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town and unitary authority, geographic and historic county of Bedfordshire, England. It lies along England's chief superhighway (M1), 30 miles (48 km) northwest of London, and has an international airport. Long famous for the manufacture of straw hats, Luton is now an industrial town dominated by the motor vehicle industry. The hat industry still prospers, with felt hats as the principal product. South of the town, the mansion of Luton Hoo houses the Wernher collection of porcelain, enamel, and other art treasures. Area 17 square miles (43 square km). Pop. (2005 est.) 184,900