Sunday, 29 September 2013

So who was: William Clarke


... William Clarke?

It really was inevitable, wasn’t it, that I would set off down one research track and end up on another! I often wonder what it is that sets me off on such a quest as finding out about a particular family in the first place. In the case of the Clarke’s of Loughborough, a beautiful house, an interesting occupation, and an almost derelict property that I pass on my walk into town piqued that interest and I had to find out more! So far, however, this research is in its infancy and I know there are many of you out there to whom none of this is news, and some of you out there who still have memories of what I’m about to present, but do, please indulge me, and read on, if you will.

The subject of the Thomas Clarke Dye Works in Loughborough, a company also known as Thos. Clarke & Sons (CLARDYE) Ltd., has cropped up a number of times recently in places where I’ve been – facebook, The Loughborough Echo, a local walk led by myself and Ernie Miller - and so it seemed a logical step for me to do a bit of research on the family behind this.

William Clarke, born about 1853, in Loughborough, was the son of Thomas Clarke of Loughborough, and Ann of Hathern [I haven’t yet worked out her maiden name]. His grandparents were Thomas Clarke, born about 1790 in Oakham, and Catherine, also born around 1790.

Thomas Clarke and his wife Catherine had at least 6 children:

  • John, born around 1812
  • Elizabeth, born around 1817
  • Thomas, also born around 1817
  • Philip, born 9 January 1821 and baptised on 27 November 1822, in Leicester
  • Sarah, born around 1822
  • Jabez, born around 1830

I haven’t done a lot of work on the dye works itself, but I believe it was created around 1825, by Thomas Clarke (senior), and was located in Devonshire Square. This idea seems to be supported by the census return of 1841 which shows Thomas, aged about 50, living with Catherine, his wife, and three of his children – John, Elizabeth and Sarah – in Devonshire Square. Curiously, six houses down, his son, Jabez, aged 11, was living with the Smith family, whilst, Thomas’s eldest son, Thomas, was living in a house on his own, three doors down from his brother, Jabez! The explanation for Jabez being down the road is probably something as simple as he was playing with his 12-year old friend, Matthew Smith, and I’m sure Thomas (junior) was on his own as his wife was away (maybe at her parents’ home) giving birth to their first child, Frederick. And of course, the occupation of those menfolk, was dyer! In fact, many of the men listed on this census page were employed in the dye works, although there were still a few ag labs also listed.

Information from subsequent census returns reveals that Thomas junior and his wife Ann had seven children:

  • Frederick, born in 1841
  • Thomas, born in 1845
  • Sarah Ann, born in 1847
  • John, born in 1849
  • Elizabeth, born in 1852
  • William, born in 1853
  • Frances, born in 1856

Trying to decipher the information included on the 1851 census has proved troublesome, as the text is so faint it is hardly legible. However, both Thomas Clarke (senior) and Thomas Clarke (junior) are to be found living a couple of doors apart in Devonshire Square, Thomas senior with Catherine and two of their children – Jabez (mistakenly transcribed as Jobes) and Jane  – and a small visitor, John aged four, who I suspect might be a grandson, and Thomas junior with his wife Ann, and their children, Frederick, Thomas, Sarah Ann (later known simply as Ann) and John (all mis-transcribed as Clack) and Elizabeth, their servant. The occupation of Thomas (senior) is quite indecipherable, as is that of Thomas (junior), apart from the words “dyer” and “Master”, so I’d guess Thomas (junior) was now the boss of the dye works.  

On 16th April 1859, Thomas Clarke (senior) dies, leaving effects totally under £2,000. On the 1861 census, his wife, Catherine, is listed as a widow and a retired dyer, living with a “house servant” called Mary Carter. Living next door to Catherine, in Devonshire Square, is Thomas (junior), with his wife, their seven children – Frederick, Thomas, Sarah Ann, John, Elizabeth, William and Frances -  and their “house servant”, Hannah Hules(?). This time, the census is readable, and so we discover that Thomas was listed as a woollen dyer and trimmer, the Master, employing 18 men, 3 women, 2 girls and 4 boys, one of the men surely being Frederick who is also listed as a woollen dyer!

I believe that between the 1861 and 1871 census Catherine Clarke died, but as yet have not been able to find a record of this. Thomas and his family, with the exception of his son Frederick, now appear to be living in Forest Road Cottage. As far as I can tell, this would have been somewhere between Emmanuel Church, and Ward's End. At this time, Thomas is employing 17 men, 9 women and 2 boys, and his own sons – with the exception of Thomas – have joined him in the dye works. Interestingly, the two girls, Elizabeth (aged 19) and Frances (aged 15) are listed as scholars, and the family no longer appears to have a servant.

Sadly, between the 1871 and 1881 census returns, Ann, wife of Thomas (junior) dies, leaving him living with two of his daughters – Elizabeth and Frances – who by 1881 had joined the family business, and Thomas. The plight of Thomas, the 36-year old son, now becomes apparent. On the 1871 census he was recorded as having no occupation, and on this 1881 census, the enumerator has crossed out the word “Unemployed” in the occupation column, and entered the phrase “Imbecile from birth” in the final column of the census.

Also between the two census returns, William Clarke, son of Thomas Clarke, married Laura Wakefield from Islington. The marriage took place in Hampstead, on 9th July 1878, and William’s father, Thomas, is recorded as being a “Gentleman”. By the night of the 1881 census, William and his wife, Laura, have a daughter, Helena Laura, and have two servants. Helena Laura was baptised in 1887, and the address given was Wood Brook, Loughborough. Both Thomas (junior) and William and their respective families are living on Forest Road, about 10 doors apart.

On 8th May, 1891, Thomas Clarke (junior) died, aged 74, leaving a personal estate of £11,751 4s 2d. On the 1891 census return, William, his sixth child, now aged 38, is living at The Gables on the corner of Forest Road with his wife, Laura, his children, Helena Laura, Henrietta Frances, William Ashley Tyndale and Winifred Margaret. Harriet Leeson, one of the two servants who was living with the family in 1881, is now a trained domestic nurse, and I believe this is significant. There are also two other servants living with the family.

The Gables in 2013



I have read somewhere that William Clarke had The Gables specially built for himself and his family, particularly because one of his daughters suffered from asthma, - hence them employing a nurse - but of course, now that I’m looking for it, I can’t find that reference again! Given that the family were living on Forest Road in 1881, and The Gables in 1891, then it is fairly certain that the house was built between these two dates. This time period is supported by the description of the building as penned by the borough council in its listing building status description.




In 1901 William and his family are still living at The Gables, with three servants. William is still the employer at the dye works, but none of the children, now aged between 14 and 20, appears to have an occupation.
Park Road house (No.55)

Park Road house (No.57, joined to No.55)








On 26th July 1905, William Clarke dies, leaving £8,524 13s 3d. to his wife. Why she decided to move house after this, I have no idea, but she is reported in the 1911 census as living at no. 55 Park Road, with all her children. The girls are listed as having no occupation, but the son, William Ashley Tynedale Clarke, aged 26, is now an employer in the hosiery industry, presumably, having inherited the dye works from his father. 










On 23rd April 1953, William Ashley Tynedale Clarke, of 3 Park Street, dies, leaving the sum of £19,657 14s 6d to his widow, Margaret Ann Clarke.  Again, I don’t know what happened after William’s death, but the company was taken over by the liquidator in December 1958: At an Extraordinary General Meeting, held in Leicester on 22nd December 1958, the following Special Resolution was passed: “That the company be wound up voluntarily and that Bruce Lovatt of 13 New Street in the city of Leicester be appointed Liquidator for the purpose of such winding-up.”, as reported in the London Gazettes of 30th December 1858 and 9th January 1859.

I have found a few other snippets of info that might be of interest to you, for example, a lovely 1926 advert for the company, although I could not say which of the Thomas Clarke’s is pictured.

On 16th January 1893, a porter at the London and North-Western railway station in Loughborough was caught stealing four pairs of stockings valued at 4s that had been sent to the station by a foreman at Clarke’s dye works for delivery to a client in Scotland. This was not the only theft committed, and the man was sentenced to six weeks’ imprisonment.

In June 1897 reports appeared of the celebrations taking place in Loughborough in honour of Queen Victoria’s jubilee: The Leicester Chronicle and Leicestershire Mercury reported that Messers. Clarke’s dye works, in Ward’s End, “looked extremely well”! This statement was preceded by a comment on street bunting and the shopfront of Mr George Adcock.

It was reported in July 1897 changes were proposed to the Wood Brook, to help prevent recurrent flooding: This involved clearing the course of the brook from Mill Lane to True Lover’s Walk, and the owners of Clarke’s dye works were to be approached with a view to improving the waterways and weirs at the dye works.

The Carillon, the war memorial in Queen’s Park, carries an inscription from Clarke’s Dye Works in honour of those who gave their lives during the First World War. These included a member of the Clarke family, Hilary C. Clarke. 

And it is on that sad note that I must end my story. So, The Gables crops up once more in my research, I regularly walk past the house on Park Road that is now so dilapidated to be an eyesore, my surname is one of those occupational ones, although I have yet to find a family member active in that industry, and someone who trained as a Leicestershire Tour Guide at the same time as me just happens to live in one of the houses previously owned by a member of the Clarke family!

See you next week!


Sunday, 22 September 2013

Allotments around Loughborough

Allotments

Regrettably, I am having to deviate from my blog publishing schedule, so this week will not be doing the “So who was …?” feature you were expecting. A longer work week, a day trip to Southampton, a day feeling under-the-weather, a day trip to Birmingham and a trip to the cinema* have meant that my research time has been limited, thus my article is not ready for publication. Instead, I offer you the following post on the subject of allotments.

Allotments have always been popular, and recently there has been a resurgence of interest in keeping a plot. I think there may be several reasons for this: 

  • The high cost of fruit and veg at the supermarket – growing your own can often be cheaper and tastier
  • The high cost to the environment of shipping fruit and veg across the globe – grow your own and it’s likely your produce travels no more than a mile or two
  • What’s really on your fruit and veg – if you grow your own and you can control what pesticides you use
  • The perceived disintegration of community spirit in the local area – people who have allotments in the same area often form their own little community, which can be quite supportive (as well as being a bit competitive!)
  • Satisfaction and pride – there’s a great deal of both that come with growing your own produce, especially if you go on to make secondary goods (like jam, chutney etc.) and give these as gifts to friends and family, and when you share your surplus with work colleagues



I’ve taken some pictures, but these really show the main growing season as it is coming to its end: Plots in winter look completely different, as do those in spring.


Flowers on the allotment




There are certain restrictions on what can be grown on your allotment, but most fruit and veg are acceptable, and it’s even ok to grow flowers! 








A shed
A tunnel

Some people like to put sheds or greenhouses, on their plot, whilst other people manage with only tunnels, or even without any such structures. 






Raspberries

Our allotment has always been good for fruit: We have an abundance of redcurrants around May time, plentiful blackcurrants and tayberries a little later on, while the gooseberries, being fairly new plants have taken a while to settle in so are only producing a few delicious fruits, and the raspberries and Japanese wineberries go absolutely wild from about June to October! 


Rampant rhubarb!
The rhubarb is much happier in its new position and seems to go on forever!








Squashes

Onions and potatoes are our other staples: Our onion crop keeps up going for nearly a whole year, and the potatoes for about six months. Over the years we’ve tried, and had varying success with string beans, sweetcorn, tomatoes, French beans, broad beans, carrots, broccoli, lettuce, radishes, squashes, and various other crops. 




The investment in the allotment sees us spending quite a lot of time digging over once the crops are harvested, although thankfully, in reality my role is more picking, weeding, hoeing and planting!

Just recently there have been a number of initiatives pertaining to allotments:


  • A worldwide fast food chain is looking to minimise its waste and donate its used coffee grains to local allotments







  • A local charity for the homeless collects surplus produce to use to help feed its visitors


  • A group of people in the Beacon Road area of town are getting together in “grow zones” to help people who want to grow food on their allotment or in their garden, by providing them with practical help and advice. This is the local interpretation of a national initiative   



 




In Loughborough there are quite a few plots of allotments: These are run by the Charnwood Borough Council and a list of all the plots can be found on their website. There’s also a link to the application form and some further information on their site, so if you’re interested in taking on an allotment, follow these links.  

* The film I went to see was Jadoo! I'd highly recommend this as it's set in Leicester and there are shots of places that you will immediately recognise. Oh, and it's a good plot too!!!

PS I have also updated the previous "So who was ...?" blogpost on Dr Eddowes



Sunday, 15 September 2013

Spotlight on: All Saints Parish Church

STOP PRESS

According to the local paper, the Loughborough Echo, Loughborough has been awarded a gold medal in the Small City category of the East Midlands In Bloom competition! Well done to one and all!! And while you're looking at the webpage for the Echo, have a look at what one man, who lives near the Taylors Bellfoundry, and his friend managed to achieve. 

Also in your local paper this week: A new display in the town library will be on Loughborough's lost houses: This was going to be a topic for a future blog post, but the volunteers in the local studies area of the library have beaten me to it! Be sure to visit: Open 10-12 and 2-4 each week day, although I think the display cabinets are accessible anytime the library's open.

As if that wasn't enough, there's also a plea to demolish the 1958 rectory, the library has been given a new name - Loughborough Community Library and Learning Centre - and yours truly appears in a picture!

Enough!!! On to the feature of my article: 

SPOTLIGHT ON: All Saints Parish Church

All Saints parish Church
I recently had the good fortune to find the Parish Church door open, and I couldn’t resist popping my head in and having a look round, but I was caught in the act by the verger, who insisted I come in and have a proper look! He also introduced me to the vicar who pointed out some stunning parts of the church. I’d previously only ever been in the church to sing or watch concerts, and had never managed to get inside for a visit as the church was not often open. I assumed that photography was not allowed and am kicking myself now for not asking, as a few more photos would have helped to bring this blogpost to life!


A bit of background
Originally, the church was dedicated to St Peter, was later also dedicated to St Paul, and has more recently become known as All Saints. For quite some time this church was the only church in the parish, until Emmanuel was built in 1837. More recently, in the 1990s, the church of the other parish in Loughborough, Holy Trinity, closed and the two parishes merged, but what I call the Parish Church retained its title of All Saints Parish Church.

The current church, the construction of which started in about 1330, is built on a site that has seen both an Anglo-Saxon and a Norman place of worship, but over the years, the church we know today, has been subject to lots of renovations and improvements, so it is sometimes difficult to work out what’s what. 

My visit
The verger showed me the big stone pillars, with signs of smoke from when they had fires in the church during the time of the Civil War, where it’s believed that the soldiers slept, and lots of carvings of signatures, often done by children who were quite possibly bored by the lengthy sermons, or where soldiers had sharpened their knives!

The verger then stood me in the nave, and faced me in the direction of the Chancel and Sanctuary and the great East Window. From here we could clearly see that the Chancel didn’t look straight! According to the verger this was to do with the idea of Heaven and Earth: As the coffin and funeral procession moved off down the Nave towards the Chancel, Earth, on the left-hand side was most visible, but the closer one got to the Chancel, the more one could see of Heaven on the right-hand side. Also, looking up from the Nave we could see a little window in the archway, which, apparently, was thought to be the door through which the spirit of the deceased passed as it was processed down the Nave towards the Chancel.

At this point, the Vicar arrived, and the verger was quick to introduce me: Anyone showing so much interest in looking around the church must surely be a potential congregation member!

The West End of the church is where the bell tower is situated. The area is enclosed by a set of wrought iron gates, which were put there in 1931 as a memorial to Pryce Taylor, a bellfounder, and member of the famous Taylor bellfounding family. The Vicar told me that the Taylor family had moved to Loughborough from Oxford with the specific purpose of recasting the existing church bells, and adding a further two, making a peal of 8. This was in 1840, and in 1889 they added two more bells. Wow! This was exciting stuff! And as if that wasn’t enough, the vicar showed me the most amazing memorial in the floor, made of bell metal! This consists of a circular border with words from Psalm 19 in, and the crest of the family in the middle. Pretty spectacular! There were also memorials to others of the Taylor family on the walls of the tower.

As the Vicar then went off about her business, I had a little look around for myself, and was most taken with the Burton Chapel. This is an area on the south side of the church, which is dedicated to Thomas Burton, a benefactor to the town, who left money in his will to help create a school. It is also a memorial to those former pupils of his school who lost their lives during the First World War. What struck me was that most of the area was made of wood, and was elaborately carved, and quite impressive.
A Swithland slate gravestone


Having spent quite some time looking around inside the church, I then took a walk around the outside of the building. Many of the headstones in the graveyard were made of Swithland slate: Some were taken from inside the church and were lying flat on the ground, whilst others were standing, erected in groups of closely arranged slates. Some were quite old, but there was nothing newer than 1857, as the new cemetery off the Leicester Road was built then, and the churchyard no longer used for the purpose of interment.







Detail of gravestone inscription





There were also some quite elaborate tombs, although most were suffering from weathering and lack of maintenance. Where it was possible to read some of the inscriptions on the headstones, these were quite fascinating, and often gave a lot of information about the deceased, like their job and so on.









Also in the grounds I saw the truly magnificent Fearon Hall. This hall, built in 1889 of that familiar Victorian brick construction, was erected as a memorial to Archdeacon Fearon, who was Rector of All Saints from 1848-1885 and Archdeacon of Leicester from 1863-1885. The original use of the hall was as a venue for the parish Sunday school, and an extension was added in 1910. Today it's the headquarters for the Fearon Community Association and is the meeting place for many local groups, including playschool, scouts and Pilates classes. In the morning sunshine it looked spectacular.



As I walked around the churchyard, my thirst to know more about the history of the area, led me to leave the church and make my way to the Old Rectory, where there is now a museum … a story for another day, perhaps!


Sunday, 8 September 2013

Bloomin' Update! Loughborough enters the In Bloom competition with flower displays everywhere!

In which I show you more of the Loughborough in Bloom displays and talk about the Fab Friday Initiative.

It seems like it was only yesterday that I posted about Loughborough in Bloom, but it was actually a month ago, so I thought it was probably time for an update and some new photos.

Queen’s Park if anything, looks even more colourful than it did a month ago, with blooms popping up everywhere. The Olympic rings look particularly good, and it was whilst I was admiring these that I noticed an area of planting that I hadn’t noticed before.


In 2009, the children of Sacred Heart School, entered the spirit of the In Bloom competition, and contributed a lovely little garden of plants that would thrive on as little intervention as possible, so, not needing excessive watering, not requiring any special treatment and hardy enough to survive in almost any conditions.




I don’t know why I hadn’t noticed this little planting before; maybe I just wasn’t looking, or maybe this year’s bloom hadn’t quite made an appearance when I was there before, but you’d have thought I’d have at least seen the sundial before, wouldn’t you?!





One lovely display that I hadn’t been able to photograph before was that on Epinal Way: Whenever I seemed to go along the bypass, it always seemed to be at the same time as all the traffic, so getting a picture of the display outside the University entrance on Epinal Way, had previously proved elusive, but I finally got it. Doesn’t it look good? It’s a display that is regularly changed, and usually has some significance if not to the university’s calendar of events and visitors, then at least to the town as a whole. So, for example, during the Olympics last year, the display was a representation of the Japanese flag, because the Japanese Olympic team was originally going to be based, and train at the university.

Another display that’s difficult to catch on film is the display around the Athletes. Being situated on the side of the busy A512 that heads out to Shepshed, Ashby and the M1, it’s a busy stretch of road, so I experienced the same problems as I had done with the Epinal Way shots. The Athletes was different though, because morning was not a good time to capture them, as in the shade they’re difficult to make out, so not only did I have to wait for a quiet day, but also a quiet time in the afternoon, when the sun was shining in the right direction. I finally managed to get the shot I was hoping for.

On my travels around Loughborough, I’ve spotted lots of houses with beautiful hanging basket displays, shops with flowers around their premises, and tubs of flowers dotted in various places, like roundabouts and roadsides.

It all helps to make the place look cheerful, cared for and loved!

Talking of loved … The Love Loughborough gang, and the Loughborough BID got together recently to organise an initiative aimed at extending the use of the Market Place on a Friday and so, bridging the gap between the thriving daytime and the thriving night-time economies! Fab Friday was set up to run through July to September, and a whole host of interesting events were organised.

The Friday market – call it “flea”, “bric-a-brac”, “second-hand” or “vintage” – has been held in the Market Place for about 12 years now, but only moved a couple of years ago from Devonshire Square to the Market Place. I believe it runs every Friday, from 9 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon, and from March to December. Whenever I’ve been lucky enough to be able to go down see it, it’s always been busy and money is often changing hands. The Fab Friday initiative extended this second-hand market, both in terms of “opening hours” and in terms of scope. Once a month the market times were extended into the early evening, and this was complemented by shops also staying open late. Several times during the initiative there were themed markets, like specialist food, and themed entertainment, so, for example, one theme was the Forties, another was the seaside.

Charnwood Museum, the library and other venues also took part by having special themes and activities, and car parking was free after 3pm! Lots of discount vouchers for various shops, cafes and bards were also on offer.

I say "was" and "were" - but there are still a couple of weeks of Fab Fridays left for this year!!! Have a look a the website, download the leaflet, and make a visit to Loughborough town centre this Friday! and above all, have fun!!

Look out for next week's blog: "Spotlight on ..."!





    

Sunday, 1 September 2013

In defence of Loughborough


Welcome, one and all, to week 5 of my blog about the wonderful Leicestershire market town of Loughborough! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading the blog thus far, and hope you’ll continue to stay with me for as long as I can maintain this blog!

Today sees a return to the original topic that started me off on this blog, with a further defence of why I think Loughborough shouldn’t be included in a list of 50 or 100 of the worst towns in Britain. I can find a million and one things to wax lyrical about concerning Loughborough, but I will concentrate on just one or two areas, otherwise I would probably bore you to death! 

So, here goes: 

1. Local industry

Over the years, there have been some fantastic firms based in Loughborough. Some of these still exist, either in the town, or elsewhere in Britain, but some are long-since gone, but not, of course, forgotten! Here are the ones that spring to my mind, but I'm sure there'll be plenty of others that you can think of:

  • Ladybird Books - book publishers - now part of the Penguin Publishing Group. Based in Angel Yard, Market Place, then Beeches Road.
  • Taylors Bellfoundry - bell foundry - moved to Loughborough in 1839. Now on Freehold Street and still making world-class bells!
  • Astra-Zeneca (formerly Fisons) - pharmaceuticals, agricultural etc. - absorbed Sanatogen, Zenobia etc.. Fisons was famous for Gro-Bags! Based on Derby Road and Bishop Meadow Road. How odd that whilst looking for information on a different company for this list I stumbled upon this site with some pictures of an old Fisons Fertilizer plant!
  • Brush - involved in turbogenerators etc.. I think this absorbed the Falcon Engine and Car works. Had various owners over the years, but I believe it is now owned by Melrose. Based on Nottingham Road.
  • Herbert Morris - cranes - appears to have been taken over by Kone Cranes. Based in 
  • Messengers - conservatories and boilers - 
  • 3M - healthcare and pharmaceuticals  - absorbed Riker's
  • Clarkes Dyeworks - this was based in Devonshire and I believe mostly demolished in 1962. There are some pictures on the web.
  • Heathcote’s Mill - lace-making in the early 1800s
  • Cottons - in the knitwear industry, patented a powered knitting machine
  • Towles - hoisiers, took over Cartwright and Warners. 
  • Pochin - in the bathroom/kitchen trade - established in Leicester but with offices in Loughborough
  • Anstey Wallpaper Company - based in the old Ladbybird offices. They produce wallpapers for Sanderson
  • Cuttlefish - a local computing company providing a platform for Empedia
  • Jacksons Coachworks - the clue's in the name!!
  • Willowbrooks - coachbuilders. Although this link is to an article about Duple, it does mention some of the history of Willowbrook
  • Moseleys - coachbuilders, but I can't find anything on the web about them. 

2. Loughborough University

Loughborough University in the community
Well, as much as we local residents might moan about the noise from students who live within the community, we should perhaps recognise that the university is a major employer in the area and contributes a considerable amount to the success of the local economy. I believe the university employs in excess of 3000 staff, and is today the town's biggest employer, compared to Brush many years ago, and Astra-Zeneca more recently. As well as employing many people from the locality, the students spend a lot of dosh in town, and contribute in many ways to good causes, for example, by organising things like litter picks, and supporting local charities. There's a lengthy report available on the web that outlines the Borough Council/University relationship.

However, I suppose it's only fair to mention that relying on students to prop up our local economy is a tricky balancing act, as while they're here, they're spending, but when they're not here they're not spending, and it can be difficult for businesses to balance out the good times with the more lean times. I would imagine this would be particularly difficult for restaurants, take-aways etc. particularly those near the vicinity of the university.  

Very brief history
As Loughborough University started life as a Technical Institute it is no wonder that the reputation of the engineering courses is so strong. Of course, Sport and Sports Science is probably what the university is now best known for, and the university boasts some of the country's best training facilities.

Those pesky league tables
The university's position in the much-talked about league tables is excellent, and places Loughborough in the top strata. So, for example, The Complete University Guide places it at number 14, and there's a good summary of its performance over the last couple of years on the Top Universities website.

Alumni
I'm sure we can all name some famous alumni - how's about Seb Coe, Paula Radcliffe, Steve Backley, Tanni Grey-Thompson - for starters? But it's not all about sport!! So, what about Bridget Riley, the artist, Johnnie Johnson, a WW2 RAF pilot and Peter Bonfield, the former Chairman and Managing Director of ICL.  


3. Transport links
  • As I mentioned before, Loughborough is situated in the middle of the Leicester/Nottingham/Derby triangle. There are good links to all three cities - either by train, bus, coach or car.
  • The rail links to London and the North are excellent - frequent and fast!
  • Loughborough is only a few miles from East Midlands airport. From here you can fly to, well, lots of foreign places!!!
  • Loughborough is on National Cycle Route 6, although we don't actually get a mention on the Sustrans website.
  • Canal – if you want to take a more leisurely form of transport, the canal links the Rivers Soar and Trent. Guideline journey times: Loughborough to Oxford – 2 weeks, Loughborough to Leicester – 1-2 days. Just before you get to the Market Harborough Arm, you reach Foxton staircase locks - stunning!
As with my original post, I’ve written about what has come into my mind, and this is neither an exhaustive list of things, nor an endorsement of anything. I suppose the other thing I should say is that I'm not going back checking links still work, so while they do at the point I publish the blogpost, they might not later. Sorry, I just haven't got time!