Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
|Borough of Luton|
|Region:||East of England|
- Total (2002 est.)
4,295 / km²
|Leadership:||Leader & Cabinet|
|MPs:||Kelvin Hopkins, Margaret Moran|
Luton is a town and local government district in England, located 50km north of central London. Historically it was part of the county of Bedfordshire, but since the 1990s it has been an administratively independent unitary authority. However it remains part of Bedfordshire for ceremonial purposes. It is in the East of England region.
London Luton Airport is situated to the south-east of the town. The main campus of the University of Luton is located in the town centre. From 1905 until 2002 the town had a Vauxhall Motors car factory. Dunstable is situated to the west of Luton. The M1 motorway runs between Luton and Dunstable though it does not form the border as parts of Luton are to the west of it.
Settlements have existed on the site since the paleolithic era. The Roman settlement in the area was concentrated at Durocobrivis and Verulamium. The foundation of Luton is usually dated to the 6th century when a Saxon outpost was founded on the river Lea, Lea tun. Luton is recorded in the Domesday Book as Loitone , its population was 700. The town had a market for surrounding villages and grew steadily, if slowly. By the 14th century, the town had two fairs each year.
The agriculture base of the town changed in the 16th century with a brick making industry and in the 17th century when the hat making began, by the 18th century the straw hat business dominated the town as its only significant industry. Other types of hats are still produced in the town on a smaller scale. Luton Hoo was first built in 1757.
The town grew strongly in the 19th century, in 1801 the population was 3,000; by 1850 it was 10,000 and by 1901 it was almost 39,000. The town had its first town hall opened in 1847, was connected to the railway system in 1858 and had a complete water and sewerage system by the late 1860s. Luton was made a borough in 1876 and the current football club was founded in 1885.
In the 20th century, the hat trade severely declined but was replaced by newer industries. Vauxhall Motors opened a car plant in the town in 1905, there is an Electrolux household appliances plant, and a number of other light engineering businesses also opened in the early 20th century. The town had a tram system from 1908 until 1932 and the first cinema was opened in 1909. The old town hall was burned down in 1919 by militant ex-servicemen and not replaced until 1936. By 1914, the town's population reached 50,000. Luton Airport was opened in 1938, owned and operated by the council. In World War II, the town suffered a number of air raids, although only 107 people died there was extensive damage.
Post-war, the slum clearance continued and a number of substantial estates of council housing were built, notably at Farley Hill , Stopsley , Limbury and Leagrave . The M1 passed just to the west of the town from 1959 and a substantial covered shopping centre, the Arndale Centre, was opened in 1972.
Flights from the airport increased substantially from the 1960s as new charter airlines (e.g. Court Line) flew from there rather than the London airports. Despite problems in the 1970s, a new terminal was added in 1985. The airport was renamed London Luton Airport in 1990, just before Ryanair took its business to Stansted. The growth of new low cost flights rejuvenated the airport and passenger numbers more than doubled from 1992 to 1998. In 1999, a new terminal was added and a new railway station, Luton Airport Parkway, was opened. Luton enjoys good rail connection via its three stations to London and through to Brighton (Thameslink) and north to Derby, Manchester, Leicester, Nottingham and other cities on the Midland Mainline route.
In 2004, Luton was voted as the 'crappest' town in the U.K. by its own residents, in the book Crap Towns II (edited by Sam Jordison and Dan Kieran) beating previous winners in Crap Towns (eds Sam Jordison and Dan Kieran) of Kingston upon Hull. It was said to have won due to its abundance of abysmally ugly architecture, abundance of chain stores and lack of heart.
Famous people from Luton
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details