Living in Ibstock
Written by Anonymous Visitor and posted in East Midlands, Leicestershire

Ever miss an era of Britain where heavy industry still ruled, where working class people swept their doorsteps, considered “curry” an exotic foreign food. Ever miss a Britain where a single brown face amongst the throng of pale-faced weather beaten islanders was a shock! Do you miss rag-and-bone men, friendly gypseys, miners welfare clubs. Where a block of half-peeling concrete blocks is considered “modern architecture”. Where working class meant something! You don’t need to travel back in time, just visit Ibstock.

I don’t get it, when the mining industry collapsed, towns like Coalville, Eastwood and Clay-Cross had their hearts ripped out of them, Ibstock has managed to maintain a community and a work ethic that’s quite commendable inside of a town that looks like the Luftwaffe took special exception to the place. I think its probably just jobs; every other person seems to be a builder, sparky or decorator. The 1970’s housing estates are rammed to the gunnels with White Vans, pickup trucks and small-business signs. We also have the added appeal of “not being Coalville”.

Lets take you on a dizzying tour; we have Ibstock Brick, famed in builder’s merchants across the country. We have the Whimsey Inn, a pub which is literally two semi-detached houses knocked together. Not one but TWO Gypsy camps within easy driving distance. A Co-Op which stands in for the height of civilisation. A series of massive distribution warehouses within driving distance

And yet again the people are fantastic! You’ll meet a biker gang, a scrap merchant and a mother with three half-dressed kids on your way to the betting shop and they’ll all say “Mornin'” to you with cheeky smiles. Aside from the odd brutal kidnap/rape/murder there is no crime! The people gossip while getting their hair permed. I even saw somebody reading a book once!

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It’s a shame there is almost nothing here; the shops such as they are don’t accept credit cards and close at 4pm. The local centre has a line-dancing class and a “guess the pumpkin weight” competition.

But it’s all change in Ibstock; the soaring house prices in Loughborough are pushing the 30-something office working, massively indebted, aspiring middle-classes to cast their commuter nets wider. The town has increases its occupancy about 20% in the last five years with more going up all the time. We have a skate park now, a curry restaurant that doesn’t give you botulism, the nature reserve *cough abandoned opencast mine cough* is starting to look less like the site of an ancient holocaust. Soon the old-miners will die and we’ll be up to our ears in aspiring yuppies and low-rent coffee shops.