This month sees the move of ATPBio to the historic town of Market Harborough. Although not (yet) known for its links to life sciences, it is located in the Welland Valley, amongst some of the country’s most beautiful countryside. Situated in South Leicestershire, it sits in the middle of the UK’s most active life sciences clusters: one hour north of London, one hour from Cambridge, and just over one hour from Oxford. Some readers might find interesting a little of the history and some fun facts about Market Harborough.
The town originally dates from around 1200 AD, and these excerpts from an article in Wikipedia describe some of the history:
“The centre of the town is dominated by the steeple of St Dionysius Parish Church which rises direct from the street, as there is no church yard. It was constructed in grey stone in 1300 with the church itself a later building of about 1470. Next to the Church stands the Old Grammar School, a small timber building dating from 1614. The ground floor is open, creating a covered market area and there is a single room on the first floor. It has become a symbol of the town. The nearby Square, is now largely pedestrianised and surrounded by a mixture of buildings of varying styles. The upper end of the High Street is wide and contains mostly unspoiled Georgian buildings …”
“…Harborough figured nationally in the English Civil War in June 1645, when it became the headquarters of the Kings Army. In Harborough, the King decided to confront Parliamentary forces who were camped near Naseby but the Battle of Naseby proved a decisive victory for Parliament led by Oliver Cromwell…”
“…During the eighteenth century the original timber mud and thatch buildings of the town were largely replaced with brick building. After roads were turnpiked and regularly repaired making wheeled traffic easier all year round, Harborough became a staging point for coach travel on the road to main road to London from the North West and the Midlands…”
Famous residents of Market Harborough include:
- Martin Johnson, CBE, who captained England’s Rugby team to victory in the World Cup in 2003, and is currently England team manager.
- William Henry Bragg, who uniquely won the Noble Prize in Physics with his son, William Lawrence Bragg, in 1915.
- Robert Smyth, who became the Comptroller of the Lord Mayor’s Court of the City of London (around 1600).
- Thomas Cook, the eponymous founder of the travel firm, Thomas Cook Group.
Other interesting facts – Prince Charles, voted the world’s best dressed man by Esquire magazine in March 2009, uses three tailors, one of which is based in Market Harborough. And finally…the town also has the shortest street in Europe, appropriately called “Little Street”.
So, if you ever fancy a trip to visit us at ATPBio, I’d be delighted to have a chat with you over coffee at Giorno’s (run by an affable Italian who loves his coffee), while looking out over 600 year old buildings.