The town of Nuneaton, in Warwickshire County, is best known as the birthplace of famous 19th century author Mary Ann Evans, who went by the pen name George Eliot. This charming town, 103km northwest of London has a population of about 73 000, according to a 2008 census report. The river Anker runs through the town, which is also located 14km north of Coventry and 32km east of Birmingham.
The history of Nuneaton dates back to the 12th century and its name was derived from a 12th century Benedictine nunnery. Around 1155, the Earls of Leicester were custodians of the land in the area. They granted the Abbey of Fontervraud in France land to set up a daughter house in England. The nunnery itself was left in desolate ruins, and little of it remains today.
Before the 12th century, Nuneaton was a settlement known as Eaton, occupied by the Saxons, who arrived before 600. The Saxon name Et-tun means “the farm by the water”.
By the end of the 12th century, the area had grown into a town and trade was booming. The King granted the nuns the right to hold weekly markets and an annual fair, attracting merchants and craftsmen. Other industries also developed, including brick making and leather tanning. Coal mining began in the 14th century and went into a major boom in the 17th and 18th centuries. The nunnery was shut down by Henry VIII in 1539, with the dissolution of monasteries.
From the 17th century, commerce grew in Nuneaton, largely because of its close proximity to the Warwickshire coalfields. By 1801, the town already had a population of about 5000. By the end of the century Nuneaton’s population had grown to 25 000. In 1847, a railway line was built in Nuneaton, bringing about economic growth spurred by the textile and engineering industries. Silk and cotton factories were opened, and coal mining thrived.
In 1894, Nuneaton gained urban district status. In 1907, it graduated to the status of municipal borough. It opened its first Museum and Art Gallery in 1917. Riversley Park opened in 1923 and the Council house in 1934. In the 20th century, Nuneaton did not escape the attacks of World War II and suffered heavy bombings in May 1941. The town was rebuilt after the war.
As the largest city in Warwickshire County, today Nuneaton enjoys a healthy economy, driven by the electronics industry and entrepreneurship. To be healthy usually means a balance of sleep and exercise. To unwind after a workout go to bed, sleep on a Hypnia memory foam product, and get up feeling totally refreshed.
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