuter and tourist station, served by trains running between LondonPaddington and Birminghamvia Reading, Oxfordand Leamington Spa, and from London Marylebone via High Wycombeand Bicester, the fastest non-stop train taking 68 minutes to LondonMarylebone (and 62 minutes for the return journey). The former mineral line from Banbury to an ironstone quarry beside Wroxtonvillage opened in about 1900 and closed in 1967 after the quarry was exhausted. The small opencast mine was heavily used during World War II.
Until its closure in June 1998, Banbury was home to the largest livestock market in western Europe.
The town saw rapid expansion during the 1960s as housing was built for the overspill from London. Banbury's continued growth was accelerated by the completion of the
M40 motorwaywhich gave faster access by road to Londonand Birmingham.
Banbury was one of the boroughs reformed by the
Municipal Reform Act 1835. It retained a borough council until 1974, when under the Local Government Act 1972it became part of the Cherwell district, an unparished areawith Charter Trustees. A civil parishwith a town council was set up in 2000.
Transport and infrastructure
Due to the building of the
M40 motorway, Banbury is now a sizeable, prosperous town with good industry, although the town has not expanded quite as rapidly as some had anticipated. It is now one of the major commuter towns for London, Oxford, Solihulland Birmingham. The M40 also provides local residents great access to both the Midlandsand the southeast.
Banbury also has rail services run by
Chiltern Railwaysto Warwick, Birminghamand London Marylebonevia the non-electrified Chiltern Main Line that runs from London Marylebone. It also has services run by First Great Westernto Oxford, Readingand London Paddington. Services to other parts of the country are provided by CrossCountryvia Birmingham New Street, to Cardiff, Bristol, Stansted, as well as direct services to Reading, Bournemouth, Brighton, Gatwick, Manchester, Newcastle, Glasgow, Edinburghand Aberdeen.
Banbury has an intra-urban bus service provided by
Stagecoach Groupwhich also feeds the outlying villages and provides transport to towns such as Oxford, Chipping Norton and Brackley.
Oxford Canalsnakes its way through Banbury, providing a stopping point for narrowboatowners, and although the canal is no longer used for freight, it remains a busy and bustling waterway as it joins to the main Grand Union Canalfurther north.
Hennef Way (A422) was upgraded to a dual carriageway easing traffic on the heavily congested road and providing better links to north Banbury and the town centre from the M40. The project was planned to take 85 weeks but was finished 6 weeks overdue.
There have been recent suggestions to build a ring road around Banbury or add a relief road from Bodicote to ease town centre traffic although none of these plans have yet gone forth.
Expansion timeline of Banbury
*1790 — Oxford Canal built, making access to Banbury easier for industry
*1850 — Railway built through Banbury, making commuting to London and Birmingham much easier
*1960 — London overspill greatly increases town's population and leads to the construction of the Bird's factory (now Kraft Foods) and the Bretch Hill estate
*1991 — M40 construction complete, further improving links to London and Birmingham
*2000 — Hanwell Fields estate construction starts (still being expanded today)
*2004 — Cherwell Centre construction complete (with bowling alley,
Matalanand car park)
*2006 — College Fields estate construction is approved (1,070 houses adjacent to Bankside/Bodicote). The town's
Tescostore is expanded into a two-storey Tesco Extra.
Banbury has many shops in suburban local centres and in the town centre along the High Street, Parsons Street, Broad Street and in the market place. There is also a market held on Thursdays and Saturdays in the market place. Banbury also has an average size retail park (
Banbury Cross Retail Park).
Castle Quay is a shopping centre located in the centre of Banbury. It opened as the Castle Shopping Centre in 1977 before being expanded in the 1990s. It has five entrances; two along the canal, one on Bridge Street and two in the market place. The centre has over 80 stores [ [http://www.castlequay.co.uk/ Castle Quay Shopping Centre | Home Page ] ] including well-known names such as Woolworths,
Marks & Spencer, Bhs, Debenhamsand many more.
Every Thursday and Saturday, a market is held in the market place, as well as a
farmers' marketon the first Friday of every month.
Polish and East European immigration
Banbury has one of the UK's lowest unemployment rates (less than 1%), with a resultant high demand for labour. Once
Polandjoined the European Unionin 2004, a number of Banbury-based employment agencies began advertising for staff in major Polish newspapers. According to an estimate by the Banbury Polish Association, there are between 5,000 and 6,000 Poles in the town. [ [http://www.banburyguardian.co.uk/ViewArticle2.aspx?SectionID=687&ArticleID=1510960 Town's a magnet for Polish workers - Banbury Today - Back to Home Page ] ] The influx of the largely Catholic Polish workers has had a revitalising effect on Banbury's Catholic churches, to the extent that at least one now offers a Mass said partially in Polish. Additionally specialist Polish food shops have opened as well as supermarkets such as Tesco opening specialist food counters for the new population.
The town also has significant numbers of other Eastern European populations, notably Hungarians and Lithuanians.Fact|date=June 2008
. Banbury remained without a cross for another 250 years until the current Banbury Cross was erected in 1859 at the centre of the town to commemorate the marriage of Queen Victoria's eldest daughter to Prince Frederick of Prussia. The current Banbury Cross is a stone, spire-shaped monument decorated in Gothic form. Statues of Queen Victoria, Edward VII and George V were added in 1911. The cross is fifty-two feet six inches high, and topped by a gilt cross.
nursery rhyme" Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross" refers to a cross destroyed by Puritans in 1602. In April 2005, Princess Anneunveiled a [http://www.banburyguardian.co.uk/ViewArticle2.aspx?SectionID=687&ArticleID=1033439 large bronze statue] depicting the Fine Lady upon a White Horse of the nursery rhyme. It stands on the corner of West Bar and South Bar, just yards from the present Banbury Cross.
Banbury is a historic market town that used to be home to Western Europe's largest cattle market, [http://www.cotswolds.info/places/banbury.shtml] situated on Merton Street in
Grimsbury. For many years, cattle and other farm animals were driven there on the hoof from as far afield as Scotland to be sold to feed the growing population of London and other towns. Since its closure in June 1998 a new housing development has been built on its site which may soon include a school. The council rejected planning permission for a new smaller cattle market on the grounds that it would increase traffic congestion.
Banbury has four local newspapers:
* The "Banbury Guardian", which costs 45p and is a broadsheet
* The "Banbury & District Review", which is a free tabloid
* The "Banbury Cake", also a free tabloid
* The "Commuter", also a free tabloid available at
Banbury railway station
The "Banbury Guardian" is published on Thursdays and goes on sale the same day. The "Banbury Cake" is published on Wednesdays and is released for delivery on Thursday. The "Banbury & District Review" is published Thursdays and released for delivery on Friday. The "Commuter" is released for delivery on Monday.
Banbury has a new modern museum in the town centre near Spiceball Park, replacing the old museum near Banbury Cross. [http://www.cherwell-dc.gov.uk/banburymuseum/] It cost approximately £5,000,000 to buildFact|date=August 2008 and is accessible over a bridge from the Castle Quay Shopping Centre or via Spiceball Park Road. Admission to the museum is free. The town's tourist information centre is located in the museum entrance in Castle Quay.
Schools and colleges
*Oxford and Cherwell Valley College (formerly known as "North Oxfordshire College and School of Art" and "Oxford & Cherwell College")
Banbury School(includes 6th form)
*Blessed George Napier Roman Catholic School and Sports College [http://www.bgn.oxon.sch.uk/] (includes 6th form) Also known as B.G.N
North Oxfordshire Academy(6th form to open in September 2008, formerly known as " Drayton School")
The primary schools in the area are:
* Dashwood school
* The Grange School
* Hardwick School
* Harriers Ground Primary School
* Hill View School
* Hanwell Fields Community School
* Orchard Fields Community School (formerly known as "Neithrop County Infants School" and "Neithrop County Junior School")
* St John's Roman Catholic Primary School
* St John's Priory School (which is an Independent school)
* St Joseph's Roman Catholic Primary School
* St Leonard's School
* St Mary's School
* Queensway School
* William Morris School
;Co-ordinatesBanbury's latitude and longitude are coord|52|03|36|N|1|20|25|W| (at Banbury Cross, which is usually considered the centre).
Banbury is located in the Cherwell Valley therefore there are many hills in and around the town. Apart from the town centre much of Banbury is on a slope and each entrance into the town is downhill, estates such as
Bretch Hilland Hardwickare built on top of a hill and much of the town can be seen from both. Other hills include Crouch Hill and many others to the east of the town.
Banbury is located at the bank of the River Cherwell, and it sweeps through the town, going just east of the town centre with
Grimsburybeing the only estate east of the river.
The town is at the northern extreme of the UK's
South East Englandregion, just 3 miles from the Midlands border. Some of the town's population would describe it as being in the Midlands, but most believe it to be in the south.
Churches and Places of Worship
There are many churches in Banbury as well as a
mosque. Below is a list of them:
*St Paul's Church
*St Mary's Church of England and United Reformed Church
*Marlborough Road Methodist Church
*The Salvation Army Church, George Street
*Grimsbury Baptist Church
*The People's Church, (formerly known as Baptist Church Centre)
*St. John's Evangelist, Roman Catholic Church
*St. Joseph the Worker, Roman Catholic Church
*St. Leonards, Anglican
*The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints, (Mormon)
*Banbury Community Church
*Living Faith International Church
Parks and Recreational areas
Banbury is a town with many Parks and other recreational areas.Some of these are:
*Bankside Park: runs next to the
Oxford Canal, in the Cherwell Heightsward
*Browning Road Park: located in the Poet's Corner estate, in the Easington ward
*The Easington Rec: located in the Easington ward, near Harriers Primary School
*Horton View Sports Ground
*Ironstones Park: located in the Hardwick ward, neighbouring Hardwick School
*King's Field Park (Actually in
*The People's Park: located near the town centre, in the
*Rugrats Park: located in the Bretch Hill estate, in the
*Spiceball Park: the largest park in Banbury; located near the town centre, with the
Oxford Canalto the east and the River Cherwellto the west
*St Louis Meadow Park: located in the
*Princess Diana Park: located in the Bretch Hill estate, in the
Neithropward, neighbouring Orchard Fields Community School
*Yellow Park: located in the
Wards, neighbourhoods, and suburbs
*Cherwell Heights (9)
*College Fields (construction proposed, despite large local opposition) (Position on map proposed to be South and East of 9.)
*Oxford and Cherwell Valley College (A)
*People's Park (B)
*Beaumont Industrial Estate (C)
*Southam Road Industrial Estate (D)
;RugbyBanbury has many teams who play at both local and national levels. Banbury Rugby Union Football Club play at Bodicote Park, in Bodicote along with the Banbury Cricket Club who also has its homeground in Bodicote.
;FootballBanbury is also home to a football team called
Banbury United F.C.who play at the Spencer Stadium located within Banbury, there nickname is 'The Puritans', a reminder of Banbury's strong historical link to Puritanism. They play in the Southern League Premier Division, one tier below the Conference Southand three tiers below full Football Leaguestatus. Banbury are one of the most northerly teams in this division.
;CanoeingBanbury has two Canoe clubs. 'Banbury & District Canoe Club' which is based on the Oxford Canal at Cropredy Wharf is one of England's most successful clubs and was voted "Club of the Year" by the British Canoe Union in 2006Fact|date=September 2008. Primarily a competition club, BDCC focuses on flatwater racing (sprint and marathon) and wildwater racing. There is also a strong touring side to the club. The club has a number of past and present international paddlers and national champions at various age groups and the junior section is currently very strong, with a number of potential Olympians for 2012Fact|date=September 2008.Cherwell Canoe Club which caters mainly for canoe polo, playboating and slalom and is based at Woodgreen. The club's teams play canoe polo in the national leagues.
Banbury Golf Clubis situated five miles south of Banbury on the B4100 at Adderbury and under 15 minutes from Junction 10 of the M40. Opened in 1993, it now has 3 separate 9-hole loops.
;CricketRe-formed in 1949 Banbury Cricket Club has developed into the leading club side in OxfordshireFact|date=September 2008, winning the inaugural Home Counties Premier League in 2000.Fact|date=September 2008
The club runs several sides of varying age groups and abilities with four Saturday sides. The First XI play in the ECB Home Counties Premier League, the highest standard of club cricket. The Second, Third and Fourth XI play in the Cherwell League competing against other club sides in the county. The club also manages a Sunday side, which competes in ECB National Club Championship, which has seen the club, reach the last 16 in recent years. A midweek side play in the Brackley & District Midweek League a 20 over competition on Wednesday evenings throughout the summer.
Banbury Cricket Club also has a comprehensive youth set up coached by qualified coaches including club professional and Director of Cricket, Paul Taylor (Northants & England) offering cricket at under 11, 13, 15, 17 levels. Several of the players from the youth set up have gone on to represent their counties at their age group and the club has now seen a few of these youth players go on to play in the clubs First XI.
Banbury Twenty Club was formed in 1932 by an original twenty members. It is a founder member of the Cherwell Cricket League and still competes in the League's highest division.
The Club run two Saturday sides which compete in Cherwell League Divisions one and four respectively. The club also play in the Brackley & District Midweek League on a Wednesday evening.
The Club runs two youth teams (U13/U15) who compete in Oxfordshire and South Northants competitions and are coached by [http://www.ecb.co.uk/ ECB] qualified coaches. The Club's youth policy is proud to have produced players such as Rob Cunliffe who played for the all-conquering [http://www.gloscricket.co.uk/ Gloucestershire] side that won the [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sport/cricket/785427.stm treble] in 2000.
Two other notable names from the Club include [http://www.cricket-online.com/player.php?player_id=16878 Keith Arnold] and
Mike Wedderburn. Arnold is an Oxfordshire seam bowler and 2nd highest minor counties wicket taker ever, while Sky Sports Newspresenter Wedderburn used to play county cricket for [http://www.rosebowlplc.com/ Hampshire] and rugby for [http://www.quins.co.uk/ Harlequins] .
Many of these sporting clubs have close ties with local schools, encouraging children of all abilities to participate. Blessed George Napier RC Secondary School in Banbury was recently granted specialist status as a sports college.
People associated with Banbury
Anthony Burgess, the celebrated novelist, taught at the now-defunct Banbury Grammar School for several years during the 1950s.
Alan Lloyd Hodgkin, British physiologist and biophysicist and Nobel Prizewinner, was born in Banbury
Lancelot Holland, the admiral who lost his life in HMS "Hood" in 1941 commanding the fleet which engaged the German battleship, Bismarck, grew up in the Banbury area.
Gordon Ramsaywent to local secondary school Drayton in Banbury.
Larry Graysonwas born in Banbury but grew up in Nuneaton.
*The former Prime Minister
Lord Northwas also the MP for Banbury.
Richie Hawtin– better known as the Technomusic producer Plastikman – was born in the town in 1970.
John Brooke-Littlewas a former officer of armswho lived in Banbury at the end of his life.
Dermot GallagherIrish football referee is a current resident.
Chris HutchingsFormer resident and ex Wigan Athleticcoach.
Benjamin Geenwas born in Banbury and employed as a staff nurse at the Horton General Hospital. During December 2003 and January 2004 Geen poisoned 17 patients for the thrill of trying to resuscitate them. He was found guilty of two murders and 15 charges of grievous bodily harm in April 2006. "Source: the Banbury Guardian newspaper[http://www.banburyguardian.co.uk/ViewArticle2.aspx?SectionID=687&ArticleID=1453995] , BBC News[http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/4918462.stm] ."
Gary Glitter, born Paul Francis Gadd, glam rockstar and convicted sex offender.
Helen Anker West End theatreactress and singer and star of Beautiful and Damned.
Formula 1 racing driver Rubens Barrichellolived in Banbury during the early days of his career.
Companies based in Banbury
Kraft Foods Banbury
Westminster group plc
* [http://www.banbury-cross.co.uk/banhistory.htm A history of Banbury]
* [http://www.banbury.gov.uk/ Banbury town council]
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