infobox UK place
static_image_caption = Loughborough Carillon
country = England
official_name = Loughborough
population = 57,600 (2004)
shire_district = Charnwood
region = East Midlands
constituency_westminster = Loughborough
post_town = LOUGHBOROUGH
postcode_district = LE11
postcode_area = LE
dial_code = 01509
os_grid_reference = SK536195
Loughborough (pronounced locally as either IPA|/lɘf.bɘɹɘ/, "LUFF-burra", IPA|/lɘf.bɹɘ/, audio|En-loughborough.ogg|listen, or "LUFF-bruh"(/ˈlʌfˌb(ə)ɹə/) is a town in
Leicestershire, central England with a population of 57,600 as of 2004. [ [http://www.leics.gov.uk/index/your_council/about_leicestershire/statistics/research_info_population.htm Facts & Figures - Population ] ] It is the largest town in the county (since Leicesteris a city). It is the administrative centre for the Charnwood district and home to Loughborough University.
In 1841 Loughborough was the destination for the first ever
package tourorganised by Thomas Cook, for a local temperance group from Leicester. The town has the world's largest bell foundry— John Taylor Bellfounders, who made the bells for the Carillon war memorial, a landmark in the town. The first recorded mention of Loughborough is in the 1086 Domesday Book.
On the edge of Loughborough to the north, Dishley Grange Farm was the home of agricultural revolutionist Robert Bakewell. The farm was once home to the annual Leicestershire County Show.
Loughborough has its own newspaper and guide, the
Loughborough Echoand Loughborough Guide, but in common with many towns and villages in Leicestershire it is also served by the Leicester-based Leicester Mercury.
Loughborough station is on the
Midland Main Line, located on the eastern edge of the town. This line offers high-speed links to and from London and northbound to Nottingham, Sheffieldand Leeds. St Pancras International opened in November 2007 when Eurostarservices commenced from there.
There were at one time three railway routes to the town: the still operating Midland line; the
Great Central Railwaywhich had its own Central station, closed as a result of the Beeching cuts; and a branch line from Nuneaton, part of the erstwhile London and North Western Railway.
The Great Central Railway line is now the terminus of the south section of the
Great Central Steam Railway heritage railway; plans are in hand to reopen the line to the north and join the two sections. Brush Traction, the builder of many of Britain's railway locomotives, is based in the town.
The M1's Junction 23 is about 2 miles (5km) west of the town. The north of the town can also be accessed from Junction 24, travelling through
Kegworthand Hathernon the A6 road. Local bus services are operated by Arriva, Paul S Winson Coachesand Kinch Bus(Article is for the parent company)
River Soarpasses to the East of the town. Navigation from Loughborough northwards towards the Trent was achieved in 1778 by the construction of the "Loughborough Navigation" which terminates at Loughborough Wharf between Derby Road and Bridge Street. Subsequently the Leicester navigation was constructed connecting to the Loughborough Navigation at 'Canal Bridge'. The Leicester navigation connects to the River Soar to the South of the town. Both now form part of the Grand Union Canalsystem.
The centre of Loughborough's shopping area is the pedestrianised Market Place and Market Street, which maintain a number of original
art decobuildings. A large outdoor market is held there every Thursday and Saturday, while a smaller flea marketis held on Fridays and there is a monthly farmers' market. The first mention of a market in Loughborough is 1221, however it may have existed prior to this date.
'The Rushes' shopping centre has recently been built on the site of the former bus station and is occupied by national chains. The Rushes is linked to the existing town centre area by the streets Churchgate & Churchgate Mews; the latter includes many individually styled independent outlets.
Rugby Unionclub, Loughborough RFC, play at the Derby Road playing fields. The club was formed in 1891.
Other sports teams include the
non-leagueLoughborough Dynamo Football Club and the Loughborough Aces (Collegiate American Football). There is also a netballleague which plays at the Loughborough Leisure Centre. The town was also once the home of a professional football club, Loughborough F.C.who played in the Football Leagueduring the late 1800s. Cricket is prominent in the town, with Loughborough Town C.C. being one of the most respected club sides in the county. The university is also home to the ECB National Cricket Academy, a facility used by the England Cricket Team as their primary training centre.
Loughborough Canal Festivalwhich started in 1997 is an annual event and is centred on 'Chain Bridge' every year. The event typically attracts some 10,000 visitors and occurs in May.
The 'Picnic In the Park' started in 1980 and is an annual event held in May. It is organised by Charnwood Arts and held in Queens Park. Typically there are small stall holders, food, activities for children, circus performers, dance and live music.
The 'Streets Alive' is another event organised between Charnwood Arts and Charnwood Borough Council at a similar time of year.
The Great Central Railway is a preserved steam railway based at Loughborough Central Station just south of the town centre, and operates services every weekend throughout the year. The railway is renowned for being the only double track mainline steam railway in the United Kingdom.
In November, the annual street fair takes over the centre of the town and closes the A6 and numerous other roads to traffic. The fair runs from Wednesday afternoon to Saturday night, bringing visitors from Loughborough and surrounding villages, such as
Quorndon, Mountsorrel, Barrow-upon-Soar, Shepshedand Sileby. The fair has many different rides for all age groups, amusement arcades, food stands and games. Popular treats sold at the stalls include brandy snaps, Grantham biscuitsand mushy peaswith mint sauce, along with the traditional burgers, hot dogs and chips.
Loughborough Town Hall is a venue for
theatreas well as conferences and weddings. The 497-seat theatre recently underwent a £2.8 million refurbishment.
The town is also home to the The Reel Cinema, which is part of a small chain of 10 cinema, there are currently six screens housed in the theatre, which is decorated in an art deco style. The cinema was built in 1936 and has been called the Pal Court and Ballroom, Empire, Classic and Curzon. The cinema is currently building an expansion to the rear of the main building to house a bowling alley and more cinema screens.
Loughborough Universityis increasing in prominence, mainly because of its academic success. In 2004 this institution was ranked 9th among all the British Universities by the prestigious Times' Good University Guide. In 2006 Loughborough University was ranked at an even higher overall position by the same guide: 6th. In 2007 The Guardianrated the University 8th in the country, and was ranked 10th out of 117 institutions by The Guardian League Tables 2009 (published online 1/6/08 for students wanting to start university in the 2009-10 academic year. The university is also ranked 5th in the country in some rankings, falling just behind Oxbridge and the top 2 London universities. Loughborough Universityis the country's premier university for sports development, research and education. The University has the largest sports scholarship programme in the UK. Currently over 250 international athletes are studying and training there.
The institution has also received important awards, being one of only 2 Universities to receive 6 Queen's Anniversary Prizes in 1994, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2005 and 2007. [http://www.lboro.ac.uk/about/qap.html] .
In the Time Higher awards November 2006 the university was also voted number one for the UK's best student experience
Notable Loughborough natives include
Albert Francis Cross, the journalist, author, poet and playwright who was born on Moor Lane on 9 May 1863, the two time Laurence Olivier Awardnominated stage actress Nicola Hughesand " Coronation Street"'s Roy Cropperactor David Neilson. Most biographies of Felix Buxton of Basement Jaxxsuggest he was a Londoner. In fact he was a pupil at Loughborough Grammar Schooland son of the one-time vicar of nearby Woodhouse Eavesand Ibstock. The Dundee-born "Castaway" presenter and humorous entertainer Danny Wallace attended Holywell County Primary School. Mark Collett, notorious sidekick of Nick Griffinin the BNP, attended Loughborough Grammar School. The high jumper Ben Challenger, son of Showaddywaddydrummer Romeo Challenger, is also from Loughborough.
Notable sporting graduates of Loughborough University include
Sebastian Coe, Paula Radcliffe, David Moorcroft, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Monty Panesar, Steve Backleyand Lawrie Sanchez.
Loughborough is twinned with:
* [http://www.charnwoodarts.com/ Official website Charnwood Arts]
* [http://www.charnwood.gov.uk/ Charnwood Borough Council]
* [http://www.lboro.ac.uk/ Loughborough University]
* [http://www.loughboroughtownhall.co.uk/home Official website of the Town Hall]
* [http://www.loughboroughstreetsalive.com Loughborough Streets Alive]
* [http://www.loughboroughpicnicinthepark.com Picnic in the Park]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.