Rugeley is a historic market town in the county of Staffordshire, England. It lies on the north-eastern edge of Cannock Chase next to the River Trent, and is situated between the towns of Stafford, Cannock, Lichfield and Uttoxeter. The population at the 2001 census was 22,724 (including the Brereton and Etchinghill wards).
The town, historically known as Rudgeley or Ridgeley, is listed in the Domesday Book. This name is thought to be derived from 'Ridge lee', or 'the hill over the field'. In the mediaeval period, it thrived on iron workings and was also a site of glass manufacturing. During the Industrial Revolution the economy of Rugeley benefited from the construction of the Trent and Mersey Canal and then from it becoming a junction on the railway network.
Although smaller pits had existed beforehand, the town became a centre of industrial scale deep shaft coal mining from the 1950s, taking advantage of the geological faults that cause coal seams under Cannock Chase. The Lea Hall Colliery that opened in July 1960 was the first modern coal mine opened by the National Coal Board, which managed the United Kingdom's nationalized coal industry. Nearby the Central Electricity Generating Board built two power plants. With the construction of Rugeley A and B power stations Rugeley became a major centre for electricity generation. These developments led to the town growing very quickly in the 1960s. The Rugeley A power station was designed to take its fuel directly from Lea Hall by conveyor belt (although the coal was of poor quality not suitable for Rugeley B). This was the first such arrangement in Britain. The Rugeley B coal-fired power station continues to dominate the skyline where a flue gas desulphurisation plant has been constructed. This will allow it to continue to generate electricity and comply with environmental legislation.
Next to the power plant Amazon.co.uk operates a warehouse once used by the adjoining coal mine, which has been closed since 1990. The work offers an opportunity for employment in this economically depressed area.