North Evington: A Leicester Suburb, 1890s to Present

  • Sunday 3 November 2019, 2.00pm-4.00pm
  • Thursday 7 November 2019, 10.30am-12.30pm
  • Meet at St Saviours Road, Spinney Hills/North Evington, Leicester LE5 3SG
  • Book your place through Eventbrite

This c.3.4km walk will be led by Dr Sally Horrocks, a University of Leicester historian. It begins at the lodge (lodge, not cafe) at Spinney Hills Park (entrance from St Saviours Road). Starting with a portrait of this area in the 1880s, we will see how a mainly rural landscape was transformed as the Leicester Corporation purchased land for expansion of the city. We will learn about the architecture of St Saviours Road, and take a look at the Market Place (the heart of Arthur Wakerley's scheme for developing North Evington). Beyond this, we'll hear about the first factory in the area, and take a look at Halstead Street and Wood Hill - streets that were designed by Wakerley. The tour then takes us to St Saviours Church (by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott), the Imperial Hotel and Wesley Hall. Then from the Park we head east, to see Gwendolen Road, Evington Valley Mills and Gedding Road. We will visit the St Saviour's Road factories, including the Corona Machine Tool Works and others along Kitchener Road. Towards the end of the tour we will learn about the late-19th century Spinney Hill School and St Stephens Church. The final stop is the impressive and austere Imperial Typewriters factory, built in the late 1930s.

Arthur Wakerley was born in 1862 and came to Leicester from Melton Mowbray at the age of about 23. Twelve years later he was the Mayor of Leicester and an Alderman, and was celebrated as an architect, businessman and politician. In the 1920s he was the Chair of Leicester's first Housing and Town Planning Committee, as well as being a Weslyan local preacher, and President of the Temperance Union. He also made several attempts to enter Parliament as a Liberal candidate for the Melton Mowbray Division.