Oadby is a town within the borough of Oadby and Wigston, in Leicestershire, England. It traditionally has a reputation for being one of the most upmarket and affluent parts of Leicestershire. The town is most famous for Leicester Racecourse, situated on the border between Oadby and Stoneygate, and the University of Leicester Botanic Garden.
Angles, Danes and Normans
There has been a habitation in Oadby since an Anglian settlement in the year 550 In 1760, on Brocks Hill, evidence of an Anglian burial ground was discovered The Middle Angles came under the rule of the kings of Mercia and were later conquered by the Danish invaders. Oadby is one of seventy Danish settlements in Leicestershire ending with "-by", which means village or settlement. Its name probably came from Old Norse Auðarbýr = "Auði's settlement". Danish rule continued until 920, when King Alfred the Great won his battles against the Danes: the Oadby area is supposed to be the site of at least one of these battles.
In 1086, Oadby's name was recorded as Aldebi. The name then changed to Oladebi, Outherby, Onderby and, finally, Oadby. When King Harold was defeated, William the Conqueror gave Oadby to Hugh de Grandmesnil, Governor of Leicestershire, who founded the parish church of Oadby on the site of the present St Peter's Church.
Oadby remained a small settlement until the late 19th century when it became an upscale and fashionable suburb for the businessmen of Leicester, such as the factory-owners of Leicester's shoe and stocking manufacturers. Many substantial houses were built in Oadby, some of which are now used by the University of Leicester.
Stoughton Road in Oadby contains 2 sets of houses of historical interest. Some of the Framework Knitters Homes date back to 1909, while the North Memorial Homes, financed by Sir Jonathan North (former Mayor of Leicester) were built in 1927 and opened in the same year by the Prince of Wales. As well as a series of houses, the North Memorial Homes site also houses the North Memorial Hall, built in a neo-Georgian style, which has been leased to Oadby Evangelical Free Church since 1974.
Expansion of Oadby took place rapidly in the 20th century and is still continuing in 2012. Many residential developments have been constructed so that the population in 2001 reached 22,729.