At the heart of the country!
The Newark constituency is strategically positioned at the heart of the country with excellent connections to both the road and rail network.
Seventy per cent of the UK’s population is within three hours’ drive with easy access to the A1 and A46 while Newark Northgate station is on the East Coast Mainline with high speed access to both London (one hour, 13 minutes) and Glasgow (three hours, 17 minutes).
Six international airports are within a two-hour drive (East Midlands, Doncaster Robin Hood, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds-Bradford and London-Luton).
The Newark Parliamentary constituency is a mostly rural seat which lies in the eastern part of Nottinghamshire and has an electorate of 73,462.
It includes the market towns of Newark and Bingham and the cathedral town of Southwell.
A large part of the constituency lies within the district of Newark and Sherwood, but to the north there are wards from the neighbouring district of Bassetlaw and, to the south, parts of Rushcliffe.
The first MP to serve the Newark constituency was elected in 1673. In the 19th century it loosely alternated between the Whigs and Tories and their successor political parties, the Liberals and Conservatives, and for the first 50 years of the 20th century remained in Conservative hands.
In 1950 it returned its first Labour MPs, first George Deer, and then in 1964 by the party’s Edward Stanley Bishop who served up until 1979 when Richard Alexander won the seat for the Conservatives. Mr Alexander retained the seat up until the 1997 General Election when Fiona Jones was elected for the Labour Party. Four years later Patrick Mercer won the seat for the Conservatives.
The current vacancy arose following the resignation, on April 29, 2014, of Mr Patrick Mercer MP who was first elected for the Conservatives in 2001. The party whip was withdrawn from Mr Mercer in 2013 but he remained a Member of Parliament, sitting as an Independent
History of Newark
During the English Civil War, Newark was a mainstay of the Royalist cause, Charles I having raised his standard in nearby Nottingham.
Having successfully survived three previous attempts by Parliamentarian forces to take the town the final siege of Newark began in November 1645 and in May 1646 Charles I surrendered to Scottish forces besieging the town.
In the days following his surrender he was held at Kelham Hall, where the by-election count will be held on June 5.
After the surrender most of the defences were destroyed, including the castle which was left in essentially the state it can be seen today.
Newark’s has always had an important role as an economic and transport centre for the region.
The town was granted it first market charter in 1227 and was the first town in the UK to petition the King for the right to change the market day from the traditional Sunday to Wednesday.
Newark was situated on the crossroads of two major roads – Fosse Way from Exeter to Lincoln and the Great North Road and the inns of the town catered for the passengers using these routes.
The Old White Hart is one of the oldest buildings in Newark dating to 1314.
As the Industrial Revolution took place Newark developed industries based around malting, brewing, and engineering. Several breweries were established in town, the biggest of these were Warwick and Richardson’s and James Hole.
During the Second World War there were a number of RAF stations within a few miles of Newark, from many of which operated squadrons of the Polish Air Force.
A special plot was set aside in Newark Cemetery for RAF burials and this is now the war graves plot, where all but ten of the ninety Commonwealth and all of the 397 Polish burials were made.
Clothing, bearings, pumps, agricultural machinery, pine furniture making and sugar refining were the main industries in Newark in the last 100 years or so. British Sugar still has one of its sugar beet processing factories in the town.
Newark and its surrounding area has been an important economic centre for hundreds of years.
The area has already been recognised nationally as a hot spot for growth – with the Government recognising the district as a Growth Point.
Economic development here is already built on solid foundations. The area is home to more than 8,000 businesses and has a growing reputation as centre for logistics, data management and environmental industries – and Newark is home to KnowHow’s national distribution centre.
Other key sectors include engineering (NSK, Flowserve and Hoval), ICT (Timico and Vodafone), food and drink (Laurens and Daloon) and tourism (Center Parcs and Sherwood Pines).
Employment levels at 76.6 percent are 3.3 per cent higher than the national average.
But the plans for progression continue with Newark and Sherwood Council designating 200 acres as land for commercial and commercial building development.
Three sites have been identified in Newark alone to provide 7,000 new homes and 250,000 sqm of new employment floorspace.
The growth in the area’s prosperity is fuelling growth in the district as a whole with 14,000 new homes in the pipelines in the next two decades.
Tourism and where to visit
Beautiful rural landscapes, a rich and fascinating heritage and history and a wealth of impressive architecture are all features of the Newark constituency.
Heralded as the Civil War town, it still holds many reminders of the bloody conflict between Royalists and Parliamentarians, and at the banks of the River Trent stands the imposing 12th century castle.
In the town centre you will discover a lovely cobbled square – home to the many busy street markets - surrounded by an impressive array of buildings and close by, the beautiful parish church of St Mary Magdalene. If needs be, you can always hook-up to free Wi-Fi in the Market Place which is provided by the district council in partnership with O2.
Newark Town Hall Museum and Art Gallery can be found in Newark’s Georgian Town Hall, which includes the Mayor’s Parlour and elegant Ballroom.
For live entertainment or a trip to the cinema there is the Palace Theatre on Appletongate or just outside the town, on a former war-time bomber base near the village of Winthorpe, is the Newark Air Museum.
The town is world renowned for its international antique fairs which are held every other month at the nearby Newark Showground.
For the great outdoors there is the Sconce and Devon Park and the award-winning Riverside Park which has seen a major redevelopment of derelict land into an arena and children’s play area. It has been a venue for numerous festivals and events, such as the annual Newark Beer Festival, and is a stunning celebration of river life and world culture.
From the spring next year the town will be home to the ground-breaking National Civil War Centre and an innovative historic augmented reality trail.
The charming market and minster town of Southwell was described by Arthur Mee in The Kings England as “a little place apart from the rushing world”
Towering over the town, and its bustling market place, are the lead-capped ‘pepper pot’ spires of the cathedral while on the edge of the settlement lies the early 19th century Workhouse, the bestpreserved workhouse in England which was used by homeless families as recently as the 1970s.
Restored by The National Trust, most of its brightly whitewashed rooms have been deliberately left empty. There is a powerfully written handbook or audio tour available for visitors.
Southwell is also the birthplace of the worldfamous Bramley cooking apple having originated from a tree in a garden now known as Bramley Tree House in Church Street. The fruit was first planted by Mary Ann Brailsford (circa 1809-1813).
The apple is celebrated at the annual Bramley Apple Festival each autumn - a major date in the Nottinghamshire calendar which attracts visitors from across the county to the town.
Nottinghamshire’s most famous poet, Lord Byron, “mad, bad and dangerous to know” and “Lord of Misrule”, spent three years lodging with his mother, Catherine, at Burgage Manor before decamping to Newstead Abbey.
The town is also home to The Gate to Southwell Folk Festival, considered to be one of the country’s premier folk events, and the classical Southwell Music Festival.
The Saracen’s Head Hotel is where Charles I spent his last night of freedom before losing his own head while in the neighbouring village of Upton, the British Horological Institute’s fascinating clock and watch collection is held at Upton Hall.
For racing enthusiasts, Southwell Racecourse is one of the country’s few all-weather racecourses. The constituency also lies at the heart of Robin Hood country and the nearby Sherwood Forest – which gave rise to the legend of the all-action hero and outlaw and romance, a story that has been told for more than 700 years.
To the south of the constituency is the market town of Bingham which can be traced back to the Roman city of Margidunum, home to its medieval Buttercross in the Market Place. The town is principally a commuter town to neighbouring Nottingham.