From canals and hosiery to bells and railways, Charnwood has a rich industrial heritage waiting to be uncovered. The River Soar was canalised from Loughborough in the eighteenth century to provide much-needed transport for the local industries, and the Charnwood Forest Canal was opened in the late eighteenth century, connecting at Nanpantan to the Loughborough canal via a tramway.
The nineteenth century saw industrial Loughborough quickly grow. Just as the Charnwood Forest Railway closed, the Midland Counties Railway opened. A new railway traveling between Coalville and Loughborough, opened towards the end of the century, as did the Great Central Railway that connected Loughborough to Manchester in the north and London in the south.
John Taylor Bell Foundry – the last remaining working bell foundry in the UK – can trace its lineage back to Johannes de Stafford who was working only 10 miles away, in the fourteenth century.
For more information about local history in Loughborough, visit the Loughborough History and Heritage Network website. The Loughborough Library Local Studies Volunteers also have a wealth of knowledge about our local history.