Louth

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Louth (/ˈlaʊθ/) is a market town and civil parish within the East Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England.

Known as the “capital of the Lincolnshire Wolds”, it is situated where the ancient trackway Barton Street crosses the River Lud, and has a total resident population of 15,930.

The Greenwich Meridian crosses Eastgate and this point is marked with a plaque on the north side of the street, just east of the junction with Northgate. The three-mile (5 km) £6.6m A16 Louth Bypass opened in August 1991. The former route is the B1520.

Historically, the town is most noted as the origin of the Lincolnshire Rising, the forerunner of Pilgrimage of Grace, on 1 October 1536, starting in St. James Church, Louth.

A stone plaque on Bridge Street showing the flood water level

A flood occurred in the town on 29 May 1920, causing 23 deaths. Several stone plaques in the town show the high water level reached. Other, less devastating floods occurred on 25 June and 20 July in 2007.

Margaret Wintringham succeeded her dead husband at the Louth by-election in September 1921, to become the Liberals’ first woman MP, and Britain’s third woman MP.

Much of the town centre is lined with brick buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries and the town’s skyline is dominated by St. James’ Church, the spire of which is 295 feet (90 m) tall, though shorter than both Norwich Cathedral (315 feet (96 m)) and Salisbury Cathedral (404 feet (123 m)) in terms of spire height, it is reputedly the tallest Anglican parish church in the United Kingdom. Louth museum has a Panorama Gallery which features two back-lit replicas of William Brown’s Panorama of Louth viewed from the top of St James’s spire in 1844. The two original paintings that together form the panorama hang side-by-side in the Council Chamber of the Town Hall on Little Eastgate. The panorama gives a unique and vivid representation of the streets, businesses, homes and people of the town and the landscape as far as the North Sea to the east and northwards to the Humber estuary and beyond. The church was built in 1515.

One of the tallest structures in the European Union, the Belmont television and radio mast, is situated in the nearby village of Donington on Bain, five miles (8 km) west of the town.

ABM Pauls used to have a large maltings, which is now derelict.

Louth’s twin town is La Ferté-Bernard, close to Le Mans in Pays-de-la-Loire, France.

Louth is noted for the wide selection of independent retailers in the town, in particular specialist grocers.[3] Louth is also home to The Cheese Shop, which has gained nationwide recognition from features in The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Hairy Bikers’ Food Tour of Britain, BBC Lincolnshire, BBC Look North, and being mentioned in works by Mary Portas and Rose Prince.

Just off the Market Place is the department store Eve and Ranshaw, whose history can be traced back to 1781 [1] whilst Eastgate is noted for its range of local shops including award winning butchers and an independent chain of ‘Dragonfly’ shops.

Major retailers have failed to make an impact in Louth. Boots the Chemist, Argos, New Look, Wilkinsons, Greggs, Subway, WHSmith and Holland & Barrett have small outlets in the town. The Woolworth’s store closed in early 2009 as a result of the company’s demise. Halfords opened a store in the Fairfield Industrial Estate in April 2009. There is a branch of Focus DIY on the same estate. Banks have a significant presence in the town; NatWest, Barclays, Lloyds TSB, Halifax, HSBC and Santander all have branches in the town centre. The town’s first Building Society branch office was opened by the Peterborough Building Society (now Norwich & Peterborough) in 1973. The town was also the headquarters of the former Louth, Mablethorpe and Sutton Building Society, a local society with several branches and agents in Lincolnshire but this was taken over by the Bradford & Bingley in 1990.

The large number of independent food outlets may be due to the lack of any major supermarket chain in the area. Some argue that this is due to vociferous opposition over many years by elected representatives and others to major supermarket chains developing in the town, which has protected those independent outlets from competition. Louth currently has two supermarkets. The first is a small Morrisons which was converted from a Somerfield store under competition rules when the Co-op bought Somerfield. It originally opened in 1985. The other is a Co-operative supermarket which is similar in size and opened in 1989. However, a third retailer, Sainsbury’s, owns a substantial area of land in the town centre, virtually next door to the Co-op store, and is presently submitting an application for a new 30,000 square feet (2,800 m2) store.[4] It is estimated that around 80% of Louth food expenditure is spent outside of the town, mainly in Grimsby and Cleethorpes which are about 16 miles (26 km) away, but also Lincoln, 25 miles (40 km) away, and major supermarket chains from these areas regularly deliver in the town. Heron Foods has one of its largest branches in the town, which opened in 2009. It escaped the protesters’ attention, possibly by moving from smaller premises where they had traded since the early 90s.

There is also speculation as to the site of the former cattle market which had been linked to an application from Sainsbury’s and is now linked to a bid from Tesco. Lidl have applied for planning permission for a store on the Fairfield Industrial Estate despite protest from the ‘Keep Louth Special’ pressure group.

Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays are all market days, with a farmers’ market on the fourth Wednesday of each month. A cattle market is held each Thursday at the Louth Livestock Centre on Newmarket.

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