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Sileby shown within Leicestershire
|Population||6,331 (at 2001 Census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||East Midlands|
Sileby is a former industrial village and civil parish in the Soar Valley in Leicestershire, between Leicester and Loughborough. Nearby villages include Barrow upon Soar, Mountsorrel, Ratcliffe-on-the-Wreake, Seagrave and Cossington.
The origins of the village date back to around 840 AD.
Traditionally, Sileby was split into two wards, separated by the brook that flows through the middle of the village. These are St Mary’s to the north and St Gregory’s to the south. Recently however, due to Boundary Commission changes, a third ward of ‘Barrow West’ was added albeit as an arbitrary boundary essentially for electoral purposes. This division was strongly resented at the time owing to local rivalries and the idea of a portion of the village being annexed was not popular. In practice however this division is largely ignored. Even the idea of the two traditional wards is becoming somewhat lost as the village grows and new people move in unaware of the significance of the historical division.
One of Sileby's most distinguishing features is the Anglican church of St. Mary founded around 1152. It is a Grade II* listed building, and only 4% of listed buildings in the country are Grade II* status, which means it is of very significant interest. The Gothic tower now houses a fine ring of 10 bells, which attract ringers from far and wide.
Pubs include The Horse and Trumpet (Steaming Billy), "The Free Trade Inn", The Swan and The Malthouse, and these cater for all tastes. The Horse and Trumpet ("Steaming Billy"), located at the top of Mountsorrel Lane opposite St Mary’s Church is a regular village drinking house offering food, frequent entertainment and has a pool table and skittle alley to the rear. Further towards the middle of the village on Swan Street is The White Swan. On the High Street lies The Malt House (formerly The Duke of York), a much-extended and refurbished establishment catering more for the sports-orientated and generally attracting a mixture of clientele. The only pub in St Gregory’s ward is the Free Trade Inn (now a block of flats) which stands at the junction of Cossington Road and Manor Drive. This is one of the oldest buildings in Sileby, dating back to the 15th century. This is a traditional pub serving some food but is generally a ‘drinking’ pub boasting a wide variety of beer and lager.
The village also has two private members' clubs – The Working Men’s Club on King Street (next to the Horse and Trumpet), and The Constitutional Club on Cossington Road. Both clubs have separate function rooms.
The Working Men’s club has a wide range of age groups amongst its membership, and holds traditional bingo nights.
The Constitutional Club has many facilities on offer including a full-size snooker table, pool table, long-alley skittles and a private function room. The club is Sileby's top venue for live bands on Saturday nights (see the advertising notices outside of the Club), holds popular bingo sessions every Wednesday night 9pm and Sunday afternoon 4pm, regular general knowledge and music quizzes raising money for charity. The club is also the home of the extremely popular Sileby Annual Flower & Vegetable Show held each September. There is also the hugely popular Sparkys Santa Sunday held on the first Sunday in December with many displays, stalls and hog roast to get you ready for the seasons festivities.
Sileby has a great number of sporting clubs, many of which have enjoyed success in recent years. There are well established clubs and facilities for Cricket, Football, Tennis and Lawn Bowls, as well as many others clubs for Rugby Football, Baseball and Shooting amongst others.
Sileby Town Cricket Club, whose ground is located on Mill Lane on the outskirts of the village, had a highly successful season in 2006 with their first XI gaining promotion to the Everards Premier League by winning the First Division in dramatic style on the final day of the season, as well the second XI gaining promotion to Everards division four and numerous other cup and league successes. The Under 15's team unexpectedly finished as Runners up in the Portman National Finals, a competition contested amongst 1670 other teams.
2006 also saw the formation of the Sileby Town Rugby Football Club, otherwise known as the Sileby Vikings. From modest beginnings the club has grown into a genuinely competitive club and, with its support from local firm Hillyer Transport, aims to become an established force in local rugby in the future. This season 2010/11 saw the club get its own ground at Platts Lane in Cossington. The opening day was attended by many fans and supporters, however the most notable personality was Matt Hampson, who did the honours by officially opening the ground. The club has been active over the last 3 seasons in raising funds for the Leicestershire Air ambulance by pulling a truck from Loughborough to Sileby. Every year the route gets longer and the support increases. The club has achieved back to back promotions, leading to a decision to move away from the Leicestershire leagues into the Midlands competition. The 2013/14 season will see the Vikings competing in Midlands 5. In order to deal with the increased demands on the squad, training has been increased to twice a week at Platts Lane, Cossington and a good recruitment plan has seen the addition of new players to the team.
Sileby has a community magazine, Talk@Sileby. The magazine is published by volunteers three times a year. Electronic copies of all issues can be found on the village website (another project run by volunteers).
The Sileby Community Centre is located on the High Street and has a large main hall with numerous ancillary rooms including a kitchen and bar, as well as a separate Sports Hall. It is housed in what was formerly a Wesleyan Chapel that was given to the village some years ago and is now managed by the Parish Council.
There is an active Scout Group, which meets at its HQ on Brook Street, a former shoe factory.
Each year in September there is the Sileby Annual Flower and Vegetable Show held at Sileby Conservative Club. This is an extremely popular event in which local residents and growers of all standards are welcomed to come along and take part.
- David Howe, speedway rider
- Chris Needham, of BBC Teenage Video Diaries fame with his 1992 In Bed With Chris Needham documentary
The village has expanded greatly in the past 5 years, with several hundred new houses being built, it would appear that all available land - however small - has been developed for housing in line with the prevailing government directive of using Brownfield sites before Greenfield land sites. Whilst this in many ways is an advantage to the village, the potential long term damage caused by additional vehicles on the village roads, pollution and the strain on village amenities has yet to be measured.
- "Speedway: Leicester Lions fans get ready to roar at Rye House", Leicester Mercury, 19 March 2010, retrieved 2011-06-01
- "The Chris Needham Interview, Part 4 - Nottingham Articles - LeftLion.co.uk". leftlion.co.uk. Retrieved 2 June 2011. "I’ve always lived in Sileby"
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