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Old Dalby is a village in the English county of Leicestershire. It is located to the north-west of Melton Mowbray. It was originally known as "Wold Dalby" or "Dalby on the Wolds". The population is included in the civil parish of Broughton and Old Dalby.

Signpost in Old Dalby by Christy Radburn
The Crown Old Dalby
View of the rear of the refurbished Crown, Old Dalby
Cottages Old Dalby
The old turkey oak at Old Dalby after pollarding.
St John the Baptist Old Dalby
Once a school house Old Dalby Village Hall is a distinctive part of the village.


Old Dalby has its own village school,[1] church, Scout Hut, a retirement home,[2] the Belvoir Brewery restaurant and alehouse,[3] and, from August 2015 after a closure lasting over a year, the old but newly refurbished pub 'The Crown'. There has been no post office for several years as villagers failed in campaigning against its closure.[4] Sadly, the village shop which was located at the edge of the industrial estate is also closed though one village resident grows a limited amount of vegetables and sells them from an "honesty box".

For around 33 years, on the August bank holiday Monday, the village held a fête known as "Old Dalby Day" to raise money for charities connected with the village. The fête grew to feature many events and attracted visitors from many miles around.[5] In 2019 insufficient volunteers were prepared to help organise the event and Old Dalby Day was suspended. In 2019 the prominent Turkey Oak that stood at the village green was found to be diseased. Residents and the parish council arranged for the tree to be pollarded rather than felled outright.

The Knights Hospitallers owned a preceptory in the village from the early 12th century. Traces of Dalby Preceptory are still just visible. Early in the Second World War an Ordnance Depot was established to the east of the village serving as a storage depot for machinery, associated spares and tools.[6] The depot closed in 1996 and now serves as Old Dalby Business Park. The camp that grew nearby to house the workers and military personnel for the depot was originally a series of nissan huts housing nearly 3,500 soldiers and around 300 prisoners of war. These later became derelict and a housing estate developed there which is now a separate settlement known as Queensway.

The Village HallEdit

The Village Hall is located at the heart of the village and embodies much of the community spirit in Old Dalby. It is the meeting place of several local societies; The Old Dalby Singers, the Wine Club, yoga classes, the crafters and a "drop in" morning amongst these. Sunday newspapers are sold from the hall and there, meetings conducted and concerts, parties, breakfasts, lunches and events arranged throughout the year. [7] In 2018/9 the Hall was awarded an award towards its refurbishment by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The community is committed to further knowledge of the village's heritage and history and has organised several events to this end including a Feast Day with a visit from Tony Rotherham as a monk/knight, a lecture on archaeology by Carenza Lewis and conducting lessons, in Edwardian clothes and manner, for children from the local school in the hall itself which used to be the village school.

Railway Test TrackEdit

Old Dalby Test Track in April 2015

Old Dalby is the location of the control center of the former British Rail Research Division's railway Old Dalby Test Track, which runs between Melton Mowbray and Edwalton.

It was established in 1970 to test the Advanced Passenger Train.[8] In July 1984 the track was used to run a Class 46 locomotive and train into a stationary nuclear flask in order to prove the safety of the container. The test was recorded and reported widely enough to make Old Dalby famous for a while. A video of the test can be seen here.

As part of the privatisation of British Rail, the track was leased to Serco, with ownership passing from British Rail to BRB (Residuary) Limited.[9]

In the early 2000, the track was taken over by Alstom and electrified on the 25 kV overhead system in order to test the Class 390 Pendolinos it was building for Virgin Trains West Coast.[10] During this upgrade phase the centre of operations moved from Old Dalby to Asfordby (on the outskirts of Melton Mowbray) where a depot was converted from the former National Coal Board's buildings. After the Pendolino project was completed in 2005, the line was mothballed.[11]

In February 2007 Metronet, the consortium charged with renewing a large proportion of the London Underground's lines, announced it had taken over the test track for the testing of new London Underground S7 and S8 Stock. To accomplish this it electrified part of the line with third and fourth rail system but the original 25 kV line was also retained for future use.[12]


  1. ^ School
  2. ^ Hunters Lodge retirement home
  3. ^ Brewery
  4. ^ Sunday newspapers only are obtained and sold from the Village Hall. Campaign
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Old Dalby's Army Bases". Retrieved 8 August 2019.
  7. ^
  8. ^ APT enters three-year development phase Railway Gazette International December 1970 page 828
  9. ^ Old Dalby test track sold as part of Railtest The Railway Magazine issue 1152 April 1997 page 9
  10. ^ Pendolino launches test track Railway Gazette International March 2001 page 144
  11. ^ Metronet saves Old Dalby Today's Railways UK issue 64 April 2007 page 10
  12. ^ Old Dalby test track repaired The Railway Magazine issue 1290 October 2008 page 6

External linksEdit