Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Portland Enclave, Leicester

I went back to the London Road in Leicester today, exploring what From Tollgate to Tramshed calls The Portland Enclave. This is a collection of houses from the mid 19th century, most of which are reached along a private road.

Portland Towers and its flanking terraces Portland Cottages and Knighton Cottages, rambling red brick buildings in a Tudor style, are the most interesting of these. The private road takes you to the back of the properties, where I met the man who maintains the flats that now occupy these buildings. As he said they are far more impressive when viewed from the front, as in this photograph.

The path you see runs up to the front door of Portland Cottages, while the tower you see belongs to Portland Towers. As the name suggests, there is a second tower and beyond that are Knighton Cottages. Like every second building in this part of the city, it was at one time home to a small private school.

By 1897 Portland Towers was the home of the Oppenheim family. Edward Phillips Oppenheim did not enjoy working in his father's leather business and spent his evenings writing stories. Though he is forgotten today, he was an extremely popular writer in his day.

I came across E. Phillips Oppenheim again later on this afternoon, so more about him another day.


Pawn Heart said...

Nice article! My family have lived in Knighton Cottage (it is one distinct property, rather than the conglomeration of properties you suggest) for nearly 21 years. Portland Towers is basically the name of the private road on which it resides.

I never new about Oppenheim... intriguing stuff! Thanks!

Lucy elliott said...

Hi, great photo of the back of Portland Towers. My family lived at Knighton Cottage from 1961 to the late 1980's - my parents having bought it from the estate of my grandparents. So we have photos going back to the late 19c with the adjoining 'coach house' which was our nursery, bedroom, au pairs suite, and laundry room! My uncle lived in one of the flats in Portland towers for about fifty years until his death in 2012.