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Hinckley Town Centre.jpg
Hinckley town centre
Leicestershire UK location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location within Leicestershire
Population45,249 (2011)
OS grid reference SP425939
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town HINCKLEY
Postcode district LE10
Dialling code 01455
Police Leicestershire
Fire Leicestershire
Ambulance East Midlands
UK Parliament
List of places
52°32′29″N1°22′21″W / 52.5413°N 1.3725°W / 52.5413; -1.3725 Coordinates: 52°32′29″N1°22′21″W / 52.5413°N 1.3725°W / 52.5413; -1.3725

Hinckley is a market town in south-west Leicestershire, England. It is administered by Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council. Hinckley is the second largest town in the administrative county of Leicestershire, after Loughborough. [lower-alpha 1] [1]


Hinckley is about halfway between the cities of Leicester and Coventry and is near the larger town of Nuneaton in Warwickshire.


Hinckley has a history going back to Anglo-Saxon times; the name Hinckley is Anglo-Saxon: "Hinck" is a personal name and "ley" is a meadow. [2] By the time of the Domesday Book in 1086, [3] Hinckley was quite a large village, and it grew over the following 200 years into a small market town—a market was first recorded there in 1311. There is evidence of an Anglo-Saxon church – the remnants of an Anglo-Saxon sundial being visible on the diagonal buttress on the south-east corner of the chancel. [4]

In 2000, archaeologists from Northampton Archaeology discovered evidence of Iron Age and Romano-British settlement [5] on land near Coventry Road and Watling Street.

17th century

In the 17th century, the town developed a hosiery industry, producing stockings and similar items. Hinckley played a prominent part in the English Civil War. [6] Its proximity to several rival strongholds—the royalist garrisons at Caldicote, Ashby de la Zouch and Leicester, and those of the Parliamentarians at Tamworth and Coventry—and the presence of parties of troops or brigands occupying several fortified houses in nearby Warwickshire, led to frequent visits by the warring parties. The local townsfolk were forced to decide whether to declare their allegiances openly or attempt to remain neutral—with the risk of having to pay levies, ransoms, and fines to both sides. In March 1644, Hinckley was occupied by a group of Royalist troops, though they were soon driven out by a force of Parliamentarians, who took many prisoners.

The Civil War years were a particularly unsettled time for the clergy in and around Hinckley. Parsons with parliamentary leanings like Thomas Cleveland, the vicar of Hinckley, suffered sequestration by the Leicester County Committee, like some of his "malignant" neighbours accused of visiting royalist garrisons or preaching against Parliament.[ citation needed ]

The town was visited by both parliamentary and royalist troops from the rival garrisons, particularly parliamentary troops from Tamworth, Coventry and Astley Castle in Warwickshire. Troops from Coventry garrison were particularly active in the town, taking horses and "free quarter" and availing themselves of 'dyett and Beere', and taking some of the inhabitants hostage for ransom. Royalist troops raided the town to threaten those with parliamentary sympathies. The notorious Lord Hastings of Ashby de la Zouch is recorded to have "coursed about the country as far as Dunton and Lutterworth and took near upon a hundred of the clergymen and others, and carried them prisoners … threatening to hang all them that should take the Parliament's Covenant". Parliamentary newssheets record that on the night of 4 March 1644, Hastings's men brought in "26 honest countrymen from several towns" intending to take them to Ashby de la Zouch, along with a huge herd of cattle, oxen and horses from the country people and a minister named Warner. These prisoners were herded into Hinckley church and asked "in a jeering manner, 'Where are the Round-heads your brethren at Leicester? Why come they not to redeem you?'"[ citation needed ]

This inscription is part of a window in St Mary's church, Hinckley Davis, Military window inscription.JPG
This inscription is part of a window in St Mary's church, Hinckley

The Parliamentarians responded in a memorable "Skirmish or Great Victory for Parliament". Colonel Grey with 120 foot-soldiers and 30 troopers from Bagworth House rushed to Hinckley and retook the town, routed the Royalists, rescued the cattle and released their imprisoned countrymen. No doubt the inhabitants of the town were as relieved as any when Ashby finally surrendered, as Vicars records, "a great mercy and mighty preservation of the peace and tranquility of all those adjacent parts about it."[ citation needed ]

Map of Hinckley and its surroundings dated 1786 Hinckley, Leicestershire.jpg
Map of Hinckley and its surroundings dated 1786

19th century

At the time of the first national census in 1801, Hinckley had a population of 5,158: twenty years later it had increased by about a thousand. The largest industry in the early 19th century was the making of hosiery and only Leicester had a larger output of stockings. In the district, it was estimated around 1830 that 6,000 persons were employed in this work. [7]

Joseph Hansom built the first Hansom cab in Hinckley in 1835. [8]

In 1899 a cottage hospital was built to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria two years earlier. Money was raised by the local townspeople and factory owners, notably John and Thomas Atkins who also had a hand in building many of the key buildings of Hinckley. The cornerstone was laid by Sir John Fowke Lancelot Rolleston.[ citation needed ]

This hospital was central to the people of Hinckley and supported by local workers who donated one penny a week for its upkeep until it was adopted by the NHS in 1948. Over the years it expanded to align with the town. The hospital now appears dilapidated in some areas and is threatened with closure, sale and demolition by West Leicestershire Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS Properties Ltd.[ citation needed ]


A 1961 1 inch = 1 mile series map, covering the Hinkley, Nuneaton, part of Bedworth, Atherstone, Arsley, Burton Hastings, Hartshill and Wovley Nueaton Hinkley 1961 OS.jpg
A 1961 1 inch = 1 mile series map, covering the Hinkley, Nuneaton, part of Bedworth, Atherstone, Arsley, Burton Hastings, Hartshill and Wovley

The hosiery industry remained important for much of the 20th century, and by 1939 the Hinckley and District Hosiery Union alone had 6,000 members. [9]

The area was subject to new housing developments in the 1950s, 1960s and 1990s.[ citation needed ]


West Hinckley, Forest View, Hollycroft, Middlefield, Saxon Paddock, Stoneygate, Druid Quater and Wykin Estate are areas of Hinckley. The suburbs of Burbage and Sketchley are separated from the rest of Hinckley by the railway line.


Hinckley became an urban district under the Local Government Act 1894, covering the ancient parish of Hinckley. In 1934, under a County Review Order, Hinckley urban district expanded to include the ancient parishes of Barwell, Burbage and Earl Shilton and most of Stoke Golding.[ citation needed ] In 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972 the Hinckley urban district was abolished, becoming an unparished area in the borough of Hinckley and Bosworth. Since then, the civil parishes of Barwell, Burbage, Earl Shilton and Stoke Golding have been re-established.[ citation needed ] The core urban area remained unparished.


The canalside pub, The Lime Kilns, nr. Hinckley stands at the point where the Ashby Canal is crossed by the A5 The Lime Kilns, nr. Hinckley - geograph.org.uk - 162092.jpg
The canalside pub, The Lime Kilns, nr. Hinckley stands at the point where the Ashby Canal is crossed by the A5
The framework knitters' cottages, Hinckley Frontelevation1.JPG
The framework knitters' cottages, Hinckley
St Mary's Church St Marys church.jpg
St Mary's Church


The Triumph Motorcycle Factory at Hinckley Triumph Motorcycle works - geograph.org.uk - 244674.jpg
The Triumph Motorcycle Factory at Hinckley

Hinckley is a traditional centre of the hosiery industry. The first framework knitting machine was brought here by Joseph Iliffe in the 17th century and by the 19th century Hinckley was responsible for a large proportion of Britain's hosiery production. Since the Second World War the hosiery industry has steadily shrunk in size although several textile firms remain in the area. [21] Hinckley & District Museum, which is housed in a range of former framework knitters' cottages, tells the story of the hosiery industry and contains some examples of framework knitting machines.

Ultima Sports Ltd, a manufacturer of sports cars is based in Hinckley as is Paynes Garages Ltd, [22] one of the oldest family-owned Ford Motor Dealerships in the UK. Established by JA Payne in 1907, the firm became Ford Dealers in 1922. The business remains family owned with Nigel Payne, grandson of the founder, one of the current Directors.

The town's central location and good links to the UK motorway network have made it a common location for distribution warehouses. Hammonds Furniture, a family owned nationwide fitted furniture company, was established in the town in 1926 by Thomas Hammonds, and currently employs over 850 people in its two Hinckley factories.[ citation needed ]

Hinckley has housed the Triumph Motorcycles Ltd facility since 1990. [23] [24] Founded in 1902 Triumph is one of the oldest motorcycle producers still in activity. In the summer of 2017 there are plans for the reopening of a visitors centre and cafe, namely 1902, opening six days a week. [25]

Hinckley is home to a well-established creative and technology community with designers, illustrators, artists and photographers taking up residence in the town, particularly in converted buildings such as the renovated Atkins Building (formerly Atkins Hosiery, also home to the Hinckley Times newspaper) and Graphic House on Druid Street, also a former factory converted to modern office and studio use.

Supercar manufacturer Ultima Sports are based in Hinckley. They claim to have set the fastest roadcar lap around the Top Gear test track with their GTR720 model, although it has never appeared on the programme.[ citation needed ]


The town is equidistant (19 km/12 miles) from Coventry and Leicester and 8 km (5 mi) to the east of Nuneaton. The small town of Ibstock is 18 km (11 mi) to the north on the A447.


The A47 between Nuneaton and Leicester was by-passed around the town during the early 1990s when the Northern Perimeter Road (Normandy Way) was completed. As well as relieving congestion in the town centre, new commercial developments have been built along the route.

Hinckley is also served by the A5 and the M69. The A5 links Hinckley to Tamworth, Staffordshire in the north-west and Milton Keynes in the south-east. The M69 links Hinckley to the nearest cities, Coventry, and Leicester, and the M1 and M6 motorways.


Arriva Midlands are the main operator of bus services within the town centre operating services to Leicester, Burbage, Earl Shilton and Nuneaton from their depot in Barwell. [26]

Stagecoach in Warwickshire also operate a number of other routes around Hinckley. [27] [28]


Hinckley railway station [29] is on the Nuneaton to Leicester [30] section of the Birmingham to Peterborough Line and has regular services between Birmingham and Leicester via Narborough and Nuneaton. Journeys to London can be made via the West Coast Main Line through Nuneaton to London Euston or the Midland Main Line via Leicester to London St Pancras.


The nearest airports are East Midlands and Birmingham.


The local radio station, Fosse 107, serves the town and the surrounding area. [31] [32] [33] The town's local newspaper is the weekly paid-for Hinckley Times, which is published every Wednesday. [34] [35] The Hinckley Times regularly publish news stories on their own section of The Leicester Mercury's website, LeicestershireLive. [36] Castle Mead Radio is a hospital radio station which serves the patients and staff of Hinckley's two main hospitals. [37]

Hinckley & Burbage Photographed, set up in 2012, is an ongoing social media visual documentary about the Hinckley and Burbage area of Leicestershire, using photographs, videos and stories about Hinckley, its people and the changing landscape. [38] Hinckley Past & Present is a website setup in February 2014 for local history, current events, contacting people, and photos. [39] In 2015 HDPP (Hinckley District Past & Present) was born. This is predominantly a Facebook group. This has become a very popular group that has over 11000 members and growing. Reuniting old friends and work colleagues. raising and donating over £15,000 to date to local good causes. In the last year regular twice weekly live streams have been a big feature of this interactive group and working for the benefit of the whole community.


The town has had five notable football clubs over the years:

Hinckley Rugby Club, [40] was formed in 1893 and has been based at the Leicester Road Sports ground since 1968. The club has played in league rugby since 1987. The first team currently play in National 2 North (level 4). [41]

Hinckley Ladies' Netball Club is based at the Leicester Road Sports Ground and has four senior teams in the Coventry and Warwickshire Netball League. Hinckley Gymnastics Club, established in 1971, is based at Clarendon Park. [42]

Hinckley Basketball Club was founded in 1974, and included staff, ex-students and students of John Cleveland College. The team folded after the 2012–13 season, because of player shortage. The Club, reformed in 2014, plays home games at Green Towers club on Richmond Road. [43] [44] The two club teams are the Hinckley 69ers in Division 2, and Hinckley Hail in Division 4, of the Leicestershire men's league.

Hollycroft Park, in the centre of Hinckley, contains two tennis courts, a golf pitch'n'putt and a lawn bowls green with pavilion.[ citation needed ] Greentowers, a self-funded charity, is a youth club at Richmond Park which contains a climbing wall, skate park, astro turf pitch, and a BMX track.[ citation needed ]

On 8 May 2014, the Hinkley to Bedford second stage of The Women's Tour Great Britain cycle race, departed from Hinckley. [45]


The main primary schools in the area are Battling Brook CP, Richmond, Hinckley parks, St. Peter's Catholic, St. Mary's Church of England, Westfield Infant/Junior and Sketchley Hill Primary School (in Burbage). The high (secondary) schools include Redmoor, St Martin's Catholic Academy (in Stoke Golding) and Hastings (in Burbage)— all feeder schools for Hinckley Academy, the two schools in the town for Years 10 and 11. The school also operates a sixth form. North Warwickshire & Hinckley College, a Further Education college, is also in the town. The only other major college in the area is William Bradford (Earl Shilton). Within Hinckley there is also Dorothy Goodman Special School that caters for both juniors and seniors with disabilities, with units integrated within other local schools.


Simon de Montfort's banner, described as the 'Arms of Honour of Hinckley', per pale indented argent and gules, is shown in stained glass in Chartres Cathedral, [46] and is used in Hinckley's coat of arms, local sports teams and other organisations. Combined with Montfort's personal coat of arms, it forms part of the club crest for the town's football club Hinckley A.F.C. [47]

Concordia Theatre, of 400 seats and regular productions, is near the centre of the town in Stockwell Head. The local council holds an annual 'Proms in The Park' event. [48]

French organist and composer Louis Vierne [49] gave a recital and stayed one night in Hinckley while on a tour of England, and later wrote a carillon piece for organ called "The Bells of Hinckley", inspired by a carillon of bells he heard there. It is the last movement of his fourth suite of Vingt-quatre pièces de fantaisie .

The town is mentioned in Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 2 (Act 5, Scene 1): [50]

Davy: Now, sir, a new link to the bucket must need be had: and, sir, do you mean to stop any of William's wages, about the sack he lost the other day at Hinckley fair?

Hinckley is mentioned in the Monty Python sketch "Olympic Hide and Seek Final" as the home town of one of the competitors. [51]

Hinckley and District Museum was opened in 1996 and is open each year from Easter Monday to the end of October. The museum prepares new exhibitions for each season. The museum is housed in a row of thatched 17th Century Cottages in the centre of the town.

The Simon Pegg and Nick Frost comedy horror series Truth Seekers has a major plot line centerd around Hinckley. The episode 'The Hinckley Boy' see's Frost's character travel to the town. [52]

Notable people


Hinckley was known to its residents for many years as "Tin 'At" (tin hat). It is reputed that, many years ago, one of the itinerant sheep drovers bragged that he could drink a hat full of ale. The local landlord put this man to the test by getting the local blacksmith to make a tin hat, which he then filled with ale. Thereafter, the town became known as "Tin 'At". Another explanation is that the people of Hinckley used to place buckets on water pumps to keep them clean and prevent the spread of illness, the bucket obviously being the "Tin 'At". A tin hat can be seen on top of the flag pole which sits on the roof of the Coral branch at the corner of Castle Street and Market Place. [58] There is also a pub called The Tin Hat, [59] and an annual fair held each December in the town centre called The Tin Hat Fair. [60]


Hinckley is twinned with Le Grand-Quevilly, France, [61] [62] and joined with Herford, Germany in the early 1970s. [63] Hinckley is also twinned with Midland, Ohio, United States.


  1. Leicester itself being a city is not part of the non-metropolitan county of Leicestershire.

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