Nuneaton is most famous for its associations with the 19th century author George Eliot, who was born on a farm on the Arbury Estate just outside Nuneaton in 1819 and lived in the town for much of her early life. Nuneaton is also the birthplace of film director Ken Loach, and the former "standards and morality" campaigner Mary Whitehouse. It was also the birthplace and home of the game show host Larry Grayson.
In fiction, Nuneaton is referred to as "Milby" in the George Elliot novel Scenes of Clerical Life (1858)
Nuneaton grew gradually from the 17th century onwards, due to its position at the centre of the Warwickshire coalfields. At the time of the first national census in 1801 Nuneaton was already one of the largest towns in Warwickshire, with a population of 5,000.
The town suffered heavy bombing damage during World War II, and as a result, much of the town centre was re-built.
Nuneaton's traditional industries like textiles and manufacturing have declined drastically in the postwar years. Due to its good transport links, Nuneaton is now largely a commuter town for nearby Coventry and Birmingham. However electronics and distribution remain major economic activities in the town.
More recently, Nuneaton has been strongly rumoured to be included as downloadable content on the Xbox game "Progect Gotham Racing 2" (2004)