Online Encyclopedia

LUTON

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V17, Page 142 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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LUTON, a market town and municipal borough in the southern or Luton parliamentary division of Bedfordshire, England, 30 M. N.W. by N. of London by the Midland railway, served also by a branch of the Great Northern. Pop. (1901) 36,404. It lies in a narrow valley on the south flank of the Chiltern Hills, on the upper part of the river Lea. The church of St Mary is mainly Decorated, but has portions of Early English and Perpendicular work. It has brasses and monuments of interest and a late Decorated baptistery of stone, an ornate roofed structure, octagonal in form. The font within it is Early English. Luton is the principal seat in England of the straw-plait manufacture, and large quantities of hats and other straw goods have been exported, though in recent years the industry has suffered from increased foreign competition. The industry originated with the colony of straw-plaiters transplanted by James I. from Scotland, whither they had been brought from Lorraine by Queen Mary. The town has also foundries, motor car works and other manufactures. The borough is under a mayor, 6 aldermen and 18 councillors. Area, 3133 acres.
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