Selbourne Road & Leagrave Road, Bury Park
|Population||Within Biscot and Dallow wards|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||LU1, LU4|
|Fire||Bedfordshire and Luton|
|Ambulance||East of England|
|EU Parliament||East of England|
Bury Park is an area of Luton located one mile north west of the town centre on the road to Dunstable. The area is roughly bounded by Claremont Road and Highfield Road to the north, Telford Way to the south, Hatters Way to the west, and the Midland Main Line to the east.
Since the mid-1970s a large Muslim community have settled. Bury Park has a large commercial area specialising in fruit, vegetables, and muslim clothing. There is a significant number of restaurants in the area, particularly serving Halal food. The main road through the area has recently undergone significant updating with new tree planting, improvements to the road layout, paving and street furniture.
Bury Park takes its name from Bury Farm, which was situated near to where Kenilworth Road is now.
An estate was erected on the fields of the farm, and the first houses were occupied in 1882. Church school halls were opened in 1895, Bury Park United Reformed Church Church was built in 1903, and Luton Industrial Co-operative Society Ltd opened a general store at the junction of Dunstable Road and Leagrave Road in 1906. The Anglican church of All Saints was opened in 1907 and a new church built in 1923 in Shaftesbury Road. Before moving to the Kenilworth Road ground, Luton Town played their home games on a flat field that became the site of the Odeon cinema. Dunstable Road was lined with Victorian houses, each with a neatly fenced garden, but the character of the road altered with the coming of the trams in 1908; the houses were turned into shops, and their front gardens became paved forecourts. By 1926, the shops included a "High-Class Pastry Cook and Confectioner" at 273 Dunstable Road.
Traffic has long been a problem in the area. In 1926, complaints were made that horses and carts were causing obstructions by stopping at a water trough at the junction of Dunstable Road and Leagrave Road. In the following years the junction was covered by constables on point duty.
Edgar Barber established an aeroplane propeller factory during World War I at 116 Bury Park Road. This was converted into a cinema called the Empire, which opened in 1921 and which closed in 1938 when the new Odeon opened on Dunstable Road. The Odeon with 1958 seats was designed by Keith P. Roberts, and is now a listed building.
During World War II the old Empire was requisitioned for "government purposes". After the war it was used as a synagogue, and then later as an Islamic centre. The Odeon was used for music concerts as well as for showing films; The Beatles played there in 1963. It eventually closed in 1983 and re-opened as a Top Rank Bingo Club. After local objections when its name changed to Mecca Bingo, it finally closed in 1999 and became a church.
Churches and mosques
The converted cinema in Dunstable Road is now the UK headquarters of the Calvary Church of God in Christ pastored by Jurisdictional Bishop, Rev Dr. Alvin Blake. The church is the current host of the Luton Churches Together service held on Pentecostal Sunday every year.
The Luton skyline includes the Luton Central Mosque in Westbourne Road, foundations of which were laid by the late Waliat Hussain Jarral (also alternatively known as Walayat) who laid its foundations in 1982. Born in Kashmir, the founder died aged 72, on 24 June 2010 after a battle with cancer. But his legacy remains, as having founded one of the first purpose built mosques in Britain and the biggest purpose built in modern Europe in the early 1980s. A dispute over who should run the mosque led to a highly publicised High Court battle, as a result of which the building changed hands to a section of the Pakistani community in Luton, and has remained so ever since.
The more recent Islamic Centre in Bury Park Road, also serves the Islamic community in Luton and occupies the former synagogue.
The wards form part of the parliamentary constituency of Luton South, and the MP is Gavin Shuker (Labour). Bury Park is within the East of England (European Parliament constituency).
|Accessible open space|
|Museum (free/not free)|
Two weekly newspapers are delivered free to all the houses in Bury Park. However, they are not specific to Bury Park. They are:
- Asian Community Network, Luton Shopping Guide.
- Ordnance Survey, Bedfordshire 33NW, surveyed circa 1879, published 1888.
- K. Cooper, Luton Scene Again, Phillimore, 1990, ISBN 0-85033-775-5, captions to plates 43 to 46 and 58.
- T. J. Madigan, The Men Who Wore Straw Hats: Policing Luton 1840–1974, Book Castle, 1993, ISBN 1-871199-81-6 (h/b), ISBN 1-871199-11-5 (p/b), page 46.
- E. Grabham, From Grand to Grove: Entertaining South Bedfordshire, Book Castle, 2007, ISBN 978-1-903747-83-4, pages 76, 139 and 146.
- E. Grabham, op. cit., pages 80, 159, 207, 236 and 254.
- Calvary Church of God in Christ (United Kingdom) Archived 11 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine..