Power Flush Leighton Buzzard

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Leighton Buzzard is a market town in Bedfordshire, England, located in the county’s southwest near the Buckinghamshire border. It is located near the Chiltern Hills, between Aylesbury, Tring, Luton/Dunstable, and Milton Keynes. It is located 36 miles (58 kilometres) northwest of Central London and is connected to the capital by the Grand Union Canal and the West Coast Main Line. The built-up area extends on either side of the River Ouzel (here about 2 metres wide) to include its historically distinct neighbour Linslade, and is governed by the Leighton-Linslade Town Council.



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    HISTORY

    Foundation and growth

    It is unknown when the town was founded, though some historians believe that settlement in the area may have begun as early as 571.

    There are several theories as to where the town’s name came from; ‘Leighton’ came from Old English Lah-tn, which means ‘farm in a clearing in the woods,’ and ‘Buzzard’ was added by the Dean of Lincoln, in whose diocese the town lay in the 12th century, from Beau-desert. Another version holds that, with two communities named ‘Leighton’ and looking for a way to distinguish them, Dean added the name of his local Prebendary or representative to that of the town. It was Theobald de Busar at the time, and the town became known as Leighton Buzzard over time. Leighton Bromswold was the other Leighton. Leighton Buzzard and Linslade were both referred to as Leestone in the Domesday Book.

    Leighton Buzzard grew into a thriving market town, aided by excellent road, canal, and, later, rail connections to the agricultural hinterland and London. The market charter for the town was granted in 1086 and is still in use today. The town’s main street is lined with historical structures, more than 70 of which are listed. The notable Bank Building on Market Square (now home to Barclays Bank) was designed by the eminent architect Alfred Waterhouse, who also designed London’s Natural History Museum. They also include the Old Town Hall, which was formerly a fire station and is now a restaurant.

    The Rothschilds
    Since 1873, when Lionel de Rothschild purchased neighbouring farmlands to the west of town, the town has had a long association with the Rothschild family. Over time, the farm evolved into the Ascott House estate, which is located less than two miles (3 kilometres) from town. Several members of the Rothschild family lived in town over the years, including Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild at Leighton House on the High Street (now demolished) and the widowed Lady Rothschild, who moved to Southcourt House on Orchard Drive in 1832. (also now demolished). Through their ownership of Southcourt Stud in Southcote, the family maintains ties to the town.

    Non-conformism
    The town has a long history of dissenters and is home to one of the region’s oldest Friends meeting houses. Local Quakers continue to meet in the Meeting House on North Street, which was built in the 18th century.

    Law union is in disarray.
    Following the passage of the Poor Law Amendment Act in 1834, Leighton Buzzard became the focal point of a poor law union comprised of 15 surrounding parishes, with the union workhouse (still standing) located in Grovebury Road.

    Second World War
    During WWII, Oxenden House (now demolished) off Plantation Road housed a secret codebreaking and communications facility described as “the largest telephone exchange in the world,” similar to nearby Bletchley Park. Despite being shrouded in secrecy, the facility employed up to 500 people during the war.

    The Great Train Heist
    The Great Train Robbery took place near Leighton Buzzard at Bridego Bridge. After being apprehended a month after the robbery, the robbers were held at the Old Police Station on Wing Road Linslade while waiting to be seen by the local magistrate.

    The Leighton Buzzard station was used in a scene from the film Robbery, which is based on the ‘Great Train Robbery.’

    Exchange of phone numbers
    The General Post Office created the first and only TXE1 telephone exchange, which went into service in 1968. On the night of August 18, 1971, two TXE2 exchanges and a TXE6 exchange were added to meet the growing demand. Later, a third TXE2 was added, but everything was replaced by a TXE4 swap around 1977. Some TXE2 equipment was used to build a new TXE2 on West Mersea Island in Essex. Lake Street is home to the large building, built on the site of the former Lake House, that housed all of these TXE exchanges as well as the current digital exchange.

    Expansion
    The population of Leighton-Linslade was originally recorded as 32,417 in the 2001 census. In 2003, a portion of Billington parish was transferred to Leighton-Linslade, and the revised census result, which included this area, was 32,753. The population of the Leighton-Linslade built-up area was 37,469 at the time of the 2011 census, and was expected to reach 43,203 by 2020, according to the Office for National Statistics.

    The town is expanding southwards, with the Southern Leighton Buzzard Development Brief allowing for the development of sites in the area. The Eastern Leighton Linslade Urban Extension Scheme, which consists of several developments, is also expanding eastwards.

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