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About Coalville


Coalville is a town steeped in heritage with an exciting past. From coal mining and rocket trains to Action Man, Coalville has seen lots of changes and innovative developments over the years and there’s more to come.

Here are some of our historic highlights and interesting facts about our town.

  • If you haven’t guessed already, as the name suggests, Coalville is a former mining town.
  • It is also the birthplace of Action Man and Star Wars figurines and Care Bears. In fact, this year we are celebrating 50 years since Action Man was born at Palitoy Ltd of Coalville in 1966.
  • Robert Stephenson developed the Rocket steam engine, the most advanced locomotive of its day. It became the template for steam engines for the next 150 years and is now on display at the Science Museum in London!
  • The first 50 volunteer soldiers to head to World War One were from Hugglescote and left from Coalville station.
  • Coalville Town Football Club was originally called Ravenstone Miners Athletics. The Ravens are still going strong and this year were promoted this season to the Northern Premier League Premier Division.
  • It’s the largest town in North West Leicestershire, with a population of over 32,000, and is twinned with Romans-sur-Isère, in south east France.
  • The clock tower rises a massive 21m (68ft) above pavement level.
  • One of the Midlands’ most legendary nightclubs, Coalville’s The Emporium, and the Victoria Bikers Pub attract visitors from far and wide.

Coalville key dates

  • 1824, deep coalmining was pioneered by William Stenson, who sank the first deep mine at Whitwick.
  • 1829 Robert Stephenson, developed the Rocket steam engine.
  • 1831: George Stephenson sank the second deep mine at Snibston.
  • 1832: George Stephenson opened the Leicester and Swannington railway, Leicestershire’s first railway.
  • Early 1800’s: Stenson House was built in Coalville
  • 1894: The Coalville Urban District was formed
  • 1919: Alfred Edward Pallett formed Cascelloid manufacturing company (which later became  ‘Palitoy’)
  • 1925: The Memorial Clock Tower is unveiled by Mrs Booth.
  • 1926: Coalville Town Football Club were formed as Ravenstone Miners Athletic
  • 1937: Palitoy began in a former billiard hall on Owen Street making soft bodied dolls
  • 1966: Action Man was born at the Palitoy Factory
  • 1974: Coalville Urban District dissolved and was replaced by North West Leicestershire District Council
  • 1986: Stenson House, home of NWLDC, is listed by English Heritage
  • 2002: George Stephenson was placed on BBC’s list of 100 famous Britons.