This article is part of the The Great American Reach Around series.

Pete "Opired" W.

Lutterworth, England

Lutterworth is a small market town in Leicestershire in the centre of England. The main point of interest geographically is how central it is to the UK's road network, being sited on the main North/South motorway (M1) and within a junction of the main route to the Northwest (M6). This has meant Lutterworth has become a primary site for UK logistics & the main employers in the area are warehousing units a couple of miles down the road on 'Britain's first & largest dedicated distribution park' Magna Park. Thrilling!

The town itself is normally described as 'quaint' on first viewing. The buildings are old and well maintained, there's lots of greenery & flowers decorating the centre. There's a nice old English cricket pavilion & pitch on one of the routes into the town, giving a nice country feel to the approach. The locals are friendly too, and the whole place comes alive in the summer months when as with the rest of the UK, everything just looks so much better. It's a very pleasant town, there's little trouble other than the odd drunken local thinking he's Rambo with his dad's shotgun, or the old English custom of bar brawling on a Friday night. Even the distribution park is landscaped so as not to ruin the skyline.

It's much more akin to a rural village in its mindset rather than that of a larger town, despite housing around ten thousand people. There are few enough people frequenting the same places that most people know most other people, or at least know someone who does. And if you need some anonymity, you have the cities of Leicester & Coventry within a short drive.

Of course if you come into Lutterworth from the M1, your first impression will be shattered by 'The Camper Van'. It's been there ever since I first arrived 8 or so years ago, and I imagine it will be there forever more. At the very least the pile of rust it eventually dissolves into will leave a nice scorched Earth effect memorial to its inappropriateness in such an environment.

Lutterworth is generally famous for two things, firstly John Wycliffe was Rector of St. Mary's in the 14th century & is credited with translating the first copy of the Bible from Latin into English. This is despite being quite unable to settle on one spelling for his own surname.

Secondly Sir Frank Whittle developed & produced the first jet engine in Lutterworth & there's a lovely model of a Gloster 'Whittle' E.28/39 stuck in the middle of one of Lutterworth's roundabouts to commemorate his work, along with a rather brusque looking bust in the town centre. Rumours persist in certain circles that Whittle in fact developed the engine so that he was able to get away from Lutterworth faster.

Like much of the UK however, we're currently losing our youth to various bastardised versions of American culture. Most of our females seem to have turned orange, carry small dogs in handbags & say 'Oh my God' at the end of every sentence in some bizarre homage to Essex girl Chantelle Houghton who in turn was aping Paris Hilton. The males are split between the now customary Emo haircut crew on most corners worrying about how to return their sister's hair straighteners slyly, and the usual chav trainers & sportswear posse's hanging about the shops trying to blag ciggies.

And that attitude really sums up middle England's preoccupation with America. Americans always seem so certain that what they do is right, you're proud of your God & proud of your country - and you'll stand by either till the bitter end. Us middle Englanders are much the same, except we're essentially Godless and we're not allowed to be proud of our country without getting arrested for insulting someone or something. You're like the cool uncle at a family party and as such, until the fire of youth has been burned from our souls and we resign ourselves to middle management jobs in logistics companies, all the cool kids want to be just like you.

Lutterworth, despite what some might say, is actually a nice place to live.


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