Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Bosworth Hall, Dr Johnson and George II

This is Bosworth Hall, where Dr Johnson lodged while he was teaching at the town's grammar school. Now a hotel, it was built by the Dixie family during the reign of William and Mary.

The Dixie family fortune was lost in the 19th century, and the house and estate were sold in the 1880s to pay gambling debts. After the estate had changed hands a few times, it was bought by Leicestershire County Council and became a hospital - Bosworth Park Infirmary - in 1931.

When the hospital closed in the 1980s, it was converted in the Bosworth Hall Hotel. Though that website is convinced the hotel is in Warwickshire, it is really in Leicestershire.

Wikipedia has a story about Sir Wolstan Dixie, the fourth baronet, who was "legendary for his ignorance":
A neighbouring squire ... objected to Dixie barring access to a footpath across his land. The ensuing fight must have been memorable, for Dixie at least: when he was presented to the Germanic King George II at a levee as Sir Wolstan Dixie “of Bosworth Park”, the king, wanting perhaps to show some knowledge of important English battles, said, “’Bosworth-Bosworth! Big battle at Bosworth, wasn’t it?’ 
‘Yes, Sire. But I thrashed him’, replied Sir Wolstan, oblivious of any other fight than his own”
This reminds me of a story told of the late Otto Hardy from Loughborough, who took his chess very seriously. (Since you ask, we met once in the county league and I won.)

One day, as he was about to go into a building in Leicester to play a county match, he was stopped by three Liverpool fans, who were festooned in red scarves, in town to see their team play Leicester City and unsure of the way to Filbert Street.

"Excuse me, mate, do you know where the match is?" they asked.

"Oh yes," replied Otto, "it is upstairs on the first floor."

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