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Nuneaton is the largest town in the Borough of Nuneaton and Bedworthmarker and in the Englishmarker county of Warwickshiremarker.

Nuneaton is most famous for its associations with the 19th century author George Eliot, who was born on a farm on the Arbury Estatemarker just outside Nuneaton in 1819 and lived in the town for much of her early life. In fiction, Nuneaton is referred to as "Milby" in the George Eliot novel Scenes of Clerical Life (1858).

Geography

The town is located 14.5 km (9 miles) north of Coventrymarker, 32 km (20 miles) east of Birminghammarker and 166 km (103 miles) northwest of London. The River Ankermarker runs through the town.Nuneaton (as defined by the Office for National Statistics) had a population of 70,721 according to the 2001 census, though the 2008 estimate is closer to 73,000 inhabitants. However, both of these figures exclude the Camp Hill area of the town, which is deemed to be in the Hartshill subdivision of the Nuneaton urban area by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), as can be seen from the map included in its report on Key Statistics for urban areas and the dataset of this report, which cites a population of 12,207 for the Hartshill subdivision [29159] (by comparison, the population of the civil parish of Hartshillmarker in 2001 was just 3,611 [29160]). A more representative figure is given by the combined population of Nuneaton's 11 wards, which was 78,403 in 2001 according to the ONS (see table below).Nuneaton also has a football team called Nuneaton Town.

Towns close to Nuneaton include Bedworthmarker, Atherstonemarker and Hinckleymarker, with Tamworthmarker and Lutterworthmarker a little further afield. The nearest city is Coventrymarker, sited 7 miles (11.25 km) from the centre of Nuneaton. Leicestermarker and thereafter Birminghammarker are considerably close. A local landmark is Mount Jud, which is a large mound of quarry waste that was formed when Judkins Quarry was dug out. Mount Jud lies in the northwest of the town and can be seen for miles around.

There are various Ordnance Surveymarker-recognised viewpoints at the extremities of the town. One of the most noteworthy is in the west of Hartshil Hayes Country Park from where looking north Atherstonemarker can be seen and looking north-east Leicestermarker can be seen, depending on favourable visibility.

History

Nuneaton's name came from a 12th century Benedictine nunnery (parts of which still survive) around which much of the town grew. Prior to this it was a settlement known as 'Etone', which translates literally as 'water-town'. Nuneaton was listed in the Domesday Book as a small hamlet. A market was established in 1233 (and is still held today). The first recorded use of the modern name was in 1247 when a document recorded it as 'Nonne Eton'. The Nunnery fell into disrepair after 1539 (with Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries). Nuneaton's only Grammar School (which would later become a sixth form college), King Edward VI Grammar Schoolmarker, was established by a royal charter in 1552.

Nuneaton grew gradually from the 17th century onwards, due to its position at the centre of the Warwickshire coalfields. At the time of the first national census in 1801 Nuneaton was already one of the largest towns in Warwickshire, with a population of 5,000. During the Industrial revolution in the 19th century, Nuneaton developed a large textile industry. Other industries which developed in the town included brick and tile making and brewing. By 1901 the population of Nuneaton had grown to 25,000.

Nuneaton became an urban district in 1894, and was upgraded to the status of a municipal borough in 1907.

Due largely to munitions factories located in Nuneaton, the town suffered heavy bombing damage during World War II. The heaviest bombing raid on Nuneaton took place on 17 May 1941, when 100 people were killed, 380 houses were destroyed, and over 10,000 damaged, a few smaller raids took place on the town, most notably on 25 June 1942. As a result of the bombing, much of the town centre was rebuilt in the post-war years.

On 6 June 1975, six people died and 38 were injured when a train crashedmarker just south of Nuneaton railway stationmarker.

Nuneaton Abbey

An ancient abbey church founded at 'Eaton' in the 1150s was home to Benedictine nuns and gave the present town the name 'Nuneaton'.

Very little survives today of the original building. The cruciform church was sold after the dissolution and converted into a mansion. Abandoned in the seventeenth century it was quarried away until all that survived by the 1860s were the foundations, some low walls and the battered crossing piers of the former central tower.

In 1876-7 this desolate ruin was brought back to life as a place of worship after centuries of neglect, when four of the original seven bays of the nave were rebuilt on the old foundations in neo-romanesque style by the Gothic Revival architect C.C. Rolfe with the old crossing piers enclosed by a temporary brick stucture for use as a chancel. The west wall was also left in plain brick to allow for possible completion of the nave on the ancient footings further west at a later date, though this retains its incomplete appearance to this day.

In 1904 the chancel was rebuilt in neo-gothic style on the old foundations east of the crossing by Harold Brakspear, followed by the north transept in 1930. The architect had drawn up plans to restore the south transept and central tower too, but sadly these were never realised, leaving the south transept as a ruin sealed off by the 1877 'temporary' brick wall and leaving the church in an odd truncated state today (comprising half the nave, the chancel, north transept and base of the crossing).

Inside the ruined crossing piers remain from the original church, as well as part of a fine medieval tiled floor and the bases of what remained of the walls. Outside, the ruins of the nave and South Transept remain as they were, along with the base of what is thought to have been a chapter house.

The church (such as it stands) is used as the Parish Church of St. Mary and is known locally as the Abbey Church.

Despite this building's significance in Nuneaton's past and its extraordinary recent history, it is a relatively unknown and obscure place, with little promotion or signage.

Economy

Ropewalk Shopping Centre
Nuneaton's traditional industries like textiles and manufacturing have declined drastically in the postwar years. Due to its good transport links, Nuneaton is now largely a commuter town for nearby Coventry and Birmingham. However electronics and distribution remain major economic activities in the town. MIRA Limited, formerly the Motor Industry Research Association, is based on a disused wartime airfield on the A5, to the north of the town. One of the biggest developments in the town's history, the multi-million pound Ropewalk Shopping Centremarker, opened on 1 September 2005 in the hope that it will give the town extra income from the shopping, attract more visitors and retailers, and steer shoppers away from larger retail centres such as Birmingham, Coventry, Leicester and Solihull. The town centre itself has undergone a successful transition from being an uninteresting 'dormitory town' service centre in the 1980s to a relatively thriving and well-planned retail and business district by the 2000s. Holland & Barrett has its Headquarters based on the Attleborough Fields industrial estate but it moving to a new Headquarters at Elliot Park. Also based at Attleborough Fields Inudtrial Estate are the main offices of Adams Childwear.Bermuda Park is home of the National Distribution Centre of Dairy Crest and RS Components.

Politics

Nuneaton is part of the constituency of the same namemarker in the House of Commonsmarker, which is currently represented by the Labour Member of Parliament (MP), Bill Olner. The local council, Nuneaton and Bedworthmarker, is currently controlled by the Conservative Party. On 1 April 1974, Nuneaton's council was merged with the neighbouring Bedworthmarker Urban District to form a new district council, originally named just "Nuneaton". Borough status was conferred on the new district on 15 November 1976. Following objections from Bedworth residents, the name of the borough was changed to "Nuneaton and Bedworth" in 1980. The council was controlled by the Labour Party between 1973, when the shadow council was elected in preparation for the 1974 merger, until the 2008 local elections, when the Conservatives gained control. The official result was: Labour lost 6 seats, the Conservatives won 4 seats, and the BNP (British National Party) won 2 seats.

Nuneaton is currently covered by 11 of the borough's 17 electoral wards (see table below). Each ward elects two councillors.
Ward name Approximate coverage Population

(2001 census)
Abbey Abbey Green, town centre 7,234 [29161]
Arbury Heath End, Glendale, Bermuda, Arbury 5,482 [29162]
Attleborough Attleborough, Maple Park, SW Whitestone 7,564 [29163]
Bar Pool Black-a-Tree, Sunnyside, Stockingford (east) 7,451 [29164]
Camp Hill Camp Hill 7,325 [29165]
Galley Common Galley Common, Chapel End, Whittleford 7,593 [29166]
Kingswood Grove Farm, Robinson's End, Stockingford (west) 6,878 [29167]
St Nicolas Horeston Grange, Hinckley Road, The Long Shoot, St Nicolas Park (south) 7,073 [29168]
Weddington Weddington, St Nicolas Park (north) 7,286 [29169]
Wem Brook Hill Top, Caldwell, Chilvers Coton 7,082 [29170]
Whitestone Whitestone (except SW part), Attleborough Fields 7,435 [29171]
TOTAL NUNEATON 78,403


Religion

Nuneaton's name reflects the part that the Christian religion has paid in the town's history. Although the Benedictine Nunnery which gave the town its name was destroyed at the time of the reformation, the remaining fragments were incorporated into the Anglican church building now known as the Abbey Church of St Mary the Virgin in Manor Court Road. This, as we now have it, is a Victorian construction. The original ruins are left to be an obvious feature of the new building and its immediate setting.

Near the town centre, but unusually not actually a part of it and outside the ring road, lies the mediaeval church of St Nicolas. Chilvers Coton contains All Saints' Church where Mary Ann Evans (George Eliot) worshipped. This was badly damaged by bombing during the Second World War, and rebuilt largely by German prisoners. There are also Anglican churches in Weddington (St James's), Attleborough (Holy Trinity), Stockingford (St Paul's), Galley Common (St Peter's) and, more recently built, Camp Hill (St Mary & St John).

Roman Catholicism is represented by Our Lady of the Angels Church on Coton Road, whose building was largely remodelled in the 1930s, and St Anne's, Chapel End, Nuneatonmarker whose current building dates from 2000.

Other Christian traditions in the town include Baptist, Methodist, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and United Reformed churches.

Immigration form the Indian subcontinent has, like many British towns, brought with it believers in Islam, Sikhism and Hinduism, and Nuneaton has a substantial ethnic population. There is a mosque on Frank Street, Chilvers Coton, and two gurdwaras (Sikh temples): the Nuneaton Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Park Avenue, Attleborough, and the Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur Gurdwara in Marlborough Road, Chilvers Coton.

Media

The local radio stations are Fox FM and Mercia FM part of the independent radio network, BBC Coventry & Warwickshire, all are based in the nearby city of Coventry and also Fosseway Radio(Now Oak FM) which is broadcast from the nearby town of Hinckleymarker. Parts of Nuneaton can also receive BBC Radio Leicester. Within Nuneaton itself there is Anker Radio which serves the George Eliot Hospitalmarker, but also broadcasts on 1386am and can be received throughout the area broadcasting 24 hours a day.

The main local newspaper is the Nuneaton Tribune, which is a free paper delivered to most homes in the area weekly on a Thursday or Friday, taking in Nuneaton, Bedworth and Atherstone. There is also the Nuneaton Telegraph, a localised version of the Coventry Telegraph. The Nuneaton News (formerly the Heartland Evening News) is a daily paper but released free on a Wednesday every week.

The Nuneaton area is covered by BBC West Midlands TV News Show BBC Midlands Today and ITV Central's Central Tonight but gets limited coverage from both, with some areas of the town receiving the East Midlands transmission of BBC East Midlands Today.

Transport

The town is near the M6, the M42 and M69 motorways and the main A5 trunk road (Watling Street), which also acts as a border with Leicestershire and the neighbouring town of Hinckley.

Nuneaton railway stationmarker near the town centre is an important railway junction, served by the West Coast Main Linemarker, the Birminghammarker to Leicestermarker railway line, and by a line to Coventrymarker via Bedworthmarker. It offers direct rail services to those destinations. There are plans to build a new station at Bermuda Park in the south of the town on the line towards Coventry.

Its importance as a railway junction is underlined by the fact that Nuneaton has the third highest level of interchange passengers (after Birmingham New Streetmarker and Wolverhamptonmarker), of any railway station in the Midlands . This changed in December 2008 when a new Very High Frequency (VHF) timetable was introduced by Virgin Trains on the West Coast Main Line. Very few Virgin services now stop in Nuneaton. Instead, London Midland operate an hourly daytime service between London Eustonmarker and Crewemarker via Northamptonmarker, Staffordmarker and Stoke-on-Trentmarker with journey times increased significantly, e.g. 81 minutes to Crewe versus 40 minutes on Virgin. The December 2008 timetable has been the source of much outrage locally.

The Coventry Canal passes through the town.

The main operator for buses in Nuneaton is Stagecoach in Warwickshire

Recreation

Nuneaton has two non-league football teams of note: Nuneaton Town who won promotion in May 2009 to the Southern Football League Premier Division and Nuneaton Griffmarker who play in the Midland Combination Premier Division. There is also a thriving Sunday League football scene in the town, with teams from Nuneaton, Bedworth, and North Warwickshire competing in the Nuneaton & District Sunday Football League (NDSFL).

There are three Rugby Union teams in the town: Nuneaton R.F.C. (nicknamed the Nuns), who play in National Division 1, Nuneaton Old Edwardiansof Midlands 3 West division and Manor Park of the Midlands 5 West league.

There are three main leisure centres in the town owned by Nuneaton and Bedworth Leisure Trust and maintained by Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council:
  • The Pingles Leisure Centre - The Pingles is the main leisure centre in Nuneaton. It was rebuilt in 2004 to replace the old 1960s swimming baths. The new Pingles includes an indoor and outdoor swimming areas, a dance studio and gym. The Pingles also has an associated athletics stadium, the Pingles Stadium, which was built in 2004. The Pingles Stadium has a 250 seater stand, a running track, and athletics facilities. The stadium also has a football pitch which is used by Nuneaton Griff for their home matches.
  • Jubilee Sports Centre - The Jubilee Sports Centre is a sports hall. The hall is used for various sports including badminton, five-a-side football/indoor football and basketball. The Jubilee also has a scoreboard, used for major basketball and indoor football matches. The hall can be hired out for uses such as karate lessons.
  • Etone Sports Centre - Etone Sports Centre is another sports hall. Etone sports hall also has astroturf football pitches which are used also for hockey. The centre is in the grounds of the school which bears the same name, Etone School, but Nuneaton and Bedworth Leisure Trust maintains the building.
Nuneaton has a museum and art gallery in the grounds of Riversley Park adjacent to the town centre.

Culture

  • Nuneaton annually enters the Britain in Bloom competition and in 2000, Nuneaton and Bedworth was a national finalist.
  • Nuneaton is home to the largest carnival in Warwickshire which takes place every June – see www.NuneatonCarnival.org
  • Nuneaton was home to the smallest independent newspaper in Britain (the Heartland Evening News) until it was purchased in 2006 by life News & Media


George Eliot's Inspirations

Many locations in George Eliot's works were based on places in or near her native Nuneaton, including:
  • Milby (town and parish church, based on Nuneaton and St Nicolas parish church);
  • Shepperton (based on Chilvers Coton);
  • Paddiford Common (based on Stockingford, which at the time had a large area of common land);
  • Knebley (based on Astley; Knebley Church is Astley Church, while Knebley Abbey is Astley Castle);
  • Red Deeps (based on Griff Hollows);
  • Cheverel Manor (based on Arbury Hall);
  • Dorlcote Mill (based on Griff House);
  • The Red Lion (based on the Bull Hotel, now the George Eliot Hotel in Bridge Street, Nuneaton);
  • Middlemarch (based on Coventry);
  • Treby Magna (also thought to be based on Coventry);
  • Little Treby (thought to be based on Stoneleigh);
  • Transome Court (thought to be based on Stoneleigh Abbey).


Twin towns

The borough of Nuneaton and Bedworth is twinned with the following towns:

Notable inhabitants



Districts and suburbs of Nuneaton

Within the borough boundaries:

Outside the borough boundaries but often considered to be part of the town:



References

External links




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