Living in Leamington Spa

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Leamington Spa’s history is still evident today, both from the name and from features in and around the city. Renowned for its healing capabilities, the spa has always played a central part in the purpose and function of the city. This article looks at the advantages of living in Leamington Spa and how history has shaped the modern town we see today.

Royal Leamington Spa, to give it its full title, is a beautiful area, complete with tree lined streets and green open spaces. Quite small when compared to surrounding towns and cities, it offers a wealth of features and is great for independent shops.

The location of Leamington Spa is one of the many reasons people chose to relocate here. There are many transport links including the M40 and M1, in addition to the rail network. Other close towns and cities are Coventry, Warwick, Stratford and Birmingham. The town is split by the River Leam, which runs east to west.

The location makes Leamington Spa a fantastic choice for people that work in Birmingham but who would prefer to live outside the city. Likewise, a lively student population has grown despite the lack of a university. Many of these students take advantage of Leamington Spa’s cheaper rental costs and then travel by train to Warwick University for their studies.

By living in Leamington Spa, the residents are able to take advantage of the many takeaways, bars and clubs as well as a range of shopping options such as small independent shops and designer boutiques. The area is great both for people preferring a slower, calmer way of life, but will also serve the partygoers and fun-loving students.

The “Spa” part of the name “Leamington Spa” comes from ‘medicinal’ spa waters around which the town developed. Beloved by the Victorians, these waters were widely publicised to have healing properties.

In the early nineteenth century, C. S. Smith designed and built the Royal Pump Room and Baths. This cost £30,000, and the spa was claimed to cure a wide variety of problems ranging from gout to paralysis. Unfortunately, by 1848 the Spa’s had fallen out of fashion, leading to its sale. Extensive rebuilding was carried out in 1862, but it wasn’t until after the Second World War that the spa was given a complete facelift and reopened as a medical centre. More recently the pump rooms have been converted into a home for Leamington’s library, gallery and museum.

Before the Victorians discovered the spa waters and developed the area, Leamington existed as a very small village and was named Leamington Priors. The spa waters led to the town being renamed, replacing “Priors” with “Spa”, whilst the ‘Royal’ prefix was given by Queen Victoria. Royal Leamington Spa, as it ultimately became known, is one of only two towns allowed to use the word ‘Royal’ whilst “Leamington” is taken from the river Leam which runs through the area. Leam is also the name by which many of the locals refer to the area.

In more modern times, whilst the spa has left its mark on the town, it is no longer a major feature to most of the residents except for those interested in the towns’ historical origins. With the town having developed from the early townhouses built by the rich so they may have easy access to the spa, the Victorian legacy has left its mark with much of the architecture dating back or being inspired by both this period and also that of the Georgian era.

Whilst many residents choose to rent Leamington Spa property as a cheaper or quieter alternative to living in the larger towns and cities within the surrounding area, it is much more than a stepping stone for commuters; it retains its own history and character, providing modern facilities and attractions whilst reflecting the past through the architectural styles, tree lined roads and public parks.

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