Sunday, 25 August 2013

So who was: Dr Eddowes



... Dr Eddowes

A chance sighting of a photograph (i) posted on facebook of an elderly, contented-looking, Edwardian gentleman, sitting in a deck chair with a large dog, in the garden of what was an evidently large house, set me off on a bit of a quest! According to the facebook post, this gentleman was Dr Eddowes, the last of the family of doctors who had a practice in Market Street. Someone commented on the post suggesting that he was sitting in the garden of his house, The Gables.

The Gables

If you don’t know it, The Gables is a large house on the corner of Forest Road and what is now Epinal Way. I think it was built between 1881 and 1891 in a Tudor/Gothic/Domestic revival style, but has had several twentieth century “improvements”. The part of the building that appeals to me most is the verandah: I can imagine sitting out on a glorious summer evening with a glass of wine! However, I’ve never actually had the good fortune to go into the building: When I initially came to Loughborough it was part of the university halls and I did know of someone who lived there, but that’s not quite the same, really though.



Anyway, my investigations actually took me away from The Gables, as it appears that the last of the Eddowes doctors never lived there, at least, not according to the census returns. I seem to spend quite a lot of time looking at the census returns – though not as much as I would like! One thing I do have to remind myself of is that the census return does not tell me who lived in a particular property, but rather who was in the property the night the census was taken! People were not always where one would have expected to find them!

However, extensive research done across the eight available census records shows that no Dr Eddowes ever lived at The Gables. The story of who did live at The Gables is one for another day, so let’s turn our attention to the Eddowes family.

John Henry Eddowes – well, which one? Father and first-born son both had the same name, which was common practice years ago, and the son of one of John Henry senior’s other sons was also named John Henry. To add to the slight confusion, the head of the previous generation was called Henry Eddowes, and both he, John Henry senior and John Henry junior had the same occupation, all worked in the Loughborough Dispensary, and John Henry senior and John Henry junior lived in the same property and worked in the same premises until the death of John Henry senior in 1858!    

A chance sighting of an LAS Bulletin [The Bulletin of the Loughborough and District Archaeological Society, Vol. 2, No. 4, Winter 1979, pp. 14 [i.e. 22]  informed me that at the time of the Earl of Moira’s great sale in 1808, Henry Eddowes, father to John Henry senior, was renting a couple of properties and some land on Market Place. Here’s the detail:

1)      Property – Messuage and gardens in the Market Place. Tenure – On lease for 30 years from Lady Day [25 March] 1801. Quantity – a.r.p. 0 0 2. Rent - £4. Valuation - £25.
  
2)       Property – Messuage and surgeon’s shop in the Market Place. Tenure – On lease for 30 years from Lady Day [25 March] 1803. Quantity – a.r.p. 0 1 3. Rent - £10. Valuation - £25.

3)      Property – Land (specific place not specified). Tenure – At will from Lady Day [25 March], no year specified. Quantity – a.r.p. 8 0 36. Rent - £35. Valuation - £35.

John Henry Eddowes, senior, was born in about 1799 and married Harriet Jackson in about 1824. He trained as a surgeon and worked in the Market Place, Loughborough. Between 1826 and 1842 he and Harriet had nine children, all of whom were born in Loughborough:

1826 – John Henry
1829 – Harriet Susanna
1832 – Charles
1833 – Marianne (or Mary Ann)
1834 – Edmund (or Edmond)
1836 – Fanny (or Frances) E.
1838 – Ellen (or Helen)
1840 – Sarah Jane
1842 – Arthur Benjamin Jackson

Part of the memorial for Henry Eddowes


I haven’t been able to find much detail about John Henry senior’s parents: His father was named Henry and was born in 1768. He trained as a surgeon and died on 15th October 1827. He was married to Elizabeth who was born about 1763 and died on 14th August 1810. Both are buried in the churchyard of Loughborough Parish Church.



Part of the memorial for Henry Eddowes











Nor have I been able to establish where and when John Henry trained to be a surgeon, although trade directories and poll books from 1828 onwards have him listed as a surgeon working from a premises in Market Place, so I am sure he was a trained medical practitioner. His death in 1858 was reported in the Leicester Chronicle, and he was cited as being “a respectable surgeon”. His will was proved at Leicester on 20th January 1859, and his effects were under £4000.

But, back to his children! Charles trained as a solicitor and moved to Derby, living on Wilson Road before moving to Kedleston Road, whilst Edmund trained as a priest and moved to Hartford in Cheshire. You may find that one of these children appears in a future blog post, about a different Loughborough family, but for the moment let’s concentrate on John Henry junior.

At the age of about 15, John Henry junior, is listed on the 1841 census return as being a doctor’s apprentice, working with his surgeon father in Market Place. The rest of the family, including Harriet, John Henry junior’s mother, and his siblings are all listed as being in the Market Place premises on the night of the 1841 (and subsequent censuses) so I assume that they lived above the surgery.

In 1846 John Henry junior became a Licentiate of the Society of Apothecaries. As a result of the Apothecaries Act of 1815, the Society of Apothecaries was given the statutory right to hold exams for people in, or who wanted to join the medical profession. The Society was also allowed to grant a person a license to practice Medicine, and one of its duties arising out of this was to regulate such medical practices.  Delving back a bit further into history, some dispute in 1704 between the Society and the Royal College of Physicians was settled in the House of Lords. The ruling was in favour of the Society being allowed to prescribe and dispense medicines. This means that the apothecary was really what we today would call a General Practitioner. The 1800s saw great developments in medicine, for example, the use of anaesthetics like chloroform, discovery of potential causes of infectious diseases, and new, regulated training for doctors and surgeons which led to changes in the way the sick were cared for. Medicine was moving away from folk remedies and herbal cures, and moving towards a more scientific approach. 

So, it appears that in the early days of his career, John Henry junior would have perhaps been supporting the work of his surgeon father by practising more general medicine and prescribing cures. However, in 1846 he also became a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons (England) although at this stage I don’t think he would have been a practising surgeon.

Records from Glasgow University show that John Henry junior from Loughborough, graduated as a Doctor of Medicine in 1850. By the time we get to the 1851 census, John Henry junior is listed as an MD, a Surgeon, a General Practitioner and an Apothecary, and is still working with his father in Market Place.  He was elected to the Medical Register on 1 January 1859.

Unfortunately, John Henry senior, died in 1858, so in 1861 John Henry junior was working as a sole general practitioner in Market Place, and his mother and some of his siblings were still listed as living there with him. One sibling, Arthur Benjamin Jackson, who doesn’t appear at Market Place on this 1861 census, is about to make a return to the family home.

On the 1871 census, information about the whereabouts of the practice of John Henry junior is more explicit, stating that the property is at number 6 Market Place. His mother is still living with him, as are some of his siblings, who include Arthur Benjamin Jackson, who is listed as a surgeon, Guy’s Hospital. I would imagine that he is currently training at Guy’s Hospital as he became a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons (England) in 1863, became a Licentiate of the Society of Apothecaries in 1867, and was elected to the Medical Register on 24 September 1870. Like father, like brother!

What happens between 1871 and 1881 I’m not quite sure, but at the time of the 1881 census, at the age of 57, John Henry junior is listed as being at Burleigh Fields House (ii), rather than the Market Street practice. So perhaps he has retired. I believe he purchased Burleigh Fields house in August 1867, from the previous owner, George William Johnson (formerly Lillingston), JP, who moved to an estate at Ulverscroft. The purchase actually comprised the house itself, with stabling, coach-house, various outbuildings, a vinery, greenhouse, kitchen garden and pleasure grounds, and two fields of “valuable building land … adjoining Burleigh Fields House” (iii). Also for sale at the same time were productive meadowlands near the Great Meadow, but I am uncertain as to whether or not John Henry bought these as well. So, maybe John Henry retired and left the Market Street practice in the hands of his capable brother Arthur Benjamin, as this is where Arthur Benjamin and his family are on the night of the 1881 census.

In 1891 Arthur Benjamin is still running his general medical practice at number 6 Market Place, living with his family, and John Henry is still living in Burleigh Fields House, incidentally, with his two spinster sisters who have always lived with him – Frances (aka Fanny), and Helen. 1901 finds the brothers living as in 1891, although Arthur Benjamin is now listed as a surgeon.

1906 is a sad year for on 11 July, John Henry Eddowes MD, of Burleigh Fields House dies. Probate is granted from Leicester on 10 October to Edmund Eddowes, his brother, Henry Dean and Joseph Balm Pike. He left £13998 16s 6d.

1908 sees a similar story when Arthur Benjamin Jackson Eddowes, living at “Theydon”, Ashby Road, Loughborough, dies on 10 July. Probate is granted from Leicester on 12 November to Arthur Eddowes, a clerk in holy orders and son of Arthur Benjamin. His effects amounted to £8358 14s 6d.

John Henry’s sisters remained in Burleigh Fields House, and were still there at the time of the 1911 census. I believe they lived her until their deaths – Frances on 4 May 1921 and Helen on 18 July 1922. Both sisters left their effects - £328 1s 7d and £640 13s 9d respectively – to George Rose Eddowes, solicitor, son of Charles, and therefore nephew to the two spinsters.

So, the question is, are we any closer to knowing who the Dr Eddowes in the photograph in the garden of the big house was, or which big house is in the photograph? To confuse the issue yet further, there are a couple of interesting photographs in "The story of Loughborough Dispensary and Hospital, 1819-2003" (iv): There is no date mentioned, but one photograph is of John Henry Eddowes, junior, captioned as John Eddowes, and the other is of his brother Arthur Benjamin Jackson Eddowes, captioned as Benjamin Eddowes. Personally, I don't think either of these look like the gentleman in the photograph I mentioned in my opening paragraph.

However, if, as the person who posted the photograph on facebook suggested, this was the last Dr Eddowes, then he would have been Arthur Benjamin, but it is equally possible that, given that another poster suggested the house was The Gables, which wasn’t where either of the Drs Eddowes lived, then this could equally well have been John Henry Eddowes junior. Of course, this may all be completely on the wrong track and the Dr Eddowes in the photograph may have been visiting friends who lived at the Gables, or it may not even be Dr Eddowes at all!

What do you think?

References:
(i) http://www.inloughborough.com/photopost/showphoto.php?photo=4337
(ii) http://www.inloughborough.com/photopost/showphoto.php?photo=4235
(iii) http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/23290/pages/4507/page.pdf
(iv) Keil, Ian and Wix, Donald (eds.) (2006). The story of Loughborough Dispensary and Hospital, 1819-2003. Loughborough: Loughborough Archaeological and historical Society: with Charnwood and North West Leicestershire Primary Care Trust.




Sunday, 18 August 2013

Spotlight on: Queen’s Park

History

The park was opened in 1899 as a result of a suggestion by Joseph Griggs, the first Mayor of the Borough of Loughborough, and a collection of subscriptions from local people and local businesses and had been considered as a commemoration of Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee. This meant that about 4 acres of land in Granby Street could be bought (actually bought in 3 separate lots) and the area planted up with flowers and plants: A young tree was planted at the opening ceremony. There were also to be recreational areas, and walkways between the plants and shrubs. Today, being a park situated centrally in town, it serves the needs of everyone, from the business, education and local community to the shoppers and the tourists. 

Features

Carillon – the Carillon was erected in 1923 as a memorial to those who died during the First World War. It was designed by Sir Walter Tapper, an independent architect from London, but was constructed by a local building firm, Moss. The carillon is a musical instrument, sounding rather like a peal of bells, but played in a completely different way: The carilloneur, who sits in a room below the actual bells, hits the keys with a fist which in turn moves a clapper to hit the bell. The bells were made by local bellfounding firm, Taylors, who have had a business in Loughborough since about 1839. There are 47 bells, weighing from 14 imperial pounds, to over 82 hundredweight and the tower is 46 metres high! The museum based in each of the rooms on each of the lower floors contains WW1 and memorabilia from later wars.


Charnwood Museum – was officially opened in 1899 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee. It was gifted to the townspeople by Joseph Griggs, the first Mayor of the Borough of Loughborough. The swimming baths was closed when the new leisure centre opened in the 1970s. The building was then used for Saturday/Sunday craft and antique fairs, and later for the regular Friday morning flea market. In 1995 the building was converted into a very popular museum, charting the history of Loughborough and having regular travelling displays and lots of activities.





Bandstand – the bandstand was erected to commemorate the coronation of Edward VII in 1902. It’s a beautiful addition to the park and is in a central position: Paths radiate out from the bandstand, and it is also in a direct line with the Carillon.








Swan – the swan maze and sculpture was created in 1992 by a local man, David Tarver, to celebrate 100 years since the town became a borough in 1888. The sculpture shows a swan with her three cygnets and a swan.








Olympic rings – 2012 saw Britain host the Olympics, and to celebrate this, there are five hoops planted in the park, the flower and related arrangements representing many of the events. To accompany this planting, there were several pairs of legs arising from the ponds outside the Museum. Theses were created by Loughborough University art students to represent the synchronised swimmers! These have now been removed to make way for the latest sculptures.







Bell and related sculptures – the Great Paul Bell was created by Taylors for St Paul’s cathedral in 1881. In July 2013 the Great Paul Bell casing was given pride of place in Queen’s Park, situated on a plinth next to the pools opposite the museum. It has been surrounded by a collection of musical-themed sculptures – a set of tuning forks, a nest of bells and a half a bell with clapper – as part of the Loughborough in Bloom effort.












Aviary – the aviary has been a part of the park since about 1955, although its position in the park has changed. There is quite a variety of birds to be seen – although the Humboldt penguins and the peacocks are no longer there!         

Events

Remembrance Day parade and service – In November each year a parade through the town leads onto a service in Queen’s Park. Attended by a range of civic dignitaries, members of the scouting and guiding families, the Boys/Girls Brigade, service personnel, and others gather outside the Carillon and remember those who died in the world wars, and alter conflicts. At 11am precisely, two shots are fired and thousands of poppies are released from the top of the Carillon. The procession takes off again, through town, ending at Southfields Park.

Regular recitals – the borough carilloneur, Caroline Sharpe, gives regular recitals, usually on Thursday afternoons and Sundays. Other recitals are given on special occasions.




Bands in the park – during the summer months a variety of bands play in the bandstand. These range from concert bands, through jazz bands to brass bands.




Picnic in the park – has become a regular feature on the calendar of the park. There are food and craft stalls, games, dancing and music, lending a festive atmosphere.

 

Bowls – during the outdoor bowls season (April to October) bowls matches are regularly held on the green. The home club is known as Granby Bowling Club, and visiting teams come from all over Leicestershire to play here. 




Mela - the Loughborough Mela is an annual event that takes place in August and celebrates Asian entertainment and culture.

Facilities

Playgrounds – there are two distinct children’s play parks within Queens park, one with lots of equipment for younger children, and one for older children.

Café – the café is open from about Easter time to October, and has both an inside seating area and an outside one. The café can be accessed from outside in the park, or from inside via the museum. A range of refreshments is sold, and there are often displays of local artwork that can be purchased.

Toilets – are available inside the museum and outside, near the bowling green.

Address – Queen’s Park, Granby Street, Loughborough, LE11 3DU

Opening hours – from dawn to dusk











Sunday, 11 August 2013

Bloomin' Loughborough! Loughborough enters the In Bloom competition!

Oh, hello there! Nice to see you again!!

Today’s post is all about Bloomin’ Loughborough!

So, my mission to ensure that Loughborough doesn’t make it to the list of 50 rubbish towns, today sees me focus on the towns in bloom competition!

Each year our town is decorated with hanging baskets, window boxes, towers of flowers and all manner of other interesting displays of flowers. And, each year, we seem to do better in the competition, so last year, like 2011, we managed to gain a Gold in the East Midlands in Bloom competition.

Now, it’s not my intention to explain what the competition is about, as this information is perfectly well explained elsewhere and I’ll give you some links at the end of this blog. Rather, what I’d like to do is share some pictures with you, so you get some idea of what’s around town at the moment. There are, however, a couple of things to say first: there are some stunning displays missing from my photos, because whenever I’ve been out and about with my camera it’s been too busy with cars to take even adequate photos. And, secondly, I am no David Bailey – I’ve come to the conclusion that I see beautiful things and take photos of them, whereas as a good photographer sees things and takes beautiful photos. So, my photos don’t do the actual blooms justice, but I hope they give you a sense of what’s going on. Finally, I have made a conscious decision not to include Queen's Park today: This park is looking so spectacular at the moment, that it truly deserves its own blogpost! Watch this space!!



So, let's start on the outskirts of town.



The small triangular planting area at the junction of Edelin Road, Park Road and Shelthorpe Road has been repaired and planted up with beautiful wild flowers, thanks to the hard work of some Loughborough residents.










A very similar area has also been planted up, but with a different selection of flowers. This is on the junction of Beacon Road and Beacon Drive, and has a matching area on the opposite side of the road. The Beacon pub, just up the road from here also has hanging baskets a-plenty!






Following Epinal way down in the direction of the university and Derby takes us to the roundabout on Forest Road. Here, there is a stunning display from Harry at his property tucked in on the left-hand side. This character made an appearance during last year's competition as an Olympic competitor, and also at Christmas-time. Here he is as a farmer, with his dog and Dolly the Sheep!




This is Harry's house, and, by George, he's made a real impression with his fantastic, thoughtful displays! I wasn't the only person taking photographs!











And this is the stunning display that Harry's house looks onto, just beside the Woodbrook. Hides a less lovely aluminium fence!









This fabulous display of beautiful pink flowers is on Forest Road near the pedestrian crossing, opposite the Woodbrook. It's one of the many displays by the university. If I can get to one of the others when the roads are less busy I'll show you that one too (I think I need to get up earlier to beat the rush!)






Leaving the outskirts and heading into town now, down Forest Road, and we enter past John Storer House. Just look at these displays, hiding the slightly less pretty 1960s building! Last year, JSH won an award for their displays!










To the right of this flowering display is a bench where you can sit and look at what used to be the Blacksmith's Arms!!








On New Street, the one that looks down onto the Carillon in Queen's Park, JSH have another little display.










Bedford Square itself is home to numerous flower towers and flower tubs, pictured here:









The entrance to Granby Street car park isn't short of a flower tower or two, either!!









And, looking down Granby Street towards the cinema (Empire, Essoldo, New Empire, Curzon, Reel, Odeon - you chose!!) you can see that Cattle Market is adorned as well.


















Market Place has numerous flower towers, strategically placed so as not to interfere with the setting up of the regular markets.











The Town Hall looks festive with lots of hanging baskets of flowers, though they do look better than this photo shows!











Many of the banks have also joined in the fun with hanging baskets. Here's a picture of the HSBC - again this photo doesn't do it justice. 











And one of the NatWest (a building designed by Watson Fothergill).








And finally, if you need a drink after all that walking, you'll be pleased to know that the pubs are looking pretty jolly too!! Here's The Griffin.



I do hope you've enjoyed this little trip into Bloomin' Loughborough and that this little contribution nudges our town one step further down the list of the 100.

Here are those websites with information about the bloomin’ competition that I mentioned earlier: the Charnwood Borough Council website, the East Midlands in Bloom website and the Loughborough in Bloom community blog.

Bye for now!



Sunday, 4 August 2013

Loughborough is the best town in the world, eva!! Or: Welcome to my first post!

Rubbish town?

I’ve decided to start a new, non-work related blog! I’ve got a lot to say, but not sure how much time I have to devote to this, but I’m going to give it a go anyway. Over the coming months I’m going to share stuff about Loughborough with you all, but allow me a little indulgence in this first post! This is going to be a rant: Read on, you might find you agree with me! On the other hand …

I read an oblique reference on facebook recently, and my youngest son has also just alerted me to the fact that there is a new version of the book about rubbish towns due for publication in October. In advance of this, it seems the authors have put up a list of 100 candidates for inclusion in the book which will be whittled down and the top 50 will appear in the book. They say any publicity is good publicity, but in this case I’m not sure.

So, excuse me for feeling indignant that Loughborough has been nominated in the top 100! Why? What earthly reason could someone find for giving the town that awful honour of being included in such a list? In this my first post on this blog, I’m going to give you lots of reasons why Loughborough shouldn’t be included in the top 100, never mind the top 50!!

To begin with, I’ll assume that the selectors are basing their inclusion of Loughborough’s on the town centre, but I do wonder if they’ve actually been and had a look round. Here are some of my reasons for not including Loughborough in that dreaded list:

1. Shops – people go to town to shop, right? So what better choice than Loughborough? The town centre is partially pedestrianised and work is currently taking place to increase this, making for a safe shopping environment. The town has a wonderful mix of shops:

We have chain stores, like M&S, Tesco, TK Max, Argos, Boots, WH Smith, Poundland, Primark, Topshop, Greenwoods, Burtons, Shoe Zone, Clarks, The Works, Waterstones, Wilkinsons etc.. These shops exist and thrive amongst a huge selection of unique local shops: Tylers, the small independent department store; Wheelers, the gift shop; a selection of jewellers (Denhams, Crown Jewellers, Nelsons, Primo); AA Stationers; Stuarts Leathergoods; Quorn Country Crafts; Genevieve ladies’ clothing; Paperweight gift shop; Andrew Hill, wine merchant; Bojangle Beads, beadmaking shop; Stuart Westmoreland, television and hi-fi specialist; Bonkers, discount store; Buckley’s carpets and curtains; Teddy Bear Hollow, the teddy bear shop; Chocolate Alchemy, the handmade chocolate store; Elf the wholefoods store … The list goes on and on!

Of course, these chain and independent stores stand side-by-side with local and national hairdressers and barbers, chemists and newsagents, greengrocers, butchers, delis, small supermarkets and health food shops, banks and buildings societies, estate agents and charity shops, print shops and sports shops, antique shops and florists.

2. Cafés - Shoppers, mums, students, business people and ladies who lunch, are drawn to the town centre by the vast array of eateries. Of course, we have national chains – Costa, Neros, Subway, MacDonalds, Muffin Break, KFC – but we also have a huge range of independent cafes, offering treats to match any pocket, to match any need. Think Cino’s, Wheelers, Tylers, Wests, Delice, Party Pieces, Baob, Two Monkeys, Sooo Coffee, Casa Café, and the Courthouse café, all catering to high standards and offering something different from the chains.

3. Restaurants – Most of the cafes listed above do a small selection of food, but if you need more sustenance, then there are plenty of restaurants to chose from, day and night. Now I’ve stopped to consider it, I think most of the restaurants are unique to Loughborough. We have the best Indian restaurants outside of Leicester (Salim’s, Mogul-e-shahi, The Red Veil, Koh-I-Noor, Taste of India, Indian Ocean), and a Nepalese one (Mount Gurkha), a strong collection of Chinese/Thai restaurants (Mr Chan’s, The Laughing Buddha, China Baby, Thai Grand, Meet All), a couple of classy Italian restaurants (Caravelli’s and La Favoita), a Mexican (The Cactus Café), an Australian place (Moomba), a middle eastern place (Tarboush), European places (Brown’s Lane, Goodliffe’s), a fusion place (The Basin), a couple of kebab shops, and several fish and chip shops.  

4. Pubs are also an integral part of town life, and we should be so proud to have all those unique places catering for different age groups, different tastes and different needs. Think Three Nuns, Moon and Bell, Organ Grinder (formerly the Old Packe Horse), Old English Gentleman, The Generous Briton, The Griffin, The Gallery, The Unicorn, 12 Degrees West, Tap & Mallet, The Hobgoblin, The Swan in the Rushes, The Royal Oak, The Peacock, The Jack ‘o Lantern and The Windmill Inn, to name but a few!

5. Night life - If you want to go into town at night then there is no shortage of venues for you to try: Mansion, Revolution, Vice-Versa, Echos, and probably more that I don’t know about. Or, if you want culture in the evening then there’s the lovely art deco Odeon Cinema and the Town Hall.

6. Architecture - Many of the buildings that remain in Loughborough town centre are of historical interest, being either locally listed or even Grade II listed. Next time you go into town, look past the shop front that doesn’t appeal to you and appreciate the importance of the actual building. Such buildings include the former Echo offices on Swan Street, The NatWest Bank, several of the shops on Church Gate, Caravelli’s (the former Manor House), Lowe’s antique shop (the former Guildhall), The Griffin pub, Mercury News Shop (Baxter Gate – in fact, almost all the shops on Baxter Gate!), the Odeon Cinema, Vice Versa, Toymaster toy shop, Midland Bank, Fearon Fountain, Town Hall, and many of the shops along Market Street.

7. Attractions - Looking for something to do that isn’t shopping, then Lufbra has a number of attractions to offer. There are several museums: The Charnwood Museum in Queen’s Park explains the history of Loughborough through a variety of displays, and has a changing exhibition area that focuses on specific small displays. The Carillon, a war memorial erected to honour the fallen in World War One (and now in subsequent wars) is also a museum with displays of artefacts related to war. The bell foundry has it’s own museum, but this is a little way out of the town centre. The Great Central Railway, a unique steam railway in Britain, being the only double track steam railway, is also a little way out of town. The public library has much to offer the visitor to town, as well as books – displays and exhibitions, talks and local studies. The Town Hall doubles up as the tourist information centre, is home to an art gallery and has recently re-opened its café.

8. Parks - There are a couple of great parks in the town centre: as well as the museums listed above, Queen’s Park also has special playground areas, an aviary, a bowls green, a bandstand, several ponds and lots of public sculpture. Leicester Road park is just on the edge of the town centre and includes a large playing field, a skateboard area, and a wooden adventure playground for older children. Throughout the town you will find hanging baskets of flowers, and standing tubs of flowers.

9.  Markets - One of Loughborough’s particular strengths is its markets. Every Thursday and Saturday there is a general market selling everything you could possibly want! Every Friday (March-December) there is a second hand and craft market, and once a month on a Wednesday there is a farmer’s market selling local produce. As if that weren’t enough, there are also regular European markets, craft markets, a pottery market, Christmas markets and much more.

10. The town was picked in the second wave as a Mary Portas Pilot Town, and this has seen much renewed spirit in the town centre. Currently, there is a Fabulous Friday initiative running, which aims to bridge the gap between the daytime and night-time economy by extending shopping hours on a Friday evening and introducing different themed markets and events, being both things for people visiting town to watch and things for them to do.

Just to put the town in context, it is situated in the middle of the triangle that is Leicester/Nottingham/Derby, and has a population of about 59,000, which increases by about 22% during the university term-time. It is almost slap bang in the middle of the country, being rather a long way from the sea!

Also, do bear in mind that my lists (of shops etc.) above are not meant to be exhaustive, nor am I endorsing anything, merely pointing out that they are there. Am thinking this is a bit dense with text, so might add some pictures at a later date. 

So, hope you didn't mind listening to my whinge above: There's plenty more to tell you about Loughborough, but I'll leave that for another day!

Oh, and I rather enjoyed reading Three Men and a Float ...