LOUGHBOROUGH, a market town and municipal borough in the Loughborough (Mid) parliamentary division of Leicestershire, England, near the river Soar and on the Loughborough canal. Pop. (1901) 21,508. It is no m. N.N.W. of London by the Midland railway, and is served by the Great Central and a branch of the London and North- Western railways. The neighbourhood is a rich agricultural district, and to the S.W. lies the hilly tract known as Charnwood Forest. The church of All Saints stands on rising ground, and is a conspicuous object for many miles round; it is of Decorated work, and the tower is Perpendicular. The other churches are modern. Public buildings include the town hall and exchange, town offices, county hall and free library. The grammar school, founded in 1495 under the charity of Thomas Burton, occupies modern buildings in pleasant grounds. There is also a girls' grammar school partly dependent on the same foundation. The principal industry is hosiery making; there are also engineering, iron and dye works and bell foundries. The great bell for St Paul's- cathedral, London, was cast here in 1881. Loughborough was incorporated in 1888. Area, 3045 acres.
The manor of Loughborough (Lucleburne, Lucteburg, Lughteburgh) was granted by William the Conqueror to Hugh Lupus, from whom it passed to the Despensers. In 1226-1227 when it belonged to Hugh Despenser he obtained various privileges for himself and his men and tenants there, among which were quittance from suits at the county and hundred courts, of sheriffs' aids and of view of frankpledge, and also a market every Thursday and a fair on the vigil, day and morrow of St Peter ad vincula. The market rights were purchased by the town in 1880 from the trustees of Thomas Cradock, late lord of the manor. Edward II. visited the manor several times when it belonged to his favourite, Hugh Despenser the elder. Among the subsequent lords were Henry de Beaumont and Alice his wife, Sir Edward Hastings, created Baron Hastings of Loughborough in 1558, Colonel Henry Hastings, created baron in 1645, and the earls of Huntingdon. Alexander Wedderburn was created Baron Loughborough in 1780 when he became chief justice of the common pleas. During the 19th century most of the manorial rights were purchased by the local board. Loughborough was at first governed by a bailiff, afterwards by a local board, and was finally incorporated in 1888 under a mayor, 6 aldermen and 18 councillors. It has never been represented in parliament. Lace-making was formerly the chief industry, but machines for making lace set up in the town by John Heathcote were destroyed by the Luddites in 1816, and the manufacture lost its importance. Bell-founding was introduced in 1840. John Cleveland, the Royalist poet, was born at Loughborough in 1613, John Howe the painter in 1630 and Richard Pulteney the botanist in 1730.
See Victoria County History, Leicestershire; W. G. D. Fletcher, Chapters in the History of Loughborough (1883) ; Sir Thomas Pochin, " Historical Description of Loughborough " (1770) (vol. viii. of Bibliotheca topographica Britannica).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)