Saturday, November 25, 2017

Russell Square, Leicester, where Ramsay MacDonald hid from the mob in a public lavatory

Beyond Wheat Street, Wharf Street has been cut in two by Leicester's ring road. Its construction swept away whole streets, with their shops and pubs.

Wharf Street North has many Somali residents, with the result that there are still shops there.

At its far end it opens out into a triangular space, which (defying geometry) was called Russell Square. It still has its shops, but they have been converted into ordinary houses.

Russell Square was a favourite spot for political meetings. In the 1918 general election Ramsay MacDonald had to shelter from the mob in the underground lavatories that once stood in front of the shop in the first photograph.

Across the road are some of the post-war flats built to rehouse the residents of the area - they originally had flat roofs.

I have bad memories of them - being caught in a downpour here when knocking up in the 2004 Leicester South by-election, which Parmjit Singh Gill won for the Liberal Democrats. But they looked fine last Saturday.

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