Saturday, April 05, 2014

The Empire Hotel and hydropathic institution, Newfoundpool, Leicester


This is the Empire Hotel on Fosse Road North in Newfoundpool, Leicester. It is currently empty and in its later years seems to have been no more than a pub.

Lidl want to demolish it and the ruined church next door (more of that another day) to build a supermarket.

No great loss, you may think. But the Empire Hotel has a long and interesting history and holds the key to the development of this corner of Leicester.

The Victoria County History tells the story:
By about 1830 Newfoundpool belonged to Isaac Harrison, a member of a Leicester firm of market gardeners, who discovered and decided to exploit a spring of medicinal water on the land. He built a large house as a hydropathic institution, with houses for the doctor and his attendants, and for a time the institution seems to have flourished. It failed, however, probably before 1835.
This illustration shows the hydropathic institution.


After that the building was lived in by various members of the Harrison family until 1885, when it became the Empire Hotel.

The building had once stood in fields outside the city, but by then terraced housing had been built on the land behind it (more of that another day too). So this entrance, which makes it look like the railway hotel in a prosperous town, was added to what had been the rear of the building.


Let's hope a new use can be found for it so it can be saved.


1 comment:

Harrison said...

I was saddened by the news that Lidl has proposed to demolish Newfoundpool. this is indeed a part of Leicester's Victorian history and a very tangible link with my family who were so much a part of Leicester.

Isaac Harrison was my GGGrand father and I still own some of his possessions so he is quite near me! my cousin has his writing box with " Newfoundpool" inscribed on it.

Perhaps, a part of the deal at planning could be for Lidl to pay for a comprehensive history to be researched and published on the family - particularly the house and the other developments work by the Harrison's in. Leicester?

Yours,

Ian Harrison