Leighton Buzzard: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates: 51°54′59″N 0°39′42″W / 51.9165°N 0.6617°W / 51.9165; -0.6617

Leighton Buzzard
Leighton Buzzard Market Square
Leighton Buzzard is located in Bedfordshire
Leighton Buzzard

 Leighton Buzzard shown within Bedfordshire
Population 36,540 [1]
OS grid reference SP921250
Parish Leighton-Linslade
Unitary authority Central Bedfordshire
Ceremonial county Bedfordshire
Region East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district LU7
Dialling code 01525
Police Bedfordshire
Fire Bedfordshire and Luton
Ambulance East of England
EU Parliament East of England
UK Parliament South West Bedfordshire
List of places: UK • England • Bedfordshire

Leighton Buzzard is a town in Bedfordshire, England near the Chiltern Hills and lying between Luton and Milton Keynes. It adjoins Linslade and the name Leighton Buzzard is sometimes used to refer to the combination of the two towns; parts of this article also apply to Linslade.

For local government purposes, the town is part of the Central Bedfordshire district and is administered jointly with Linslade as the civil parish of Leighton-Linslade.[2]



There are a number of theories concerning the derivation of the town's name, but the most likely is that "Leighton" is an Old English language term, meaning a 'clearing in the woods'. The "Buzzard" was added by the Dean of Lincoln, in whose diocese the town lay in the 12th century. Having two communities called "Leighton" and seeking some means of differentiating them, he added the name of his local Prebendary or representative to that of the town. At that time it was a Theobald de Busar and so over the years the town became known as Leighton Buzzard. The other Leighton became Leighton Bromswold.

Leighton Buzzard is also famous as the Grand Union Canal was opened there. More recently, Leighton Buzzard station was the location for part of the film The Great Train Robbery (1963), while the actual robbery took place just outside of the town, at Bridego bridge, Ledburn. In the Domesday Book, Leighton Buzzard and Linslade were both called Leestone.


Leighton Buzzard contains All Saints Church, an Early English parish church dating from 1277. The church has a 190 ft spire and has been described as the cathedral of South Bedfordshire[citation needed] The church was damaged by fire in the 1980s, but has since undergone restoration.

The town is also known for the Leighton Buzzard Light Railway, a narrow gauge heritage railway.[3]

The town has a combined library and theatre (called the Library Theatre) where both live events and film screenings are regularly held.[4]

Leighton Buzzard is represented in terms of sporting teams by Leighton Town F.C. who play football in the Southern League Division One Midlands and Leighton Buzzard R.F.C. who play Rugby Union in Midlands Division 2 East. There are also both men's and women's hockey teams at Leighton Buzzard Hockey Club, the Ladies playing in Midlands Division 1. There is also an active running club with Leighton Buzzard Athletics Club.

Stockgrove Country Park is in nearby Heath and Reach.

After the Poor Law Act of 1834 Leighton Buzzard became the centre of a poor law union that consisted of 15 surrounding parishes with the union workhouse (still standing) being sited in Grovebury Road.

A network of historic tunnels exists under the High Street[citation needed] these are believed to date from Medieval times. The tunnels have not been investigated, but one is easily accessible from the cellarage of Wilkinson Estate Agents at the top of Market Square. The cellar, probably an Ice House extends under the road by some 16 feet and is in very good condition. The tunnel is sealed for safety reasons. It goes in a southerly direction towards the former Market Tavern (now Bell) Public House some 100 yards and legend has it that other tunnels from the Church and other Public Houses link up under the street in network that covers some 500 yards. These were probably built in Medieval times for people worried about religious persecution or during the Civil War.



Leighton Buzzard experiences an oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification Cfb) similar to almost all of the United Kingdom.

Climate data for Leighton Buzzard
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 6
Average low °C (°F) 3
Precipitation mm (inches) 69.3
Source: [5] 24 May 2009


Lower schools

  • Beaudesert Lower School - Apennine Way
  • Clipstone Brook Lower School - Brooklands Drive
  • Greenleas Lower School - Derwent Road
  • Dovery Down Lower School - Heath Road
  • Heathwood Lower School - Heath Road
  • Leedon Lower School - Highfield Road
  • Linslade Lower School
  • Mary Bassett Lower School - Bassett Road
  • Pulford VA C Of E Lower School - Pulford Road
  • St Georges Lower School - East Street
  • St Leonards (Heath & Reach) V A Lower School
  • Stanbridge Lower School
  • Southcott Lower School - Bideford Green

Middle schools

  • Brooklands Middle School - A school near the south east edge of the town. The school has recently won the "save our school" campaign and is rapidly growing in numbers.
  • Gilbert Inglefield Middle School - Next door to Vandyke Upper School.
  • Leighton Middle School - Is in the centre of the town, Mary Norton, who wrote the 'Borrowers' books, lived there in her childhood.
  • Linslade Middle School - Situated over the road from Cedars.

Upper schools

  • Cedars Upper School - Located on the west edge of town, adjoined to Tiddingfoot leasure centre. Cedars was once a grammar school.
  • Vandyke Upper School - Situated on the east edge of town, on Vandyke road. As of late 2006, the school has been undergoing a £2.5 million refurbishment.

Other schools

  • Oak Bank School - located on Sandy Lane, Oak Bank is a special school
  • Overstone Combined School - Tilsworth Rd

Further education

Central Bedfordshire College has a campus near the town centre of Leighton Buzzard called The Learning Warehouse. The college provides a range of full-time and part-time courses for the local community. The college also operates a Learning Shop in the town, which offers basic IT courses.


The NatWest Bank at Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, England in the style of an Italian palazzo is an example of Neo-Renaissance architecture.
Leighton Buzzard, High Street. The former "Bassett's Bank" (now Barclays Bank) designed by the eminent Victorian architect Alfred Waterhouse.

Leighton Buzzard is close to the M1 motorway and A5 road, and is served by the West Coast Main Line railway at Leighton Buzzard railway station (in Linslade). The Grand Union Canal runs through the town, alongside the River Ouzel.

In popular culture

The town was where the 1960s band The Barron Knights first formed, and also the 1980s pop group Kajagoogoo, who had an international hit with 'Too Shy'. Pop group Modern Romance started life as punk band The Leyton Buzzards, though they originated from London E10 rather than Bedfordshire.

Other famous residents of, or the villages close to, Leighton Buzzard include the late Bob Monkhouse, Kriss Akabusi, Dave Lee Travis, Steve Askew and Darren Gough.

Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild lived at Leighton Buzzard in Leighton House before building and moving to Waddesdon Manor.

The town is also infamous for being dumped into Room 101 by comedy duo Mel GiedroycSue Perkins.

One of the local quarries was used in the Hamunaptra scene in The Mummy Returns and more recently a scene for The Da Vinci Code.

In addition, the town and surrounding area is referenced in Mary Norton's popular series, The Borrowers. It is mentioned in Saki's short story "The Secret Sin of Septimus Brope".

Birth place of writer Philip O'Connor.


The town is, or has at one time, been the home to various industries including B/E Aerospace (Aircraft Interiors), Lipton Tea which has now closed down, Gossard clothing, Lancer Boss (forklifts, etc.).

The town has a sizeable sand quarrying industry.

The first and only TXE1 telephone exchange was developed by the General Post Office and went into service in 1968. To meet the growing demand it was added to by two TXE2 exchanges and a TXE6 exchange on the night of 18 August 1971. A third TXE2 was added latter but everything was all replaced by a TXE4 exchange around 1977, some of the TXE2 equipment was used to provide a new TXE2 at West Mersea Island in Essex. The large building, built on the site of the former Lake House, that housed all these TXE exchanges and the current digital exchange can be found in Lake Street.

Countrywide and Connells/Sequence, the UK's two largest estate agents' chains, both have their head offices in the town, as does the UK branch of Tupperware.


There are numerous amateur dramatic organisations in the town, including Leighton Buzzard Drama Group, Leighton Musical Theatre Company (formerly Leighton Linslade Amateur Operatic Society), Leighton Masqueraders and Leighton Buzzard Children's Theatre. For those interested in creative writing, there is Leighton Buzzard Writers.

In addition many amateur music groups and organisations exist in the town, including the Leighton Buzzard Music Centre (at Vandyke Upper School), the Leighton Buzzard Festival Singers and the Linsdale Singers.


In the west, Linslade has merged with Southcott. Leighton Buzzard is expanding eastwards, and it now encompasses RAF Stanbridge and the former hamlet of Leedon.

The population of Leighton-Linslade was originally recorded in the 2001 census as 32,417.[6] Part of Billington parish was transferred in 2003 to Leighton-Linslade, and the revised census result including this area was 32,753.[7] The population is estimated to have reached 36,540 in 2007 and is forecast to rise to 39,900 by 2012.[8]

Twin towns

Leighton Buzzard was twinned with Coulommiers in 1958. The twinning was renewed in 1982. It was also twinned with Titisee-Neustadt in 1991.


  1. ^ 2007 estimate for Leighton-Linslade. See the Expansion section above for further information.
  2. ^ Council Website retrieved 7 August 2007
  3. ^ Train site retrieved 7 August 2007
  4. ^ Theatre Site retrieved 7 August 2007
  5. ^ "Averages for Leighton Buzzard". http://weather.msn.com/local.aspx?wealocations=wc:UKXX0257&q=Leighton+Buzzard%2c+GBR. 
  6. ^ Office for National Statistics, 2001 Census Parish Headcounts for Leighton-Linslade.
  7. ^ Bedfordshire County Council, Urban Area Profile for Leighton Linslade.
  8. ^ Bedfordshire County Council, Population Estimates and Forecasts.

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

LEIGHTON BUZZARD, a market town in the southern parliamentary division of Bedfordshire, England, 40 m. N.W. of London by the London & North-Western railway. Pop. of urban district (1901) 6331. It lies in the flat valley of the Ouzel, a tributary of the Ouse, sheltered to east and west by low hills. The river here forms the county boundary with Buckinghamshire. The Grand Junction canal follows its course, and gives the town extensive water-communications. The church of All Saints is cruciform, with central tower and spire. It is mainly Early English, and a fine example of the style; but some of the windows including the nave clerestory, and the beautiful carved wooden roof, are Perpendicular. The west door has good early ironwork; and on one of the tower-arch pillars are some remarkable early carvings of jocular character, one of which represents a man assaulted by a woman with a ladle. The market cross is of the 14th century, much restored, having an open arcade supporting a pinnacle, with flying buttresses. The statues in its niches are modern, but the originals are placed on the exterior of the town hall. Leighton has a considerable agricultural trade, and some industry in straw-plaiting. Across the Ouzel in Buckinghamshire, where Leighton railway station is situated, is the urban district of Linslade (pop. 2157).

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