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.
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.
The town has three rugby union clubs – Stockwood Park Rugby Club who play in Midlands 3 SE, Luton Rugby Club who play in London 1 North, and Vauxhall Motors RFC who do not currently play in the RFU league structure.
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.
As the UK’s fifth largest airport, this guide has been developed to provide a handy reference for those travelling to, from or through Luton Airport. Luton airport provides a wide range of facilities including those for business, children and disabled travellers.
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.
Contained within the main shopping centre is the market, which contains butchers, fishmongers, fruit and veg, hairdressers, tattoo parlours, ice cream, flower stall, T-shirt printing and the markets original sewing shop for clothes alterations and repairs as well as eating places.
Speedway racing was staged in Luton in the mid-1930s.
There are 98 educational institutes in Luton – seven nurseries, 56 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.
London Luton Airport, opened in 1938, is one of England's major airports. During the Second World War it doubled as an RAF base.
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 Gavin Shuker (Labour) since 2010. Luton is within the East of England European Parliament constituency.
Luton International 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.
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 698 mm (27.5 in) with rain falling on 117 days of the year.
The Mossman collection of horse-drawn vehicles was given to Luton Museum Service in 1991. It illustrates the development of horse-drawn road transport in Britain from Roman times up until the 1930s.
Luton is home to the UK Centre for Carnival Arts (UKCCA), the country's first purpose-built facility of its kind.
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, 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 Queen in the corner of St George's Square.
In the ten-year period since the United Kingdom Census 2001, the percentage of inhabitants in Luton reporting being Christian fell from 60 to 47%. Meanwhile, those reporting being Muslim increased from 15 to 25%.
Bedfordshire County Cricket Club is based at Wardown Park and is one of the county clubs which make up the Minor Counties in the English domestic cricket structure, representing the historic county of Bedfordshire and competing in the Minor Counties Championship and the MCCA Knockout Trophy.
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People who were born in Luton or are associated with the town.
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.
Airport CEO Nick Barton said: “Our ambitious redevelopment project is crucial for meeting the consistently high levels of demand for air travel we’re seeing in the Southeast – our record-breaking May is testament to this.
Priority Parking is the closest to the terminal
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 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.
Luton's schools and colleges had 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. Some schools were rebuilt before the programme was scrapped by the coalition government.
Another major shopping area is Bury Park where there are shops catering to Luton's ethnic minorities.
Luton Borough Council applied for city status at the Millennium in 2000, Golden Jubilee of Elizabeth II in 2002 and Diamond Jubilee in 2012. The latest bid was rejected in March 2012.
According to the Luton Borough Council, the principal employers in the town are:
Luton received a gas supply in 1834. Gas street lights were erected and the first town hall was opened in 1847.
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.
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The University of Bedfordshire is based in the town.
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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 other European Union countries 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 29,353 (14.4%), Indian 10,625 (5.2%) and Bangladeshi 13,606 (6.7%).
ParkingThe Library car park is currently closed until further notice. The nearest car parks to us are the Railway Station (5 minute walk), Central Car Park (10 minute walk) and Market Car Park (15 minute walk). Cineworld does not own or operate any car park and conditions of use are subject to change.
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.