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Memorial Square and Clocktower
Coalville shown within Leicestershire
|Population||4,494 32,987 including conurbations|
|OS grid reference|
|District||North West Leicestershire|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||East Midlands|
|UK Parliament||North West Leicestershire|
Coalville is a town in North West Leicestershire, England. The area commonly referred to as 'Coalville' includes several industrial villages - including Bardon, Greenhill, Ellistown, Whitwick, Thringstone and Hugglescote - forming a loose conurbation. Coalville itself had, in 2001 a population of 4,494, with the total population of the conurbation estimated in 2003 to be around 33,000. It is situated on the A511 trunk road between Leicester and Burton upon Trent, close to junction 22 of the M1 motorway where the A511 meets the A50 between Ashby-de-la-Zouch and Leicester. Coalville is the administrative centre for North West Leicestershire District Council and a market town for the district; it borders the upland area of Charnwood Forest which lies to the town's east. It is twinned with Romans-sur-Isère in South East France.
As the name indicates, Coalville is a former coal mining town, with name coming from the name of the house of the owner of Whitwick Colliery, Coalville House. Coal has been mined in the area since medieval times and mine workings from these times can be found on the Hough Mill site at Swannington near the Califat Colliery site. A life-sized horse gin has been built on the Hough Mill site and craters can be seen in the ground, where the medieval villagers dug out their allocation of coal. The seam is at ground level in Swannington, but gradually gets deeper between Swannington and the deepest reserves at Bagworth; consequently it was not until mining technology advanced that shafts were sunk in Coalville. A disused colliery at Snibston has been regenerated into Snibston Discovery Park, a museum focused on transport, mining and engineering.
The town grew up with the advent of deep coal mining which was pioneered by William Stenson and involved the sinking of shafts on the Snibston site by George Stephenson. Quarrying, textile and engineering industries, such as railway wagon production, grew in the town in the 19th century. Stenson is sometimes described as the Father of Coalville.
The Leicester and Swannington Railway opened in 1832 reaching Coalville in 1833 and had a small station at Long Lane (now Ashby Road) in Coalville–-the first street in the town, which still has some of the original miners' cottages, which are next to the modern police station and opposite the sorting office. Snibston Colliery opened in 1833. The railway was extended to Burton upon Trent in 1845, placing Coalville on an important route between Burton and Leicester. Heavy coal traffic encouraged the construction of further railways linking Coalville to Nuneaton and Shepshed.
A fire underground at Whitwick Colliery (now under the Morrison's supermarket) led to the deaths of 35 men in 1898.
In the 20th century the railways to Nuneaton and Shepshed were closed and dismantled. Passenger services were withdrawn from the Leicester to Burton line in September 1964, but it remains open for goods traffic. Following the closure of the mines and the Palitoy Factory in the 1980s, the town fell on hard times. Effort was put into regeneration and the Whitwick Business Park now stands on top of the former Whitwick Colliery site. New business parks and industrial estates were constructed along the A511.
After 1993 there was an abortive plan to restore passenger trains on the Leicester-Burton line through Coalville as an extension of Leicestershire's Ivanhoe Line. In 2013, the train make a very rare pass through because of a cut off somewhere in the line.
With Coalville in slow decline, effort has been put in to try and regenerate the area (most shops are vacant and empty, including the big woolworths store which has been empty for a number of years).
Failed Regeneration Attempts
A £30million scheme to redevelop the Belvoir Shopping Centre in the towncentre was submitted in 2009, and approved by the borough council in March 2010. The plan included construction of an entirely new shopping centre which was to include a hotel, bars, shops, a six-screen cinema, a multi-storey car park and an 80,000 sq ft Sainsbury's supermarket. The plan was never undertaken however, with Labour Councillor John Legrys saying: "Many of us felt at the time the glitzy plans were pie in the sky and have been proved right." Liberal Democrat Councillor Michael Wyatt, agreed, saying "No-one with any common sense believed the development would go ahead.".
In 2011 another supermarket was initially planned for the towncentre, with the decision between an Asda store constructed on the site of a derelict factory, or a Tesco site on a site occupied by a Ford Garage and several shops and residences. Despite widespread local support for an Asda (and the fact there was already a Tesco superstore only 4 miles from the town; whilst the nearest Asda was 14 miles away), the borough council controversially approved the construction of the Tesco store. Residents and businesses were evicted from the council owned site on Hotel Street, but in 2012, Tesco pulled out of the planned development, deciding to invest instead in an extension of their superstore at Ashby-de-la-Zouch and seeing little point in having two stores so close to each other. The council initially turned back to Asda, but they were no longer interested in constructing a superstore, having, in the time in-between, acquired the discount supermarket chain Netto, and had converted their former store into a small convenience store. The decision has left Coalville with another derelict space in its towncentre. The council shouldered much of the blame for the fiasco, after it was revealed they had not properly supervised the progress of the project.
Other plans were to get in contact with TV personality and retail expert Mary Portas which was refused. The regeneration planned to demolish the whole town centre, and build larger, more mainstream shops, which included restaurants and a cinema, which also appears to have been refused.
There are a number of bus services that run through Coalville with the majority run by Arriva Midlands, who had a depot in the town on Ashby Road closed in March 2011 is derelict and may be demolished shortly. From Coalville, buses run to Leicester, Loughborough, Burton-on-Trent, Hinckley and East Midlands Airport.
There is now no railway station in Coalville. The nearest passenger railway station is Loughborough, about eight miles north east of Coalville. There have been calls to open the between Burton – Leicester Line for passenger trains (the line is currently closed at the Leicester end—the only traffic is the occasional Bardon Quarry stone) as part of the Ivanhoe Line but so far there are no plans for this to happen.
The town has a Further and Higher Education College, Stephenson College, which operates approximately 800 different courses in academic, vocational and industry-specific subjects. The college moved from former mining college buildings in the towncentre to buildings beside the A511. Stephenson Studio School, which opened to students in September 2011, is located in two "clusters" of Stephenson College, caters for 14–18 year olds.
King Edward VII Science and Sports College, (formerly "King Edward VII Community College", and earlier "King Edward VII Grammar School") caters for 14–18 year olds, providing GCSE's, A-Levels and a number of vocational courses. In 2008 the college joined the 88% of the state-funded secondary schools to gain a specialist designation under the former Specialist schools programme, gaining the status of 'specialist sports and science college'. In recognition of this, a new sports hall was constructed between 2009 and 2010. The main school building celebrated its centenary in 2009.
Castle Rock High School and Newbridge High School are both also specialist sports colleges, with student populations of around 600 and 400 respectively. Newbridge High School celebrated its centenary in 2008.
The town also has a number of primary schools including All Saints Church of England Primary School, Belvoirdale Primary School, Broom Leys Primary School and St Clares Catholic Primary School.
Snibston Discovery Museum is built on a site of the former Snibston Colliery, and is located on Ashby Road. It features interactive exhibits, an 0-4-0ST steam locomotive, a fashion gallery and more. The museum focuses on technology and design and how it affects everyday life.
Parish church and memorials
Coalville's parish church, Christ Church on London Road, was built between 1836 and 1838 (additions were made in 1853, 1894–95 and 1936). The architect was H. I. Stevens of Derby. The church houses a brass memorial plaque to the victims of the Whitwick Colliery Disaster (1898) and the gravestone of James Stephenson, who came here through the influence of his brother, George Stephenson, the engineer, to work as an official at the Snibston Colliery. There is a memorial to the fallen of the parish of both World War I and II in the Lady Chapel. This is in the form of a reredos on the chapel altar.
Other places of worship
The Ebeneezer Baptist Church on Ashby Road was built in 1881 by a body of men and women who had previously belonged to the London Road Baptist Church (now demolished). The church once played a prominent part in the musical life of the town, and it was here that the Snibston Colliery Miner's Welfare Silver Prize Band was formed.
In 1861, a Primitive Methodist Church was built next to the railway crossing on Belvoir Road. This structure still exists, with lancet windows still visible at the rear of the premises as one walks along the footpath which follows the route of the old railway line. This church was replaced by a new building in Marlborough Square in 1903. This was built to seat 600 people, with school hall, vestries and classrooms. The title 'Primitive Methodist', became obsolete in 1932 when the Primitive and Wesleyan Methodists united nationally in 1932. Today, the church is known as simply, the Marlborough Square (or Coalville) Methodist Church. The old Wesleyan Methodist Chapel building still exists a short distance away, now used as a community resource, known as the Marlene Reed Centre.
There was also once another Methodist Church on the London Road. This was founded in 1910 by United Methodists from the United Methodist Church in Loughborough. Thus Coalville once had three different Methodist factions active within the town—all with their own chapels, the Primitive, Wesleyan and United Methodists. All of these branches were united nationally in 1932, though the London Road Church still continued to be served from Loughborough until 1943, when the chapel was transferred to the Coalville circuit and served by a minister who lived opposite, at number 76, London Road. The church was once known for its lovely garden, but sadly closed some years ago and has since been demolished, the site subsequently being used for new housing.
Saint Wilfrid of York Catholic Church stands on London Road, next to Coalville Park. The church was consecrated in 1961. Saint Wilfrid's welcomes a community of people of many nationalities.
Other places of worship
Coalville Evangelical Church, an independent church affiliated with the FIEC, can be found on Belvoir Road, and there is a Pentecostal church (Full Gospel Mission) on James Street; Jehovah's Winesses have a modern 'Kingdom Hall' on Albert Road and there is also a Spiritualist church (Spiritualists' National Union) on Bridge Road.
A well known landmark at the centre of the town is the clock tower, a war memorial in memory of Coalville residents who gave their lives in the 20th century's two world wars: The memorial clock tower was designed by Henry Collins and built by W Moss Ltd in 1925 at a cost of £2,250. It was designed to replace the first cenotaph to The Fallen which had been installed in the boundary wall of the railway station in 1919. The memorial clock was officially opened by Mrs Booth of Gracedieu Manor at a memorial service on October 31, 1925. Ten thousand people attended and the Coalville Company of the 5th Leicestershire regiment led a procession, headed by the regimental band. A procession of ex-servicemen and a detachment of C squadron of the Leicestershire Yeomanry marched from Whitwick and another party of ex-servicemen, including 22 surviving members of the 'first fifty' was led from the Fox and Goose public house by The Hugglescote and Ellistown Band. The tower rises 68 feet above pavement level and is a Grade II listed building.
The town's nightclub, Emporium, was the UK's largest independent "superclub" and was twice voted "Best large club" at the Hard Dance Awards. DJs such as DJ Tiesto, Paul Oakenfold, Paul Van Dyk and Armin van Buuren.
In September 2013 it was announced, following financial problems, the Emporium club would close.
- Hugh Adcock- (1903–1975) former Leicester City, Bristol Rovers and England footballer
- Tina Baker – TV presenter, born in Coalville in 1958
- William Bees – Recipient of the Victoria Cross, buried in the London Road Cemetery
- MC Pitman – Hip-Hop Artist who performs in the persona of a Coalville miner
- George Smith (1831–95) – Victorian philanthropist (campaigner for the abolition of child labour)
- Gemma Steel – British long-distance runner who competes in road running and cross country running competitions.
- William Stenson – Mining Engineer, founder of Whitwick Colliery; plaque on London Road marks site of former residence
- Norman Bird – actor (1920–2005) b. Coalville, made over 60 screen appearances but was even more prolific on television, with over 200 appearances including Z Cars, Up the Workers, The Saint and Worzel Gummidge
- Tom Hopper – actor (born 1985) has appeared in Casualty (1986) (TV), Saxon (2007) and in Doctor Who (2010) (TV). In 2011, he was cast in perhaps his most notable screen role as the valiant knight Sir Percival, the strongman on the BBC fantasy series Merlin
- Steve Whitworth (born 20 March 1952) is an English former professional footballer who made nearly 600 appearances in the Football League playing for Leicester City, Sunderland, Bolton Wanderers and Mansfield Town. He was capped seven times for England
- Kathleen Fidler 1899–1980 Writer born in Coalville – author of over eighty books for children, many of which were broadcast on BBC Radio Children's Hour and Schools programmes.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Coalville.|
- https://www.nwleics.gov.uk/files/documents/coalville/Coalville.pdf. Retrieved 5 June 2013. Missing or empty
- "DEMOGRAPHIC PROFILE OF NORTH WEST LEICESTERSHIRE", Leicestershire County Council, 2005, retrieved 2011-07-10
- "Ambitious shops scheme in doubt". Leicester Mercury. 24 Feb 2011. Retrieved 5 June 2013.
- "A big day for Tesco, a terrible day for Coalville". Retrieved 5 June 2013.
- "Specialist Schools". The Standards Site. Department for Children, Schools and Families. Retrieved 15 April 2010.
- Pevsner, Nikolaus (1960) The Buildings of England: Leicestershire and Rutland, Penguin Books, p. 88
- Introduction to Coalville, local publication from North West Leicestershire Official Guide, c. 1970
- Emporium Club, Coalville
- Examples of Coalville dialect
- Coalville Town website – helping to promote the town and local businesses
- Coalville on Leicestershire Villages