I live here, “me duck”. Loughborough (luff-brə, population 60,000) is a former industrial area, close to the Nottinghamshire border within the Charnwood borough of Leicestershire, England. This is not a good start but the town is home to Loughborough University, which means good- looking young women and lots of chopsy young snowflake males all getting legless in Wetherspoons at the weekends, alongside shaven-headed chavs and pensioners all getting legless in Wetherspoons all day every day.
You can have a nice time in Loughborough, just as long as you live outside of it and never visit except for its saving grace: decent markets in the town centre. For your convenience, here is a guided tour: from the Railway Station, admire the old historic Great Central Redeveloped Railway with its missing antique footbridge and start your tour on the Nottingham Rd LE11/A60 towards the town. It’s easy to find, you can smell it. Don’t stop for anything and don’t buy any hard drugs.
Find John Taylor and Co’s Bell Foundry on Freehold St, LE11 1AR. Taylor’s historic Bell-Foundry made the bells for the Carillon war memorial, a landmark within Loughborough Queens Park and Museum quarter. Taylor’s also made Great Paul for St Paul’s Cathedral, and York Minster. On some nights, the locals can be seen pulling faces on the roof and shouting about someone called Esmerelda. Contrary to local legend, Quasimodo wasn’t born in Loughborough but he obviously had family here.
The Bell Foundry is buried under a Jack the Ripper housing estate with people who couldn’t give a toss and never saw a bell in their life, though most of them have a face that should be stuck to one. The Bell Foundry has always been close to the chop and the council has been trying to get rid of it for years, but it has a great website and it’s one of the most active and interesting heritage sights in Britain. Just don’t go in the dark but if you do, walk like the clappers and don’t get in to a ding dong.
Proceed along the Nottingham Rd to Baxter Gate and the old hospital site. Loughborough doesn’t need hospitals because nobody ever gets sick; the NHS is not in crisis and what the country really needs is more students and Cinemas, and traffic jams. Walking past the public toilets and smoking shelters, you will see the local Rest Home with old ladies fighting outside. We call these the Bus hubs and the Bingo Hall.
Your quest for the most interesting “market” town in the country is almost at an end. McDonalds is a stone’s throw away, with inside toilets and healthy burgers. If their toilets are busy, most people use the alleyway next door. You are close to the market place and pedestrian zone; ignore it and walk straight on.