Originally known as Leamington Priors, Leamington Spa Old Town was until about 1800 only a small village on the south bank of the river Leam. The mineral springs were known in the Middle Ages, but it was not until 1784 that inhabitants of the village began re-discovering its saline springs, using them to attract visitors wishing to improve their health by ‘taking the waters’.
Sadly, Old Town does not enjoy the Civic Pride that the more affluent New area of Leamington does. However, with the successful win of the Mary Portas Bid - we hope to see Old Town developed into a more pleasant cultural centre. I enjoy the street-life in Old Town, and still feel it has more vibrancy, culture and diversity than the North; which is full of the usual chain-stores and department stores that you see in ever town and city in the country.
Old Town has a majority of family-owned independents. (It's also the place to be for cheap balti houses) - but apart from that there's Indian sweet shops; an oriental supermarket; 2nd hand furniture stores; IT shops; hardware, Polish supermarkets, Portuguese Delis, French Restaurants and bakeries and a lovely indenpendent healthfood co-operative called Gaia.