Nuneaton is 9 miles (14 km) north of Coventry, 20 miles (32 km) east of Birmingham and 103 miles (166 km) northwest of London. The River Anker runs through the town.
Towns close to Nuneaton include Bedworth, Atherstone and Hinckley, with Tamworth and Lutterworth a little further afield. The town lies 3 miles from the Leicestershire border, 8 miles from Staffordshire and 12 miles from Derbyshire.
Nuneaton's name came from a 12th century Benedictine nunnery (parts of which still exist) around which much of the town grew. Prior to this it was a settlement known as 'Etone', which translates literally as 'water-town'. Nuneaton was listed in the Domesday Book as a small hamlet. A market was established in 1233, which is still held. The first recorded use of the modern name was in 1247 when a document recorded it as 'Nonne Eton'. The nunnery fell into disrepair after 1539, with Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries. King Edward VI School was established by a royal charter in 1552. From 1944 it became a grammar school for boys and, although it was locally known as KEGS, it never included the word "grammar" in its name. In 1974 it became a sixth form college. The other grammar schools in Nuneaton in the 1944 to 1974 period were Nuneaton High School for Girls and Manor Park. Nicholas Chamberlaine School in Bedworth was an early comprehensive school that had a grammar school stream.
Nuneaton grew gradually from the 17th century onwards, due to its position at the centre of the Warwickshire coalfields. At the time of the first national census in 1801 Nuneaton was one of the largest towns in Warwickshire, with a population of 5,000. During the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, Nuneaton developed a large textile industry. Other industries which developed in the town included brick and tile making and brewing. By 1901 the population of Nuneaton had grown to 25,000.
Nuneaton parish included the settlements of Attleborough and Stockingford. The parish was joined with Chilvers Coton parish in 1894 to form an urban district. Nuneaton was upgraded to the status of a municipal borough in 1907 and the parish of Weddington was added.
Due largely to munitions factories being located in Nuneaton, the town suffered heavy bombing damage during the Second World War. The heaviest bombing raid on Nuneaton took place on 17 May 1941, when 100 people were killed, 380 houses were destroyed, and over 10,000 damaged; several smaller raids took place on the town, most notably on 25 June 1942. As a result of the bombing, much of the town centre was rebuilt in the post-war years.
On 6 June 1975, six people died and 38 were injured when a train crashed as it was approaching Nuneaton railway station. In 2015 on the 40th anniversary of the train crash, raised money and a plaque was unveiled to remember those who lost their lives and to also remember all volunteers and members of the emergency services who worked tirelessly throughout the rescue operation
An ancient abbey church founded at 'Eaton' in the 1150s was home to Benedictine nuns and gave the present town the name 'Nuneaton'.
Little remains of the original building. The cruciform church was sold after the Dissolution and converted into a mansion. Abandoned in the 17th century it was quarried away until all that remained by the 1860s were the foundations, some low walls and the battered crossing piers of the former central tower.
In 1876–77 four of the original seven bays of the nave were rebuilt on the old foundations in Neo-Romanesque style by the Gothic Revival architect C. C. Rolfe with the old crossing piers enclosed by a temporary brick structure for use as a chancel. The west wall was left in plain brick to allow for possible completion of the nave on the ancient footings further west at a later date, though this remains incomplete.
In 1904 the chancel was rebuilt in neo-Gothic style on the old foundations east of the crossing by architect Harold Brakspear, followed by the north transept in 1930. He planned to restore the south transept and central tower too, but never did so, leaving the south transept as a ruin sealed off by the 1877 'temporary' brick wall and leaving the church comprising half the nave, the chancel, north transept and base of the crossing.
Inside the ruined crossing piers remain from the original church, as well as part of a medieval tiled floor and the bases of what remained of the walls. Outside, the ruins of the nave and south transept remain, along with the base of what is thought to have been a chapter house.
The church (such as it stands) is used as the Parish Church of St. Mary and is known locally as the Abbey Church. The tradition of the church is Anglo-Catholic.
Despite this building's significance in Nuneaton's past and its recent history, it is a relatively unknown place, with little promotion or signage.
Nuneaton's traditional industries like textiles and manufacturing have declined significantly in the post-war years. Due to its transport links, Nuneaton is now largely a commuter town for nearby Coventry and Birmingham. However electronics and distribution remain major economic activities in the town. MIRA Limited, formerly the Motor Industry Research Association, is based on a disused wartime airfield on the A5, to the north of the town. One of the biggest developments in the town's history, the multi-million pound Ropewalk Shopping Centre, opened on 1 September 2005 in the hope that it will give the town extra income from the shopping, attract more visitors and retailers, and attract shoppers as an alternative to larger retail centres such as Birmingham, Coventry, Leicester and Solihull, with other shopping available at the longer established Abbeygate Shopping Centre located in the centre of the town. Holland & Barrett has its headquarters based in the town while Bermuda Park, which is south of Nuneaton, is the location of the national distribution centres of Dairy Crest and RS Components. Nuneaton is also the location of several international online marketing companies.
Nuneaton is part of the constituency of the same name in the House of Commons. The constituency is currently represented by the Conservative Party Member of Parliament (MP), Marcus Jones, who was first elected in the 2010 general election, and re-elected in the 2015 general election. From 1935–1983 Nuneaton was a safe Labour seat, but it has since been more marginal. Between 1983 and 1992, the Conservatives held the seat, until losing it back to Labour. For the next 18 years, the Labour Party (in the form of Bill Olner) was the local representative at Parliament, until his retirement. At the 2010 general election, the parliamentary seat was taken by Marcus Jones (the Conservative candidate). Marcus Jones held his seat at the 2015 general election, which was described as a landmark point, as it was the point in which the exit poll became generally accepted over the pre-election polls.
The local council, Nuneaton and Bedworth, is currently controlled by the Labour party. On 1 April 1974, as a part of wholesale local authority reorganisation, the then Nuneaton Borough Council was merged with the neighbouring Bedworth Urban District to form a new district council. Borough status was conferred on the new district on 15 November 1976. The new council was initially known as "Nuneaton Council" and then "Nuneaton Borough Council". However, in 1980, following objections from Bedworth residents, the name of the Borough was changed to "Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council". The council was controlled by the Labour Party from 1973, when the shadow council was elected in preparation for the 1974 merger, until the 2008 local elections, when the Conservatives gained control, ending 35 years of Labour rule. (Further reading: Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council election, 2008) However, the period of Conservative control was relatively short lived. The Labour Party won two seats from the Conservative Party in the 2010 local elections, giving no party overall control of the council (but leaving the Labour Party as the largest grouping). (Further reading: Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council election, 2010) In 2012 Labour gained a further 8 seats to regain overall control. (Further reading: Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council election, 2012)
Nuneaton is currently covered by 11 of the borough's 17 electoral wards (see table below). Each ward elects two councillors, who serve 4 year terms. There are elections every 2 years.
Nuneaton's name reflects the effect that Christianity has had upon the town's history. Although the Benedictine nunnery which gave the town its name was destroyed at the time of the Reformation, the remaining fragments were incorporated into the Anglican church building now known as the Abbey Church of St Mary the Virgin in Manor Court Road. This is a Victorian construction.
Near the town centre, but unusually not a part of it and outside the ring road, lies the mediaeval church of St. Nicolas- a grade I listed building. Chilvers Coton contains All Saints' Church, where Mary Ann Evans (George Eliot) worshipped and Justin Welby, now Archbishop of Canterbury, served as a curate. This was badly damaged by bombing during the Second World War, and rebuilt largely by German prisoners of war. There are also Anglican churches in Weddington (St James's), Attleborough (Holy Trinity), Stockingford (St Paul's), Galley Common (St Peter's), Abbey Green (St Mary's), and more recently built(1954), in Camp Hill (St Mary's & St John's).
There are two parishes in the town serving the Catholic community in Nuneaton. Our Lady of the Angels on Coton Road, was opened in 1838 (originally as St Mary's). The building, designed by Jospeph Hansom, was extensively remodeled in 1936. The Parish of St Anne's, Chapel End, Nuneaton was created in 1949 out of the Parish of Our Lady of the Angels (which originally covered the whole town). The original church building was replaced with the existing church, which was opened in 2000.
In the town, Baptist, Methodist, Wesleyan Reform Union, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Pentecostal, the Salvation Army and United Reformed churches serve their respective congregations.
A Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses is located in the Stockingford area.
In addition to Christianity, there are also followers of Islam, Sikhism and Hinduism. There is a mosque on Frank Street, Chilvers Coton and two gurdwaras (Sikh temples): the Nuneaton Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Park Avenue, Attleborough, and the Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur Gurdwara in Marlborough Road, Chilvers Coton.
A number of Jewish families have settled in and around Nuneaton over the past two centuries as local industries have grown and ebbed. Historically, families would travel for important life events and holidays to worship at the mediaeval Spon Street Synagogue in Coventry, at the short lived Hinckley Synagogue in the early 20th century and most recently, in the modern Coventry Reform Synagogue. There has never been a formal, organised community in the area and most Jewish people are now elderly, with younger more observant people moving to larger communities in London and Manchester.
The Baha'i Faith was introduced to Nuneaton in the early 1970s and now has a community of over 30 members.
In the 2011 Census, 63.6% of the population of Nuneaton and Bedworth said they were Christian, 24.0% of no religion, 2.3% Muslim, 2.2% Sikh, 1.1% Hindu, and 0.7% Buddhist or of other religions. 6.1% did not state their religion.
The local radio stations are:BBC Coventry & Warwickshire: 104.0FM
The New 107 Oak FM (formerly Fosseway Radio): 107.9FM
Free Radio Coventry and Warwickshire (formally known as Mercia Sound and Mercia FM): 97.0FM
Anker Radio – which serves the George Eliot Hospital, but can be heard on 1386am.
BBC Radio Leicester can be received in the town on 104.9FM.
The main local newspapers are:The Tribune (formerly the People's Tribune (1895), Midland Counties Tribune (1903) and Nuneaton Evening Tribune (1957)): It is owned by Trinity Mirror's Coventry Newspapers (publisher of the Coventry Telegraph). Covering 'northern Warwickshire' (particularly Nuneaton, Bedworth and Atherstone), the free paper is available weekly to collect at many newsagents in the area on a Thursday or Friday.
The Nuneaton Telegraph; a localised sub-edition of the Coventry Telegraph, it was launched in 1992 (when the aforementioned Tribune switched from daily to weekly production).
The Nuneaton News (originally known as the Evening News upon launch and then the Heartland Evening News): Owned by Local World, it is published on weekdays. The Wednesday edition is circulated free throughout the town, whereas the daily paper on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday are paid. It was founded in 1992, following the decision of the Tribune's publisher to switch to a weekly freesheet.
The Nuneaton area is covered on regional TV News by:BBC Midlands Today
ITV News Central
The town is near the M6, the M42 and M69 motorways and the main A5 trunk road (Watling Street), which also acts as a border with Leicestershire and the neighbouring town of Hinckley. The A444 provides a high-speed dual-carriageway route into the town from the south and also acts as the often busy town centre ring road. The A47 links the town with neighbouring Hinckley and onwards to Leicester, and the A4254 – Eastern Relief Road – provides direct access from the east of Nuneaton to the south, avoiding the town centre.
The town has two railway stations.
Nuneaton railway station near the town centre is an important railway junction, served by the West Coast Main Line running from London to the North West, the cross-country Birmingham to Peterborough Line and by a line to Coventry via Bedworth. A new railway station at Bermuda Park has recently been opened south of the town centre on the line towards Coventry, as part of the NUCKLE (Nuneaton, Coventry, Kenilworth, and Leamington) rail upgrade scheme.
The Coventry Canal passes through the town.
The main operators for buses in Nuneaton are Stagecoach in Warwickshire and Travel de Courcey.
Nuneaton has two non-league football teams: Nuneaton Town (nicknamed "the Boro") who play in the National League North and Nuneaton Griff who play in the Midland Football League Division One. Sunday League football is played in the town, with teams from Nuneaton, Bedworth and North Warwickshire competing in the Nuneaton & District Sunday Football League (NDSFL).
There are three rugby union clubs: Nuneaton R.F.C. (nicknamed "the Nuns"), who play in National 3 Midlands, Nuneaton Old Edwardians of Midlands 2 West (South) division and Manor Park of the Midlands 4 West (South) league.
The town is also the location of Nuneaton Bowling club, where flat green bowls is played.
There are three main leisure centres in the town owned by Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council and managed by Everyone Active on the council's behalf (after a competitive tender process):Pingles Leisure Centre – The Pingles is the main leisure centre in Nuneaton. It was rebuilt in 2004 to replace the original Pingles that was built in 1965. The new Pingles includes an indoor and outdoor swimming areas, a dance studio and gym. The Pingles also has an associated athletics stadium, the Pingles Stadium, which was built in 2004. The Pingles Stadium has a 250-seater stand, a running track and athletics facilities. The stadium also has a football pitch which is used by Nuneaton Griff for their home matches.
Jubilee Sports Centre – The Jubilee Sports Centre is a sports hall. The hall is used for various sports including badminton, five-a-side football/indoor football and basketball. The Jubilee also has a scoreboard, used for major basketball and indoor football matches. The hall can be hired out for uses such as karate lessons.
Etone Sports Centre – Etone Sports Centre is another sports hall. Etone sports hall also has astroturf football pitches which are used also for hockey. The centre is in the grounds of the school which bears the same name, Etone School, but 'Everyone Active' maintains the building.
Nuneaton has a museum and art gallery in the grounds of Riversley Park adjacent to the town centre.
The Abbey Theatre is Nuneaton's only theatre and hosts a wide variety of performances including visiting opera and ballet companies, touring shows, musicals, pantomime and drama.
Despite there having been many in the town historically, Nuneaton now has one theatre. Run solely by volunteers, the Abbey Theatre seats 250 plus space for wheelchair patrons.
Nuneaton annually enters the Britain in Bloom competition and in 2000, Nuneaton and Bedworth was a national finalist. It is the location of Nuneaton Carnival, the largest carnival in Warwickshire, which takes place every June.
Nuneaton was home to the smallest independent newspaper in Britain (the Heartland Evening News) until it was purchased in 2006 by life News & Media.
Nuneaton has a museum and art gallery within the grounds of Riversley Park. The museum includes a display on George Eliot. Eliot's family home Griff House is now a restaurant and hotel on the A444.
Public art in Nuneaton includes a statue of George Eliot on Newdegate Square, and the Gold Belt.Abbey CE Infant School (ages 4–7)
All Saints' CE Primary School (ages 4–11)
Camp Hill Primary School (ages 4–11)
Chetwynd Junior School (ages 7–11)
Chilvers Coton Community Infant School (ages 4–7)
Croft Junior School (ages 7–11)
Galley Common Infant School (ages 4–7)
Glendale Infant School (ages 4–7)
Michael Drayton Junior School (in nearby Hartshill; ages 7–11)
Middlemarch Junior School (ages 7–11)
Milby Primary School (ages 4–11)
Milverton House School (independent; ages 0–11)
Nathaniel Newton Infant School (in nearby Hartshill; ages 4–7)
Oak Wood Primary School (special school; ages 4–11)
Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Infant School (ages 4–7)
Park Lane Primary School (ages 4–11)
Queen's CE Junior School (ages 7–11)
St Anne's Catholic Primary School (ages 4–11)
St Joseph's Catholic Junior School (ages 7–11)
St Nicolas' CE Primary School (ages 4–11)
St Paul's CE Primary School (ages 4–11)
Stockingford Primary School (ages 4–11)
Weddington Primary School (ages 4–11)
Wembrook Primary School (ages 4–11)
Nursery Hill Primary School (ages 4-11)
Whitestone Infant School (ages 4–7)
Etone College (ages 11–18)
The George Eliot School (ages 11–16)
Hartshill School (in nearby Hartshill; ages 11–16)
Higham Lane School, Business and Enterprise Academy (ages 11–16)(highest achieving non-selective school in Warwickshire)
The Nuneaton Academy, resulting from the merger of Alderman Smith School and Manor Park School (ages 11–18)
Oak Wood Secondary School (special school; ages 11–16)
St Thomas More Catholic School (ages 11–18)
King Edward VI College (ages 16–19)
North Warwickshire and Hinckley College
St Thomas More R.C. Sixth Form College
Etone Sixth Form College
Higham Lane Sixth Form College
Many locations in George Eliot's works were based on places in or near her native Nuneaton, including:Milby (town and parish church, based on Nuneaton and St Nicolas parish church);
Shepperton (based on Chilvers Coton);
Paddiford Common (based on Stockingford, which at the time had a large area of common land including its parish Church of St Paul's);
Knebley (based on Astley; Knebley Church is Astley Church, while Knebley Abbey is Astley Castle);
Red Deeps (based on Griff Hollows);
Cheverel Manor (based on Arbury Hall);
Dorlcote Mill (based on Griff House);
The Red Lion (based on the Bull Hotel, now the George Eliot Hotel in Bridge Street, Nuneaton);
Middlemarch (based on Coventry);
Treby Magna (also thought to be based on Coventry);
Little Treby (thought to be based on Stoneleigh);
Transome Court (thought to be based on Stoneleigh Abbey).
The borough of Nuneaton and Bedworth is twinned with the following towns: Roanne, Loire, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France
Guadalajara, Guadalajara, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain
Cottbus, Brandenburg, Germany
George Eliot (1819–1880), Victorian novelist
A. J. Quinnell (1940–2005), English thriller novelist
John Barber (1734–1793), inventor of the gas turbine in 1791
John Birch (1867–1945), motorcycle manufacturer and designer
Richard K. Guy (born 1916), British mathematician and author
Paul Bradley, actor (born in Nuneaton)
Ben Daniels, actor (born in Nuneaton)
Gareth Edwards, film director, Monsters, Godzilla and the 2016 Star Wars standalone film, entitled Rogue One.
Chris Emmett, comedian, notably appearing on 3-2-1
Larry Grayson, comedian, entertainer and television presenter
Alan and Graham "Kidder" Hammonds, musicians, Incredible Kidda Band (grew up in Nuneaton and went to Alderman Smith and Manor Park Grammar School respectively)
Jon Holmes, writer, comedian and broadcaster (grew up in Nuneaton)
Ken Loach, film and television director
Justin Welch, drummer with Britpop band Elastica (1991–2001) and a drummer for Suede in their formative years
Mary Whitehouse, TV campaigner (born in Nuneaton)
Ben Ackland, Irish cricketer (born in Nuneaton)
Julian Alsop, footballer
Stuart Attwell, Premier League referee
Laura Bassett, Member of the 2015 WWC Bronze medal winning England Women's National Football team
Paul Best, retired cricketer
John Curtis, footballer
Matty Fryatt, footballer
Andy Goode, Wasps RFC & England International Rugby Union Player
Trevor Peake, footballer, 1987 FA Cup winner with Coventry City (born in Nuneaton)
Mick Price, snooker player
George Reader, football referee; officiated in the final game of the 1950 FIFA World Cup
Dean Richards, former England Rugby Union player and Rugby Union Coach (born in Nuneaton)
Nicki Shaw, a former member of the England Women's Cricket team (born in Nuneaton)
Andy Sullivan, golfer
Adam Whitehead, Olympic swimmer
Peter Whittingham, footballer (born in Whitestone, Nuneaton)
Nigel Winterburn, retired footballer
Andrew Copson, Chief Executive of the British Humanist Association.
Richard Freeman, cryptozoologist (born in Nuneaton)
William Gadsby, (1773–1844) an English Baptist pastor born in Attleborough who wrote many hymns.
Cecil Leonard Knox, soldier, recipient of the Victoria Cross (born in Nuneaton)
Within the borough boundaries:Abbey Green
Attleborough (including Maple Park)
Chapel End (including The Shires)
St Nicolas Park
Stockingford (including Glendale, Sunnyside, Black-a-Tree, Church Farm)
Whitestone (including Crowhill)
Whittleford (including Poplar Farm, Hawthorn Common)
Outside the borough boundaries but often considered to be part of the town:Ansley