Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Brookfield, London Road, Leicester

Brookfield on the London Road in Leicester was built in the 1870s for Thomas Fielding Johnson, though the Tudor frontage - which I find more attractive than I probably should - dates from the following decade, says From Tollgate to Tramshed.

Fielding Johnson was a Leicester worsted spinner and the main administrative block at the University of Leicester is named after him. This is because he bought the old lunatic asylum and presented it and its land to the city for in memory of the Leicester men killed in the First World War. Today's Fielding Johnson building at the university was once the central building of the asylum.

His son presented Brookfield to the new diocese of Leicester as a residence for its bishop - this may connect with the intriguing story that there were plans in those days to build a cathedral in nearby Clarendon Park.

Later the house was occupied by the Red Cross and food parcels for British prisoners of war were packed there in the Second World War.

In 1946 Brookfield was sold to Leicester Royal Infirmary and became a training school for nurses, which later became part of De Montfort University School of Health & Community Studies.

It has stood empty and securely fenced since 2011, but last month the good news is that it has now been bought by the University of Leicester and will be brought back into educational use.

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