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{{Other uses|Luton (disambiguation)}} Luton ( or local; {{Respell|Loot|ON}} ) is a large town and [[unitary authority]] of [[Bedfordshire]], [[England]], 30 miles (51 kilometres) north of [[London]]. Luton and its near neighbours, [[Dunstable]] and [[Houghton Regis]], form the [[Luton/Dunstable Urban Area]] with a population of about 250,000. Luton is home to [[Blue Square Premier]] team [[Luton Town F.C.|Luton Town Football Club]], whose history includes several spells in the top flight of the English league as well as a [[Football League Cup]] triumph in 1988.
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{{Other uses|Luton (disambiguation)}} Luton ( or local; {{Respell|Loot|ON}} ) is a large town and [[unitary authority]] of [[Bedfordshire]], [[England]], 30 miles (51 kilometres) north of [[London]]. Luton and its near neighbours, [[Dunstable]] and [[Houghton Regis]], form the [[Luton/Dunstable Urban Area]] with a population of about 250,000. Luton is home to [[Blue Square Premier]] team [[Luton Town F.C.|Luton Town Football Club]], whose history includes several spells in the top flight of the English league as well as a [[Football League Cup]] triumph in 1988. They play at [[Kenilworth Road]] stadium, which has been their home since 1905. [[London Luton Airport]], opened in 1938, is one of England's major airports. During the [[Second World War]] it doubled as an [[Royal Air Force|RAF]] base. The [[University of Bedfordshire]] is based in the town. The [[Luton Carnival]], held on the late May [[bank holiday]], is the largest one-day [[carnival]] in [[Europe]].{{Citation needed|date=November 2010}} The town was for many years famous for hat-making and was also home to a large [[Vauxhall Motors]] factory; the head office of Vauxhall Motors is still situated in the town. Car production at the plant began in 1905 and continued until 2002, but commercial vehicle production remains.

Early history

The earliest settlements in the Luton area were at Round Green and Mixes Hill, where [[Paleolithic]] encampments (about 250,000 years old) have been found. Settlements re-appeared after the ice had retreated in the [[Mesolithic]] period around 8000 BC. Traces of these settlements have been found in the [[Leagrave]] area of the modern town. Remains from the [[Neolithic]] period (4500-2500 BC in this area) are much more common. A particular concentration of Neolithic burials has been found at Galley Hill. The most prominent Neolithic structure is [[Waulud's Bank]] - a [[henge]] dating from around 3000 BC. From the Neolithic onwards, the area seems to have been populated, but without any single large settlement. The first urban settlement nearby was the small Roman town of Durocobrivis at [[Dunstable]], but Roman remains in Luton itself consist only of scattered farmsteads. The foundation of Luton is usually dated to the 6th century when a [[Anglo-Saxons|Saxon]] outpost was founded on the [[River Lea]], Lea tun. Luton is recorded in the [[Domesday Book]] as Loitone and also as Lintone. Agriculture dominated the local economy at that time, and the town's population was around 700-800. [[Image:StMarysLuton.jpg|thumb|right|[[St Marys (Luton)|St Marys Church]], Luton town centre]] [[Image:Wenlock chapel, Luton.jpg|thumb|right|The Wenlock chapel within St Marys]] In 1121 [[Robert, 1st Earl of Gloucester]] started work on [[St Mary's (Luton)|St Mary's Church]] in the centre of the town. The work was completed by 1137. A [[Motte-and-bailey|motte and bailey]] type castle which gives its name to the modern Castle Street was built in 1139. The castle was demolished in 1154 and the site is now home to a [[Matalan]] store. During the [[Middle Ages]] Luton is recorded as being home to six [[watermill]]s. Mill Street, in the [[town centre]], takes its name from one of them. [[John of England|King John]] (1166–1216) had hired a [[mercenary]] soldier, [[Falkes de Breauté]], to act on his behalf. (Breauté is a small town near [[Le Havre]] in France.) When he married, Falkes de Breauté acquired his wife's house which came to be known as "Fawkes Hall", subsequently corrupted over the years to "Foxhall", then "Vauxhall". In return for his services, King John granted Falkes the manor of Luton, where he built a castle alongside [[St Mary's (Luton)|St Mary's Church]]. He was also granted the right to bear his own [[coat of arms]] and chose the mythical [[griffin]] as his [[Heraldry|heraldic]] emblem. The griffin thus became associated with both Vauxhall and Luton in the early 13th century. By 1240 the town is recorded as Leueton. The town had a market for surrounding villages in August each year, and with the growth of the town a second [[fair]] was granted each October from 1338. In 1336, much of Luton was destroyed by a great fire, however the town was soon rebuilt. The [[agriculture]] base of the town changed in the 16th century with a [[brick|brick making]] industry developing around Luton, many of the older wooden houses were rebuilt in brick.

17th century

During the [[English Civil War]] of the 17th century, in 1645, [[Cavalier|royalists]] entered the town and demanded money and goods. [[Roundhead|Parliamentary forces]] arrived and during the fighting four royalist soldiers were killed and a further twenty-two were captured. A second skirmish occurred three years later in 1648 when a royalist army passed through Luton. A number of royalists were attacked by parliamentary soldiers at an inn on the corner of the current Bridge Street. Most of the royalists escaped but nine were killed.

18th century

The [[hat|hat making]] industry began in the 17th century and became synonymous with the town. By the 18th century the industry dominated the town. Hats are still produced in the town but on a much smaller scale. The first [[Luton Workhouse]] was constructed in the town in 1722. [[Luton Hoo]], a nearby large [[country house]] was built in 1767 and substantially rebuilt after a fire in 1843. It is now a luxury hotel.

19th century

[[Image:Lutonmap1888.jpg|thumb|right|A map of Luton from 1888]] The town grew strongly in the 19th century. In 1801 the population was 3,095. By 1850 it was over 10,000 and by 1901 it was almost 39,000. Such rapid growth demanded a railway connection but the town had to wait a long time for one. The [[London and Birmingham Railway]] (L&BR) had been built through [[Tring]] in 1838, and the [[Great Northern Railway (Great Britain)|Great Northern Railway]] was built through [[Hitchin]] in 1852, both bypassing Luton, the largest town in the area. A branch line connecting with the L&BR at [[Leighton Buzzard]] was proposed, but because of objections to release of land, construction terminated at Dunstable in 1848. It was another ten years before the branch was extended to [[Luton Bute Street railway station|Bute Street Station]], and the first train to Dunstable ran on 3 May 1858. The line was later extended to Welwyn and from 1860 direct trains to [[London King's Cross railway station|King's Cross]] ran. The [[Midland Railway]] was extended from Bedford to [[St Pancras railway station|St Pancras]] through [[Leagrave railway station|Leagrave]] and [[Luton Midland Road railway station|Midland Road station]] and opened on 9 September 1867. Luton received a gas supply in 1834. [[Gas lighting|Gas street lights]] were erected and the first [[City and town halls|town hall]] was opened in 1847. [[Newspaper]] printing arrived in the town in 1854. The first public cemetery was opened in the same year. Following a [[cholera]] epidemic in 1848 Luton formed a water company and had a complete water and sewerage system by the late 1860s. The first covered market was built (the Plait Halls - now demolished) in 1869. Luton was made a [[borough]] in 1876. A professional football club - the first in the [[South of England]] - was founded in 1885 following a resolution at the town hall that a 'Luton Town Club be formed'. The crest also includes a hand holding a bunch of wheat, either taken as a symbol of the [[Straw Plaiting|straw-plaiting]] industry, or from the arms of John Whethamsteade, Abbott of [[St Albans]], who rebuilt the chancel of [[St Mary's (Luton)|St Mary's Church]] in the 15th century.

20th century

[[Image:Wardownmuseum.jpg|thumb|right|[[Luton Museum & Art Gallery]] in [[Wardown Park]]]] In the 20th century, the [[Hatmaking|hat trade]] severely declined and was replaced by other industries. In 1905, [[Vauxhall Motors]] opened the largest car plant in the [[United Kingdom]] in Luton. [[Electrolux]] built a household appliances plant around the same time and this was followed by other light engineering businesses. In 1904 councillors [[Asher Hucklesby]] and Edwin Oakley purchased the estate at [[Wardown Park]] and donated it to the people of Luton. Hucklesby went on to become Mayor of Luton. The main house in the park became [[Wardown Park Museum]]. The town had a [[Luton Corporation Tramways|tram system]] from 1908 until 1932 and the first [[movie theater|cinema]] was opened in 1909. By 1914 the population had reached 50,000. The original town hall was destroyed in 1919 during Peace Day celebrations at the end of [[World War I]]. Local people including many ex-servicemen were unhappy with unemployment and had been refused the use of a local park to hold celebratory events. They stormed the town hall setting it alight (see [[Luton Town Hall]]). A replacement building was completed in 1936. [[London Luton Airport|Luton Airport]] opened in 1938, owned and operated by the council. [[Image:LutonTownHallOld.JPG|thumb|left|The first [[Luton Town Hall|town hall]] was destroyed in 1919]] In [[World War II]], the Vauxhall Factory built [[Churchill tank]]s as part of the [[war effort]]. Despite heavy camouflage, the factory made Luton a target for the [[Luftwaffe]] and the town suffered a number of [[Strategic bombing|air raid]]s. 107 died and there was extensive damage to the town (over 1,500 homes were damaged or destroyed). Other industry in the town, such as [[SKF]] which produced [[ball bearing]]s, made a vital contribution to the war effort. Although a bomb landed at the SKF Factory no major damage was caused. The pre-war years, even at the turn of the [[1930s]] when a [[Great Depression]] saw unemployment reach record levels nationally, were something of an economic boom for Luton, as new industries grew and prospered. New private and [[council housing]] was built in the [[1920s]] and 1930s, with Luton growing as a town to incorporate nearby villages [[Leagrave]], [[Limbury]] and [[Stopsley]] between 1928 and 1933. Post-war, the [[Urban renewal|slum clearance]] continued and a number of substantial estates of [[Council house|council housing]] were built, notably at [[Farley Hill, Bedfordshire|Farley Hill]], [[Stopsley]], [[Limbury]], [[Marsh Farm]] and [[Leagrave]] ([[Hockwell Ring]]). The [[M1 motorway]] passed just to the west of the town, opening in 1959 and giving it a direct motorway link with [[London]] and - eventually - the Midlands and the North. In 1962 a new library (to replace the cramped [[Carnegie Library]]) was opened by the [[Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom|Queen]] in the corner of St George's Square. In the late 1960s a large part of the town centre was cleared to build a large covered shopping centre, the [[Arndale Centre]], which was opened in 1972. It was refurbished and given a glass roof in the 1990s. [[Image:LutonTownCentre.jpg|thumb|right|The town centre still has some of the old hat factories]] In 2000, Vauxhall announced the end of car production in Luton; the plant closed in March 2002. At its peak it had employed in excess of 30,000 people. Vauxhall's headquarters remain in the town, as does its [[van]] and light [[commercial vehicle]] factory.

21st century

A major regeneration programme for the town centre is underway, which will include upgrades to the town's [[bus station|bus]] and [[railway station]]s as well as improvements to the town's urban environment. St George's Square has been rebuilt and reopened in 2007. The new design won a Gold Standard Award for the Town Centre Environment from the annual British Council of Shopping Centres awards. Work was completed on an extension to the Mall Shopping Centre facing St George's Square, the largest of the new units to was taken by [[TK Maxx]]. Planning applications for a much larger extension to the Mall Arndale Shopping Centre (In the Northern Gateway area - Bute Street, Silver Street and Guildford Street) and also for a new centre in Power Court (close to [[St Mary's (Luton)|St Mary's Church]]) have been submitted. On the edge of Luton at [[Putteridge Bury]] a high-technology office park, [[Butterfield Green]], is under construction. The former Vauxhall site is also to be re-developed as a mixed use site called Napier Park. It will feature housing, retail and entertainment use, including a new [[Regional casino|casino]]. An application for Luton to receive city status was made in 2011 and a decision is due in 2012.


[[Image:LBClogo new.png‎|thumb|right|Logo of Luton Unitary Authority]] The town is situated within the historic county of [[Bedfordshire]], but since 1997 Luton has been an administratively independent [[unitary authority]]. The town remains part of Bedfordshire for [[ceremonial counties of England|ceremonial]] purposes. Luton Borough Council made a decision on 21 June 2010 to seek city status at the upcoming awards at the [[Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II]]. Their Love Luton city status bid is well underway. The town previously applied at the Millennium in 2000 and again in 2002 ([[Golden Jubilee of Elizabeth II]]) but failed. (see [[City status in the United Kingdom]])

Parliamentary representation

{{Main|Politics in Luton}} Luton is represented by two [[Member of Parliament#United Kingdom|Members of Parliament]]. The constituency of [[Luton North (UK Parliament constituency)|Luton North]] has been held by [[Kelvin Hopkins]] (Labour) since 1997. [[Luton South (UK Parliament constituency)|Luton South]] has been held by [[Gavin Shuker]] (Labour) since 2010. Luton is within the [[East of England (European Parliament constituency)]].

Local council

Lutonians are governed by [[Politics in Luton|Luton Borough Council]]. The town is split into 19 [[Ward (politics)|wards]], represented by 48 councillors. Elections are held for all seats every four years, with the most recent local elections held in May 2011 and the next due in May 2015. The Council is controlled by the Labour group, who have 36 Local Councillors (a majority of 24). The next largest party is the Liberal Democrats with 8 seats, followed by the Conservative Party with 4 seats. {| width=99% class="wikitable" ! width=15% | Position ! width=85% | Current Representatives |- |align="center"|[[List of United Kingdom MPs|Members of Parliament]]||align="center"|
[[Kelvin Hopkins]], [[Labour Party (UK)|Labour]], elected [[United Kingdom general election, 1997|1997]]{{·}}[[Gavin Shuker]], Labour, elected 2010

Town coat of arms

[[Image:Luton Crest.jpg|thumb|120px|right|The town coat of arms: granted 25th July, 1876.]] In 1876 the town was granted its own [[coat of arms]]. The [[wikt:sheaf|wheatsheaf]] was used on the crest to represent [[agriculture]] and the supply of straw used in the local hatting industry (the straw-plaiting industry was brought to Luton by a group of Scots under the protection of Sir [[John Napier]] of [[Luton Hoo]]). The bee is traditionally the emblem of industry and the hive represents the straw-plaiting industry for which Luton was famous. The rose is from the arms of the Napier family, whereas the [[thistle]] is a symbol for [[Scotland]]. An alternative suggestion is that the rose was a national emblem, and the thistle represents the [[Marquess of Bute]], who formerly owned the Manor of Luton Hoo.


[[Image:WardownLake.jpg|thumb|right|A pedestrian [[suspension bridge]] spans the [[River Lee (England)|River Lea]] in [[Wardown Park]].]] Luton is located in a break in the Eastern part of the [[Chiltern Hills]]. The Chilterns are a mixture of [[chalk]] from the [[Cretaceous]] period (about 65-146 million years ago) and deposits laid at the southernmost points of the [[ice sheet]] during the last [[ice age]] (the [[Warden Hills]] area can be seen from much of the town). Bedfordshire had a reputation for brick making but the industry is now significantly reduced. The [[brickworks]] at [[Stopsley]] took advantage of the clay deposits in the east of the town. The source of the [[River Lee (England)|River Lea]], part of the [[Thames Valley]] [[drainage basin]], is in the [[Leagrave]] area of the town. The [[Bramingham#Bramingham Wood|Great Bramingham Wood]] surrounds this area. It is classified as [[ancient woodland]]; records mention the wood at least 400 years ago. There are few routes through the hilly area for some miles, this has led to several major roads (including the [[M1 motorway|M1]] and the [[A6 road (Great Britain)|A6]]) and a major rail-link being constructed through the town.


Luton has a [[temperateness|temperate]] [[Oceanic climate|marine climate]], like much of the [[British Isles]], with generally light [[precipitation (meteorology)|precipitation]] throughout the year. The weather is very changeable from day to day and the warming influence of the [[Gulf Stream]] makes the region mild for its [[latitude]]. The average total annual rainfall is {{convert|698|mm|in|1|abbr=on}} with rain falling on 117 days of the year. [[Image:Lutonsnowoct08.JPG|thumb|right|Snow accumulation over the Chiltern hills during October 2008 snowfall, Luton is denoted by the yellow dot.]] The local climate around Luton is differentiated somewhat from much of South East England due to its position in the [[Chiltern Hills]], meaning it tends to be 1-2 degrees Celsius cooler than the surrounding towns - often flights at [[London Luton Airport|Luton airport]], lying 160 m above sea level, will be suspended when marginal snow events occur, while airports at lower elevations, such as [[London Heathrow Airport|Heathrow]], at 25 m above sea level, continue to function. An example of this is shown in the photograph to the right, the snowline being about 100 m above sea level. Absolute temperature extremes recorded at Rothamsted Research Station, {{convert|5|mi|0}} south south east of Luton town centre and at a similar elevation range from {{convert|-17.0|C|F}} in December 1981 and {{convert|-16.7|C|F}} in January 1963 to {{convert|36.0|C|F}} in August 2003 and {{convert|33.8|C|F}} in August 1990 and July 2006. Records for Rothamsted date back to 1901. {{Weather box |location = Rothamsted 1971-2000 (Weather station {{convert|5|mi|0}} to the south of Luton) |metric first = Yes |single line = Yes |Jan high C = 6.3 |Feb high C = 6.7 |Mar high C = 9.5 |Apr high C = 11.9 |May high C = 15.7 |Jun high C = 18.6 |Jul high C = 21.4 |Aug high C = 21.4 |Sep high C = 18.0 |Oct high C = 13.8 |Nov high C = 9.4 |Dec high C = 7.2 |year high C = 13.4 |Jan low C = 0.9 |Feb low C = 0.7 |Mar low C = 2.3 |Apr low C = 3.6 |May low C = 6.3 |Jun low C = 9.2 |Jul low C = 11.4 |Aug low C = 11.4 |Sep low C = 9.5 |Oct low C = 6.7 |Nov low C = 3.3 |Dec low C = 1.9 |year low C = 5.6 |Jan precipitation mm = 69.5 |Feb precipitation mm = 47.3 |Mar precipitation mm = 54.0 |Apr precipitation mm = 53.1 |May precipitation mm = 49.8 |Jun precipitation mm = 60.4 |Jul precipitation mm = 41.2 |Aug precipitation mm = 53.6 |Sep precipitation mm = 60.9 |Oct precipitation mm = 74.4 |Nov precipitation mm = 66.0 |Dec precipitation mm = 67.6 |year precipitation mm = 697.8 |Jan sun = 55.2 |Feb sun = 70.6 |Mar sun = 107.3 |Apr sun = 146.7 |May sun = 194.7 |Jun sun = 190.2 |Jul sun = 203.4 |Aug sun = 196.5 |Sep sun = 142.2 |Oct sun = 112.2 |Nov sun = 70.2 |Dec sun = 48.1 |year sun = 1537.2 |source 1 = [[Met Office]] |date=August 2010 }}


The [[Victorian era|Victorian]] expansion of Luton focused on areas close to the existing town centre and railways. In the 1920s and 1930s growth typically was though absorbing neighbouring villages and hamlets and infill construction between them and Luton. After the [[Second World War]] there were several estates and developments constructed both by the local authority such as Farley Hill or Marsh Farm, or privately such as Bushmead. {| |
  1. [[Barnfield, England|Barnfield]]
  2. [[Biscot]]
  3. [[Bramingham]]
  4. [[Challney]]
  5. [[Crawley Green|Crawley]]
  6. [[Dallow]]
  7. [[Farley Hill, Bedfordshire|Farley Hill]]
  8. [[High Town]]
  9. [[Icknield]]
  10. [[Leagrave]]
| [[Image:Lutonwardmap.jpg|right|400px]] |
  1. [[Lewsey]]
  2. [[Limbury-cum-Biscot]]
  3. [[Northwell, Luton|Northwell]]
  4. [[Round Green]]
  5. [[Saints, Luton|Saints]]
  6. [[South, Luton|South ward]]
  7. [[Stopsley]]
  8. [[Sundon Park]]
  9. [[Wigmore, Luton|Wigmore]]
|- |} [[Places within Luton|More about Places within Luton]]


The [[United Kingdom Census 2001]] showed that Luton had a population of 184,371, a 5.8% increase from the last census meaning that Luton was the 27th [[List of largest United Kingdom settlements by population|largest settlement]] in the UK. Of this, 43,324 were under 15, 131,660 were between 16 and 74 and 9387 were over 74. The [[Office for National Statistics]] mid-year estimate of the 2010 population is 198,800. However, the Luton Borough Council Research and Geospatial Information team criticise this figure as understating the recent immigration from Eastern Europe, and they estimate the true figure to be approximately 205,900. {| class="wikitable" style="clear:;" | colspan="14" style="text-align:center;"|Population since 1801 - Source: A Vision of Britain through Time |- !Year |1801 |1851 |1901 |1911 |1921 |1931 |1941 |1951 |1961 |1971 |1981 |1991 |2001 |- !Population Luton |2,985 |11,067 |31,981 |49,315 |57,378 |66,762 |84,516 |106,999 |132,017 |162,928 |163,208 |174,567 |184,390 |} Local inhabitants are known as Lutonians.


Luton has seen several waves of immigration. In the early part of the 20th century [[Ireland|Irish]] and [[Scotland|Scottish]] people arrived in the town - these were followed by [[British African-Caribbean community|Afro-Caribbean]] and [[South Asia|Asian]] immigrants. More recently immigrants from [[Eastern Europe]] have made Luton their home. As a result of this Luton has a diverse ethnic mix, with a significant population of Asian descent, mainly [[Pakistan]]i (8.6%), [[India]]n (4.2%) and [[Bangladesh]]i (4.1%). The 2009 estimates from the Office of National Statistics figures show that the town has a white population of 68.0% (of which white British amount to 59.4%). {| class="wikitable" | colspan="14" style="text-align:center;"|Luton: Ethnicity: 2009 Office of National Statistics estimates |- ! ! Luton % ! East of England % ! England % |- |White |68.0 |90.0 |87.5 |- |Mixed |3.1 |1.7 |1.9 |- |Asian or Asian British |18.9 |4.4 |6.0 |- |Black or Black British |7.3 |2.2 |2.9 |- |Chinese or Other Ethnic Group |2.5 |1.8 |1.6 |- |Total |100.0 |100.0 |100.0 |}


[[Image:Methodist church.jpg|thumb|right|The [[Methodist]] Chapel in High Town (built 1897)]] [[Image:Sikh temple, luton.jpg|thumb|right|The Guru Nanak Gurdwara [[Sikh]] Temple, Luton]] According to the [[United Kingdom Census 2001]], 60% of the inhabitants in Luton are [[Christian]] and 15% are [[Muslim]]. The full statistics are as follows: {| class="wikitable" |- ! Religion ! Luton % ! National % |- |Christian |59.6% |71.7% |- |Muslim |14.6% |3.0% |- |Hindu |2.7% |1.1% |- |Sikh |0.8% |0.6% |- |Jewish |0.3% |0.5% |- |Buddhist |0.2% |0.3% |- |Other |0.3% |0.3% |- |No religion |14.1% |14.8% |- |Religion not stated |7.2% |7.7% |}

Economic activity

Of the town's working population (classified 16–74 years of age by the [[Office for National Statistics]]), 63% are employed. This figure includes students, the self-employed and those who are in part-time employment. 11% are retired, 8% look after the family or take care of the home and 5% are unemployed.


{{Main|Economy of Luton}} [[File:VauxhallGriffinHouse.jpg|thumb|Griffin House, headquarters of [[Vauxhall Motors]]]] [[File:EasyJetHQ.jpg|thumb|Hangar 89, [[EasyJet]] headquarters]] Luton's economy has, traditionally been focused on several different areas of industry including [[Automaker|Car Manufacture]], engineering and [[Hatmaking|millinery]]. However, today, Luton is moving towards a service based economy mainly in the [[Retailing|retail]] and the [[airport]] sectors, although there is still a focus on light industry in the town. Notable firms with headquarters in Luton include: *[[EasyJet]] - head office (originally EasyLand, later moved into Hangar 89) and main base at [[London Luton Airport]] *[[Monarch Airlines]] - headquarters, at Luton Airport (Prospect House) *Thomson UK ([[Thomson Holidays]] and [[Thomson Airways]]) - travel *[[Vauxhall Motors]] - headquarters (Griffin House) Notable firms with offices in Luton include: *[[Anritsu]] - electronics{{Citation needed|date=September 2009}} *[[AstraZeneca]] - pharmaceuticals{{Citation needed|date=September 2009}} *[[Selex Galileo]] - aerospace{{Citation needed|date=September 2009}} *[[Ernst & Young]] - accountants *[[Experian]] - data and analytics{{Citation needed|date=September 2009}} *[[Mazars]] - accountants *[[Siemens AG]] - electronics{{Citation needed|date=September 2009}} *[[Whitbread]] - hospitality{{Citation needed|date=September 2009}}


{{Unreferenced section|date=September 2009}} [[Image:The Mall Arndale, Luton.jpg|thumb|right|[[The Mall Luton]], the main shopping destination in Luton.]] The main shopping area in Luton is centred around [[The Mall Luton]]. Built in the 1960s/1970s and opened as an [[Arndale Centres|Arndale Centre]], construction of the shopping centre led to the demolition of a number of the older buildings in the town centre including the Plait Halls (a Victorian covered market building with an iron and glass roof). Shops and businesses in the remaining streets, particularly in the roads around Cheapside and in High Town, have been in decline ever since. George Street, on the south side of the Arndale, was pedestrianised in the 1990s. Contained within the main shopping centre is the Market, which contains butchers, fishmongers, fruit and veg, hairdressers, tattoo parlours, ice cream, flower stall and T-shirt printing as well as eating places. Another major shopping area is [[Bury Park]] where there are shops catering to Luton's ethnic minorities.

Food and drink

Luton has a diverse selection of restaurants - [[English cuisine|English]], [[Italian cuisine|Italian]], [[Chinese cuisine|Chinese]], [[Indian cuisine|Indian]], [[Caribbean cuisine|Caribbean]], [[Cuisine of Thailand|Thai]] and [[Cuisine of Malaysia|Malaysian]] to name a few. No area of the town is specifically restaurant-orientated, but in some areas (such as [[Bury Park]]) there is a concentration of Asian restaurants. There are pubs and clubs in the town centre. A number of these cater for the town's student population; however, there are still a number of traditional [[Public house|pubs]] in the town.


{{Main|Transport in Luton}} [[Image:Meridian Luton Airport Parkway.JPG|thumb|right|[[East Midlands Trains]] approaching [[Luton Airport Parkway railway station|Luton Airport Parkway]]]] Luton has excellent transport links and is situated less than 30 miles north of the centre of [[London]], giving it good links with the [[City of London|City]] and other parts of the country via the [[motorway]] network and the [[National Rail]] system. Luton is also home to [[London Luton Airport]], one of the major feeder airports for London and the southeast. Luton is also served by a bus service run by [[Arriva]] and a large [[Taxicab|taxi]] network. As a [[Unitary Authority]], [[Luton Borough Council]] is responsible for the local [[highways]] and public transport in the Borough and licensing of Taxis.


[[Image:Universityofbeds.JPG|thumb|right|University of Bedfordshire - Luton]] {{Main|Education in Luton}} Luton is one of the main locations of the [[University of Bedfordshire]]. A large campus of the university is in Luton town centre, with a smaller campus based on the edge of town in [[Putteridge Bury]], an old [[Victorian architecture|Victorian]] manor house. The other main campus of the university is located in [[Bedford]]. The town is home to [[Luton Sixth Form College]] and [[Barnfield College]]. Both have been awarded Learning & Skills Beacon Status by the [[Department for Children, Schools and Families]]. Luton's schools and colleges have also been earmarked for major investment in the government scheme [[Building Schools for the Future]] programme, which intends to renew and refit buildings in institutes across the country. Luton is in the 3rd wave of this long term programme with work intending to start in 2009. There are 98 educational institutes in Luton - seven [[Nursery school|nurseries]], 70 [[Primary education|primary schools]] (9 [[Voluntary aided school|voluntary-aided]], 2 [[Special Educational Needs|Special Requirements]]), 13 [[secondary school]]s (1 voluntary-aided, 1 Special Requirements), four [[Further education|further educational institutes]] and four other educational institutes.


[[Image:Kenilthworth Road.jpg|thumb|[[Kenilworth Road]], home to Luton Town Football Club]] {{Main|Sport In Bedfordshire}} Luton is the home town of [[Luton Town F.C.|Luton Town Football Club]] who have recently been relegated from the football league, one below the 4th flight of the English league structure. Their [[nickname]], "The Hatters", dates back to when Luton had a substantial [[Hatmaking|millinery]] industry. Luton are currently in the [[Conference National|Blue Square Bet Premier]] after failing to win automatic promotion to [[Football League Two]] during the 2009-10 season and 2010-1011 season. Luton were beaten 2-0 on aggregate by [[York City F.C.|York City]] in the semi finals of the playoffs, and therefore failed to progress to the final at [[Wembley Stadium|Wembley]]. York went on to lose in the final. Speedway racing was staged in Luton in the mid 1930s. The town has three rugby union clubs - [[Luton Rugby Club]] who play in National 3 Midlands, Vauxhall Motors RFC who play in Midlands 4 SE and Stockwood Park who also play in Midlands 2 SE.

Wardown Park

[[Image:Daisy-Chain-Walk-standard.jpg|thumb|left|The Daisy-Chain Wall in [[Wardown Park]].]] {{Main|Wardown Park}} Wardown Park is situated on the [[River Lee (England)|River Lea]] in Luton. The park has sporting facilities, is home to the [[Wardown Park Museum]] and contains formal gardens. The park is located between Old Bedford Road and the A6, New Bedford Road and is within walking distance of the town centre.

Stockwood Park

[[Image:Stockwoodpark.jpg|thumb|right|[[Stockwood Park]], Luton]] {{Main|Stockwood Park}} Stockwood Park is a large municipal park near Junction 10 of the [[M1 motorway|M1]]. Located in the park is [[Stockwood Discovery Centre]] a free museum that houses the [[Mossman Collection]] and Luton local social history, archaeology and geology. There is an athletics track, an 18-hole golf course, several rugby pitches and areas of open space. The park was originally the estate and grounds to Stockwood house, which was demolished in 1964.


{{Main|Luton Carnival}} [[Luton Carnival]] is the largest one-day [[carnival]] in Europe. It usually takes place on the late May Bank Holiday. Crowds can reach 150,000 on each occasion. The procession starts at [[Wardown Park]] and makes its way down New Bedford Road, around the Town Centre via St George's Square, back down New Bedford Road and finishes back at Wardown Park. There are music stages and stalls around the town centre and at Wardown Park.

St. Patrick's Day

The festival celebrating the patron saint of [[Ireland]], [[St Patrick]], is held on the weekend nearest to March 17. In its 12th year in 2011, the festival includes a parade, market stalls and music stands as well as Irish themed events.


Luton is home to the Library Theatre, a 238 seat theatre located on the 3rd floor of the town's Central Library. The Theatre's programme consists of local amateur dramatic societies, pantomime, children's theatre (on Saturday mornings) and one night shows of touring theatre companies. Luton is also home to The Hat Factory, originally as its name suggests, this Arts Centre was in fact a real Hat Factory. The Hat Factory is a combined arts venue in the centre of Luton. It opened in 2003 and since then has been the area’s main provider of contemporary theatre, dance and music. The venue provides live music, club nights, theatre, dance, films, children's activities, workshops, classes and gallery exhibitions. www.thehatfactory.org.

Luton Museum

Wardown Park Museum previously known as Luton Museum and Art Gallery, is housed in a large Victorian mansion in Wardown Park on the outskirts of the town centre. The museum collection focusses on the traditional crafts and industry of Luton and Bedfordshire, notably lace-making and hat-making. There are samples of local lace from as early as the 17th century.

Stockwood Craft Museum

{{Main|Stockwood Craft Museum}} Based in [[Stockwood Park]], Luton, the collection of rural crafts and trades held at Stockwood Park Museum was amassed by Thomas Wyatt Bagshawe, who was a notable local historian and a leading authority on folk life. Bagshawe was born in [[Dunstable]] in 1901 and became a director of the family engineering firm. [[Image:Royal Berline.JPG|thumb|right|The Berline of King Leopold II, part of the [[Mossman Collection]].]] The collection only contains examples from Bedfordshire and the borders of neighbouring counties, giving the collection a very strong regional identity.

Mossman Collection

{{Main|Mossman Collection}} The Mossman Carriage collection is held at [[Stockwood Park]], Luton and is the largest and most significant vehicle collection of its kind in the country, including originals from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. The Mossman collection of horse drawn vehicles was given to Luton Museum Service in 1991. It illustrates the development of horse-drawn road transportation in Britain from Roman times up until the 1930s.

Local attractions

{| | valign="top" | *[[Image:NTE icon.png]] [[Dunstable Downs]] *[[Image:UKAL icon.png]] [[Chiltern Hills]] *[[Image:UKAL icon.png]] [[Leagrave Park]] *[[Image:HR icon.svg]] [[Leighton Buzzard Light Railway]] *[[Image:Museum icon (red).png]] Galley and Warden Hills Nature Reserve *[[Image:Museum icon (red).png]] [[The hat Factory]] *[[Image:HH icon.png]] [[Luton Hoo]] *[[Image:HH icon.png]] [[Someries Castle]] *[[Image:Museum icon.png]] [[Stockwood Discovery Centre]] *[[Image:UKAL icon.png]] [[Stockwood Park]] *[[Image:UKAL icon.png]] [[Wardown Park]] *[[Image:Museum icon.png]] [[Wardown Park Museum]] *[[Image:UKAL icon.png]] [[Waulud's Bank]] *[[Image:NTE icon.png]] [[Whipsnade Tree Cathedral]] *[[File:Zoo icon.jpg|20px]] [[Whipsnade Zoo]] *[[File:Zoo icon.jpg|20px]] [[Woburn Safari Park]] *[[Image:Museum icon (red).png]] [[Woodside Farm and Wildfowl Park]] *[[Image:EH icon.svg]] [[Wrest Park]] |}

Twin towns

Luton participates in international [[town twinning]]; its partners are: {| class="wikitable" "text-align:left;font-size:100%;"| |- ! style="background: #000066; color: #FFFFFF" ! | ! style="background: #000066; color: #FFFFFF" height="17" width="120" | Country ! style="background: #000033; color: #FFFFFF" ! | ! style="background: #000033; color: #FFFFFF" ! width="100" | Place ! style="background: #000066; color: #FFFFFF" ! | ! style="background: #000066; color: #FFFFFF" ! width="130" | County / District / Region / State ! style="background: #000066; color: #FFFFFF" ! width="40" | Date |- ! style="background: #FFFFFF; color: #000000" ! |   |! style="background: #FFFFFF; color: #000000" ! | [[Germany]] ! style="background: #CCCCFF; color: #000000" ! | [[Image:Wappen von Bergisch Gladbach.svg|25px]] |! style="background: #CCCCFF; color: #000000" ! | [[Bergisch Gladbach]] ! style="background: #FFFFFF; color: #000000" ! | [[Image:Coat of arms of North Rhine-Westfalia.svg|25px]] |! style="background: #FFFFFF; color: #000000" ! | [[North Rhine-Westphalia]] |! style="background: #FFFFFF; color: #000000" ! | [[1956]] |- ! style="background: #FFFFFF; color: #000000" ! |   |! style="background: #FFFFFF; color: #000000"; ! | [[France]] ! style="background: #CCCCFF; color: #000000" ! | |! style="background: #CCCCFF; color: #000000" ! | [[Bourgoin-Jallieu]] ! style="background: #FFFFFF; color: #000000" ! | |! style="background: #FFFFFF; color: #000000" ! | [[Rhône-Alpes]] |! style="background: #FFFFFF; color: #000000" ! | [[1956]] |- ! style="background: #FFFFFF; color: #000000" ! |   |! style="background: #FFFFFF; color: #000000" ! | [[Sweden]] ! style="background: #CCCCFF; color: #000000" ! | |! style="background: #CCCCFF; color: #000000" ! | [[Eskilstuna]] ! style="background: #FFFFFF; color: #000000" ! | [[Image:Södermanland vapen.svg|25px]] |! style="background: #FFFFFF; color: #000000" ! | [[Södermanland]] |! style="background: #FFFFFF; color: #000000" ! | [[1949]] |- ! style="background: #FFFFFF; color: #000000" ! |   |! style="background: #FFFFFF; color: #000000" ! | [[Germany]] ! style="background: #CCCCFF; color: #000000" ! | [[Image:Coat of arms of borough Spandau.svg|25px]] |! style="background: #CCCCFF; color: #000000" ! | [[Berlin]]-[[Spandau]] ! style="background: #FFFFFF; color: #000000" ! | [[Image:Coat of arms of Berlin.svg|25px]] |! style="background: #FFFFFF; color: #000000" ! | [[Berlin]] |! style="background: #FFFFFF; color: #000000" ! | [[1959]] |- ! style="background: #FFFFFF; color: #000000" ! |   |! style="background: #FFFFFF; color: #000000" ! | [[Germany]] ! style="background: #CCCCFF; color: #000000" ! | [[Image:Wappen Wolfsburg.png|25px]] |! style="background: #CCCCFF; color: #000000" ! | [[Wolfsburg]] ! style="background: #FFFFFF; color: #000000" ! | [[Image:Coat of arms of Lower Saxony.svg|25px]] |! style="background: #FFFFFF; color: #000000" ! | [[Lower Saxony]] |! style="background: #FFFFFF; color: #000000" ! | [[1950]] |- ! style="background: #FFFFFF; color: #000000" ! |   |! style="background: #FFFFFF; color: #000000" ! | [[Israel]] ! style="background: #CCCCFF; color: #000000" ! | [[Image:Haifa coa.svg|25px]] |! style="background: #CCCCFF; color: #000000" ! | [[Haifa]] ! style="background: #FFFFFF; color: #000000" ! | [[Image:Haifa coa.svg|25px]] |! style="background: #FFFFFF; color: #000000" ! | [[Haifa District]] |! style="background: #FFFFFF; color: #000000" ! | [[1966]] |}


Three weekly [[newspaper]]s are delivered free to all the houses in Luton. They are: * [[Luton & Dunstable Express]], delivered free to Luton and Dunstable households on Wednesdays. * [[Luton on Sunday]], delivered free to Luton and Dunstable households on Sunday. * [[Herald and Post (Luton)|Herald and Post]], delivered free to all Luton households on Thursdays. There are also two other newspapers in circulation around Luton: * [[Luton News]], the Herald & Post sister paper which is published every Wednesday. * [[Lutonline]], a monthly newspaper produced by the local council. Usually delivered with the Luton & Dunstable Express.


*[[BBC Three Counties Radio]], the local [[BBC]] station, broadcasts from its office in Hastings Street, Luton to [[Bedfordshire]], [[Hertfordshire]] and [[Buckinghamshire]]. *[[Heart Dunstable|Heart 97.6]] is the local independent station and broadcasts from [[Milton Keynes]]. *[[Diverse FM]] began broadcasts in April 2007 having been awarded a [[community radio]] license from [[Ofcom]]. *[[Luton FM]], the university's radio station, runs for 28 days during May. In addition, Ramadan FM broadcasts during the month of [[Ramadan]].


*[[Local-News TV]] is a local news channel for Bedfordshire and Luton. The channel is broadcast solely over the internet with content available on-demand. *[[Television]] Luton falls at the cross over point between the two regions of Carlton/LWT (ITV London) and Anglia Television (ITV Anglia) which transmits from Norwich. Coverage for most Luton Town FC games and highlights is usually shown on BBC London news and on BBC 1 London's Football League show *[[Days Like These]], the British re-make of the popular American sitcom [[That '70s Show]], was set in Luton.

Media references

In the TV series [[One Foot in the Grave]] there are often references to places within Luton. The script-writer [[David Renwick]] was brought up in the town. The town was mentioned several times in the seminal sketch show [[Monty Python's Flying Circus]]. In one sketch a rather half-hearted hijacker demands that a plane headed for Cuba be diverted to Luton. Luton is one of the constituencies returning a "Silly Party" victory in the famous sketch [[Election Night Special]]. In the [[Piranha Brothers]] sketch Spiny Norman lived in a hangar at Luton Airport. A [[1976]] episode of the sci-fi series "Space: 1999" was called [[The Rules of Luton]], inspired by the town name.

By birth

{|width=90% | * [[Mick Abrahams]], guitarist for [[Jethro Tull (band)|Jethro Tull]] * [[David Arnold]], composer * [[John Badham]], film director * [[Clive Barker (artist)|Clive Barker]], sculptor and artist * [[Jonathan Barnbrook]], graphic designer, typographer * [[Leon Barnett]], footballer * [[Kevin Blackwell]], goalkeeper, football manager * [[Dean Brill]], footballer * [[Clive Bunker]], drummer for [[Jethro Tull (band)|Jethro Tull]] * [[Danny Cannon]], screenwriter, director and producer * [[Ian Cashmore]], actor * [[Steve Dillon]], comic artist * [[Kerry Dixon]], footballer | * [[Stacey Dooley]], journalist and television presenter * [[Kevin Foley (footballer)|Kevin Foley]], footballer * [[Sean Gallagher (actor)|Sean Gallagher]], actor * [[Liam George]], footballer * [[John Gosling]], musician * [[John Hagan (USN)|John Hagan]], 8th [[Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy|master chief petty officer]], U.S. Navy * [[Arthur Hailey]], novelist * [[Neil Halstead]], musician * [[Neil Jackson]], Actor * [[Chris_James_(racing_driver)|Chris James]], Racing Driver * [[Ronnie Lee]], Founder of the [[Animal Liberation Front]] * [[Monty Panesar]] cricketer * [[John Payne (singer)|John Payne]], musician | * [[Phil Read]], motorcycle racer * [[David Renwick]], scriptwriter * [[Stu Riddle]], footballer * [[Vaughan Savidge]], announcer * [[Billy Schwer]], boxer * [[Andy Selway]], drummer * [[Will Smith (cricketer)|Will Smith]], cricketer * [[Gavin Shuker]], Labour party politician * [[David Stoten]], artist * [[Stephen Yaxley-Lennon]], political activist * [[Mark Titchner]], artist * [[UK Decay]], band * [[Paul Young (singer and guitarist)|Paul Young]], singer |}

By association

{|width=90% | * [[Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly]], Swedish Muslim suicide bomber * [[Stefan Bailey]], footballer * [[Charles Bronson (prisoner)|Charles Bronson]], prisoner * [[Combat 786]], Luton based crime family * [[Diana Dors]], actress * [[Ian Dury]], singer * [[Danny Dyer]], actor * [[John Hegley]], poet * [[Hilda Hewlett]], UK's first female pilot | * Sir [[Alec Jeffreys]], geneticist * [[Sarfraz Manzoor]], columnist, The Guardian * [[Eric Morecambe]], entertainer * [[Lee Ross (actor)|Lee Ross]], actor * [[Colin Salmon]], actor * [[Edward Tudor-Pole]], singer and actor * [[Christopher Walken]], actor * [[Kenneth Williams]], actor * [[Richard Wiseman]], psychologist |}

See also

{{Portal|England}} {{satop|Geography|Eurasia|Europe|Western Europe|Northern Europe|United Kingdom|England|Luton}} *[[Outline of England]] {{clear}}

External links

{{Commons|Luton}} {{Wiktionary}} {{Collier's Poster|year=1921}} * [http://uk.youtube.com/user/lutonboroughcouncil Luton Borough Council YouTube channel] * [http://lutonlive.com/ Luton Live] * [http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/dec/13/luton-failures-multiculturalism Luton has come to embody the failures of multiculturalism] {{Luton}} {{Bedfordshire}} {{Places in Bedfordshire}} {{Unitary authorities of England}} {{East of England}} {{River Lee England}} {{London commuter belt}}