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Luton Town Hall

Luton Town Crest
Luton shown within England
Coordinates: 51°54′0″N 0°26′0″W / 51.9°N 0.433333°W / 51.9; -0.433333
Country United Kingdom
Constituent area England
Region East of England
Ceremonial county Bedfordshire
Borough Luton
Government [1]
 - Type Borough
 - Governing body Luton Borough Council
 - Executive: Labour
 - Mayor Muhammad Riaz[2]
 - MPs Kelvin Hopkins (L)
Margaret Moran (L)
 - Total 16.7 sq mi (43.35 km2)
Population [3]
 - Total 203,800
 - ethnicity 66.9% White
19.8% S.Asian
8.2% Black
2.8% Mixed Race
2.3% E.Asian and Other
Time zone GMT
 - Summer (DST) British Summer Time (UTC)
Postcode Area LU
Area code(s) (01582)
ONS code 00KA
Demonym Lutonians

Luton (En-uk-Luton.ogg /ˈluːtən/ or locally pronounced [ˈluːʔən]) is a town and unitary authority of Bedfordshire, England, 32 miles (51 kilometres) north of London. Luton, along with its near neighbours of Dunstable and Houghton Regis, form the Luton/Dunstable Urban Area with a population of over 230,000.[4]

Luton is home to Blue Square Premier team 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 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.

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.[5] 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.[6] 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.[7]

The foundation of Luton is usually dated to the 6th century when a Saxon outpost was founded on the River Lea, Lea tun.[8] Luton is recorded in the Domesday Book as Loitone and also as Lintone.[9] Agriculture dominated the local economy at that time, and the town's population was around 700-800.

St Marys Church, Luton town centre
The Wenlock chapel within St Marys

In 1121 Robert, 1st Earl of Gloucester started work on St Mary's Church in the centre of the town. The work was completed by 1137.[10] A motte and bailey type castle which gives its name to the modern Castle Street was built in 1139. The castle was demolished in 1154[11] and the site is now home to a Matalan store. During the Middle Ages Luton is recorded as being home to six watermills. Mill Street, in the town centre, takes its name from one of them.

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. He was also granted the right to bear his own coat of arms and chose the mythical griffin as his heraldic emblem. The griffin thus became associated with both Vauxhall and Luton in the early 13th century.[12]

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 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, royalists entered the town and demanded money and goods. 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 making industry began in the 17th century and became synonymous with the town.[13] By the 18th century the industry dominated the town. Hats are still produced in the town on a much smaller scale.

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.[14]

19th century

A map of Luton from 1888

The town grew strongly in the 19th century. In 1801 the population was 3,095.[15] 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 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 Bute Street Station, and the first train to Dunstable ran on 3 May 1858.[16] The line was later extended to Welwyn and from 1860 direct trains to King's Cross ran. The Midland Railway was extended from Bedford to St Pancras through Leagrave and Midland Road station and opened on 9 September 1867.[17]

Luton received a gas supply in 1834. Gas street lights were erected and the first 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.[18] 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'.[19]

The crest also includes a hand holding a bunch of wheat, either taken as a symbol of the straw-plaiting industry, or from the arms of John Whethamsteade, Abbott of St Albans, who rebuilt the chancel of St Mary's Church in the 15th century.

20th century

In the 20th century, the 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 which 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 Luton Museum & Art Gallery.

The town had a tram system from 1908 until 1932 and the first 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 opened in 1938, owned and operated by the council.

The first town hall was destroyed in 1919

In World War II, the Vauxhall Factory built Churchill tanks[20] 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 air raids. One hundred and seven died[21] 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 bearings, made a vital contribution to the war effort. Although a bomb landed at the SKF Factory[22] no major damage was caused.

Post-war, the slum clearance continued and a number of substantial estates of council housing were built, notably at Farley Hill, Stopsley, Limbury, Marsh Farm and Leagrave (Hockwell Ring). The M1 motorway passed just to the west of the town in 1959. In 1962 a new library (to replace the cramped Carnegie Library) was opened by the 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.[23], becoming the first shopping mall in Europe. It was refurbished and given a glass roof in the 1990s.

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.[24] 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 and train stations as well as improvements to the town's urban environment. St George's Square has been rebuilt[25] 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.[26]

Work is beginning on an extension to the Mall shopping centre facing St Georges Square, The Mall has already let the largest of the new units to 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[27] (close to St Marys 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.[28] It will feature housing, retail and entertainment use, including a new casino.


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 purposes.

Parliamentary representation

Luton is represented by two Members of Parliament. The constituency of Luton North has been held by Kelvin Hopkins (Labour) since 1997. Luton South has been held by Margaret Moran (Labour) also since 1997. Luton is within the East of England (European Parliament constituency).

Local council

Lutonians are governed by Luton Borough Council. The town is split into 19 wards, represented by 48 councillors. Elections are held for all seats every four years, with the most recent local elections held in May 2007 and the next due in May 2011. The Council is controlled by the Labour group, who have 26 Local Councillors (a majority of 5). The next largest party is the Liberal Democrats with 17 seats, followed by the Conservative Party with 5 seats.

Position Current Representatives
Members of Parliament
Kelvin Hopkins, Labour, elected 1997 · Margaret Moran, Labour, elected 1997
Borough Council Members
Waheed Akbar, Labour · Mohammed Ashrad, Labour  · Mohammad Ayub, Labour · Joan Bailey, Labour · Morel Benard, Labour · Norris Bullock, Labour · Jacqui Burnett, Labour · Gilbert Campbell, Conservative · Peter Champman, Liberal Democrats · Jenny Davies, Liberal Democrats · Roy Davies, Liberal Democrats · Roy J Davis, Labour · Michael Dooling, Liberal Democrats · Mohammed Farooq, Labour · Katie Foord, Conservatives · David Franks, Liberal Democrats · Michael Garrett, Conservatives · Robin Harris, Labour · Doris Hinkley, Liberal Democrats · Mahmood Hussain, Labour · Qurban Hussain, Liberal Democrats · Lynda Ireland, Labour · Tahir Khan, Labour · Michelle Kiansumba, Labour · Khtija Malik, Labour · Clive Mead, Liberal Democrats · Barry Neale, Liberal Democrats · Martin Pantling, Liberal Democrats · Lawrence Patterson, Liberal Democrats · Anna Pedersen, Liberal Democrats · Abdur Raquib, Labour · Mohammed Riaz, Labour · Sheila Roden, Labour · Sid Rutstein, Liberal Democrats · Raja Saleem, Labour · Tom Shaw, Labour · Mick Siederer, Liberal Democrats · Hazel Simmons, Labour · Margaret Simons, Conservative · Lakhbir Singh, Labour · Alan Skepelhorn, Liberal Democrats · Chris Smith, Liberal Democrats · Desline Stewart, Labour · Andy Strange, Liberal Democrats · Dave Taylor, Labour · Sian Timoney, Labour · John Titmuss, Conservatives · Don Worlding, Labour

Town Crest

The town crest: granted 25th July 1876.

In 1876 the town was granted its own coat of arms. The wheat sheaf was used on the crest to represent agriculture and the supply of wheat 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.[29][30]


A pedestrian suspension bridge spans the 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[31] (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[32] at Stopsley took advantage of the clay deposits in the east of the town.

The source of the River Lea, part of the Thames Valley drainage basin, is in the Leagrave area of the town. The 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 and the A6) and a major rail-link being constructed through the town.


Luton has a temperate marine climate, like much of the British Isles, with 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 Luton 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: [33] 2008-06-16


The 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
  2. Biscot
  3. Bramingham
  4. Challney
  5. Crawley Green
  6. Dallow
  7. Farley Hill
  8. High Town
  9. Icknield
  10. Leagrave
  1. Lewsey
  2. Limbury-cum-Biscot
  3. Northwell
  4. Round Green
  5. Saints
  6. South ward
  7. Stopsley
  8. Sundon Park
  9. Wigmore

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 is the 27th[34] largest settlement in the UK. Of this, 43,324 were under 15, 131,660 were between 16 and 74 and 9387 were over 74.[35] The Office for National Statistics mid-year estimate of the 2007 population is 188,800.[36] However, the Luton Borough Council Research and Intelligence Team criticise this figure as understating the recent immigration from Eastern Europe, and they estimate the true figure to be in the region of 203,800.[37][38]

Population since 1801 - Source: A Vision of Britain through Time[39]
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 Irish and Scottish people arrived in the town - these were followed by Afro-Caribbean and 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 Pakistani (9.8%), Bangladeshi (4.3%) and Indian (4.2%). The 2005 Office of National Statistics figures revealed that town had a white population of 68% (of which white British amounted to 61.3%).

Luton: Ethnicity: 2005 Office of National Statistics estimates[40]
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


The Methodist Chapel in High Town (built 1897)
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.[41]

The full statistics are as follows:[42]

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.[43]


Griffin House, headquarters of Vauxhall Motors
Hangar 89, EasyJet headquarters

Luton's economy has, traditionally been focused on several different areas of industry including Car Manufacture, engineering and millinery. However, today, Luton is moving towards a service based economy mainly in the retail and the airport sectors, although there is still a focus on light industry in the town.

Notable firms with headquarters in Luton include:

Notable firms with offices in Luton include:


The Mall Arndale, the main shopping destination in Luton.

The main shopping area in Luton is centred around The Mall Arndale. Built in the 1960s/1970s and opened as an 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, Italian, Chinese, Indian, Caribbean, Thai and 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 pubs in the town.


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 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 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.


University of Bedfordshire - 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 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.[48][49]

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.[50]

There are 98 educational institutes in Luton - seven Nurseries, 70 Primary schools (9 Voluntary-Aided, 2 Special Requirements), 13 Secondary Schools (1 Voluntary-Aided, 1 Special Requirements), four Further Educational Institutes and four other Educational Institutes.[51]

Culture and leisure


Kenilworth Road, the home to Luton Town Football Club

Sport In Bedfordshire Luton is the home town of Luton Town Football Club who have recently been relegated from the football league,[52] one below the 4th flight of the English league structure. Their nickname, "The Hatters", dates back to when Luton had a substantial millinery industry.

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 3 SE and Stockwood Park who also play in Midlands 3 SE.

Wardown Park

The Daisy-Chain Wall in Wardown Park.

Wardown Park is situated on the River Lea in Luton. The park has sporting facilities, is home to the Luton Museum & Art Gallery 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.[53]

Stockwood Park

Stockwood Park is a large municipal park near Junction 10 of the M1. The park houses the craft museum, the Mossman Collection and the period formal gardens which are all free of charge for visitors. 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.


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[54] 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.[55] Now on its 9th year,[56] the festival includes a parade, market stalls and music stands as well as Irish themed events.[57]


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.[58]


Luton Museum

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 of Bedfordshire, notably lace-making and hat-making. There are samples of local lace from as early as the 17th century.

The Wenlock Jug, a rare example of a jug cast, was almost sold to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art for £750,000 but was export-stopped in October 2005 by culture minister, David Lammy, based on a recommendation by the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest, run by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council.

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.

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

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

Twin towns

Luton participates in international town twinning; its partners[59] are:

Country Place County / District / Region / State Date
Germany Germany Wappen von Bergisch Gladbach.png Bergisch Gladbach Coat of arms of North Rhine-Westfalia.svg North Rhine-Westphalia 1956
France France Bourgoin-Jallieu Rhône-Alpes 1956
Sweden Sweden Eskilstuna Södermanland vapen.svg Södermanland 1949
Germany Germany Coat of arms of borough Spandau.svg Berlin-Spandau Coat of arms of Berlin.svg Berlin 1959
Germany Germany Wappen Wolfsburg.png Wolfsburg Coat of arms of Lower Saxony.svg Lower Saxony 1950

Notable Lutonians

People who were born in Luton or are associated with town.

By birth

By association



Two weekly newspapers are delivered free to all the houses in Luton. They are:

  • Herald and Post, delivered free to all Luton households on Thursdays.[60]
  • The Luton & Dunstable Express, delivered free to all Luton households on Wednesdays.[61]

There are also two other newspapers in circulation around Luton:

  • Luton News, the Herald & Post sister paper which is published every Wednesday.[62]
  • Lutonline, a monthly newspaper produced by the local council. Usually delivered with the The Luton And Dunstable Express.[63]



  • 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.
  • Anglia Television the ITV franchise holder for the East Anglia franchise region, which Luton is a part of.

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 The Rules of Luton, inspired by the town name.


  1. ^ Leadership=Mayor & Cabinet
  2. ^ British Pakistani elected new mayor of Luton
  3. ^ Luton Borough Council estimate for total population in 2007. ONS estimates for ethnicity in 2006. See the Demography section above for further information.
  4. ^ "Local Transport Plan: The Luton, Dunstable and Houghton Regis Conurbation" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  5. ^ Dyer J, Stygall F, Dony J, The Story of Luton, Luton, 1964, p 20
  6. ^ Dyer ibid, p 23
  7. ^ Dyer ibid, p 31
  8. ^ "Early history of Luton". Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  9. ^ "Doomsday book record". Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  10. ^ "History of St Mary's Church". Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  11. ^ "Luton Castle only lasted 15 years". Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  12. ^ "Vauxhall history". Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  13. ^ "A history hat making in Luton". Plaiting and Straw Hat Making. Luton Libraries. Retrieved 2008-06-18. 
  14. ^ "Website of Luton Hoo Hotel Golf and Spa". Retrieved 2008-06-18. 
  15. ^ "Population figures for 1801, 1901 and 1901". Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  16. ^ Dyer, ibid, p 141
  17. ^ Dyer, ibid, p 142
  18. ^ "Luton was made a borough". Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  19. ^ "Formation of Luton Town". Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  20. ^ Churchill Tanks at Vauxhall
  21. ^ Deaths during WWII
  22. ^ See book Luton at War volume II,compiled by The Luton News, 2001, ISBN 1-871199-49-2
  23. ^ Arndale opened in 1972
  24. ^ Vauxhall closure
  25. ^ St Georges Square on Luton Council Site
  26. ^ Award won by St Georges Square
  27. ^ Website for the development of Power Court
  28. ^ "Napier Park website". Retrieved 2008-06-18. 
  29. ^ "Luton Town Crest". Retrieved 2008-06-18. 
  30. ^ "Arms of Luton (England)". Retrieved 2008-06-18. 
  31. ^ Map of soil distribution in Beds
  32. ^ ISBN 1-871199-94-8
  33. ^ "Bedford 1971-2000 averages". Met Office. Retrieved 16 June 2008. 
  34. ^ KS01 Usual resident population: Census 2001, Key Statistics for urban areas
  35. ^ 2001 Census
  36. ^ Office for National Statistics, Table 8 Mid-2007 Population estimates (Excel spreadsheet within zip file).
  37. ^ Luton Borough Council Research and Intelligence Team. "Statistical Issues Relating to the ONS Population Estimates of Luton" (PDF). p. 32. Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  38. ^ Luton Borough Council, Population Estimates and Forecasts, estimate for 2007.
  39. ^ "Luton: Total Population". A Vision of Britain Through Time. Great Britain Historical GIS Project. Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  40. ^ "Ethnic groups % - 2005 estimates". Office of National Statistics. Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  41. ^ "Religion breakdown". National Statistics Office. Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  42. ^ "National Statistics". Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  43. ^ "Employment statistics". National Office of Statistics. Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  44. ^ "New headquarters for easyJet at London Luton Airport." Easyjet. Retrieved on 27 September 2009.
  45. ^ "customer services & other faqs." Monarch Airlines. Retrieved on 27 September 2009.
  46. ^ "Luton." Thomson UK. Retrieved on 27 September 2009.
  47. ^ "Corporate contact information." Vauxhall Motors. Retrieved on 2 September 2009.
  48. ^ Barnfield Newsletter
  49. ^ "Luton Sixth Form College". Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  50. ^ "L2G Building for the Future Programme details".,index. Retrieved 2008-06-19. 
  51. ^ "LEA School List". Luton Borough Council. Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  52. ^ "Luton Town homepage". Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  53. ^ "Luton Council website". Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  54. ^ "Luton Carnival Coverage on the BBC". Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  55. ^ BBC - Beds Herts and Bucks - Why Don't You - Luton's turning green!
  56. ^ St patrick's festival
  57. ^ St Patrick's Day party is coming to Luton - Luton Today
  58. ^ "Shout Luton Theatre Guide". Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  59. ^ "Town twinning". Luton Borough Council. Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  60. ^ "Herald and Post". Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  61. ^ "The Luton & Dunstable Express". Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  62. ^ "Luton News". Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  63. ^ "Lutonline homepage". Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  64. ^ "Three Counties Radio". Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  65. ^ "Diverse FM". Retrieved 2008-06-16. 

External links

Coordinates: 51°54′N 0°26′W / 51.9°N 0.433°W / 51.9; -0.433

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Luton [1] is a large town and local government district in the south-east of England, located 51 km (32 miles) north of London. It used to part of the county of Bedfordshire, but since 1997 it has been an administratively independent unitary authority. It remains part of Bedfordshire for ceremonial purposes. The town is known internationally primarily because of London Luton Airport [2], the home airport and headquarters of the low cost airline Easyjet.

Luton is a multicultural town with a population of towards 200,000. It was originally known as a center of the straw and hat making industry: hence "The Hatters", the nickname of Luton's football club. One or two hat making factories still exist in and around the Old Bedford Road area of the town. More recently, Luton was known as the home of Vauxhall cars and Whitbread brewing. Both are now shadows of their former selves.

Get in

By train

Luton has three railway stations, one in the city centre, one close to the airport and one towards the north of the town.

Luton Station is served by First Capital Connect and East Midland trains. From Luton, trains go north to Bedford, Kettering, Leicester, Loughborough and Nottingham. Southbound trains go to Luton Airport Parkway, St Albans, London, Gatwick Airport, Brighton, Wimbledon and Sutton.

The typical off peak service from this station is as follows:

First Capital Connect trains serve several stations in Central London, including Kings Cross Thameslink and Blackfriars

Luton Airport Parkway railway station opened in 1999 and is located south-east of Luton and west of the airport. A shuttle bus operates between the station and the airport, with a journey time of about ten minutes.

The station is located on the East Midland Line and is served by First Capital Connect and East Midland trains. From the station, you can travel north to Bedford, Kettering, Leicester, Loughborough and Derby. Passengers can also travel south to St Albans, London, Wimbledon, Sutton, London Gatwick Airport and Brighton. The typical off-peak service from this station is as follows:

  • 4 tph to Brighton via London and Gatwick Airport (First Capital Connect)
  • 2 tph to Sutton via London and Wimbledon (First Capital Connect)
  • 1 tph to London St Pancras (Midland Mainline)
  • 2 tph to Luton only (First Capital Connect)
  • 4 tph to Luton and Bedford (all stations) (First Capital Connect)
  • 1 tph to Derby via Leicester (fast to Bedford) (East Midland trains)

By plane

Luton has an international airport; the London Luton Airport. Frequent flights from many European destination are available, notably from the low cost carrier EasyJet.

Car parks serving Luton Airport
Address On/Off Airport Distance / Transfer Time Security Park Mark®
[3] Award
Additional Information
Luton Airparks
Grove Road, Slip End, Luton, LU1 4BZ
50 minutes
Fully secured car park with fencing, floodlights, 24 hour patrols and CCTV
No trailers, mobile homes or caravans are permitted within the Short Stay Compound.
Luton Mid Stay Car Park
London Luton Airport, Navigation House, Airport Way, Luton, Bedfordshire, LU2 9LY
Secured by a high perimeter fence, is well floodlit and is protected by 24hr CCTV surveillance and manned patrols
No trailers, mobile homes or caravans are permitted within the Mid Stay Compound
Luton Short Stay Car Park
London Luton Airport, Navigation House, Airport Way, Luton, Bedfordshire, LU2 9LY
Secured by a high perimeter fence, is well floodlit and is protected by 24hr CCTV surveillance and manned patrols.
No trailers, mobile homes or caravans are permitted within the Short Stay Compound
Luton Priority Parking
London Luton airport, Luton, Bedfordshire, LU2 9QT
Customer is met at terminal. No transfer required.
Manned 24 hours a day and has CCTV, floodlighting and a high perimeter fence
Customer is met at the terminal upon departure and arrival.


By Car

Luton is easily accessible by car. Situated about 5 minutes from the M1 junctions 10 and 11, travelling from the south/London and the north respectively. The A505 provides a link via Hitchin to the A1(M), and the Cambridge/Hertfordshire area.


Luton Tourist Information Centre is in Luton Central Library, St. George's Square, Luton, Tel: 01582 401579

  • Luton Museum & Art Gallery, Wardown Park, Old Bedford Road, Luton, Tel: 01582 546739 [4]
  • Stockwood Park Museum, Farley Hill, Luton LU1 4BH Tel: 01582 738714 [5]

Some surprisingly pleasant countryside is to be found around Luton. To the north of the town (in the village of Streatley) is a wooded hill named the Clappers, which is a good place for a walk. To the west of the town are Dunstable Downs, the eastern edge of the Chilterns and a popular place for walking, gliding and kite-flying.

  • Shaw's Corner, in Ayot St Lawrence (on the way to Welwyn Garden City). This was George Bernard Shaw's home and is now owned by the National Trust.
  • Whipsnade Zoo, just outside Dunstable.
  • Kenilworth Stadium,1 Maple Road, Luton, Bedfordshire, LU4 8AW [6], the home of Luton Town Football Club, offers footballing sights and sounds to the few thousand spectators who follow The Hatters. Kenilworth Road is best known to football supporters (and sociologists) as the venue for riots which broke out during and after a clash between Luton Town and Millwall in 1985.
  • Debenhams
  • Marks & Spencer newly built.
  • Primark
  • Wilkinson
  • TK Maxx

Luton's Arndale centre was the largest indoor shopping centre in Europe when it was opened in 1971, and it includes a large indoor market.

Better (that is, more interesting) shopping is to be found in nearby towns: St Albans, Hitchin and Welwyn Garden City.

  • Balti Nights, on on Wellington Street, just off the High Street by the Town Hall. Great value curry house, has an offer of a popadom, curry, rice and a naan for just £5. Lots of dishes to choose from and very vegetarian friendly. Despite the bargain prices they serve great curries freshly prepared and staff are very friendly and always remember you.
  • Bellini's, located in the town centre, is a bar and club by night, but during the day it serves up reasonably-priced, semi-Italian cuisine.
  • Lazim, in the Bury Park area, is a newly-opened Indian restaurant with delicious and affordable food; to get an incredibly-priced buffet, go for lunch or on Sunday evenings.
  • Leaside Hotel (listed in the accommodation section below) has the most varied menus, including British classics, Mediterranean food and seafood. Portions are generous and booking in advance is a good idea. A great range of food is also available at the bar. The mix of Victorian surroundings and unobtrusive modern touches make this place stand out in a town that many consider a desert for foodies. You should note that, at the time of writing, the main restaurant is closed on Sunday evenings, so do check if you are going on Sunday.
  • ZaZa, on Park Street. Authentic Italian family run restaurant. Huge portions and great value, a proper little piece of Italy in the heart of Luton.

For a quick bite, walk through the Arndale (large shopping centre) and grab some ethnic specialties in the market, such as an Indian samosa or savoury African pancake. There are also franchises like Costa, Gregg's, and McDonald's. Aroma, the Asian restaurant in the Galaxy, offers an incredible (though pricey) buffet; for cheaper prices, go for lunch.

  • White House, attached the Galaxy cinema/bowling/arcade complex. Very friendly atmosphere, complete with a fireplace, armchairs, and bookshelves lining the walls.
  • Hillhouse, 93 London Road, Luton, LU1 3RG 01582 722725. Single B&B from £30, Free wi-fi. [7]
  • Leaside Hotel,72 New Bedford Road, Luton, LU3 1BT, Tel:01582 417643 / Fax: 01582 734961 [8] Single from £60.
  • Stockwood Hotel,41/43 Stockwood Crescent, Luton, LU1 3SS, 01582 721000 [9] Single from £35.
  • Hotel St Lawrence, 40 Guildford Street, Luton, LU1 2PA, 01582 482119 [10] Single from £72, wireless internet at extra charge.
  • The Royal Hotel, 1 Mill Street, Luton :+44 (0)1582 400909 [11].

Get out

Luton is very well placed for travelling to many other interesting places.

  • London is just a 30-40 minute train journey away.
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

LUTON, a market town and municipal borough in the southern or Luton parliamentary division of Bedfordshire, England, 30 m. N.W. by N. of London by the Midland railway, served also by a branch of the Great Northern. Pop. (1901) 36,404. It lies in a narrow valley on the south flank of the Chiltern Hills, on the upper part of the river Lea. The church of St Mary is mainly Decorated, but has portions of Early English and Perpendicular work. It has brasses and monuments of interest and a late Decorated baptistery of stone, an ornate roofed structure, octagonal in form. The font within it is Early English. Luton is the principal seat in England of the straw-plait manufacture, and large quantities of hats and other straw goods have been exported, though in recent years the industry has suffered from increased foreign competition. The industry originated with the colony of straw-plaiters transplanted by James I. from Scotland, whither they had been brought from Lorraine by Queen Mary. The town has also foundries, motor car works and other manufactures. The borough is under a mayor, 6 aldermen and 18 councillors. Area, 3133 acres.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


Wikipedia has an article on:



Proper noun


  1. A town in Bedfordshire, England

also adjectival Luton van - a type of van or motor caravan body that extends to provide storage space over the cab

(generic brand name, as manufactured by Bedford Motors at their factory in Luton)

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