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Rugeley
Rugeley - geograph.org.uk - 276821.jpg
Upper Brook Street, leading into Rugeley town centre
Rugeley is located in Staffordshire
Rugeley
Rugeley
Population 24,033 (2011)
OS grid reference SK042180
District
  • Cannock Chase
Shire county
Region
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town RUGELEY
Postcode district WS15
Dialling code 01889
Police Staffordshire
Fire Staffordshire
Ambulance West Midlands
EU Parliament West Midlands
UK Parliament
  • Cannock Chase
List of places
UK
England
Staffordshire
52°45′36″N 1°56′20″W / 52.7599°N 1.9388°W / 52.7599; -1.9388

Rugeley ( ROOJ-lee) is an industrial and market town in Cannock Chase District in Staffordshire, England.

It lies on the north-eastern edge of Cannock Chase next to the River Trent, 7.9 miles (12.7 km) north of Lichfield, 9.8 miles (15.8 km) southeast of the county town of Stafford, 4.6 miles (7.4 km) northeast of Hednesford and 11.3 miles (18.2 km) southwest of Uttoxeter. At the 2011 census the population was 24,033. Rugeley is twinned with Western Springs, Illinois and in July 1962 the towns made telephone history on national television when the chairman of Rugeley Urban District Council made the first telephone call via the new Telstar satellite to the Mayor of Western Springs. It was also featured in an article about workers' rights and town transformation in the 21st century.

History

The town, historically known as Rudgeley or Ridgeley, is listed in the Domesday Book. This name is thought to be derived from 'Ridge lee', or 'the hill over the field'. In the mediaeval period, it thrived on iron workings and was also a site of glass manufacturing. During the Industrial Revolution the economy of Rugeley benefited from the construction of the Trent and Mersey Canal and then from it becoming a junction on the railway network.

Although smaller pits had existed beforehand, the town became a centre of industrial scale deep shaft coal mining from the 1950s, taking advantage of the geological faults that cause coal seams under Cannock Chase. The Lea Hall Colliery that opened in July 1960 was the first modern coal mine opened by the National Coal Board, which managed the United Kingdom's nationalized coal industry. Nearby the Central Electricity Generating Board built two power plants. With the construction of Rugeley A and B power stations Rugeley became a major centre for electricity generation. These developments led to the town growing very quickly in the 1960s. The Rugeley A power station was designed to take its fuel directly from Lea Hall by conveyor belt (although the coal was of poor quality not suitable for Rugeley B). This was the first such arrangement in Britain. The Rugeley B coal-fired power station continues to dominate the skyline where a flue gas desulphurisation plant has been constructed. This will allow it to continue to generate electricity and comply with environmental legislation.

St. Augustine's Church in Rugeley has memorials to the Levett family, who live at nearby Milford Hall and who established the Rugeley Home and Cottage Hospital on Church Street in 1866.

Transport

For many years in the 1970s and 1980s Rugeley was served by British Rail, with four services each way to and from Stafford and Rugby/Coventry. After the closure of Rugeley A power station and Lea Hall Colliery and a reduction in rail freight, it became possible to open up the Rugeley to Walsall line for passenger traffic. Rugeley now has two railway stations Rugeley Trent Valley and Rugeley Town. Rugeley Trent Valley lies on the West Coast Main Line, and has a regular hourly service to London via Lichfield, Nuneaton, Rugby and Milton Keynes, and to Crewe via Stafford and Stoke-on-Trent. Rugeley Trent Valley also has an hourly service via Rugeley Town railway station and the Chase Line suburban route connecting to Walsall and Birmingham.

The town continues to benefit from the Trent and Mersey Canal on its eastern side which, since the popularity of canals as a leisure activity, brings additional tourism into the town. The Canal is signposted well linking the canal from Preston Brook to Shardlow running through Cheshire, Staffordshire and Derbyshire.

Regular bus services 63, 826 and 828 link Rugeley to towns of Stafford, Hednesford and Lichfield. These Chaserider operated routes also link nearby rural villages of Colwich and Great Haywood. They also link the towns neighbourhoods including Springfields, Peartree and Brereton. No buses operate on Sunday or bank holiday.

The major roads into Rugeley are the A460 from Wolverhampton, and the A51 via Tamworth, Lichfield to Stone before going through Nantwich and ending at Chester. A new eastern bypass was opened in 2007 to facilitate the development of new employment areas on the former colliery site, and to reduce congestion in the town centre.

Demography

In the 2011 census, Rugeley was 96.5% White British. Much of the ageing population and their families are linked to the ex-mining communities, with an increasing proportion of the younger population being new to the area and associated with the services sector. As former mining towns, Rugeley including the Brereton area suffer from a moderate level of social deprivation, with parts of the town consisting of council or ex-council house stock (such as the Springfield Estate and parts of Brereton) or former National Coal Board housing, such as the Pear Tree Estate. However, on the fringes of Rugeley there is more affluence, and some of the older Georgian streets including the conservation area of Crossley Stone or waterfront properties along the Trent and Mersey Canal. A number of new houses were built in the housing boom of the early 2000s, providing a mixture of affordable and higher-end properties.

Amenities

Rugeley has a modern swimming pool and leisure centre, opened 2006 on Burnthill Lane. Rugeley has a skate park in Hagley Park. Schools in the area include The Hart School (formerly two separate schools - Fair Oak Academy and Hagley Park Academy).

Rugeley's town centre has an outdoor market three days per week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. It also has an indoor market and a shopping centre called the Brewery Street Arcade. Rugeley has a number of well known high street names like Boots, Argos, Greggs and Morrisons.

Residents of the town benefit from their proximity to Cannock Chase and indeed there is a heritage trail funded by the National Lottery linking the town to Hednesford and Cannock with excellent disabled access. The trail contains numerous notice boards highlighting the town's history.

Rugeley also has a state-of-the-art health centre off Sandy Lane, a replacement for its predecessor on Horsefair. A modern care home now stands on the site of the former surgery. Technically, two separate surgeries coexist there. There is also the Aelfgar Surgery in Taylors Lane.

Rugeley Rose Theatre is a theatre and community centre in Taylors Lane.

Heron Court Hall, is a gothic style mansion (built by Joseph Whitgreave in 1851) on the outskirts of Rugeley town centre. It is a former convent and private residence and is now owned by Rugeley Snooker Club (also known as Rugeley Billiards Club). It is home to both Rugeley Snooker Club and Rugeley Poker Club, and a number of local businesses, including Abbeysound, a recording studio, and Securican. Rugeley Snooker Club has three full size snooker tables maintained to the highest standards, and in addition to serving its members, regularly plays host to other clubs from local snooker leagues.

Rugeley is home to two cricket clubs (Rugeley C.C. and Trent Valley C.C.), several football clubs and Rugeley Rugby Club, as well as Rugeley Rifle Club, which caters to .22 and air gun target shooting.

The Lea Hall Social Club, which underwent extensive renovation between 2005 and 2011, serves Rugeley residents with a variety of facilities including cricket and football pitches, tennis courts and a crown bowling green.

Events

A charter fair occurs during the first weekend in June, which is a huge attraction with most people from the town joining in the street parade. The town council also puts on a fireworks display during the last weekend of the school summer holidays, known as "Back to School with a Bang". A Christmas lights switch-on during December includes a market and late night opening of shops, with the local traders association joining in the organising of street entertainment.

Future

Rugeley suffered an increase in unemployment when Lea Hall Colliery closed in 1990. Following many years of demolition and regeneration, a number of large industrial units have been built on the Towers Business Park, a brownfield site situated on the former ground of the colliery. In August 2011, Amazon.co.uk opened a 700,000 sq ft fulfillment centre on the Towers Park, creating between 700 and 900 full-time jobs as well as generating a large pool of seasonal work around Christmas.

Nearby places

Towns and cities

Villages

  • Abbots Bromley
  • Admaston
  • Armitage
  • Blithbury
  • Brereton
  • Cannock Wood
  • Colton
  • Colwich
  • Cheslyn Hay
  • Etchinghill
  • Great Haywood
  • Hamstall Ridware
  • Handsacre
  • Hill Ridware
  • Kings Bromley
  • Little Haywood
  • Longdon
  • Mavesyn Ridware
  • Slitting Mill
  • Upper Longdon

Other

Twin town


Sports

Rugeley is home to two cricket clubs (Rugeley C.C. and Trent Valley C.C.), several football clubs and Rugeley Rugby Club.

Rugeley Snooker Club meets in Heron Court Hall.

Rugeley Rifle Club, catering to .22 and air gun target shooting, moved to its current location near the Town Station in 1971 and is noted for member Victoria Bradbury, bronze medallist at the 2018 ISSF World Shooting Championships.

The Lea Hall Social Club, which underwent extensive renovation between 2005 and 2011, serves Rugeley residents with a variety of facilities including cricket and football pitches, tennis courts and a crown bowling green.

Etching Hill Tennis Club has offered casual and competitive hard court play to members since 1952.

Hawkesyard Golf (formerly known as the St. Thomas Priory Golf Course) is to the east of the town on the Hawkesyard Estate.

Notable people

  • Thomas Weston (1584–1646) Merchant adventurer, admitted to the Worshipful Company of Ironmongers in 1609
  • Mary Knowles (1733–1807), English Quaker poet, supported abolition of the slave trade and slavery.
  • John Stevenson Salt (1777–1845) English barrister, banker and land owner, served as High Sheriff of Staffordshire in 1838
  • Thomas George Bonney FRS (1833–1923) English geologist, president of the Geological Society of London
  • John Porter (1838–1922) English thoroughbred flat racing trainer, founder of Newbury Racecourse
  • Frederic Bonney FRS (1842–1921) British land owner, photographer and anthropologist
  • Ethelred Luke Taunton (1857–1907) English Roman Catholic priest and historical writer.
  • Selwyn MacGregor Grier (1878–1946) was a British colonial administrator, Governor-in-Chief of the Windward Islands from 1935 to 1937.
  • Lynda Grier (1880–1967) was a British educational administrator and policy advisor
  • William Beaumont Burns (1883–1916) English cricketer, played more than 200 first-class matches mainly for Worcestershire.
  • Wilfred John Simkin CMG (1883–1967) was the 6th Anglican Bishop of Auckland
  • Sir Nicholas Raymond Winterton (born 1938) British Conservative Party politician, MP for Macclesfield 1971 / 2015
  • Paul Davies-Hale (born 1962) British long-distance runner, competed in the 1984 Summer Olympics in the 3000m steeplechase and at 1992 Summer Olympics in the marathon
  • Scout Niblett (born 20 September 1973) Singer-Songwriter-Musician.
  • Robert Rock (born 6 April 1977) is an English professional golfer. He has played on the European Tour since 2003.
  • George Pilkington (born 7 November 1981) is an English former professional footballer.

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