Coalville is an industrial town in the district of North West Leicestershire, Leicestershire in the East Midlands of England, with a population at the 2011 census of 34, 575.
- Area:8.517 km2
- Elevation:138 m
- Local Government Area:Baw Baw Shire Council
Coalville is an industrial town in the district of North West Leicestershire, Leicestershire in the East Midlands of England, with a population at the 2011 census of 34,575. It lies 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. It borders the upland area of Charnwood Forest to the east of the town.
Coalville is twinned with Romans-sur-Isère in southeastern France.
Coalville is a product of the Industrial Revolution.As its name indicates, it is a former coal mining town and was a centre of the coal-mining district of north Leicestershire. It has been suggested that the name may derive from the name of the house belonging to the founder of Whitwick Colliery: 'Coalville House'. However, conclusive evidence is a report in the Leicester Chronicle of 16 November 1833: 'Owing to the traffic which has been produced by the Railway and New Collieries on Whitwick Waste, land which 20 years ago would not have fetched £20 per acre (£50 per hectare), is now selling in lots at from £400 to £500 per acre (£1,000 to £1,200 per hectare), for building upon. The high chimneys, and numerous erections upon the spot, give the neighbourhood quite an improved appearance. We hear it is intended to call this new colony "COALVILLE" - an appropriate name.'
## Pre-industrial period
In the early nineteenth century, the area now known as Coalville was little more than a track known as Long Lane, which ran approximately east-west, stretching between two turnpikes, Bardon and Hoo Ash. Long Lane divided the parishes of Swannington and Whitwick (both lying to the north of Long Lane) from the parishes of Snibston and Ibstock (both lying to the south). Hugglescote and Donington-le-Heath were part of Ibstock parish until 1878. A north-south track or lane stretching from Whitwick to Hugglescote crossed Long Lane, at the point where the clock tower war memorial now stands. This track or lane is now Mantle Lane and Belvoir Road. The Red House, an eighteenth-century building, close to this cross-roads, was one of very few buildings then standing.
Samuel Fisher, writing his memoirs at the end of the nineteenth century, described what the area looked like in 1832. Standing close to the position of the present-day clock tower, Fisher describes how, on looking down Long Lane towards Ashby, "we see a large tract of waste on both sides of the road, still traceable, covered with gorse-bushes, blackberry brambles, etc., with not a single house on either side of the way" until arriving at the Hoo Ash turnpike. Then, looking toward Hugglescote (down a track that is now Belvoir Road), "we see a magnificently timbered lane without a single house, with the exception of White Leys Farm and the Gate Inn on the Ashby Turnpike". In the direction of Bardon, there were no houses until arriving at a group of five or six cottages on the corner of what is now Whitwick Road and Hotel Street, and in the direction of Whitwick (the modern day Mantle Lane) there was nothing apart from a smithy and a carpenter's shop, and the houses of these tradesmen. These would have stood on the site of what is now The Springboard Centre (formerly Stablefords wagon works). From this wilderness emerged the modern town of Coalville, on a rapid scale, following the advent of deep coal mining.
Despite its emergence as one of the largest towns in Leicestershire, Coalville's history was not well documented until the establishment of historical societies in the 1980s, though some information had been put on record by a few independent local historians. In more recent years, a wealth of material charting the town's history has been published through the combined efforts of the Coalville 150 Group and the Coalville Historical Society and in 2006, these two groups amalgamated to form the Coalville Heritage Society.
Coal has been mined in the area since the medieval period, a heritage also traceable in the place name Coleorton, and examples of 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 the district now known as Coalville, beginning with Whitwick in 1824 and at Snibston in 1831.
Deep coal mining was pioneered by local engineer William Stenson who sank the Long Lane (Whitwick) Colliery on a relative's farm land in the 1820s. In doing so, Stenson ignored an old miner's dictum of the day, "No coal below stone", and sank his shaft through a layer of 'Greenstone' or 'Whinstone' to the coal below. This effectively opened up the 'concealed coalfield.' This was followed by the mine at Snibston, by George Stephenson in the early 1830s, and Stephenson was also responsible for the creation of the Leicester and Swannington Railway at the same time.
Quarrying, textile and engineering industries, such as railway wagon production, also grew in the town during the 19th century. Stenson is sometimes described as 'the Father of Coalville'.
Coal-mining came to an end in Coalville during the 1980s. Six collieries – Snibston, Desford, Whitwick, Ellistown, South Leicester and Bagworth – closed in and around Coalville in an eight-year period from 1983 to 1991, resulting in about five thousand men being made redundant.The disused colliery at Snibston was regenerated into Snibston Discovery Park but controversially closed in 2015 by Leicestershire County Council. The area formerly occupied by Whitwick Colliery has been redeveloped as the Whitwick Business Park and which incorporates a Morrison's supermarket. There is also a small memorial garden here, established in memory of 35 men who died in the Whitwick Colliery Disaster of 1898, which occurred as a result of an underground fire, though sadly, the etched metal plaque commemorating this terrible calamity has (of 2014) been removed from the large granite memorial boulder.
## Leicester and Swannington Railway
The Leicester and Swannington Railway – Leicestershire's first railway – opened in 1832, reaching Coalville in 1833, and had a small station at Long Lane (now High Street) in Coalville. 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, later, Loughborough, over the Charnwood Forest Railway.
In the 20th century the railways to Nuneaton and Loughborough were closed and dismantled. Passenger services were withdrawn from the Leicester to Burton line in September 1964, but it remains open for goods traffic.
After 1993 there was a plan to restore passenger trains on the Leicester-Burton line through Coalville as an extension of Leicestershire's Ivanhoe Line. In 2013 a passenger train made a very rare pass through because of a cut off elsewhere and in the same year, a group known as 'The Campaign for Better Transport' petitioned for the freight track to be upgraded to mark the 50th anniversary of the network cuts introduced by Dr Beeching. The Leicester to Burton track was one of ten lines that this group called to be re-opened, with a proposal for it to be renamed the National Forest line. However, a spokesman for the County Council said, "We have been unable to reintroduce Leicester to Burton passenger trains because the costs of about £50 million to upgrade the route and £4 million per year to operate services do not represent good value for money."
## Assent to administrative town
The Coalville Urban District was formed in 1894, and which came to assimilate several outlying villages following local government changes in 1936. The Coalville Urban District was superseded in 1974 by the North West Leicestershire District, which was formed by a merger Ashby de la Zouch Urban District, Ashby Woulds Urban District, Coalville Urban District, Ashby de la Zouch Rural District, Castle Donington Rural District and Ibstock from the Market Bosworth Rural District.
1824:Long Lane (Whitwick) colliery sunk by William Stenson
1831: George Stephenson's Snibston Colliery sunk
1833: George Stephenson's railway reached Coalville
1836: Coalville's first permanent place of worship opened (became the London Road General Baptist Church; now re-located as the Greenhill Community Church)
1836 – 1838: Coalville Church of England church (Christ Church) built/opened
1845: Burton-on-Trent and Leicester connected by rail, with Coalville "en route"
1858: The Bardon Hill granite quarrying company formed
1894: Coalville Urban District Council formed
1898: Whitwick Colliery Disaster
1909: Coalville Grammar School opened (Forest Road)
1919: Alfred Edward Pallett formed manufacturing company Cascelloid in Leicester (became 'Palitoy')
1920: Pallett's company produced its first toy
1925: Pallett's company produced its first doll
1925: Clock Tower (War Memorial) opened
1927: Leicestershire Miners' Association building in Bakewell Street opened
1930: Cscelloid bought by British Xylonite Limited (BXL)
1963: New Broadway Shopping Centre opened
1964: Passenger line closed on the railway
1968: Palitoy bought by US food company General Mills Inc
1974: Coalville Urban District dissolved and replaced by North West Leicestershire District
1975: Transferral of open-air market to newly constructed market hall
1980s:Demise of coal-mining industry
1985: Palitoy becomes Kenner Parker
1990: Morrison's supermarket built on the site of Whitwick Colliery
1992: Snibston Discovery Park opens
1994: Palitoy factory closed by new owners Hasbro
2005: Stephenson College new building opened
2005: Castle Rock High School new building opened
2009Hermitage FM community radio station begins broadcasting on 99.2FM and online
2013: Tesco pulled out of the main town regeneration
2014: Broom Leys suburb was officially named
2015: Closure of Snibston Discovery Museum
2015: Ford Motors, Coalville, start work on the regeneration of the town
2017: Whitwick retail park goes under refurbishment improving the outside of existing shops by upgrading the facades across the site. Also adding Peacocks, Sports Direct and Pets at Home
2018: Plans are drawn up by North west Leicestershire district council to redesign Marlborough Square.
# Things to do