Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Black Boy, Albion Street, Leicester

If ever I find myself short of ideas for something to photograph, I have a look at the Leicester Mercury and see which building's demolition the city council proposes to allow next.

The latest candidate is the former Black Boy pub in Albion Street, which I visited yesterday morning. Its sign used to be a portrait of the young Charles II, which gives a clue to the origins of its name.

The Mercury report about it begins:
Heritage campaigners have launched a fight against an "absolutely shocking" plan to demolish a "unique" city pub and replace it with student flats. 
Developers want to knock down the Black Boy, in Albion Street, to build on the site, but already dozens of objections have been received to the planning application. 
The pub, built in 1923, has stood empty for four years. 
Three years ago, Leicester City Council gave permission for a plan that involved keeping the pub's fa├žade but using the building for flats for 50 students. 
But now developer Deckchair Ltd has come back to the council asking for permission to tear the whole building down to create a block for 76 students.
I remember drinking in the Black Boy and as Stuart Bailey, the chairman of Leicester Civic Society, says:
The original architects took a square site and created a curved building, which is very difficult to do. 
"They also made a beautiful, oval-shaped lounge inside with panelled walls and a decorative plaster architrave. 
"It's a most attractive building and there's nothing quite like it in Leicester. It's unique."
Leicester's mayor Sir Peter Soulsby is an enthusiast for major heritage projects, like the Richard III centre and Jubilee Square, and I admire him for that.

But beyond those, the city's heritage is largely disregarded. Remember the Bowstring Bridge and the Empire in Newfoundpool?

I get the impression that most Labour councillors would be entirely content if the city consisted entirely of newly built supermarkets and blocks of student accommodation,


Gawain said...

A shame. Where can one object? Is there still time?

Phil Beesley said...

It was a rubbish pub. If it could sell beer, it might have established a business.

But it is a lovely building to observe.

Jonathan Calder said...

I am afraid the deadline has passed, Gawain.