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LEICESTERSHIRE (/ˈlɛstərʃər/ (_ listen ) or /ˈlɛstərʃɪər/ ; abbreviation LEICS.) is a landlocked county in the English Midlands . It takes its name from and is home to at least one third of Greater Leicester_ at its centre, although the City of Leicester
Leicester
unitary authority is today administered separately from the rest of Leicestershire. The county borders Nottinghamshire
Nottinghamshire
to the north, Lincolnshire
Lincolnshire
to the north-east, Rutland to the east, Northamptonshire to the south-east, Warwickshire
Warwickshire
to the south-west, Staffordshire
Staffordshire
to the west, and Derbyshire
Derbyshire
to the north-west. The border with most of Warwickshire
Warwickshire
is Watling Street (the A5 ).

The county has a population of just over 1 million with over half the population living in Leicester\'s built-up area .

CONTENTS

* 1 History * 2 Geography * 3 Demographics

* 4 Economy

* 4.1 Engineering * 4.2 Trade associations * 4.3 Farming * 4.4 Food and drink * 4.5 Clothing * 4.6 Healthcare * 4.7 Biomedical industries * 4.8 Freight and distribution * 4.9 Other * 4.10 Financial and business services * 4.11 Business awards * 4.12 Statistics

* 5 Local government

* 6 Education

* 6.1 GCSE results by district council * 6.2 Independent schools * 6.3 Further education * 6.4 Higher education * 6.5 Educational associations * 6.6 Sporting associations

* 7 Music

* 7.1 Symphony orchestras * 7.2 Amateur orchestras * 7.3 Choirs and choral societies * 7.4 Early music * 7.5 Music shops

* 8 Towns and villages * 9 Places of interest * 10 See also * 11 References * 12 External links

HISTORY

Main article: History of Leicestershire

Leicestershire
Leicestershire
was recorded in the Domesday Book
Domesday Book
in four wapentakes : Guthlaxton , Framland , Goscote and Gartree . These later became hundreds , with the division of Goscote into West Goscote and East Goscote , and the addition of Sparkenhoe hundred. In 1087, the first recorded use of the name was as _Laegrecastrescir_.

Leicestershire's external boundaries have changed little since the Domesday Survey. The Measham - Donisthorpe exclave of Derbyshire
Derbyshire
has been exchanged for the Netherseal area, and the urban expansion of Market Harborough
Harborough
has caused Little Bowden , previously in Northamptonshire
Northamptonshire
to be annexed.

In 1974, the Local Government Act 1972
Local Government Act 1972
abolished the county borough status of Leicester
Leicester
city and the county status of neighbouring Rutland , converting both to administrative districts of Leicestershire. These actions were reversed on 1 April 1997, when Rutland and the City of Leicester
Leicester
became unitary authorities. Rutland became a distinct Ceremonial County once again, although it continues to be policed by Leicestershire Constabulary .

The symbol of the county council, Leicestershire
Leicestershire
County Cricket Club and Leicester
Leicester
City FC , is the fox . Leicestershire
Leicestershire
is considered to be the birthplace of fox hunting as it is known today. Hugo Meynell , who lived in Quorn , is known as the father of fox hunting. Melton Mowbray and Market Harborough
Harborough
have associations with fox hunting, as has neighbouring Rutland.

GEOGRAPHY

Location map of Leicestershire
Leicestershire
and major towns/cities

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The River Soar together with its tributaries and canalisations constitutes the principal river basin of the county, although the River Avon and River Welland
River Welland
through Harborough
Harborough
and along the county's southern boundaries are also significant. The Soar rises between Hinckley
Hinckley
and Lutterworth
Lutterworth
, towards the south of the county near the Warwickshire
Warwickshire
border, and flows northwards, bisecting the county along its north/south axis, through 'Greater' Leicester
Leicester
and then to the east of Loughborough
Loughborough
where its course within the county comes to an end. It continues north marking the boundary with Nottinghamshire
Nottinghamshire
for some 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) before joining the River Trent
River Trent
at the point where Derbyshire, Leicestershire, and Nottinghamshire
Nottinghamshire
meet .

A large part of the north-west of the county, around Coalville , forms part of the new National Forest area extending into Derbyshire and Staffordshire. The highest point of the county is Bardon Hill at 278 metres (912 ft), which is also a Marilyn ; with other upland areas (200m+) in neighbouring Charnwood Forest and also to the east of the county around Launde Abbey . The lowest point is about 25 metres (82 ft), north of Bottesford where the River Devon
Devon
flows through the Vale of Belvoir where it leaves Leicestershire
Leicestershire
and enters Nottinghamshire.

DEMOGRAPHICS

See also: List of settlements in Leicestershire by population

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The population of Leicestershire
Leicestershire
(excluding Leicester
Leicester
Unitary Authority) is 609,578 people (2001 census). The county covers an area of 2,084 km2 (804 sq mi). Its largest population centre is the city of Leicester
Leicester
, followed by the town of Loughborough
Loughborough
. Other large towns include Ashby-de-la-Zouch , Coalville , Hinckley
Hinckley
, Market Harborough
Harborough
, Melton Mowbray , Oadby
Oadby
, Wigston
Wigston
and Lutterworth
Lutterworth
.

Some of the larger of villages are:Burbage (population estimated around 16,500 2014) Birstall (population 11,400 in 2004), Broughton Astley , Castle Donington , Kibworth Beauchamp (along with Kibworth Harcourt), Great Glen , Ibstock , Countesthorpe and Kegworth . One of the most rapidly expanding villages is Anstey , which has recently seen a large number of development schemes.

The United Kingdom
United Kingdom
Census 2001 showed a total resident population for Leicester
Leicester
of 279,921, a 0.5% decrease from the 1991 census. Approximately 62,000 were aged under 16, 199,000 were aged 16–74, and 19,000 aged 75 and over. 76.9% of Leicester's population claim they have been born in the UK, according to the 2001 UK Census. Mid-year estimates for 2006 indicate that the population of the City of Leicester
Leicester
stood at 289,700 making Leicester
Leicester
the most populous city in East Midlands.

The population density is 3,814/km2 (9,880/sq mi) and for every 100 females, there were 92.9 males. Of those aged 16–74 in Leicester, 38.5% had no academic qualifications , significantly higher than 28.9% in all of England. 23.0% of Leicester's residents were born outside of the United Kingdom, more than double than the English average of 9.2%.

ECONOMY

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ENGINEERING

Engineering has long been an important part of the economy of Leicestershire. John Taylor Bellfounders continues a history of bellfounding in Loughborough
Loughborough
since the 14th century. In 1881 John Taylors cast the largest bell in Britain, "Great Paul", for St Paul's Cathedral in London. Norman & Underwood have been making sand cast sheet lead roofing and stained glass since 1825 working on many of England's major cathedrals and historic buildings, including Salisbury Cathedral, Windsor Castle, Westminster Abbey, Hampton Court Palace, and Chatsworth House. Snibston Discovery Park is built on one of three coal mines that operated in Coalville from the 1820s until 1986. Abbey Pumping Station houses four enormous steam powered beam engines built in Leicester
Leicester
in the 1890s in the Vulcan factory owned by Josiah Gimson, whose son Ernest Gimson was an influential furniture designer and architect of the English arts and crafts movement .

Engineering companies today include sports car makers Noble Automotive Ltd in Barwell
Barwell
and Ultima Sports Ltd in Hinckley, Triumph Motorcycles in Hinckley
Hinckley
, Jones & Shipman (machine tools), Metalfacture Ltd (sheet metal work), Richards Engineering (foundry equipment), Transmon Engineering (materials handling equipment), Trelleborg Industrial AVS in Beaumont Leys (industrial suspension components), Parker Plant (quarrying equipment), Aggregate Industries UK (construction materials), Infotec in Ashby-de-la-Zouch (electronic information display boards), Alstec in Whetstone, Leicestershire (airport baggage handling systems), and Brush Traction
Brush Traction
(railway locomotives) in Loughborough
Loughborough
. Local commitment to nurturing the upcoming cadre of British engineers includes apprenticeship schemes with local companies, and academic-industrial connections with the engineering departments at Leicester
Leicester
University , De Montfort University , and Loughborough
Loughborough
University .

The Systems Engineering Innovation Centre and Centre for Excellence for low carbon and fuel cell technologies are both based at Loughborough
Loughborough
University . Private sector research and development organisations include PERA - the technology based consultancy in Melton Mowbray, and MIRA - the automotive research and development centre based on the outskirts of Hinckley. Automotive and aerospace engineers use the test facilities at Mallory Park
Mallory Park
, and Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome and proving ground. On 18 October 2007, the last airworthy Avro Vulcan was flown from Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome after 10 years of restoration there by aerospace engineers of the Vulcan Operating Company.

TRADE ASSOCIATIONS

There are several trade associations with their head offices based in Leicestershire
Leicestershire
including the Ergonomics Society, the European Construction Institute, the Institute of Diagnostic Engineers, the Pre-cast Flooring Federation, the Concrete Pipe Association, the Timber Packaging & Pallet Confederation, and the National Association of Wood Shaving & Sawdust Merchants "> A field of sheep near Stoke Golding

Leicestershire
Leicestershire
has a long history of livestock farming which continues today. Robert Bakewell (1725–1795) of Dishley, near Loughborough, was a revolutionary in the field of selective breeding. Bakewell's Leicester
Leicester
Longwool sheep was much prized by farmers across the British Empire
British Empire
and is today a heritage breed admired all over the world. Commercial and rare breeds associated with the descendants of Bakewell's sheep include the English Leicester
Leicester
, Border Leicester
Leicester
, Bluefaced Leicester, Scotch mule, and Welsh halfbred.

The Leicestershire
Leicestershire
County Show is held on the first Bank Holiday in May each year and includes animal showings, trade exhibitions, and show jumping. Melton Mowbray Market is an important regional livestock market.

Field Sports remain an important part of the rural economy of Leicestershire, with stables, kennels, and gunsmiths based in the county.

Thatched roofs are built and maintained by members of Rutland & Leicestershire
Leicestershire
Master Thatchers Association.

FOOD AND DRINK

Stilton and Red Leicester
Leicester
cheeses and the pork pie are the three most famous contributions to English cuisine from Leicestershire.

Leicestershire
Leicestershire
food producers include Claybrooke mill one of the very few commercially working watermills left in Britain producing a range of over 40 flours, meat from rare and minority breeds from Brockleby's, Christmas turkey and goose from Seldom Seen Farm. Two dairies produce Red Leicester
Leicester
cheese in the county, Long Clawson and the Leicestershire
Leicestershire
Handmade Cheese Company.

All natural non-alcoholic fruit cordials and presse drinks are made by Belvoir Fruit Farms and sold in supermarkets across Britain. Swithland Spring Water is sourced from the Charnwood hills. Breweries in Leicestershire
Leicestershire
and Rutland are listed on the Leicester
Leicester
CAMRA website. The county's largest beer brewer is Everards , and there are several microbreweries such as Belvoir Brewery in Old Dalby, Parish Brewery in Burrough on the Hill, Wicked Hathern Brewery in Loughborough, the Gas Dog Brewery at Somerby near Melton, Ellis Wood brewery in Hinckley, and the Pig Pub Brewery in Claybrooke Magna near Lutterworth. Vineyards in Leicestershire
Leicestershire
include Chevelswarde Vineyard ( Lutterworth
Lutterworth
), Welland Valley Vineyard (Market Harborough
Harborough
), and Eglantine ( Loughborough
Loughborough
). Melton Mowbray Sloe Gin is a liqueur with a distinctive flavour.

Various markets are held across the county. Leicester
Leicester
Market is the largest outdoor covered marketplace in Europe and among the products on sale are fruit and vegetables sold by market stallholders, and fresh fish and meat in the Indoor Market.

The annual East Midlands
East Midlands
Food & Drink Festival held in Melton Mowbray had over 200 exhibitors and 20,000 visitors attending in 2007 making it the largest British regional food festival.

Food processing in the city and county includes popular British fish and chip shop pie Pukka Pies who are based in Syston. Walkers Midshire Foods, part of the Samworth Brothers group, makes sausages and pies in its Beaumont Leys factories. Samworth Brothers has operations in Leicestershire
Leicestershire
and Cornwall
Cornwall
( Ginsters ), making a range of products from sandwiches to desserts for UK retailers under their brands as well the company's own portfolio of brands including Dickinson & Morris, producers of pork pies and Melton Hunt Cake. Walkers crisps are made in Beaumont Leys using Lincolnshire
Lincolnshire
potatoes. United Biscuits have their distribution centre in Ashby-de-la-Zouch as well as a snacks factory producing brands such as Hula Hoops , Skips , Nik Naks and Space Raiders and they also have a biscuit factory in Wigston. The Masterfoods UK factory at Melton Mowbray produces petfood for brands such as Cesar, Kitekat , PAL, Pedigree, Sheba , Whiskas , Aquarian and Trill. Hand made chocolates are produced by Chocolate Perfection in Ashby-de-la-Zouch .

Some 15 major Indian food manufacturers are based in Leicester including Sara Foods, Mayur Foods, Cofresh Snack Foods Ltd, Farsan, Apni Roti, and Spice n Tice. The 'Mithai' Indian sweet market is catered for by award-winning Indian restaurants – for instance the vegetable samosas approved by the Vegetarian Society sold at The Sharmilee on Belgrave Road. The growing market for Indian food has afforded new opportunities to long standing local companies, for example the Long Clawson dairy, a co-operative manufacturer of Stilton (cheese) now also makes Paneer
Paneer
cheese used in the Indian dish Mattar Paneer
Paneer
.

Leicestershire
Leicestershire
food exported abroad includes cheese from the Long Clawson dairy which is sold in supermarkets in Canada and the United States via a network of distributors coordinated by Taunton-based company Somerdale. Belvoir Fruit Farms cordials and pressé drinks are sold on the United States east coast in Wegmans Food Markets , World Market , Harris Teeter , Dean & DeLuca , and in specialised British food stores such as Myers of Keswick (New York City), and the British Pantry (near Washington, D.C.).

The annual Leicestershire
Leicestershire
& Rutland Restaurant Awards has several categories including Leicestershire
Leicestershire
& Rutland Restaurant of the Year, Best Asian Restaurant, Best Service, Best Newcomer, Best Fine Dining Restaurant, Best Value for Money, Best Drinks/Wine List, Best Local Produce Menu, Best Gastro Pub, Best Neighbourhood Restaurant, Best Business Lunch, and Leicestershire
Leicestershire
& Rutland Young Chef of the Year.

See also Leicester
Leicester
food ">

Other local companies manufacture knitwear such as Commando Knitwear of Wigston, and others specialise in technical textiles for industrial or medical purposes. Clothing and fabric for the British Asian community is made here - for example the shop Saree
Saree
Mandir sells silk saree 's and salwar suits for women whose design patterns closely follow contemporary Indian trends. The Knitting
Knitting
Industries' Federation continues to be based in Leicestershire. On the creative side the design centre for next is headquartered in Enderby, and the design centre for George Clothing (Asda/Walmart) is in Lutterworth. De Montfort University has, in the form of its Fashion and Contour Design course a leading design department for female underwear. It also has the only UK University courses in Footwear Design providing future designers for local shoemakers Shoefayre, Stead and Simpson, and Shoe Zone , who all have their headquarters in the county.

Gola also originates from the county.

HEALTHCARE

University Hospitals Leicester
Leicester
NHS Trust employs around 11,000 at its three hospitals in the city and county, the Glenfield, the General and the Royal Infirmary. Leicestershire
Leicestershire
Partnership NHS Trust employs around 5,600 staff providing mental health, learning disability and community health services in the city and county. These services are commissioned by the three Clinical Commissioning Groups, led by local GP's. The British Psychological Society, the Institute of Occupational Safety ">

Lumbers, of Market Street Leicester, was a finalist in the Independent Retailer category of the UK Jewellery Awards 2007.

Ulverscroft Large Print Books, of Anstey, Leicestershire , are a leading publisher of books for the visually impaired.

Leicestershire
Leicestershire
is twinned with Kilkenny
Kilkenny
, Ireland.

Leicester's Cultural Quarter is an ambitious plan to drive the regeneration of a large run-down area of the City. It has delivered: A new venue for the performing arts, Curve; Creative workspaces for artists and a Digital Media Centre. A large number of Creative and Media businesses have thrived in the region. In addition the area now has much-improved streets, pavements and open spaces with integrated artworks.

As part of a 2002 marketing campaign , the plant conservation charity Plantlife chose the Foxglove as the county flower .

FINANCIAL AND BUSINESS SERVICES

Financial and business service companies with operations in Leicestershire
Leicestershire
include Alliance & Leicester
Leicester
, Cambridge & Counties Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland
Royal Bank of Scotland
, State Bank of India , HSBC
HSBC
, and PricewaterhouseCoopers .

Pension provision company Mattioli Woods employs 170 people at its Grove Park, Enderby, HQ and has a reputation for employing graduates directly from Leicestershire
Leicestershire
Universities.

Companies that have their head office in the area include Next (clothing) , and British Gas Business.

The Institute of Credit Management, the European Association of Trade Mark Owners, and the Point of Purchase Advertising International (POPAI) are based in Leicestershire.

Key stakeholders promoting economic development formed Leicester Leicester
Leicester
College , Loughborough
Loughborough
College , South Leicestershire College and Stephenson College . All offer various vocational courses as well as apprenticeships and some academic courses.

Brooksby Melton College provides apprenticeships and further education training courses in animal care, countryside, equine, fisheries, and land based service engineering, at their Brooksby campus.

HIGHER EDUCATION

Leicestershire
Leicestershire
has three universities, the University of Leicester
Leicester
, Loughborough
Loughborough
University and De Montfort University .

EDUCATIONAL ASSOCIATIONS

Several educational associations have their head offices in Leicestershire, including the Mathematical Association, the Association of School and College Leaders, the Association for College Management, the Girls Schools Association, the National Adult School Association, the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education and the Headmasters & Headmistresses Conference.

SPORTING ASSOCIATIONS

A number of UK sporting bodies have their head offices in Leicestershire, including the Institute of Sports & Recreation Management, the Institute of Swimming Teachers "> Belvoir Castle today The entrance to Burrough Hill Iron Age hillfort The National Space Centre in Leicester
Leicester
Main category: Tourist attractions in Leicestershire
Leicestershire

* Ab Kettleby * Abbey Pumping Station * Ashby-de-la-Zouch Canal * Ashby Castle * Arnesby May Fayre * The Battlefield Line * Beacon Hill * Belgrave Hall & Gardens * Belvoir Castle * Bosworth Battlefield * Bradgate Park
Bradgate Park
& Swithland Wood * Brampton Valley Way (former railway path to Northampton
Northampton
) * Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome and proving ground * Burrough Hill Iron Age Hill Fort * Castle Park * Charnwood Museum * Donington le Heath Manor House Museum * Donington Park and the Donington Grand Prix Collection museum * East Midlands
East Midlands
Airport * Eyebrook Reservoir * Fosse Shopping Park * Foxton Locks * Great Glen Methodist Church * Great Central Railway (heritage railway) * Harborough
Harborough
Museum * High Cross * Kirby Muxloe Castle * Launde Abbey * Leicester
Leicester
Cathedral * Mallory Park
Mallory Park
* Melton Carnegie Museum * Moira Furnace * Mount St. Bernard Abbey * National Space Centre * The National Forest and Conkers * Snibston border:solid #aaa 1px">

* England
England
portal

* List of Lord Lieutenants of Leicestershire
Leicestershire
* Custos Rotulorum of Leicestershire - List of keepers of the Rolls * List of High Sheriffs of Leicestershire
Leicestershire
* Leicestershire (UK Parliament constituency) - Historical list of MPs for the Leicestershire
Leicestershire
co