Leamington Spa

"Royal Leamington Spa" redirects here. For other uses, see Leamington (disambiguation).
Royal Leamington Spa

Royal Leamington Spa
 Royal Leamington Spa shown within Warwickshire
Population 49,491 (2011 census)
OS grid referenceSP316660
Civil parishRoyal Leamington Spa
Shire countyWarwickshire
RegionWest Midlands
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode district CV31, CV32, CV33
Dialling code 01926
Police Warwickshire
Fire Warwickshire
Ambulance West Midlands
EU Parliament West Midlands
UK ParliamentWarwick and Leamington
List of places

Coordinates: 52°17′31″N 1°32′13″W / 52.292°N 1.537°W / 52.292; -1.537

Royal Leamington Spa, commonly known as Leamington Spa or Leamington, i/ˈlɛmɪŋtən/ is a spa town in Warwickshire, England. Following the popularisation of the medicinal qualities of its water in the eighteenth century,[1] in the nineteenth century the town experienced one of the most rapid expansions in England.[2] It is named after the River Leam which flows through the town.

The town contains especially fine ensembles of Regency architecture,[3] particularly in parts of the Parade, Clarendon Square and Lansdowne Circus.

The town comprises six electoral wards: Brunswick, Milverton, Manor, Crown, Clarendon and Willes. The total population for those wards in 2011 was 49,491.[4]


Lansdowne Crescent

Formerly known as Leamington Priors, Leamington began to develop as a town at the start of the 19th century. It was first mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Lamintone. For 400 years, the settlement was under the control of Kenilworth Priory, from which the older suffix derived.[5] Its name came from Anglo-Saxon Leman-tūn or Lemen-tūn = "farm on the River Leam".[6] The spa waters had been known in Roman times and the rediscovery in 1784 by William Abbotts and Benjamin Satchwell, led to their commercialisation. Six of the seven wells were drilled for; only the original spring at the site of the Aylesford Well, adjacent to the Parish Church occurred naturally.[5]

Early development of the old town centre was on the southern bank of the River Leam. Later builders began concentrating the town's expansion on the land north of the river, resulting in the Georgian centre of New Town with the Leam flowing between the two. In 1767 Parliament passed an Act, proposed by Edward Willes, a local landowner, for dividing and enclosing the open and common land on the south and west of the River Leam.[7] Following a survey of the area by John Tomlinson in 1768, the land was estimated to be 990 acres (4.0 km2) and was subsequently divided, and new public roads were laid out.[7] After the division on the south of the river most of the land east of the village was owned by the Willes family and to the west by Matthew Wise. To the north of the river most of the land was owned by the Willes family, the Earl of Warwick, and Bertie Greatheed.[7] The main landholders of the village and adjacent land were the Earl of Aylesford, and a number of smaller landowners.[7] In the following decades some of the land was sold.[7] By 1901, the population of Leamington had grown from a few hundred to nearly 27,000.[8]

In 1814, the Royal Pump Rooms and Baths were opened close to the River Leam.[5] This grand structure attracted many visitors, expecting cures by bathing in pools of salty spa water. It also included the world's first gravity fed piped hot water system in modern times, which was designed and installed by the engineer William Murdoch. Leamington became a popular spa resort attracting the wealthy and famous, and construction began of numerous Georgian townhouses to accommodate visitors, and a town hall was built in 1830.[2]

With the spread of the town's popularity, and the granting of a 'Royal' prefix in 1838 by Queen Victoria, 'Leamington Priors' was renamed 'Royal Leamington Spa'. Queen Victoria had visited the town as a Princess in 1830 and as Queen in 1858.[5] A statue of Queen Victoria was almost destroyed by a German bomb during the Second World War, and was moved one inch on its plinth by the blast. The statue was not returned to its original position, and the incident is recorded on a plaque on its plinth.

The function of the Royal Pump Rooms changed several times over the following years. While retaining its assembly rooms and medical facilities, around 1863 it was extended to include a Turkish bath and swimming pool, in 1875 the Royal Pump Room Gardens were opened to the public, and in 1890 a further swimming pool was added. The economy of Leamington decreased towards the end of the 19th century following the decline in popularity of spa towns, and it became a popular place of residence for retired people and for members of the middle class who relocated from Coventry and Birmingham, and wealthy residents led to the development of Leamington as a popular place for shopping.[8] In 1997, the owners of the building, the district council, closed the facility for redevelopment, reopening it in 1999 as a culture centre. It now contains Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum, a library, a tourist information centre, refurbished assembly rooms and a cafe.[9] Spa water can still be sampled outside the building.

Leamington is closely associated with the founding of lawn tennis. The first tennis club in the world was formed in 1872 by Major Henry Gem and Augurio Pereira who had started playing tennis in the garden of Pereira.[10] It was located just behind the former Manor House Hotel and the modern rules of lawn tennis were drawn up in 1874 in Leamington Tennis Club.

During the Second World War, Leamington was home to the Free Czechoslovak Army; a memorial in the Jephson Gardens commemorates the bravery of Czechoslovak parachutists from Warwickshire.[11]

The town hall with Queen Victoria's statue


Leamington Spa is a town and civil parish in the Warwick District Council, an administrative division of the county of Warwickshire. Since 2002 the parish has been represented at the lowest tier of local government by its Town Council.[12] Between 1875 and 1974 Leamington was a municipal borough.[13] As part of the 1974 local government reform it was merged with Warwick, Kenilworth and Whitnash, and surrounding rural areas into the Warwick District, which has its offices in Leamington. Leamington is part of the parliamentary constituency of Warwick and Leamington. From the 1997 general election until the 2010 general election the constituency was represented in parliament by James Plaskitt (Labour). It had previously been a Conservative safe seat, including as its MP Anthony Eden, a former British prime minister. At the 2005 general election, James Plaskitt had a majority of just 266 votes, making it a marginal seat. In the 2010 general election the seat returned to the Conservative party, with Chris White winning the seat by 3,513 votes. He held the seat in the 2015 general election with an increased vote of 24,249 and 47.9% of the vote, leading to a majority of 6,606 votes over Labour's Lynnette Kelly.


Royal Pump Room Gardens and Dormer Place flooded (photo 21 July 2007)
All Saints' Church

Leamington is divided by the River Leam running east to west, which is susceptible to flooding in extreme weather, with especially heavy floods in 1998 and 2007.[14][15]

Elephant Walk

The town has several parks and gardens,[16] including the Jephson Gardens, close to the Royal Pump Rooms and next to the River Leam. These were seriously damaged in the floods of 1998, but have been restored and improved with funding from the National Lottery. The other side of the River Leam, on Priory Terrace features the "Elephant Walk" 19th-century slipway down to the river located near the suspension bridge in Jephson Gardens. It was specifically constructed so that circus elephants in winter quarters in Leamington could be watered.[17] Other parks are the Mill Gardens on the opposite bank of the river to Jephson Gardens, Victoria Park, the Royal Pump Room Gardens, The Dell and Newbold Comyn which includes the nature reserves Welches Meadow and Leam Valley.[18]

The road running through the town centre is the Parade (formerly Lillington Lane until 1860).[2] The shopping street contains high street chains and a covered shopping centre.

Buildings in the town include a variety of Georgian and early Victorian architecture, and listed buildings such as the Grade II listed Lansdowne Crescent in neo-classical style, designed by William Thomas between 1835 and 1838.[19]

Amongst the Anglican churches in Leamington is the Gothic All Saints' Church. There is also a Catholic church, a United Reformed church, a small mosque and a Hindu temple. In 2009, the Sikh community built the Gurdwara Sahib Leamington and Warwick in Warwick which also serves Leamington.[20][21]

In August 2010, a Warwickshire Justice Centre was opened in Newbold Terrace, Leamington Spa. As well as a police station, the complex houses the Magistrates' Court, Crown Court, County Court, and other agencies such as the Probation Service and Victim Support.[22] It was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 4 March 2011.[23]

An oak tree just to the northeast of the town centre is marked by a plaque stating that it commemorates the Midland Oak, a tree that grew near the spot and was reputed to be at the centre of England.


The town has enveloped the older village of Lillington. Other suburbs include New Milverton, Campion Hills, and Sydenham to the southeast. The large village of Whitnash is contiguous with the town to the south and is often considered as a suburb.



The data is for wards Brunswick, Milverton, Manor, Crown, Clarendon and Willes.

Ethnic Group 2011[24]
Number %
White: British 38,197 77.18%
White: Irish 1,037 2.10%
White: Gypsy or Irish Traveller 17 0.03%
White: Other 3,302 6.67%
White: Total 42,553 85.98%
Asian or Asian British: Indian 3,187 6.44%
Asian or Asian British: Pakistani 240 0.48%
Asian or Asian British: Bangladeshi 27 0.05%
Asian or Asian British: Chinese 399 0.81%
Asian or Asian British: Other Asian 677 1.37%
Asian or Asian British: Total 4,530 9.15%
Black or Black British: Caribbean 234 0.47%
Black or Black British: African 231 0.47%
Black or Black British: Other Black 60 0.12%
Black or Black British: Total 525 1.06%
Mixed: White and Black Caribbean 403 0.81%
Mixed: White and Black African 122 0.25%
Mixed: White and Asian 496 1.00%
Mixed: Other Mixed 316 0.64%
Mixed: Total 1,337 2.70%
Other: Arab 109 0.22%
Other: Any other ethnic group 437 0.88%
Other: Total 546 1.10%
BAME: Total 6,938 14.02%
Total 49,491 100.00%



The popularity of the town's waters in the 19th century led to the town's initial growth, making tourism Leamington's primary industry in the 19th century.[25]

Christmas Lights in Livery street


In the town centre there are a variety of shops from high street chains to independent retailers, plus an indoor shopping centre the Royal Priors. The out of town retail park is called the Leamington Shopping Park (formerly The Shires Retail Park).[26]


Tourism was initially driven by the spring waters. The arrival of the Warwick and Napton Canal (later amalgamated into the Grand Union Canal) officially opened in 1799 as the primary means of cargo transport and led to growth in other industries until rail gradually took over in the mid 19th century,[25] The canal supplied coal to the gasworks on Tachbrook Road, providing gas to light the town from 1835. Pig iron, coke and limestone were delivered by canal, allowing a number of foundries to be established in Leamington, specialising in cast iron stoves. Today the Eagle Foundry, dating from at least 1851, continues to manufacture Rangemaster stoves. The Imperial Foundry, dating from around 1925, was subsequently taken over by Ford, casting engine blocks until its closure in 2008.[25] The prominent car parts manufacturer Automotive Products based in the south of the town grew from a small garage to occupy a large site. Throughout the 20th century, while tourism took a downturn, Automotive Products expanded and built a factory in the South of the town in 1928 that is still operative in 2009, although on a much smaller scale.[25] Karobes Limited, with its headquarters in Queensway, was one of Britain's major suppliers of accessories for cars between World War II and the 1970s.

Commercial parks for service providers and light industry and offices are primarily located to the south of the town: Althorpe Street Industrial Estate, Queensway Trading Estate, Shires Gate Trading Estate and Sydenham Industrial Estate.

In June 2014, Detroit Electric announced that they would be building their SP.01 all-electric roadster in Leamington Spa.[27]

Digital media and the video games industry

Leamington Spa and the surrounding area, known as Silicon Spa,[28][29] is a significant global centre for the video game industry,[30] with a higher than average proportion of digital media companies involved in games development, digital design and publishing,[31][32] and over a thousand employed directly in game development.[28] Companies based in or around the town include Caperfly,[28] DNA Interactive, Fish in a Bottle, FreeStyleGames, Full Fat, Kwalee, Pixel Toys,[28] Playground Games, Red Chain Games,[33] Stickman Studios,[34] Supersonic Software and Midoki.[35] Codemasters are based in the countryside outside Leamington and were the initial impetus behind the cluster and provided many of the staff for the companies in Leamington.[36] In 2013, Sega's mobile platform studio Hardlight Studio[37] set up in Leamington, and Exient[38] opened a satellite studio. Former companies were Blitz Games Studios, Bigbig Studios and Titus Software UK Limited.[39]


There are a number of schools either located within Leamington, or which include Leamington in their priority (catchment) area. Those within Leamington include the state secondary schools of North Leamington School, Campion School, Trinity Catholic School, and the independent schools of Arnold Lodge School, a co-educational school for pupils aged 3 to 15, and Kingsley School, a school for girls. Myton School in Warwick, although located just outside Leamington, includes parts of Leamington as being within its priority area.[40]

As well as these schools, Leamington children can attend Stratford-upon-Avon Grammar School for Girls, a state run selective school, Warwick School, an independent school for boys, The King's High School for Girls, Warwick's twin school and Princethorpe College, a mixed independent school in the nearby village of Princethorpe.

Leamington is the location of the first of Warwickshire College's six sites, and additionally another site is located just outside the town. The closest higher education institutions are the University of Warwick, in southwestern Coventry, and Coventry University. The town is particularly popular with Warwick University students seeking housing and entertainment.

Leamington is also home to two national educational charities - The Smallpeice Trust and The Arkwright Scholarships Trust. They specialise in making young people aware of how STEM fields studied in school can lead to fulfilling and exciting careers in science and engineering sectors of industry.


Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum is located in the Royal Pump Rooms, on the Parade. It provides exhibitions in the visual arts and about the history of the town, supported by workshops, talks and other events.

Community Centres

There are several local community centres.

Peace Festival

Since 1978, the annual free festival and celebration of alternative culture called the Peace Festival has been held in the Pump Room Gardens.[41]


Live music is provided by local bands in a variety of venues. In December 2005 the band Nizlopi from Leamington, reached Number 1 in the UK Singles Chart with The JCB Song.[42] The Woodbine Street Recording Studios has been used by several well-known music acts such as Paul Weller, Ocean Colour Scene and The Specials.[43] Classical music concerts are organised throughout the year in the Leamington and Warwick area, including the International String Quartet series at the Royal Pump Rooms.[44] The Assembly, is a 1,000 capacity music venue attracting national and international artists,[45] and was awarded 'Live Music Venue of the Year' at the 2010 Music Week Awards.[46] and the Leamington Spa Competitive Festival for Music Dance and Drama has been staged annually since 1910. There is a brass band called the Royal Spa Brass. In May 2016 92 of the local musicians participated in A great day in Leamington Spa, a reconstruction of the 1958 photograph A Great Day in Harlem.

Theatre and cinema

Two theatres are located in Leamington: the Spa Centre and The Loft, with outdoor summer productions in Jephson Gardens. Leamington also has two cinemas: the Spa Centre and a multiplex.

Sport and leisure

There are a number of sports clubs and leisure facilities in Leamington Spa, including a Real Tennis court, the football club Leamington F.C., a disc golf course Quarry Park, a leisure centre including swimming pool Newbold Comyn Leisure Centre, rugby grounds Leamington Rugby Union Football Club, Leamington Rugby Club – Youth Section and Old Leamingtonians Rugby Football Club, Leamington Cricket and Hockey Club, Leamington Cycling club, Leamington Athletics club, Spa Striders Running Club, Royal Leamington Spa Canoe Club, Leamington Chess Club, formed in 1851, and municipal tennis courts.

Leamington has been featured in a number of television series, including the 1990s BBC situation comedy Keeping Up Appearances – filmed in and around the area. Notable episodes included one with Walton Hall which had footage of the actual town in them, including the River Leam being featured as a fishing and boating spot. Other series include the drama Dangerfield, BBC's comedy children's show on CBBC ChuckleVision, Broke starring Timothy Spall, and comedy detective series Mayo. In September 2010 scenes for a re-make of the series Upstairs, Downstairs were shot on Clarendon Square and in The Jephson Gardens. In Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, the Duke of Devonshire owns a house here, and offers it to Mr. Norrell as a place to set up a magic school upon the advice of the Earl of Liverpool.

Nearby places

The ancient town of Warwick lies adjoined directly to the west of Leamington, on the opposite bank of the river Avon, and with no natural border to the south-west. Whitnash is a smaller town contiguous with Leamington directly to the south. Cubbington is adjoined to the north-east. Just outside the town lie the villages of Old Milverton to the north and Radford Semele 2.5 miles (4 km) to the east.

Stratford-upon-Avon, famous as William Shakespeare's birthplace and the home of the Royal Shakespeare Company, lies south-west from Leamington Spa along the Warwick Road (A439).



Leamington Spa experiences the oceanic climate which covers most of the United Kingdom.

Climate data for Leamington Spa
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 6
Average low °C (°F) 0.3
Average precipitation mm (inches) 53
Source: [47]


View across the River Leam to the All Saints Church from Jephson Gardens


Home of actress Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa Stark on HBO's Game of Thrones. Birthplace of legendary former Middleweight Boxing Champion Of The World Randolph "Randy" Turpin. He was known as the "Leamington Licker". He beat one of the all-time greats Sugar Ray Robinson to be crowned, it is claimed King George himself stopped all proceedings at Buckingham Palace to listen to the fight on the wireless. After a very successful career, bankruptcy and trauma followed. After taking over a transport cafe in the town Randy committed suicide. He is buried in the local churchyard and a blue plaque commemorating him stands at the house where he was born in the town.

Twin towns

Leamington is twinned with:

Leamington has friendship agreements with:

See also


  1. "The Penny Magazine 18331848". Extracted and digitised by The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. Retrieved 9 August 2009.
  2. 1 2 3 "Leamington Spa Courier". The Courier. Johnston Press Digital Publishing. Archived from the original on 28 September 2009. Retrieved 9 August 2009.
  3. Strong, Roy: The Spirit of Britain, p. 503, 1999, Hutchison, London, ISBN 185681534X
  4. "Lead Key Figures 2011 Census". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. 31 January 2013. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
  5. 1 2 3 4 Allen, Geoff (2000). Warwickshire Towns & Villages. ISBN 1-85058-642-X.
  6. J. E. B. Gover, A. Mawer, and F. M. Stenton, in collaboration with F. T. S. Houghton, The place-names of Warwickshire (EPNS 13), Cambridge 1936.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 Cave, Lyndon Fraser (1988). Royal Leamington Spa: Its History and Development. Phillimore & Co Ltd. p. 44. ISBN 0-85033-520-5.
  8. 1 2 Slater, Terry (1981) A History of Warwickshire, ISBN 0-85033-416-0
  9. "Royal Pump Rooms website". Warwickdc.gov.uk. 20 September 2010. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  10. Tennis Club history Retrieved 9 August 2009
  11. http://www.leamingtonobserver.co.uk/2013/11/27/memorial-Leamington's-Czechoslovakian-Memorial-Fountain-%20-58484.html
  12. Leamington Town Council
  13. Vision of Britain, citing: Young's, Local Administrative Units: Northern England (London: Royal Historical Society, 1991), p. 751 Retrieved 8 August 2009
  14. "Jumbo flood warning issued". BBC News. 17 October 2003. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
  15. "Films cancelled after town floods". BBC News. 24 July 2007. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
  16. "Judgement day as Leamington goes for gold again - Leamington Spa Today - Back to Home Page". Leamingtoncourier.co.uk. Retrieved 27 May 2009.
  17. Warwick District Council website (PDF) Retrieved 8 August 2009
  18. "Nature reserves". Warwick District Council. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  19. "Plaque at Lansdowne Crescent". Retrieved 30 May 2011.
  20. "Gurdwara contact". Retrieved 17 June 2012.
  21. Wright Hassall Law (5 February 2010). "How The Leamington Gurdwara Was Built". PRLog.org. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
  22. "Warwickshire Justice Centre, Leamington Spa". Criminal Justice Board. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
  23. "Queen officially opens RSC theatre and justice centre". BBC News. 4 March 2011. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
  24. "Ethnic Group by measures". NOMIS. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
  25. 1 2 3 4 Trinder, Barry, (2003) The Godfrey Edition Old Ordnance Survey Maps: Leamington Spa (South) 1923, ISBN 978-1-84151-517-5
  26. "Leamington Shopping Park". Leamington Shopping Park. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  27. Brad Anderson (30 June 2014). "Detroit Electric Confirms U.K Production for SP:01". www,gtspirit.com. GTspirit. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
  28. 1 2 3 4 Lee, Aaron (12 September 2013). "Region Focus: Midlands, UK | Games industry press releases | Develop". Develop-online.net. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  29. Guthrie, Jonathan (27 December 2009). "Silicon Spa spots opportunity to get serious". FT.com. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  30. "Silicon Spa is UK's 3rd Largest Gaming Cluster – Invest Warwickshire". Invest.warwickshire.gov.uk. 12 August 2013. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  31. From Dev to Design Accessed 21 March 2014
  32. Still Booming, The Leamington Observer., 5 July 2012.
  33. "Official Homepage". Red Chain Games. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  34. "Buccaneer: The Pursuit of Infamy GamesIndustry International". Gamesindustry.biz. 23 October 2009. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  35. "Official Homepage". Midoki. Retrieved 31 March 2014.
  36. Games Still Booming, The Birmingham Post, 22 March 2007.
  37. "Hardlight Studio". Hardlight Studio. 13 August 2013. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  38. "Exient". Exient. 24 January 2013. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  39. "Contacts." Titus Interactive. 3 February 2002. Retrieved on 4 September 2012.
  40. "Secondary school priority areas: Central area" (PDF). Warwickshire County Council.
  41. "Leamington Peace Festival". Peacefestival.org.uk. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  42. "Nizlopi's 'JCB Song' Goes Straight In At Number 1 - Music News, Photos, Gig Tickets, Videos, Forum, Reviews, Features, Festivals". Gigwise. 18 December 2005. Retrieved 27 May 2009.
  43. "Woodbine Street Recording Studio - Home". Woodbinestreet.com. 20 February 2009. Retrieved 27 May 2009.
  44. International String Quartet Archived 16 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  45. "The Assembly "about venue" page". leamingtonassembly.com. Retrieved 27 September 2009.
  46. "Music Week Awards winners 2010 page".
  47. "Leamington Spa historic weather averages in the United Kingdom". Intellicast. Retrieved 28 March 2009.
  48. "oneworldlink.org.uk". oneworldlink.org.uk. Retrieved 15 January 2014.

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