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Luton is a large town in the historic county Bedfordshire in the East of England with a population of around 216,800 according to 2011 census. It is situated 30 miles northwest of London and 22 miles southeast of Milton Keynes. London Luton Airport, one of the major airport of United Kingdom is located 1.7 miles east of the town centre and was opened in 1938. The town is home to the University of Bedfordshire and the English Football League Two team or League Two team is also based in the city. The town remained popular for its hat making business for many years. The headquarters of the Vauxhall Motors, one of the oldest vehicle manufacturers in Great Britain is based in the town. The largest one day carnival of Europe ‘Luton International Carnival’ is held every year in the Luton.
The traces of the early human settlement of the area was found at Mixes hill and Round Green. The 250,000 years old Palaeolithic encampments were also found at the same place. The remains of the Neolithic period included Waulud’s Bank is much more common. It has been believed that the town is discovered by the Anglo-Saxons in the 6th century and named the city after River Lea. The town’s population was around 800, and the economy was based on the agriculture. The work of the St Mary’s Church was completed in 1137. In 1139, a motte and bailey castle was built, later on, it was demolished in 1154. The place of the castle is now occupied by British fashion and homeware retailer, Matalan. There were six watermills in the town during the Medieval Period.
In the 13th century, a market for surrounding villages was held in the town every year. The second fair was granted to the town from 1338 with the growth of the town. The town was severally affected by the large fire in 1336. However, the town was rebuilt rapidly after the fire. The agriculture base of the town was replaced by brick making industry in the 16th century, and many older wooden houses were rebuilt in brick. The Royalists entered the town during the English Civil War and demanded goods and money in the 17th century. The royalists were attacked by parliamentary forces, and most of the royalists escaped from the town. The hat making industry dominated the economy of the town by the 18th century. The hat making business is still into operations but on the very smaller scale. In 1722, the first Luton Workhouse was built on Dunstable Road.
The population of the town was recorded 3095 in 1801. The town saw a large expansion in the 19th century resulted in the population of around 39,000 by 1901. The gas was supplied to the town in 1834 and gas street lights were elevated in 1847. The work of water and sewerage system was completed in 1860 followed by the major epidemic cholera spread in the town in 1848. The town gained the status of the borough in 1876. The hat making industry was replaced by other industries in the 20th century. The largest car plant was opened by Vauxhall Motors in 1905 and employed 30,000 people. The production of cars was ended in 2000, and the plant closed in 2002.
Traditionally, the town’s economy has been based on Car manufacturing and engineering sector. The focus of the economy is now shifting to service industry particularly in the retail and airport sectors. However, the light industry still operates in the town. The town is home to the headquarters of the well-known firms including Monarch Airlines, EasyJet, Vauxhall Motors and Impellam Group. The principal employers in the town include Luton Borough Council, Aircraft Service International Group, Menzies Aviation, University of Bedfordshire and Luton and Dunstable University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
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