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The Town Hall and Bank - geograph.org.uk - 997507.jpg
Loughborough Market Place
Leicestershire UK location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location within Leicestershire
Population66,611 (2018)
OS grid reference SK536195
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district LE11
Dialling code 01509
Police Leicestershire
Fire Leicestershire
Ambulance East Midlands
UK Parliament
List of places
52°46′14″N1°12′17″W / 52.7705°N 1.2046°W / 52.7705; -1.2046 Coordinates: 52°46′14″N1°12′17″W / 52.7705°N 1.2046°W / 52.7705; -1.2046

Loughborough ( /ˈlʌfbərə/ ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ) LUF-bər-ə) is a town in the Charnwood borough of Leicestershire, England, seat of Charnwood Borough Council and Loughborough University. Is 59,933 inhabitants in the 2011 census were estimated at 67,956 in 2019, as the county's second largest settlement. [1] It is close to the Nottinghamshire border and at short distances from Leicester, Nottingham, East Midlands Airport and Derby. It has the world's largest bell foundry, John Taylor Bellfounders, which made bells for the Carillon War Memorial, a landmark in the Queens Park in the town, of Great Paul for St Paul's Cathedral, and for York Minster.




The earliest reference to Loughborough was as "Loughburne" in the 1086 Domesday Book. [2] It appeared in a charter from the reign of Henry II as Loughburga, and in the Pipe Rolls of 1186 as Loughburc. The name means "Lough's borough or fortified place". [3]


The first sign of industrialisation in the Loughborough district came in the early years of the 19th century, when John Heathcoat, an inventor from Derbyshire, patented in 1809 an improvement to the warp loom, known as the twisted lace machine, which allowed mitts with a lace-like appearance to be made.

Heathcoat, in partnership with the Nottingham manufacturer Charles Lacy, moved his business from there to the village of Hathern, outside Loughborough. The product of this "Loughborough machine" came to be known as English net or bobbinet. However, the factory was attacked in 1816 by Luddites thought to be in the pay of Nottingham competitors and 55 frames were destroyed. This prompted Heathcoat to move his business to a disused woollen mill in Tiverton, Devon. [4]

In 1888 a charter of incorporation was obtained, allowing a mayor and corporation to be elected. The population increased from 11,000 to 25,000 in the following ten years.

Among the factories established were Robert Taylor's bell foundry John Taylor & Co and the Falcon works, which produced steam locomotives, then motor cars, before it was taken over by Brush Electrical Machines. In 1897, Herbert Morris set up a factory in the Empress Works in Moor Lane which become one of the foremost crane manufacturers by the mid-20th century. [5]

There was also strong municipal investment: a new sewage works in 1895, then a waterworks in Blackbrook and a power station in Bridge Street in 1899. The corporation took over the Loughborough Gas Company in 1900.


In 1841, Loughborough was the destination for the first package tour, organised by Thomas Cook for a temperance group from Leicester.

Modern history

As Loughborough grew in the 20th century, it gained new suburbs. Thorpe Acre in the north-west of Loughborough was a hamlet of about twenty dwellings until the mid-20th century. Several earlier survivors include a 19th-century church – All Saints Church, Thorpe Acre with Dishley, built in 1845 and extended in 1968 – and a hostelry, The Plough Inn. The population is counted into the Loughborough–Garendon Ward of Charnwood Council. Many roads there are named after poets. After the Second World War, some of Thorpe Acre developed further, mainly in the 1950s for employees of Brush Engineering Works, with 100 dwellings built of no-fines concrete. [6] In the 1960s and early 1970s, Thorpe Acre gained a new estate that subsumed the old village. Two of Loughborough's secondary schools, Charnwood College and De Lisle College, lie on its bounds, as does Garendon Park, a large deer park from the 18th century. The original Dishley, off Derby Road, was heavily developed along with Thorpe Acre in the 1970s. Dishley Church in Derby Road is now in ruins. The agriculturalist Robert Bakewell (1726–1795) is buried there.

Shelthorpe and surrounding area are new suburbs in the south of Loughborough. Work on the original Shelthorpe started in 1929, but was halted by World War II and resumed in 1946. The centre of Shelthorpe has a wide variety of shops, including a Tesco Extra, which is probably the largest supermarket in Loughborough.

The Hazel Road and Fairmeadows Way estates to the west of Shelthorpe and the south of the university date from the 1970s. They stretch from Holywell Drive to Hazel Road. Rainbows, a children's hospice, [7] and the secondary Woodbrook Vale School are on the edge of the suburb. They were followed by the Haddon Way estates to the south of the estates, and then by Grange Park, just south of Shelthorpe and north-west of the hamlet of Woodthorpe, whose construction began in 2006 after completion of Terry Yardley Way to One Ash Roundabout, the last phase of Loughborough's A6004 ring road.

A planning application to build 30 new homes by William Davis Homes came under criticism in 2018 from residents saying that they had been promised public amenities like shops and a place of worship, but were living on "a construction site"; the site was originally intended to have shops, a church, community centre and health centre built on it.. [8] Despite the criticism, Charnwood Borough Council approved the plans. Most of the housing schemes in the area have been completed; however, one further development of 33 homes, called Willowbrook, has commenced, and plans for another of 120 homes to the east of Woodthorpe have been registered.

Persimmon Homes and William Davis Homes unveiled plans in 2013 for 3,200 new houses on Garendon Park as the West of Loughborough Sustainable Urban Extension. These were approved in 2018. A new roundabout is under construction on the A512; this will connect the new development to the north with a new Science and Enterprise Park to the south.[ citation needed ] The A512 is being widened between junction 23 of the M1 and Snells Nook Lane.



Loughborough Central railway station Loughborough Great Central Station - geograph.org.uk - 1148657.jpg
Loughborough Central railway station

Loughborough station is a mainline station serving the town. In 2012, Network Rail redeveloped the station increasing the length of the platforms and improving access; concurrently, the local council made improvements to the surrounding area. East Midlands Railway is the primary operator providing services on the Midland Main Line south to Leicester, Bedford, Luton and London St Pancras stations and north to Lincoln, Derby, Sheffield, Leeds and York stations. The link to London is twice-hourly and provides a link to Europe via Eurostar. Leicester and Derby stations allow transfers to CrossCountry trains running between the north-east of Scotland and the south-west of England.

There were at one time three railway routes to the town: the still-operating Midland Main Line, the Great Central Railway that closed as a result of the Beeching cuts and a branch line from Nuneaton that was part of the London & North Western Railway. Loughborough Central railway station served the Great Central Railway. It was opened on 15 March 1899 and closed in 1969 but re-opened in March 1974 as part of the Great Central heritage railway. [9] The railway is split into two sections north and south of Loughborough. Loughborough Central station is the northern terminus of the southern section of the railway and services run daily. As of 2017, there were plans to fill the gap and link the two halves of the railway again. [10] Thus, a new bridge was installed over the Midland Main Line. Work is now progressing on restoring another bridge over the Grand Union Canal.

StationPart of lineServing area
Ruddington Transport CentreNottingham mainlineRuddington
Rushcliffe HaltNottingham mainlineEast Leake (British Gypsum)
Loughborough CentralLeicester mainlineLoughborough
Quorn & WoodhouseLeicester mainlineQuorn, Woodhouse
RothleyLeicester mainlineRothley
Mountsorrel HaltMountsorrel branchlineMountsorrel
Belgrave & Birstall (Leicester North)Leicester mainlineBirstall

Brush Traction, a manufacturer of railway locomotives, is also located in the town, adjacent to the Midland railway station.


The M1's Junction 23 lies just to the west of Loughborough. The north of the town can be accessed from Junction 24, travelling through Kegworth and Hathern on the A6 road and the south west of the town from Junction 22, via Copt Oak and the small hamlet of Nanpantan.


Local buses around Loughborough are operated by Arriva Midlands, Kinchbus, [11] Paul S Winson and Robert's Coaches, with longer distance services to Melton Mowbray and Nottingham provided by Centrebus, Nottingham City Transport and trentbarton. There are also various services to Leicester. [12]

There once was a bus station in the town centre, but it was demolished with the adjacent multistorey car park around 2001 to make way for The Rushes Shopping Centre.


The River Soar passes by to the east of the town. Navigation from Loughborough north towards the Trent was achieved in 1778 by 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 Chain Bridge and to the River Soar south of the town. Both form part of the Grand Union Canal.

The now derelict Charnwood Forest Canal once linked Nanpantan (on the west side of Loughborough) with Thringstone, with goods being carried into Loughborough by a horse-drawn wagonway.


The Brush engineering works Brush works loughborough cropped.jpg
The Brush engineering works

The centre of Loughborough's shopping area is the pedestrianised Market Place and Market Street, which maintain a number of original art deco buildings, such as the building that currently houses the town's Odeon cinema. A large outdoor market is held in the Market Place every Thursday and Saturday. There is a monthly farmers' market. The first mention of a market in Loughborough is in 1221. [ citation needed ]

The Rushes shopping centre has also been built on the site of the former bus station and is occupied by national chains. The Rushes is linked to the town centre area by Churchgate and Churchgate Mews; the latter has independent shops.

A major new development, the Eastern Gateway, that developed the area around the railway station with a new road and new housing, was completed in 2013.

Pedestrianisation of the town centre was completed in November 2014. The scheme is intended to improve the economy within the town centre and reduce pollution from traffic congestion.

A new Cineworld cinema complex with several restaurants on Baxter Gate, on the site of the former General Hospital, was completed in 2016.


Loughborough's local weekly newspaper is the Loughborough Echo . The town is also served by Leicestershire's daily newspaper, the Leicester Mercury .


Sutton Bonington, Nottinghamshire (7.5 kilometres (5 mi) from Loughborough)
Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: Met Office [13]

Like most of the British Isles, Loughborough experiences a maritime climate with cool summers and mild winters. The nearest Met Office weather station is at Sutton Bonington in Nottinghamshire, located 5 miles due north of the town centre. The highest temperature recorded in that area was 36.0 °C (96.8 °F) [14] on 25 July 2019.


The town was once home to a professional football club, Loughborough FC, which played at the Athletic Ground and was a member of the Football League in the late 19th century. Loughborough Dynamo of the Northern Premier League Division One South East (Level 8 of the men's football pyramid), Loughborough University of the United Counties League Premier Division (Level 9 of the men's football pyramid) and women's team Loughborough Foxes of the FA Women's National League North (Level 3 of the women's football pyramid) are the most prominent football teams in the town currently.

Cricket is prominent, with the Old Contemptibles, [15] Loughborough Town CC, Loughborough Outwoods CC, Loughborough Carillon CC, Loughborough Carillon Old Boys' CC, Loughborough University Staff CC, Loughborough Greenfields CC and Loughborough Lightning of the semi-professional Women's Cricket Super League representing various standards of cricket in the area. Loughborough Town has since 2000 been the most successful club in the Leicestershire and Rutland Cricket League. The university is home to the ECB National Cricket Academy, used by the England team as their primary training centre.

The University's 1st XV rugby team, the Loughborough Students RUFC, were promoted to the National One division in 2012, which is the 3rd tier of English rugby. The town rugby union club, Loughborough RFC, play at Derby Road playing fields. The club was formed in 1891.

Other sports teams include the Loughborough Aces (collegiate American football), Loughborough Lightning of the Netball Superleague and Loughborough Hawks, an amateur netball team. The town also has its own swimming club, Loughborough Town Swimming Club, which is based in the town and trains at local venues.

The tennis tournament Aegon Pro-Series Loughborough is held in Loughborough.

Arts and heritage

Loughborough Parish Church Loughborough All Saints Oct 2019.jpg
Loughborough Parish Church
WW1 memorial carillon in Queen's Park Loughborough Carillon - geograph.org.uk - 3930.jpg
WW1 memorial carillon in Queen's Park
Loughborough Town Hall Loughborough Town Hall - geograph.org.uk - 3932.jpg
Loughborough Town Hall

Loughborough has five museums, the largest being the centrally located Charnwood Museum, which houses a range of exhibits reflecting the natural history, geology, industry and history of the area. Nearby in Queens Park is the Carillon and War Memorial, home to a small museum of military memorabilia from the First and Second World Wars. Loughborough Library is on Granby Street. [16]

Also to be found in the town centre, near the fine medieval All Saints parish church, is the Old Rectory. [17] Dating back to 1288 the remaining portion of the Great Hall has been restored and houses a small museum run by the Loughborough Archaeological and Historical Society.

Loughborough has for more than a century been the home of John Taylor & Co, bell founders. The firm's Bellfoundry Museum on two floors tells the story of bell-making over the centuries. The recording of the tolling bell at the beginning of "Hells Bells", the first track on AC/DC's 1980 album Back in Black was made on a quarter-weight near replica of the Denison bell in the Carillon war memorial.[ citation needed ]

There is a museum at the former Great Central Railway station, illustrating the history of the railway from its earliest days up to its present state as a double-track preserved heritage railway.

Although Loughborough has no dedicated art gallery, fine sculpture can be found in the town's environs, including those installed from a local artist in commemoration of the First World War Centenary outside Charnwood Museum, and The Sockman , [18] a bronze statue marking Loughborough's association with the hosiery industry. This can be found in the Market Place near Loughborough Town Hall, which itself contains a number of art works. It is also the venue for concerts, exhibitions, musicals, comedy shows and a Christmas pantomime. Groups make use of the town hall for their shows.

Events are also organised by Charnwood Arts, a voluntarily managed and professionally staffed body offering a year-round programme of professional performances across the borough. They include the Picnic In the Park, inaugurated in 1980, which is held in Queens Park in May. Streets Alive, jointly organised by Charnwood Arts and Charnwood Borough Council, takes place at a similar time of year.

The Loughborough Canal Festival, which ran from 1997 to 2014, was an annual event in May centred on Chain Bridge.

Great Central Railway is a heritage railway based at Loughborough Central Station, which is south of the town centre. It is operated largely by volunteers. Trains run every weekend of the year and on bank holidays, as well as daily during the summer.

Every November, a street fair takes over the centre of the town, closing some roads. The fair runs from Wednesday afternoon until Saturday night and offers rides, amusement arcades, food stands and games.

The town has an Odeon cinema designed by Archibald Hurley Robinson in an Art Deco style. There are six screens. The cinema was built in 1914 as the Empire and was remodelled in 1936 by Hurley Robinson as the New Empire Cinema. Over the years it has been named the Palm Court and Ballroom, Empire, Essoldo, Classic, Curzon and Reel. The site of the former Loughborough General Hospital, demolished in 2012, has been taken by a Cineworld cinema with eight screens, which opened in 2016.


Uniformed youth organisations

Loughborough has a variety of uniformed youth organisations, with several Scout and Girl Guide units, Girls' and Boys' Brigades, units from the cadet forces (Air Training Corps, Army Cadet Force, Sea Cadet Corps, and Combined Cadet Force at Loughborough Grammar School), a St John Ambulance Cadet unit, and a cadet programme run by the local Fire and Rescue Service. Since November 2015, Loughborough has also had a Volunteer Police Cadet unit based at Loughborough College. [19]


Tertiary education

Loughborough University

Hazlerigg Front Lawn Hazlerrigg Front Lawn.JPG
Hazlerigg Front Lawn
British Aerospace EAP at the Aeronautical Engineering Department at Loughborough University EAP at Loughborough Uni, copyright picture of Charlie Pearson.jpg
British Aerospace EAP at the Aeronautical Engineering Department at Loughborough University

In 2004, Loughborough University was ranked 9th among British universities by the Times' Good University Guide. In 2006 Loughborough was ranked 6th. In 2007 The Guardian rated the university 8th, and 10th of 117 institutions by The Guardian League Tables 2009 (published online 1/6/08 for the 2009–2010 academic year. The university stands fifth in some rankings, behind Oxbridge and the London universities. It has the largest sports scholarship in the UK. More than 250 international athletes study and train there. In 2008 it was named Sunday Times University of the Year. [20]

Loughborough College

Loughborough College is the second biggest education establishment in Loughborough, after the University. It offers further education and vocational courses. It was established in 1909, and has over 12,000 full and part-time students.

RNIB College, Loughborough

RNIB College, Loughborough, caters for those over 16 with a wide range of disabilities, seeking access to education, employment and independent living.

Notable people

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 Award nominated stage actress Nicola Hughes and Coronation Street's Roy Cropper actor David Neilson, and the notorious rock star of the mid-1960s, Viv Prince of the Pretty Things. Bobsleigher and Paratrooper Dean Ward, who won a bronze medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics was born in the town. Felix Buxton of Basement Jaxx was a pupil at Loughborough Grammar School and son of the one-time vicar of nearby Woodhouse Eaves and Ibstock. [21] The Dundee-born comedian, TV presenter and entertainer Danny Wallace attended Holywell County Primary School. Second World War fighter ace Johnnie Johnson attended Loughborough Grammar school. The high jumper Ben Challenger, son of Showaddywaddy drummer Romeo Challenger, is from Loughborough. The popular Muslim and Bangladeshi presenter Rizwan Hussain was brought up there. The cultural thinker Mark Fisher, writer of Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative (2009), grew up in the town.

Notable sporting graduates of Loughborough University include Sir Clive Woodward, Sebastian Coe, Paula Radcliffe, David Moorcroft, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Monty Panesar, Steve Backley, Jack Kirwan and Lawrie Sanchez.

Loughborough was the birthplace of the poet and Royalist John Cleveland (1613–1658). [22]

The chemist Arthur Donald Walsh FRS (8 August 1916 – 23 April 1977) was born in Loughborough and attended Loughborough Grammar School. [23] The engineer, physicist and author Charles Denis Mee was born here in 1927. [24] The bellfounder John William Taylor (1827-1906) of John Taylor & Co lived and died here.

John Paget (1808–1892), an English agriculturist and writer on Hungary, was born here.

Professional footballers, Liam Moore and Hamza Choudhury were both born in the town and have gone on to play in the Premier League with nearby Leicester City. Fred Ainsworth was also born here. England Rugby union captain Phil de Glanville was born in the town.

Other known people: Sue Campbell, Baroness Campbell of Loughborough current Head of FA Women's football, Nicky Morgan, Baroness Morgan of Cotes Nicky Morgan

Twin towns

Signpost for Loughborough, naming its twin towns. UK Loughborough.jpg
Signpost for Loughborough, naming its twin towns.

Loughborough is twinned with:

Loughborough has a friendship link with Bhavnagar, Gujarat, India [28]

Closest settlements

This list is of the closest cities and towns to the town of Loughborough. It does not include villages.

Related Research Articles

East Midlands A region of England

The East Midlands is one of nine official regions of England at the first level of NUTS for statistical purposes. It consists of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland. The region has an area of 15,627 km2 (6,034 sq mi), with a population over 4.5 million in 2011. The most populous settlements in the region are Derby, Leicester, Lincoln, Mansfield, Northampton and Nottingham. Other notable settlements include Boston, Chesterfield, Corby, Grantham, Hinckley, Kettering, Loughborough, Newark-on-Trent, Skegness, Wellingborough, and Worksop.

Leicestershire County of England

Leicestershire is a landlocked county in the English Midlands, being within the East Midlands. The county borders Nottinghamshire to the north, Lincolnshire to the north-east, Rutland to the east, Northamptonshire to the south-east, Warwickshire to the south-west, Staffordshire to the west, and Derbyshire to the north-west. The border with most of Warwickshire is Watling Street, the modern A5 road.

Borough of Charnwood Borough in England

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Shepshed Town in Leicestershire, England

Shepshed, often known until 1888 as Sheepshed, is a town in Leicestershire, England with a population of around 14,000 people, measured at 13,505 at the 2011 census. It sits within the borough of Charnwood local authority, where Shepshed is the second biggest settlement after the town of Loughborough.

Thurmaston Human settlement in England

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Loughborough (UK Parliament constituency)

Loughborough is a constituency in Leicestershire represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2019 by Jane Hunt, a Conservative. From 2010 until 2019, it was represented by Nicky Morgan who served under the governments of David Cameron and Boris Johnson. In 2020, she was elevated to the Peerage and became a member of the House of Lords. The constituency is a considered a bellwether, as it has reflected the national result at every general election since February 1974.

Shelthorpe Human settlement in England

Shelthorpe (Shelly) is a large council estate south of the town centre of Loughborough in Leicestershire.

Loughborough railway station Grade II listed railway station in Loughborough, Leicestershire

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Hathern Village in Leicestershire, England

Hathern is a village and civil parish in the Charnwood district of Leicestershire, England. The village itself is located in the north of the district, and is just north of Loughborough. It is served by the A6. The parish has a population of about 1,800. Nearby places are Dishley, Long Whatton, and Zouch, over the border in Nottinghamshire. Residents of the village have, in recent years, campaigned to prevent the green "wedge" separating Loughborough, Shepshed and Hathern from being built on. The village is home to the Swift Sock Factory, one of only a small number of independent sock manufacturers left in the UK.

Ellistown Human settlement in England

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All Saints Church, Loughborough Church

All Saints Church, officially All Saints with Holy Trinity is the Church of England parish church of the town of Loughborough, Leicestershire within the Diocese of Leicester.

Quorn and Woodhouse railway station Heritage station on the Great Central Railway

Quorn and Woodhouse railway station is a heritage station on the Great Central Railway (preserved) serving Quorn & Woodhouse in Leicestershire. Travelling south from Loughborough, it is the first station that is reached. Here there is a large station yard which is suitable for parking. There is also disabled access through the yard. Quorn is laid out to appear as it would in the 1940s, as a typical rural LNER station. The signal box is not original but was taken from Market Rasen.

Garendon Abbey

Garendon Abbey was a Cistercian abbey located between Shepshed and Loughborough, in Leicestershire, United Kingdom.

Burleigh Community College Foundation school in Loughborough, Leicestershire, England

Burleigh Community College was a specialist Sports College located on Thorpe Hill in Loughborough, Leicestershire, England.

The Charnwood Forest Railway was a branch line in Leicestershire constructed by the Charnwood Forest Company between 1881 and 1883. The branch line ran from Coalville to the town of Loughborough.

The A6004 is Loughborough's ring road. It is 4.4 miles long and passes through the town's suburbs.

Thorpe Acre is an area of Loughborough, Leicestershire. Until the mid-twentieth century, it was a hamlet of about twenty houses or cottages, several of which survive. There is also a nineteenth-century church with contemporary extensions, All Saints Church Thorpe Acre with Dishley, as well as an old hostelry, The Plough Inn. The population is included in the Loughborough-Garendon and Loughborough Ashby Wards of Charnwood Borough Council.

Charnwood College is a coeducational secondary school and sixth form that is located on Thorpe Hill in Loughborough, Leicestershire, England.

Snells Nook Halt railway station was a station on the Charnwood Forest Railway. Near the village of Nanpantan, on the outskirts of Loughborough, Leicestershire.


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