In 1887, John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles described Luton like this:
Luton.-- mun. bor., market town, and par., Bedfordshire, 9 miles SW. of Hitchin and 31 NW. of London by rail - par., 15,435 ac., pop. 26,140; bor., 2613 ac., pop. 23,960; P.O., T.O., 2 Banks, 2 newspapers. Market-day, Monday. Luton being situated near the source of the river Lea, it is supposed that the name is a corruption of "Leatown." The town has a picturesque position, and has largely increased during recent years. It was incorporated in 1876. It is celebrated for the mfr. of straw hats and bonnets, the origin of the industry in this country being due to Mary Queen of Scots, whose son James removed the handicraft from Scotland and established its position at Luton. The Plait Hall here is a fine building.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Luton has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Luton. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Luton and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Luton in Bedfordshire | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 13th December 2013
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