Saturday, March 17, 2012

Exploring London Road, Leicester

With its large Victorian houses and mature trees, Leicester's London Road is one of the most pleasant approaches to a city I know. Readers who know London might find it reminiscent of Hampstead.

I have been exploring this part of Leicester today with the help of From Tollgate to Tramshed by Helen Boynton and Derek Seaton, which gives the history of London Road and its buildings from 1860-1920.

The house in the picture above, Verecroft, is by no means one of the best houses I saw today, but in its history it is entirely typical of the area.

It was built around 1870 as the home for a manufacturer involved in the clothing trade and was home to a succession of such people until World War II. In 1948 it became the home and surgery of a doctor, and that practice was later taken by his son. Later the house became a private school, then a day nursery and was finally turned into flats in 1995.

Some of the houses detailed in From Tollgate to Tramshed were demolished decades ago and in a few cases the authors have not even been able to locate a photograph of them. A reminder that there are good reasons for taking photographs of even the most mundane buildings in your neighbourhood.

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