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Coordinates: 51°54′11″N 0°27′58″W / 51.903°N 0.466°W / 51.903; -0.466

Leagrave is located in Bedfordshire

 Leagrave shown within Bedfordshire
Population 12,910 [1]
OS grid reference TL0523
Unitary authority Luton
Ceremonial county Bedfordshire
Region East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LUTON
Postcode district LU3, LU4
Dialling code 01582
Police Bedfordshire
Fire Bedfordshire and Luton
Ambulance East of England
EU Parliament East of England
UK Parliament Luton North
List of places: UK • England • Bedfordshire

For other uses see Leagrave (disambiguation)

Leagrave is a former village and now a suburb of Luton in Bedfordshire in the northwest of the town. Connected by train from Leagrave station into London and Bedford by First Capital Connect. The M1 is close at hand as well as Luton Airport.



The first settlement in the area was Waulud's Bank which is a Neolithic D-shaped enclosure in Leagrave Park at the source of the River Lea and is now a protected monument. Waulud's bank consists of a bank and external ditch of around 7 hectares with a turf reveted chalk and gravel bank (built from the excavated ditch material). The ditch itself is about 9 m wide and 2 m deep. Finds at the site have included neolithic Grooved Ware and flint arrow heads. It is a similar site to Durrington Walls and Marden and the site was later re-used in the Iron Age and during the Roman occupation.

The Icknield Way, a pre Roman road, passes though Leagrave. Local road names give away its location, 'Roman Road' runs from Oakley Road to Marsh Road. On the other side of Marsh Road as the road enters Limbury it continues as 'Icknield Road' where there is a gap before the road continues as Icknield Way.

Main station building on Platform 4 at Leagrave
Map of Leagrave from 1889

The River Lea/(Lee) starts in Leagrave before making its way eventually to the Thames, joining in London. The Lee crosses Leagrave Common and receives a tributary called Knapps Brook which joins from culverts under the railway embankment and Toddington Road. Napps Brook is a combination of brooks from East End, Houghton Regis and from the Lewsey Estate near the old Lewsey Farm. The river once formed one boundary of the Danelaw. Leagrave Marsh used to be a popular place for the Luton hatters on their (rare) days off and was, consequently, known as "Blockers' Seaside". The hatmaking industry originally relied on straw plaits, made by farmers' wives, bought and collected by a "plaitman" and brought into the Luton hat factories to be made into straw hats. A new artwork has been unveiled in the area, reflecting on this former use of the area.[2]

The manor of Leagrave was held by the Lucy family from 1305 to 1455. The Lucys gave their name to the area of Luton known as Lewsey.[3]

Leagrave station was built by the Midland Railway company in 1868 on its extension to St Pancras. The old Midland station buildings still exist, having been carefully restored in the 1980s.

In 1866 the villages of Leagrave and Limbury were formed into the ecclesiastical parish of 'Holy Trinity, (Biscot)'.[4] Thirty years later, in 1896 Leagrave civil parish was formed under the provisions of the 'Local Government Act 1894', in the ecclesiastical parish of Limbury-cum-Biscot.

In 1914 Hewlett & Blondeau Limited, an aircraft manufacturing business, opened a factory at Leagrave called The Omnia Works.[5] The company was managed by Hilda Hewlett who lived on site. During the First World War the factory produced more than 800 aircraft and employed up to 700 people. The business closed in 1920 and in 1926 the factory site was sold to Electrolux.

The area grew significantly in between the wars and in 1928 the parish was abolished when the boundaries of Luton were extended to include Leagrave, as well as Limbury and Stopsley. Further expansion of the area took place during the 1930s; much of the housing stock of the area dates from the 1920s and 1930s. Further large scale construction continued post-war with the construction of the Hockwell Ring estate and nearby Marsh Farm. Some of the old farm names live on in the modern road names, Strangers Farm lends its name to the current Strangers Way, and at the edge of Leagrave Marsh was Marsh Farm, which gives its name to the 1960s estate famous for the Marsh Farm riots which took place in 1995.

Until recently Electrolux was one of the larger employers in the area, however much of the old factory site was sold off over the last ten years or so for re-development into housing. The most recent development on the site was Saxon-Gate. Leagrave is increasingly a commuter area with many people taking advantage of the train and motorway connections into London and to the North. There have been many smaller developments of former industrial land creating many new apartment blocks and also infil housing.


The town was recorded in 1224 as Littegraue, intimating that its name means 'Light-coloured, or lightly-wooded, grove'.[6] However, another source suggests its name originates from Lygegrove: "Lyge" being an old name for the River Lea.[7]

Geography and geology

Leagrave is located in a break in the eastern part of the Chiltern Hills. The Chilterns themselves are a mixture of chalk from the Cretaceous period [8] (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).

Leagrave has a temperate marine climate, like much of the British Isles, with regular but generally light 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 584 millimetres (23 in) with rain falling on 109 days of the year.

Climate data for Bedford (The nearest weather station to Leagrave at 20 miles to the North.)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 6.4
Average low °C (°F) 0.8
Precipitation mm (inches) 48.4
Sunshine hours 58.6 76.3 99.5 153.0 183.8 185.7 200.9 188.5 139.8 114.1 72.0 51.5 1,523.6
Source: [9] 2008-06-16


The United Kingdom Census 2001 showed that Leagrave had a population of 11,194.[10] Luton Council estimates for 2007 have show a revised figure of 12,910.



Luton and consequently Leagrave has seen several waves of immigration. In the early part of the 20th century Irish and Scottish people arrived in the town, these were followed by Afro-Caribbean and Asian immigrants. More recently a new wave of immigrants from Eastern Europe has made Luton their home. As a result of this Leagrave has a diverse ethnic mix, with a significant population of Asian descent, mainly Pakistani (9.8%), Indian (4.2%) and Bangladeshi (4.3%). The 2005 Office of National Statistics figures revealed that town had a white population of 68% (of which white British amounted to 61.3%) compared to an East of England average of 92.8%.

Luton: Ethnicity: 2005 Office of National Statistics estimates[11]
Luton % East of England % England %
White 68.0 92.8 89.1
Mixed 2.8 1.4 1.6
Asian or Asian British 19.3 3.1 5.3
Black or Black British 7.9 1.6 2.7
Chinese or Other Ethnic Group 2.0 1.1 1.3
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0


According to the United Kingdom Census 2001, 66% of the inhabitants in Leagrave are Christian and 7% are Muslim.[12]

The full statistics are as follows[13]

Religion Leagrave % Luton % National %
Christian 66.2% 59.6% 71.7%
Muslim 7.1% 14.6% 3.0%
Hindu 2.6% 2.7% 1.1%
Sikh 0.5% 0.8% 0.6%
Jewish 0.3% 0.3% 0.5%
Buddhist 0.2% 0.2% 0.3%
Other 0.5% 0.3% 0.3%
No religion 15.0% 14.1% 14.8%
Religion not stated 7.5% 7.2% 7.7%


The current site of the McDonald's restaurant on Marsh Road was the site of the Three Horseshoes pub, which was demolished in 1994.[14] The roundabout next to McDonalds takes its name from the old pub, and the old pub sign can still be seen in the planting scheme.



Leagrave is about 4 miles (6 km) from Luton Airport. 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.


Leagrave enjoys good rail connections via its station. Luton has two further train stations (Luton and Luton Airport Parkway) both of which are serviced by First Capital Connect (like Leagrave) but also Midland Mainline, which offers a much faster connection into London.


Leagrave is connected to the motorway network by the nearby Junction 11 of the M1 motorway, (Junction 10 serves Luton South).

The M1 was built to the west of Leagrave in 1959, and provides access to London and the North. The A6 passes through Luton heading north to Bedford and south to St Albans (although south of the town the road has been re-numbered as the A1081).

Future Transport Plans

New Bridge Under the Mainline Railway

The Bedford to London railway line cuts a portion of Luton off from the rest of it, this scheme will add a new crossing under the track near Leagrave park. This scheme is a reserve scheme and as such may only be developed should one of the 79 chosen schemes not be able to be completed.

Local Schools and Education

  • Leagrave Primary School, Strangers Way
  • Beechwood Primary School, Linden Road
  • Moorlands School, Leagrave Hall
  • Lealands High School, Sundon Park Road
  • Leagrave Library, Marsh Road

Moorlands School and Nursery was founded in 1891. It was originally located in the town centre before moving to Dunstable Road. In 1958 the school had grown significantly and new premises were needed. The school relocted to Leagrave Hall (built in 1850), a former home of the Filmer family.[15][16]


St Lukes, Leagrave

The largest church in the parish is St Lukes on Leagrave High Street.

Leagrave Methodist Church is also on Leagrave High Street.


See also Politics in Luton

Leagrave ward is represented by Cllr Derrick Patten (Labour), Cllr Sheila Roden (Labour) and Cllr Desline Stewart (Labour).

The ward forms part of the parliamentary constituency of Luton North, and the MP is Kelvin Hopkins (Labour). Leagrave is within the East of England (European Parliament constituency).

Map of Luton showing Leagrave location

Local Attractions

Local Newspapers

Two weekly newspapers are delivered free to all houses in Leagrave, with news about Leagrave and the surrounding area.


  1. ^ Luton Borough Council, Population Estimates and Forecasts, estimate for Leagrave ward in 2007.
  2. ^ Opening of artwork at the Blockers Seaside
  3. ^ Davis, Frederick (1855). The History of Luton. p. 39. 
  4. ^ Leagrave parish history
  5. ^ History of Hewlett & Blondeau
  6. ^ Mills, A.D. (1991). The Popular Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Phaidon. "Leagrave Beds. Littegrave 1224. 'Light-coloured, or lightly wooded, grove'. OE lēoht + grāf." 
  7. ^ Davis, Frederick (1855). The History of Luton. 
  8. ^ Map of soil distribution in Beds
  9. ^ "Bedford 1971-2000 averages". Met Office. Retrieved 16 June 2008. 
  10. ^ 2001 Census, Leagrave: Key Statistics.
  11. ^ "Ethnic groups % - 2005 estimates". Office of National Statistics. Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  12. ^ "Religion breakdown". National Statistics Office.;jsessionid=ac1f930cce62d802db3b8614a1d9d3bc992c1114407.e38Qa3mPbh4Kai0LahyTbxaRaxaLe6fznA5Pp7ftolbGmkTy?a=3&b=5940140&c=LU4+9AH&d=14&e=16&g=404903&i=1001x1003x1004&m=0&r=0&s=1213778245398&enc=1&bhcp=1. Retrieved 2008-06-18. 
  13. ^ "National Statistics". Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  14. ^ Details about demolition of the Three Horseshoes Pub
  15. ^ Bedfordshire Library Leagrave Timeline
  16. ^ Moorlands School website

External links


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