[Abbreviations: AAS - Associated Architectural Societies reports. HUDC - Hinckley Urban District Council. LRO - Leicestershire Record Office. NMR - National Monuments Record (Swindon). NRO - Northamptonshire Record Office. RCHM - Royal Commission on Historical Monuments for England. TLAS - Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological Society. VCH - Victoria County History]
CABBAGE ROW Upper Bond Street. A terrace of four three-storey houses. They were demolished in the late 1950s or early 1960s to make way for a garage development. 'No bathroom, just a tin tub in the kitchen, and two toilets at the top of the garden, one between the two families…' (Mr Robert Forrester, correspondence in the Hinckley Times, 3 Jan 2002). The houses appear almost picturesque in a drawing by Cicely Pickering (below). At the NMR is a photo of the building from Upper Bond Street, 1950s.
Above: Rear view of Cabbage Row (drawing by Cicely Pickering, 1930s)
The CAP AND STOCKING Bond Street. Listed in a trades directory of 1835.
'The ancient site of the Castle had, beyond the memory of the oldest inhabitant, been occupied by a gardener's ground; and the Castle-hill considerably lowered, by taking materials from it for repairing the roads; till in 1770, Mr [William] Hurst caused a handsome modern dwelling-house to be built.; when the foundation of a bridge across the ditch which surrounded the Castle [was excavated], several large stones which had been part of the fabrick, a ball of ten inches circumference, and a piece or two of silver coin, were found' (Nichols, Leicestershire (1811) , 677).
'Hinckley castle is supposed to have been demolished when it fell into the King's hands, in 1173. It's site had long been occupied as garden ground when, in 1760, it was purchased by William Hurst, Esq., who built a handsome mansion upon it, now the property and residence of Stephen Pilgrim, Esq., steward of the courts leet and baron. When this house was built, the foundations of a bridge which had crossed the castle moat was discovered. The moat is still supplied from an adjoining spring, and the foundations of the outer walls may yet be traced in many places…' (William White, History, Gazeteer and Directory of Leicestershire, 1863).
'The idea that a stone castle existed at Hinckley cannot be substantiated. Camden's Britannia of 1586 noted only a ditch of the moat and the mound and William Burton, writing before 1622, stated that the castle was "now utterly ruinated and gone, and only the mounts, rampires and trenches were to be seen".
For many years people believed that the castle was a so called "ringwork castle", with a palisade running round the perimeter of the mound and a wooden citadel or keep in the centre. The fact that it was a motte and bailey castle became evident in 1976 when a massive ditch was discovered during the construction of the Co-operative Superstore. It was clear that this was the ditch of a motte and that the existing mound had been the bailey. The ditch, which contained animal bones including an ox skull, would have surrounded a conical mound or motte at the Castle Street end of the present mound. The bailey mound still stands to a height of 38 feet at the Argents Mead end [bottom, right] and this may be close to the original height.
The earthworks that are visible near the War Memorial were part of the ornamental gardens that were laid out in about 1770 when Castle Hill House was built, though it is possible that they may be the remains of the ramparts of the castle which would have been surmounted by a wooden palisade in medieval times. The motte, however, that occupied the Castle Street end and would have been topped by a small keep, was flattened in about 1760 and the earth used to fill the ditches and repair roads. This was done, presumably, to level the site in preparation for the construction of the Hurst's mansion.
Most of the castle's ditch or moat has been filled in and widened in Argents Mead to create a pond, but despite these alterations the original shape of the mound and moat can be reconstructed. The elliptical shape of the moat is preserved in property boundaries evident on old maps, a depression in the ground can be seen near the car park where the moat was filled in and in 1899 an observer noted that the foundations of the old co-operative store were set at a depth of 17ft in the bed of the moat.
Above: Castle site from 1903 Ordnance Survey
Hinckley castle first comes to light in an agreement made between Robert Bossu, the second Earl of Leicester, and Ranulf, Earl of Chester, in about 1150, towards the end of the long Civil War tha plagued King Stephen's reign (1135-1154). According the agreement, no other castles were to be fortified between Hinckley and Hartshill or between Hinckley and Coventry. It represented an attempt by two great lords to establish peace and order in the state of anarchy that prevailed in the absence of any effective royal power. The caste was probably built by Earl Robert to protect his lands during the civil war, though this is far from certain. Hinckley would have been an ideal location, because it was one of the private farms or demesne manors and as such the administrative centre for a large bailiwick that extended as far as Witherley and Sibson and beyond them in Warwickshire. With the return of more stable government under Henry II (1154-1189), the castle was apparently defortified, because it was absent from the list of castles that were surrendered to the King after the revolt of 1173.
For the rest of the medieval period a manor house or hunting lodge existed within the castle mound. No resident lord lived there, but the Earl would have made occasional visits for administrative purposes and to hunt in the adjacent woodland, which had become a deer park by the late thirteenth century.
Above left: sketch reconstruction by David Knight. Above, right: castle mound as it now looks.
We are able to glean some information about the site from medieval documents. In 1279 Edmund, Earl of Lancaster and Leicester, was presumably paying a visit there, since he wrote two letters dated from Hinckley in that year. After his death the manor house with a croft and garden were worth 10/- per annum. The manorial accounts of 1313-14 refer to a payment of 16.5d for mending the gate of the hall and for thatching the stable. There was also an orchard, which was later known as the "Hall Orchard". A payment of 3/- was made for renewing 32 perches of hedges around it and 6d for scouring its ditches. A payment of 4/10d was also made for carrying 26 cart loads of hay from the meadows of the deer park to the castle and for storing it in the grange. From this, it would appear that a manorial complex had built up around the manor house from which the reeve and park keeper could administer the demesne farm. This included a 16 acre ditched enclosure, which must have contained the orchard and garden. Hay was even harvested from the castle mound.
By 1406, and probably from a much earlier date, 136 acres of demesne land with the buildings, garden and ditch of the castle were being rented to the villeins for 53/4d per annum. This arrangement appears to have continued throughout the fifteenth century, but in 1550 the demesne land with houses, gardens and the castle ditch were leased to Thomas Gosnold by the King in trust for the town which had been impoverished by fire.
By the 17th century the manor house appears to have been in ruins and the site eventually became a garden. In 1760 it was purchased by William Hurst who built Castle Hill House on the site in 1770' (David J. Knight, Hinckley Castle (Hinckley and District Museum, 1998)).
'At Hinckley (SP428 938), the earthworks are often misquoted as a ringwork. In fact the surviving earthworks represent a substantial bailey, the motte having been entirely obliterated by development. Its surrounding ditch was recorded during construction work in 1976 (Leics. SMR)' (Oliver Creighton, 'Early Leicestershire Castles: Archaeology and Landscape History', TLAS, 71 (1997), 21-36).
CASTLE HILL HOUSE 1770 Once the finest eighteenth century house in the town, tragically demolished in 1976.
'The ancient site of the Castle had, beyond the memory of the oldest inhabitant, been occupied by a gardener's ground; and the Castle-hill considerably lowered, by taking materials from it for repairing the roads; till in 1770, Mr [William] Hurst caused a handsome modern dwelling-house to be built.' (Nichols, Leicestershire (1811) , 677).
Above: Two views of the Castle Street facade, about 1905
'The site of Hinckley Castle... was purchased [in 1760] by William Hurst, Esq., who built a handsome mansion upon it' (William White, History, Gazeteer and Directory of Leicestershire, 1863). William Hurst (1750-1793) was a hosier and High Sheriff of Leicestershire. After his death his son Nicholas lived in the house until at least 1805. The house was of two storeys with a symmetrical three-bay facade, redbrick with elaborate stone dressings/quoining etc. Projecting canted bays with tripartite fenestration to both floors. Pedimented doorway with Venetian window above. No doubt the work of a provincial architect, whose name has sadly been lost (a search of the Hurst papers at LRO has failed to identify him).
Castle Hill House was the home of George Canning (1770-1827; Prime Minister in 1827) from March 1807 until April 1811 (after which he resided in Church Street, Burbage). He described it as a 'fine handsome house' with a garden right in the middle of Hinckley, and within easy reach of Dr. Robert Chessher. Chessher was treating Canning's son, Charles George, who was lame (Roger T. Austin, Robert Chessher of Hinckley 1750-1831, First English Orthopaedist (Leicestershire County Council 1981), 45). On 14 June 1820 the contents of Castle Hill House were auctioned on the premises (Leicester Journal, 26th May 1820).
Above, left to right: Castle Hill House from Argents Mead, c.1925 and c.1910.
The house became 'a boarding school run by Harriet and Sophia Critchley from about 1828 until at least 1831 and was then the residence of Edward Ken Jarvis, a local solicitor, from about 1835 until at least 1844. In 1850-55 Mrs Catherine Ellis, a proprietor of land and houses, was living there, and by 1876 the property was owned by Stephen Pilgrim of the firm of Pilgrim and Preston, solicitors. It remained in the hands of the Prestons for many years, acting as the County Court Office' (David J. Knight, reference under CASTLE, 11).
Castle Hill House's last use was as the headquarters of the Hinckley Co-operative Society, who took the decision to pull it down in 1976 in favour of a non-descript modern development. There is a photograph at LRO, taken shortly before demolition.
Above: 1902 OS Map showing plan of Castle Hill House.
The CASTLE INN/TAVERN 113 Castle Street. Appears in Pigot's 1828-9 Directory. 'Late 19th century. Brick in Flemish bond; Welsh slate roof. Corner site; block of irregular plan with three-storey frontage in three parts. Gabled centre bay has central projecting stack, additionally corbelled out at first-floor level, with polychrome brick decoration; moulded cornice. Plate-glass sash windows on either side, with flat-arched lintels. Similar windows in two-bay left part (to The Lawns); four-pane sashes in left bay and narrower two-pane sashes in right. Eaves cornice of stepped corbels. Single storey range, rendered, to left. Two-bay right part (to Castle Street) has left bay blind except for segmental-arched doorway and right bay with shop window of three segmental-headed lights, with four-pane sashes above, and eaves cornice' (Peter F. Ryder, Hinckley... Historic Buildings Appraisal (2000)). Previously known as the PIG & WHISTLE.
CASTLE STREET One of the main streets of the town, and probably the oldest, traversing the site of the castle, the parish church and the Market Place. 'In Castle Street, the remains of a few Georgian houses amongst the shopfronts (eg. No.35) and a timber-framed building (No.64)' (Pevsner, The Buildings of England, 178). 35 Castle Street, was the home of Charlotte Brame, the popular romantic novelist (1836-1884) (see Gregory Drozdz, Charlotte Mary Brame: Hinckley's Forgotten Daughter (London 1984)); also photo in F. Shaw, Hinckley in Old Picture Postcards, no.6. Occupied and owned by Cotterells in the 1840s.
Top: From the Market Place, about 1900. Above: Looking towards the Market Place, about 1900.
Dr. Robert Chessher was also a resident of Castle Street, but the location of his residence, although it probably stood on the site of the present Co-operative Society stores (Austin, Robert Chessher of Hinckley 1750-1831, 18-19). His practice was extensive and many patients moved to the town to receive his care (White's Directory of 1846 stated that several large houses had been built to accommodate them). NMR has two 2 photos of houses in Castle Street, and 1 general view.
Above, left: Drawing by Cecily Pickering of old 'butcher's shop, Castle Street' (from A. J. Pickering, The Cradle and Home… ). Above, right: The same building, shortly before demolition.
A number of houses in Castle Street are listed by the Dept of Culture, Media and Sport, as follows:
2 and 2a - Shop row. Early 19th century. Red brick with stuccoed dressings including projecting cornice as parapet to slate roof; brick ridge stacks in centre of south and west fronts and end stack to left of west front. Four storeys to the two left hand bays of the south front with reduced proportions to third floor, and three storeys to the rest of the building. Nos. 2 and 2a stand on the corner of Castle Street and the Market Place, there being three bays to the west, a recessed bay curving round the corner and two bays to the south. The two left hand bays of the west front have sashes in open boxes with two-light casements to third floor; otherwise, sashes on second floor and glazing bar sashes on first floor except for the corner bay where the windows are blind; all windows have wedge-shaped lintels with raised key blocks. Late 19th century shop front to ground storey, except to right hand bay of south front; pilastered screen to rusticated wall surface topped by a cornice. Windows 20th century to right. Late 19th century double shop front to extreme right with 20th century alterations including a wide fascia (below).
4 - House, now shop (Millets). Late 18th century with 19th century and 20th century alterations. Red brick, the front painted and partially rendered; plain tile roof. Three storeys with parapet band to plain coped parapet; reduced proportions to second floor. Regular four window front; sashes with rusticated lintels and raised key blocks. Later 20th century shop front with wide fascia and inset glazed door to right of centre.
11 - House, now shop. Late 18th century. Rendered front wall and plain tile roof with brick end stack to the right. Three storeys with coved eaves and blocking course; reduced proportions to second floor. Regular three-window front; glazing bar sashes to second floor with rusticated lintels and raised key blocks; 19th century sashes to second floor. 20th century shop front to ground floor with deep fascia and central inset glazed door.
Above: Lower Castle Street, about 1910
Above: Lower Castle Street, about 1950
19 - House, now shop (F. Hinds). Late 18th century. Red brick, with concrete tile roof and brick end stack to the left. Three storeys, with moulded eaves cornice, reduced proportions to second floor. First floor windows are 19th century cross casements with rusticated lintels and raised key blocks; earlier 20th century casements to second floor. 20th century plate glass shop front with inset glazed door to centre and wide fascia.
23 - House, now shop (Dixons).Early to mid 19th century with 20th century shop front. Painted brick with plain tile roof and painted brick end stack to right. Three storeys with moulded brick eaves cornice. Two window front; glazing bar sashes with rusticated plaster lintels and raised key blocks. 20th century shop front with inset glazed doors and deep fascia.
Above: Lower Castle Street, about 1960
25 - House, now shop (Henry Clarke Ltd). Early 18th century with later 19th century and 20th century shop front. Roughcast brickwork and concrete tile roof. Three storeys, with band over first floor and pilasters to left and right to eaves cornice; reduced proportions to second floor. Regular three window front; glazing bar sashes, the central windows blocked; first floor windows have stuccoed heads and inscribed keyblocks. Ground floor shop front with central inset glazed door and wide fascia.
27, 29 and 31 - Pair of houses, now shops (John Menzies etc) No. 29 is early 18th century, altered in the 19th century. Painted brick with plain tile roof. Three storeys with moulded brick eaves cornice and a single painted brick pilaster to the right. Regular three window front made slightly irregular on the first floor by alterations. Two boxed glazing bar sashes on second floor with central blind window. Wide earlier 20th century casement on first floor to right, the windows to the left are blocked by the shop front. 20th century shop front on ground floor to left with inset central glazed door. 20th century shop front on ground floor to right with glazed door to right. No. 31 to the left is early 18th century with later 20th century shop front extending into no. 29 to the right. Red brick with moulded and dentilled eaves cornice to stuccoed parapet hiding the roof. Single brick end stack to left. Three storeys. Regular three window front; boxed glazing bar sashes with gauged brick flat-arched heads. The 20th century shop front has an inset glazed door to the left.
35 and 37 - House, now shop and offices (Hinckley and Rugby Building Society) [below]. Late 18th century with later 20th century alterations. Red brick with plain tile roof, hipped to left and brick end stack to the right. Three storeys with moulded cornice to blocking course and brick pilaster strips to left and right. Regular three window front; glazing bar sashes with wedge-shaped plaster lintels. Central panelled door with fanlight, contained within a panelled doorcase with pilasters and open pediment. Later 20th century plate glass shop and office fronts to left and right with wide fascias. The left hand front is continued around the rear wing return and there are inset glazed doors at the corner of the building. At the left hand end of the rear wing there are three glazing bar sashes of different widths to first and second floors, with wedge-shaped plaster lintels, the window to the left being separated from the others by a brick pilaster strip. Interior: Good restored open string dog-leg staircase with turned balusters, fluted square newels, moulded handrail and shaped tread ends. Segmental arch in entrance hall and on first floor landing with imposts and keyblock.
53 and 55. House, now shop (Swonews). Early to mid 19th century with later 19th century shop front. Painted brick with plain tile roof and brick end stacks. Three storeys with stuccoed cornice and boxed eaves. Regular three-window front; four-pane sashes with gauged brick flat-arched heads and raised key-blocks. Wide shop-front on ground floor with inset glazed entrance door to right. Shafted mullions carrying deep fascia with dentilled cornice over.
Above: Castle Street from the junction with New Buildings, about 1960.
64 - House, now shop (Four Seasons Fruiterers). 17th century with later alterations. Timber framed with plaster infill panels to front and exposed brick infill to left hand side elevation; plain tile roof and 20th century brick central stack. Probably a two-cell dwelling originally. Two storeys with square panel framing, probably four tiers originally with straight braces. Two-window front; 19th century three-light casements. Ground floor taken up by an earlier 20th century shop front with inset glazed door to centre, and folding canopy above. More exposed framing to left hand (west) elevation, three square panels width.
Above: Upper Castle Street looking towards Hill Street, about 1960
Above: Upper Castle Street looking down towards New Buildings, about 1925
142-144 (Upper Castle Street) - Former 'Radio Corner' premises, now occupied by Tom Payne, the jeweller. Distinctive Art Deco style commercial building on two storeys (below, from an advertisement, 1930s).
See also CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY PREMISES; GREAT FEOFFMENT COTTAGES
CEMETERY and CHAPELS Ashby Road. Opened Wed 31 March 1858. The grounds were laid out by Mr Marriott of Nuneaton 'according to his design, and the effect of its carrying out has proved most pleasing and delightful; and it is not too much to say, that it is one of the most beautiful places of resort in the town.' Two chapels were 'built in the Gothic style, by Mr. Orchard, of Banbury, at a cost of about £900.' The whole expense, including site and buildings, was £2,500 (John Baxter in the Hinckley Parish Magazine (1874), 29-30).
The consecration of the chapel and grounds by the bishop of Peterborough took place on 31 Mar 1858. A full account of the accompanying ceremonies appeared in the Leicester Journal, Fri 2 Apr 1858. Apart from Orchard and Marriott, the contractors were, for the iron pallisading and entrance gates, Messrs. H. Tyler and Co. of Dudley Port. Thomas and Stephen Orchard, the builders of the chapels and lodge, were contractors, builders, auctioneers, appraisers, estate agents etc at Grimsbury, Banbury, in Oxfordshire (Post Office Directory for Oxon, 1869). In 1860 they built two stone mortuary chapels at Banbury Cemetery, designed by C. H. Edwards of London (VCH Oxon, X (1972), 84).
It is at present unclear whether they or a professional architect were responsible for the design of the Hinckley chapels. F. Marriott was a nurseryman of Weddington Lane, Nuneaton, whose design for the gardens was much appreciated at the time. As well as Baxter's comments, the county press noted that 'the cemetery, now it is complete, has a pretty appearance, the grounds being nicely laid out in walks of a serpentine character, and relieved at various distances by trees and shrubs. The chapels are built in the Early English style of architecture, with vestrys [sic] for the clergy and officiating ministers. A lodge is placed close to the gate for the ground-keeper to reside in' (Leicester Journal, Fri 9 Apr 1858). One of the chapels was intended for the use of Anglicans, the other for Nonconformist denominations.
In 1920 the old stone reredos from St. Mary's church (including imitation mosaic panels of the symbols of the Four Evangelists) was installed in the Anglican chapel after its replacement in the Parish Church by Temple Moore's Peace Memorial. In 1998 a scheme to build lavatories etc. in connection with the cemetery was announced. When instituted in 1858 the cemetery covered three and a half acres; by 1896 five acres; and by 2001 fourteen and a half acres. The first interment was of Maria Bedford, 4th April 1858, the three-month-old daughter of a framework knitter.
CHESTERFIELD HOUSE/VILLA London Road. Built before 1884 for the hosiery manufacturer Charles Samuel Murcott (of Murcott & Goode, Stockwell Head). The yard next to it had allegedly been used by Dr Robert Chessher (1750-1831) for carrying out dissections. The property was advertised for sale in July 1930 and included 5 bedrooms, 2 good cellars, 'pleasure grounds', vineries, conservatory, garage for two cars etc (Hinckley Times, 11 July 1930). The house is still in existence although divided into flats, with the former gardens largely built upon.
The CHICKEN Coventry Road (formerly Coventry Street). Appears only in Holden's Triennial Directory for 1809-11.
CHURCH OF CHRIST Canning Street, off Trinity Lane. Opened 13 December 1902 (Account in the Hinckley Times, 27 December 1902). Cost about £500. To accommodate about 120 persons of the body of worshippers known as 'The Christians'. Architects Messrs. Ball & Heaton of Hinckley. Builders Messrs. Farmer & Greaves of Hinckley. '… it is of red-brick, with stone sills to the windows at the front. The interior is fitted with moveable seats and a platform for the speakers.'
CHURCH WALK: DOMESTIC Church Walk Cottages. 'Next the Globe was a huge old half timbered barn, almost giving one the idea of a tithe barn then other out-buildings adjoining the old vicarage all the back part to the garden was an old half timbered creation very quaint. This was called Church Street' (The Hinckley Chronicles, 25 October 1935).
Above: Church Walk, c.1905
When the preservation of the cottages was first mentioned, and the public response enthusiastic, the council received a letter from Mr. Keay, the local representative of H. M. Office of Works (ancient buildings and historic buildings). He had inspected the cottages on Friday Sept 20th, with the chairman of the council and J. S. Featherston, the council surveyor. He noted 'five timber-frame cottages with thatched roof in Church Walks… Specimens of this type are so rare in the country that I consider every effort should be made towards their preservation… It seems to me that the cottages in Church Walks have such an admirable setting in the adjoining public gardens and would make an excellent background when viewed from the park. As you are aware, I act as the local representative to H. M. Office of Works (Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings), and I am sure this department would be pleased to know that your council had decided to preserve these ancient and interesting specimens of buildings.'
Above, left: Drawing by Cicely Pickering of the rear of Church Street (from A. J. Pickering, The Cradle and Home...). Above, right: The cottages in about 1905.
'Spare these Cottages! Can Church Walks Property be Saved from Demolisher's Axe?… The property is a good example of sixteenth century building, a type which is very rare in the country' (Hinckley Times, Fri 7 March 1952).
'Work has begun on the demolition of cottages in Church Walk [in the year ending 31 March 1955]. They were timber-framed buildings, probably of the seventeenth century, and had reached so advanced a stage of decay that efforts to preserve them were ineffectual' (TLAS, XXXI (1955), 65).
Above: Rear view of Church Walk cottages, 1920s
In 1955 an article inthe Hinckley Times also described the tragic destruction of these historic dwellings:
'Down They Come. Goodbye To Another Bit of Old Hinckley. Those timbered cottages in Church Walks were beautiful… once. They were also tough. Demolition men found that out when they pulled them down this week. They may have looked old-world and picturesque. Their thatched roofs may have bowed to the elements and the neglect of the past few years may have brought them low. But those timbers which framed them were still erect and stout. True it was possible to point to decay here and worm holes there, but most of those beams were in a good state of preservation. They were good old English oak, tough almost as steel. Hundreds of years old they still needed a sharp, fine saw and a lot of sawing to get though. Only the first two cottages nearest the car park are coming down at this stage. The next one is still inhabited…' (Hinckley Times, 11 March 1955, with photograph of demolition proceeding).
1959 - thatched cottage in Church Walk caught fire whilst under demolition (Hinckley Times, 29 Feb 1959).
Nos. 21-23 Church Walks demolished sometime between October 1961 and 31 March 1963.
Above, left: Church Walk about 1910. Above, centre: Drawing by Cicely Pickering (from A. J. Pickering, The Cradle and Home… ). Above, right: Church Street, about 1950.
'This two-bayed, half-timbered dwelling was demolished. It appears likely that this, along with the houses to the East, may have been a farmhouse of the seventeenth century' (TLAS, XXXIX (1963-4), 52). [According to the writer, a detailed record of these cottages by R. J. Abbott, W. Lee and H. Newlove had been deposited with Leicester Museum.]
There is a watercolour of the cottages in the possession of Hinckley Library, local studies section. At Leics. Record Office (DE2793/26) are plans and elevations of 21-23 Church Walks, Hinckley, by John Baker, archt, Burbage, October 1961. NMR - 5 photos
House, now office (Thomas Flavell, Solicitors). 'Red brick, stuccoed to ground floor with channelled rustication; plain tile roof, hipped to left, and two brick ridge stacks. Two storeys, reduced proportions to second floor.
Four-window front, the first and second floor windows having stucco sill bands and being framed within stucco panels; glazing bar sashes, the glazing bars of the lower halves having been removed. Six-panelled door to left of centre with rectangular overlight, flanking Doric columns and entablature with an unusual triglyph frieze incorporating Gothic quatrefoils. Left hand return of two bays with glazing bar sashes to ground and second floor, and a first floor canted bay window' (Dept of Culture, Media and Sport, listed building notes).
The CLASSIC 1967 Regent Street/Lancaster Road See The REGENT THEATRE
The CLASSIC 1972 Hollycroft - see The DANILO
The COACH & HORSES Coventry Road
The COMMERCIAL INN Market Place. Listed in Pigot's Directory, 1822-23.
The CONCORDIA THEATRE 1972 Stockwell Head. Opened 28th November 1972 with a production of 'The Sound of Music'. It was developed in part of the former premises of Moore Eady and Murcott Goode Ltd., hosiery manufacturers (pictured below, about 1940). The Concordia Theatre Company had previously performed in venues such as St. George's Hall. On 4th November 1995 a new Studio Theatre also opened within the building.
CONGREGATIONAL CHAPEL 1766 See INDEPENDENT CHAPEL 1766
CONGREGATIONAL CHAPEL (UNITED REFORMED CHURCH) 1866-68 The Borough. 'Before the construction of the chapel, a large half-timbered building occupied the site. It was divided into three shops at the time of its demolition' (See David J. & Jenny Knight in Hinckley Historian, 32 (Autumn 1993)).
Orthodox seceders from the Great Meeting met first and from 1768 in a new meeting-house in Stockwell Head. [In June 1860 a large meeting was held in the old Independent Chapel to approve the building of a new chapel with schoolrooms (Hinckley Journal, Sat 30 June 1860)].
The present chapel, on a new site in the Borough, was built in 1866-8 to the designs of Francis E. Drake of Leicester. The walls are of red-brick with an ashlar front and hipped slate roof. The front, of three bays with a gabled centre, has four columns with foliage capitals flanking the entrances. The untidy design of the front is the result in part of the attentions of Samuel Morley. (RCHM, 123).
'Prominent but ugly, with a clumsy mixture of Italianate and Gothic vocabulary' (Pevsner, The Buildings of England, 177).
'The foundation stone of the new Congregational Church, Hinckley, was laid by S. Morley, Esq., of London, on Tuesday last [11 Sept 1866]. The site of the new building is in the Market-place, opposite to the Bank, and when the edifice is erected it will stand very prominent amongst the public buildings of that town. The principal architectural features as finally decided upon may as well now be explained, but before doing so it is necessary to explain that when Mr. F. E. Drake, of Leicester, who is the architect appointed to carry out the work, was consulted in the matter, he was instructed to adopt the plans of the London-road Independent Chapel, Leicester, in all respects except in the elevation, and that was to be altered by raising the height of the elevation by having six or seven steps. Mr. Drake carried out these instructions, and with the introduction of several other minor alterations, the plans were adopted by the Committee. The Committee, however, afterwards decided to have a new design, and plans were prepared but were found to cost a little too much money, and the old plans were again resorted to, but the schools were altogether omitted. The Committee since the foundation stone was laid have again altered their minds, and have determined to adapt as far as possible the architect's own design to the old plans. The style of this design is Lombardo-Venetian treated in a free manner. The whole of the front is of Attleborough stone, with Bath stone enrichments. The front is broken into three parts. The wings have each a long two-light window, filled at the top with tracery; these windows are circular headed.
Over these is a moulded cornice, and the whole surmounted with a pierced parapet. The centre is gabled, and contains three entrance doors, approached by a flight of six steps. Over the doors is a row of seven lancet-headed windows, with intersecting hood mouldings, and in the gable is a large wheel window, filled in with quartre-foil [sic] plate tracery. The interior is divided into a nave and two aisles, the latter formed with rows of columns connected by semi-circular arches. There is an apse behind the preaching platform, in which the choir will be placed. The accommodation provided is for 800 people, and the pews are of the modern open description. The amount of the contract for the whole of the works is £2040. 10s, and the works are being executed by Messrs. Harrold and Son, of Hinckley' (Leicester Journal, 14 September 1866).
In the cavity of the foundation stone was placed a bottle containing proofs of the drawings and plans of the Chapel, photographs of the old chapel, photographs of the old buildings on the site of the new chapel, names of the building committee, history of the Independent Church in Hinckley, copies of the circulars issued in aid of the new church, local newspapers and other items. The chapel was opened for public worship on 25 March 1868, the overall cost being £3,594. See 'Cotton Famine Days Recalled. Rev. S. B. Green on the Building of the Congregational Church' (Hinckley Times, 11 March 1932).
F[rancis], H[enry] J[ames], The History of the Church of Christ...at Hinckley (1918), contains an architect's perspective of the original proposed design, and a photograph of c.1920 showing the facade before recent alterations (top, right and left). (See also Thomas, C. O., The History of the First Nonconformist Congregational Church in Hinckley (1962)). The chapel's Diamond Jubilee was celebrated in 1928, and the Hinckley Times, 30 Mar 1928, contains a full page spread on its history headed 'Reminiscences at Hinckley Celebration'.
'Sunday School Extension at Hinckley… Beginners' Department opened at Congregational Church' (Hinckley Times, Fri 2 March 1934). No architect or builder mentioned in the subsequent account.
'Congregational chapel... in a Ruskinian Venetian Gothic style. Red brick with ashlar front and a hipped slate roof. Two-storey front with attic in gable-pediment; balustraded parapet to cornice of outer bays. Full height central projection with rusticated quoins, capped by gable-pediment. Three-part window below broken up into six lights by arcade with capitals of lilies, oak grapes etc. Ground floor with central arched doorway flanked by a pair of lower keyed-arch doorways. Columns flanking, supporting entablature and central open pediment; capitals of columns flanking central door based on lily of the valley, the outer pair on ferns. Side bays have rusticated quoins and tall double-height round arched windows divided by a single pier vertically and horizontally by a traceried band. Sides with five major bays with windows in tall round-arched recesses and four slightly less tall and much narrower recessed panels between. The major inerest of this building resides in the Ruskinian influence visible in both the style and particularly in the naturalistic foliage capitals of the columns' (Dept of Culture, Media and Sport - listed building details).
See also under BOROUGH: HOUSES
The CONSTITUTIONAL [CONSERVATIVE] CLUB 1902 Station Road. Opened August 1902 (full account of opening by Earl Howe in the Hinckley Times, 16 August 1902 with drawings of front elevation and side elevation.) Designed by W. T. Orton of Hinckleyand Birmingham, who superintended the construction of the building. Contractors, Greaves & Farmer of Hinckley. Sub-contractors John Abbott (plumbing), C. Summers (plastering), Parsons, Sherwin and Co (heating apparatus), T. Cotterill of Nuneaton (stonework). Work was begun November 1901 and was practically completed by August 1902. Approximate cost of whole work and furnishings £3,000.
A site had been purchased from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners opposite the free library and near to the newly erected post office, and in view of the council offices and public swimming baths also contemplated on the same thoroughfare. A competition was inaugurated by the directors of the club for designs for their new premises and although there were entries from 'various parts of the county', the commission was secured by a native of the town. 'The club is approached from the Station Road through a spacious staircase hall. On the ground floor to the left is a committee room and, to the right, a well lighted reading room. There are also two small private rooms leading to the staircase hall. The remainder of the space on this floor is occupied by three lock-up [...] or offices. The greater portion of the club accommodation, however, is on the first floor, the principal feature of which is an excellent billiard room 46 feet long by [...] feet wide, space being provided for three tables. A platform and comfortable, upholstered seating are arranged along the sides and end of the room, and two of the windows to the Station Road have double doors giving access to the balconies, which are intended to use for public speaking, etc.
Above, left: Upper floor window detail. Above, centre: Upper storey. Above, right: The Constitutional Club in the 1920s.
The smoke room, which also contains the bar, is conveniently arranged, adjoining the billiard room, and there are also two card rooms, the principal of which being at the front corner of the building. The manager's house has been placed at the side and has been planned so as to give privacy to the manager and at the same time to be in close communication with the club premises. The style adopted for the exterior elevation is in the treatment of Renaissance executed in brick with white Hollington stone dressings, the roof being covered with slates... From the windows at the front fine view is commanded of the old Parish Church and its leafy surroundings, and from the [...] leading from the billiard room a view of the Market Place and Station Road can be had. The billiard room itself will accommodate three tables and in addition provide room for meetings, concerts, etc. Land at the rear has also been acquired with the intention of erecting a single storey building which might be used as [...] for concerts and meetings. This project is [...] development, and the directors hope at a future date to see the entire plan of Mr Orton's, which includes this, carried out .'
July 1927 - work on extensions to the club commenced, the cost estimated to be £4,000. 'Additions include accommodation for six billiard tables, two skittles alleys and a commodious lounge'. Moreover 'the existing premises, upstairs, will be used for concert purposes and other social activities' (Hinckley Times, 22 July). In December 1928 the extensions were opened by Sir Herbert Nield MP. They comprised a double skittle alley, billiards room and handsome lounge with a dome-like top light. There were no structural alterations to the old club, but the old billiards room was from hereon to be used as a concert hall/meeting room. The architects were Heaton & Walker of Hinckley (Hinckley Times, 14 Dec 1928). Photographic view in F. Shaw, Hinckley in Old Picture Postcards, no.27.
'Former Constitutional Club, 1902. Orange brick in Flemish bond with ashlar dressings: Welsh slate roof. Some Arts-and-Crafts detail. Bay six has Ionic doorcase with carved panel 'CONSTITUTIONAL CLUB' over. Shops (only those in bays one to three original to the building) with panelled pilasters between. Transomed windows at first floor level, where bay two has a shaped gable, with cartouche and date, set between recessed bays which have Art Nouveau railings to their balconies. Bay seven has another gable, with a carved tympanum. At the right end an octagonal cupola. Looped tile ridge with two circular metal vents.' (Peter F. Ryder, Hinckley... Historic Buildings Appraisal (2000))
CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY PREMISES. The Hinckley and District Industrial Co-operative Society Ltd was founded in 1861.
Rugby Road Stores. Opened 1883. During 1882 the Society had purchased ten houses and tenements in Rugby Road for £475. Two of these were demolished and a new shop built on the site. It opened in July 1883. It was a grocery and provision shop, with store rooms above and to the rear. This shop (below, left) was situated where today part of the car park adjoins the new part of Trinity Lane at the junction with Rugby Road, near the Prince's Feathers pub. In 1909 a house was converted into a butchers' shop, and was opened January 1910 (below, right).
Co-Operative Hall, Castle Street/Hill Street. Property at the corner of Hill Street and Castle Street rented for 5 years 1889, and then purchased 1891 for £650. Plans by Joseph Ball of Hinckley for 'an imposing edifice of three storeys, with a commodious shop on the ground floor, store rooms on the second, and a large Public Hall, with a seating capacity of 300, on the upper storey'. Contractors T. Bassett and Thomas Jones. Cost £967.
Opened 19 April 1892. 'The Public Hall at the Hinckley and District Co-Operative Society's new buildings in Castle Street was opened on Easter Tuesday with a tea and entertainment. The new stores form a very handsome erection, and are a most creditable addition to the business premises in the town. They occupy a prominent position in Castle Street, with frontages to that street and Hill Street.The building comprises cellar, ground floor, and first and second floors, and there are also a large back store room and private yard. On the ground floor are two large rooms - one with an area of 660 ft. superficial, for the grocery department, and the other, for drapery, with an area of 275 ft. On the first floor there are two large store rooms, with an area of 700 ft. superficial and 440 respectively, and an ante room. The large hall on the third floor averages 44 ft. by 86 ft. and contains an area of 1684 ft. superficial. The room is well lighted and ventilated, and is capable of seating 300 people at least. This hall is to be let for public gatherings, for which it is eminently suitable. A handsome clock will be fixed in a few weeks at the angle of Castle Street and Hill Street, and it is intended that the same shall be illuminated by gas at night' (Hinckley Times, 23 April 1892). In 1903 it was extended at a cost of £358.
Central Stores, Castle Street. In the early 1860s the Society bought some old cottages in Castle Street. Joseph Dare was instructed to draw up plans to convert them into a shop. Richard Bassett of Hinckley was chosen as building contractor. The work cost £139.8s.9d and opened December 1863. It was situated on the site now occupied by the Leicestershire Recruitment Agency and Bull & Young, butchers. During 1865 and 1866 a drapery and pork butchers were added to the new shop.
In 1875 the drapery shop was enlarged, and during 1886 a bakery was built at the back of the premises. The foundations had to be sunk at least twelve feet through a portion of the castle moat, and had to rest on a bed of concrete. In 1893, the Castle Street drapery shop was again enlarged by the society, accounting for a further adjacent cottage. In 1897-8 the grocery shop was modernised and new ovens were installed in the bakery. During 1904 bay windows were installed on the second floor and a large clock with a dial either side suspended between the windows. Photograph of shop front in 1911 in F. Shaw, Hinckley in Old Picture Postcards, vol. 2, 56.
Druid Street Butchery. Opened 1897 by altering one of the Society's cottages. The three cottages and adjoining shop were purchased in 1910 at a cost of £275, and later improved at a further cost of £121.
Lower Bond Street Stores. During 1876 it was decided to open a shop in Lower Bond Street, rented at £8.10s.0d per year. In 1887 a block of property here was purchased for £700. In its place the Society built a slaughterhouse and pens, and at the front, another butcher's shop (on the site of the present 'Hole In The Wall'). This was extended in 1905 at a cost of £1,245. Contractor A. Jeffcote of Hinckley. 'The shop was increased in length to 20 feet and the four adjoining cottages - to reach which the tenants had to climb a flight of crumbling stone steps - were re-built and modernised' (below).
Well Lane Bakery. New bakehouse built here 1906-07 to designs by Messrs. Ball & Heaton of Hinckley on land attached to the Society's cottages in Well Lane. Cost £1,363, Contractors Messrs. Farmer & Greaves… 'and is one of the most up-to-date establishments in the Midlands .
The Bakehouse has a superficial floor space of 3,795 square feet, and is lined throughout with enamelled bricks. It is fitted with three draw-plate ovens by Messrs. Werner, Pfleiden & Perkins of Peterborough, which cost £740. The thoroughness of the work was the result of considerable study by the Committee, who sent deputations to study the methods in other large Bakeries'. Premises opened 16 Feb 1907. The bakehouse was purchased by G. Seller & Company, funeral directors, in October 1968. Above: shop premises, Upper Bond Street/Well Lane. Below, left and right: bakery building from Well Lane.
New Central Stores, Castle Street. 30 April 1930 'Opening of a New Emporium on Ancient Castle Hill Site' (Hinckley Times, 6 May). Built after some discussion as to the wisdom of occupying this formerly open garden site with its mature trees, between Castle Hill House and Castle Street itself.
'The new building occupies a prominent position directly in front of the Society's offices… The emporium is erected on a base of concrete, steel framed, and filled in with brickwork, the front being of reconstructed stone with a slated roof, and the overall measurements being 92ft 6in by 53ft. There are two floors, the ground floor having a window space of approximately 50ft by 20ft, and being on the arcade principle with two entrances leading to two departments, gents outfitting on the left, and boots and shoes on the right. The first floor is approached by an oak staircase six feet wide, with two landings fixed at the back of the centre window. This floor, 80ft x 50ft is used as a costumiers and milliners' department. A small stage has been erected at the lower end of the room, and in conjunction with this a portable platform extending to the staircase can be erected for the purpose of mannequin parades. At the rear of the stage are dressing rooms etc. The ceiling is of barrel type, the whole being panelled in harmony with the walls, which are suitably decorated. An outstanding feature of the ladies department is the arrangement of the hanging cases. These are so constructed to form cubicles with mirrored doors so that six customers can receive attention in privacy at the same time. The whole of the internal shop fittings have been executed in Austrian oak, and are of the latest quick service type.' Architect, George Perkins of Hinckley; general contractor A. Russell of Hinckley.
The leading light in the early Co-Operative movement in Hinckley and District was George Dare, the first Secretary and Manager (and largely responsible for its survival during the 'Cotton Famine'), who died in August 1883. He was involved in the design of the Society's first premises being, by profession, a plumber and glazier. 'He was a man educated to a degree far beyond the average working man in his time, yet was ever ready to impart his knowledge to others. At the Great Meeting Chapel, with which he was closely connected, he took a class of working men in his spare time, and taught them to read and write. He was a Painter by trade and an Architect by acquirement. He was a partner in the firm of Dare & Lord, Auctioneers, in Castle Street.' He was also secretary of the Hinckley Loans Society, and an active member and occasional preacher at the Great Meeting. See Hinckley & District Co-Operative Society, A Brief History of its Rise and Progress (Hinckley, W. Pickering & Sons, 1911).
1978 - 21st Sept new Co-Op Superstore opened in Castle Street for Hinckley & Barwell Co-Operative Society. This involved the demolition of the historic Castle Hill House, which had become the administrative headquarters of the Society.
CORK HOLE. Slum district just south of town centre, shown on 1889 Ordnance Survey (below):
The CORN EXCHANGE. In January 1854 a meeting of the newly-formed Corn Exchange Company took place, at which it was resolved 'to erect a suitable building upon an eligible site in the borough of Hinckley, for the sale of corn, seeds, flour and other merchandise, with the necessary offices and conveniences. It has also in view the erection of rooms for public purposes, which has so long been a desideratum in the town of Hinckley' (Leicester Advertiser, 28 Jan 1854). On February 6th a further meeting occurred at the White Hart Inn, which 'was crowded with millers, corn factors, farmers and others'. It was formally moved that 'it is highly desirable that a corn exchange to be established in the borough of Hinckley, and that a suitable building for that purpose be provided, with all such outbuildings, offices and conveniences, as may be found necessary for the purpose of the town and neighbourhood of Hinckley' (Leicestershire Mercury, 11 Feb 1854). The corn exchange was erected on the premises of the Bulls Head Inn in the Market Place. In 1859 two amateur concerts took place here, and subsequently it became one of the principal places of entertainment in the town. It was superseded by St. George's Hall (H. & R. Leacroft, Theatre in Leicestershire, 34). 'St. George's Hall, attached to the George hotel, will hold about 500 persons, and is also used for lectures and concerts and Corn Exchange' (Kelly, Directory of Leicestershire and Rutland, 1895). See also GEORGE INN: ST. GEORGE'S HALL
COTTAGE HOSPITAL 1890 In 1890 a three-storeyed, double-fronted house at 10 Wood Street had been converted into a hospital. It had just 4 beds and 2 cots. In 1896 a house on SE corner of Hill Street (below) was rented for use as a hospital. There is an account of the opening of this 'new cottage hospital' in the Hinckley Times, 4 July 1896.
COTTAGE HOSPITAL & NURSING INSTITUTE 1898-1900 Mount Road (Hinckley Diamond Jubilee Hospital). In 1897 a decision was made to erect a new Cottage Hospital in Mount Road (backing onto the existing premises) to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. 'Hinckley New Cottage Hospital' (Hinckley Times, 12 Feb 1898). Mr. T. Aucott, chairman of the new hospital committee, 'suggested that Hinckley architects be asked to send in plans, and that no outsiders be requested to do so', and that the work be proceeded with as rapidly as possible. This resolution was carried. Architectural competition for design won by John Wigg (of Leicester and Hinckley).
'A special meeting of the New Cottage Hospital Committee was held at the old Grammar School, Hinckley, recently, when the Chairman explained that the meeting had been called to decide upon plans for the new hospital. Three plans had been before the Committee, and had been submitted to Mr. Goodacre, of Leicester, who was asked to send in a report. The names of the architects had not been disclosed, and on Mr. Goodacre's report the Sub-Committee had decided to accept Mr. Wigg's plan, asking them for the probable cost to carry out their plans, and was informed that Mr. Wigg's plan would cost £1,300 or £1,400 inclusive. Dr. Smith proposed that the recommendation of the Sub-Committee be adopted. Mr. Chapman seconded, and it was agreed to.' (Builder, LXXIV, June 25 1898, 611).
The building contractor was Andrew Jeffcote of Hinckley and the carpenters Rowley & Co. The former remarked of the plans that 'the building will have an imposing appearance, but it will be very plain and simple, nothing being thrown away'. The foundation stone was laid 22 June 1899 at the southwest corner of the building, a ceremony which was accompanied by a procession of floats through the town. The hospital was opened 8 November 1900 by Mrs C. H. Alldridge of Sketchley. 'Upon entering the hospital the first door on the left is the matron's ward, measuring 28ft by 20ft. Opposite is the nurse's ward of similar dimensions. Next to the matron's ward is the private ward, and further down the corridor the day room. On the south side is a larder/scullery etc... On the right hand side of the entrance is a good-sized operating room and kitchen and pantries. Between the operating room and kitchen is a small corridor leading into a yard on the east side of the building'. The hospital had just two wards, housing up to fourteen patients.
Above: Men's Ward, about 1905
1905 - laundry and three staff bedrooms added at a cost of £644.
1920 - 'Big Schemes Ahead. Important Extensions Contemplated at Hinckley Cottage Hospital' (Hinckley Times, 28 Feb 1920). Pictured below is one of the fund-raising events staged by the hospital committee, in this instance opened by HRH Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone.
1924-8 - new women's ward, mortuary, X-ray suite, two additional private wards, children's ward (beds provided by Hinckley Sunday School Union), enlarged operating theatre and additional staff bedrooms added. Twenty extra ward beds in all. The overall cost was £12,000. It was hoped that the extensions would be complete by March-April 1928, and Princess Mary was to be approached with regard to the opening (Hinckley Times, 25 Nov 1927). The formal opening took place in July 1928, performed in fact by Lady Edge, wife of Sir William Edge, the MP for Bosworth (Hinckley Times, 27 July 1928, with two pictures). The work also included the extension of the Accident Ward.
1930 - January - Dedication of new children's ward, with 8 cots and equipped at a cost of £250 (Hinckley Times, 17 Jan 1930).
1936 - further extensions planned. Architect William Keay of Leicester (of Pick, Everard etc).
1937 - Women's ward verandah opened. Part of £26,000 programme.
1938 - Tenders invited for additional wards, operating theatre, alterations. The estimate was £25,000 and the architects to be Pick, Everard, Keay and Gimson of Leicester.
1939 - In July Lady Nutting opened the operating theatre unit, kitchen block, staff dining rooms and duty rooms. The operating theatre unit included an anaesthetic room, rooms for the surgeon and his staff, mackintosh room, sterilizing room and main theatre. The overall cost was £9,000 and the architect, T. W. Haird. Further extensions were proposed to plans by Pick, Everard, Keay and Gimson (Hinckley Times, 14 July).
1939-46 - Further extensions including a massage department (1940)
1942 - Nurses home, male ward and outpatients' department proposed. An architects' ground plan (by Pick, Everard, Keay & Gimson of Leicester, dated October 1945) showed the proposed extensions for the hospital (which were never realised). These were to be on the site now occupied by General Practice surgeries (Hinckley Times, 28 Dec 1945). 'The proposed extensions will include additional general ward beds for men and women, a maternity department and nurses' homes. Part of the original hospital building will be converted into an out-patients' department'.
1971-2 - X-ray department expanded
There is a file on the hospital at the NMR, Swindon (Hospitals Project).
COUNCIL HOUSING The first twelve council houses were erected in Granville Road in 1913, the contract price being £1,988. The plans were presented to the HUDC in April 1913 (Hinckley Times, 19 April 1913). This was under the provisions of the Housing of the Working Classes Act, 1890 (H. F. Warren, The Jubilee of the Hinckley UDC 1895-1945, 12).
On 9 October 1914 a meeting of the Institute of Municipal and County Engineers was held at Hinckley. The meeting was addressed by E. H. Crump, the council's surveyor, in a paper entitled 'Eleven Years' Municipal Work at Hinckley'. Since the passing of the Housing, Town Planning etc Act of 1909 the idea had been considered, but in 1913 4.5 acres were purchased in Coventry Road of which 2.5 acres were to accommodate a small recreation ground and the remainder workmen's dwellings. Crump himself had prepared several designs for the houses, and five-room cottages were decided upon. When built upon the area was to contain 28 cottages, of which 12 were complete and 16 in process of erection. 'There is nothing extraordinary in the design of the cottages except that all rooms are of a good size, well lighted and ventilated'. The closets and coal-houses were under a different roof from that of the main building, and each was 10 ft. from the street fence line, with a turfed front garden. 'There is no doubt that such houses were urgently required in the town, as there has been a marked decrease in the number of new houses erected during the past few years, such depression being general throughout the county. Also a fair new number of houses have been closed, either by the Council or voluntarily by the owners, and demolished, and consequently the supply of new houses is quite insufficient to the demand' ('The Housing Question at Hinckley', Builder, 9 Oct 1914, 340-1).
'After the Armistice in 1918, the Council gave serious consideration to the provision of further working class dwellings, and conferences were held with representatives of local Trades Councils and Associations, Building Societies, etc., and sites in Rugby Road (29.5 acres) and between London Road and Duke Street (7.5 acres) were acquired for housing purposes. Towards the end of 1919 a survey of the town was made (at the request of the Ministry of Health) by the Medical Officer of Health, the Surveyor and the Clerk, who reported that no fewer than 342 houses should in their opinion be ultimately demolished. 141 of the houses were stated to be unfit for human habitation and could not be made fit; there were nine "obstructive" buildings inhabited which needed demolition, and 192 houses fell below a reasonable standard of housing accommodation. The provision of 300 houses was advised, and plans for the erection of a portion of this number were prepared' (Warren, 10).
'The Council in 1926-7 erected 24 houses in Merevale Close and Granby Close on their Rugby Road Estate, which were subsequently sold.
In May 1928 the East Midlands District of the Institute of Municipal and County Surveyors visited Hinckley when the Council Surveyor, J. S. Featherston, reported on the provision of public housing provision in Hinckley (Hinckley Times, 1 June 1928). A full-page article on 'Housing in the Hinckley District', with house building statistics for 1926-9, appeared in the Hinckley Times, 26 Sept 1930.
'In the early part of 1930 the Council purchased an estate lying between Hollycroft and Middlefield Lane comprising 93 acres, known as Middlefield Lane Housing Estate, for development under the Housing Acts as an Housing Estate and for the erection of houses by private enterprise' (Warren, 15).
'Unbuilt-on sites on the London Road Estate were appropriated for the erection of four council houses in 1936, the contract price being £1,366, and sixteen Aged Persons Dwellings were provided in The Grove (on the site of Grove Street and the "Salt Box") in 1937-8... In August 1937, the Council, after protracted negotiations and despite some adverse local public opinion, purchased for £40,550, 150 houses on the Wykin Hall Estate, in respect of a which a Guarantee had been previously given under the provisions of the Housing (Financial Provisions) Act, 1933. Certain houses were appropriated as re-housing accommodation for persons dispossessed under slum clearance schemes' (Warren, 21).
In December 1951 it was reported that the one thousandth family had been re-housed by Hinckley Urban District Council.
COUNCIL OFFICES Castle Street. Over Edward Lord's boot shop (now Burton's tailors) (H.F. Warren, A History of the Hinckley Urban District Council 1895-1974 (Hinckley 1981), 9).
COUNCIL OFFICES 1903-04 Station Road. Attached to former Free Library, by Fredrick C. Cook (later Sir), the Council Surveyor. 'Less severe shaped gables' (Pevsner, The Buildings of England, 178). The site was purchased from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and the overall cost of the building was £2,500 (Warren, 9). In the 35 years prior to the erection of the council offices, the council had met in 'Mr. Preston's office', in the Town Hall, at the Board Schools and in the Quaker Meeting House.
The architect's perspective of the proposed building (above) was published in the Hinckley Times (28 March 1903). The cost was to be £1594 10s and the contract had been awarded to Messrs Greaves & Farmer of Hinckley. The builders were already proceeding with the work. 'The site chosen is an admirable one, as it is in the neighbourhood of several other recently erected public buildings [eg the library and post office] and the design of the front is to accord with that of the Free Library. Mr. F. C. Cook, the late surveyor, who has this week removed to his appointment in Nuneaton, has prepared the plans and specifications, and the Council, on Tuesday evening arranged that the work of erecting the building should go on under his supervision. Mr. E. H. Crump, the newly appointed surveyor, will assist Mr. Cook in the work.'
The building was erected over twelve months, about three months over the contracted time due to the weather and delays in woodwork being delivered. The project was supervised by Cook, who made frequent visits, and by Crump, his successor. The Council Offices were formally opened on Friday (11th?) March 1904 (Hinckley Times, 12 March). 'The front is an imposing structure, the design of which partly Italian in style has been made to accord with that of the Free Library. It has been carried out in red [band?] brick relieved by various mouldings in the same material. The whole of the bricks and the mouldings have been made in the town by Hudson's Brick Company Limited, and the colour and quality of the brickwork must prove an excellent recommendation to the material turned out at these brick works. There is not much stone-work in the building, but the main entrance is of stone. A novelty in the front is the brick carving over the window of the committee room, which has been executed by Mr. Moore of Leicester, who also carved the stone-work design over the front entrance. Worked into this design is the wording "Urban District Council" and the Town arms. The emblasoned shield is also worked in colour into the lead light over the door-way.'
The interior contained Gas, Rate, Surveyor's and Waterwork's offices, and lavatories on the ground floor, and Council Chamber, committee room and clerk's office on the 1st floor, and three cellars and strong room in the basement.
'Two storey council offices to the right [of the library] with shaped gables, arcaded windows, fluted brick pilasters and a central entrance with segmental pediment, and fanlight.' (Dept of Culture, Media and Sport - listed building details)
Above, left: Council Offices, c. 1910. Above, right: Council Offices in 2000.
COUNCIL OFFICES 1963-7 Argents Mead. Argents Mead was gifted to the then Hinckley Urban District Council by Miss Margery Payne in 1948. The site also included the grounds of the former St Mary's vicarage. New council offices were first proposed as early as April 1959, when it was suggested the present offices could expand into the Library and the latter could occupy the old vicarage. (Hinckley Times, 1 May 1959.)
Eventually a much more ambitious scheme was proposed. The new offices of Hinckley Urban District Council were designed by Sir John Brown, A. E. Henson & Partners, 117 Sloane Street, London, the contractors being J. Parnell & Son Ltd of Rugby. 'Three-storey, concrete-framed and concrete-clad. Projecting wing ending in an elliptical council chamber.' (Pevsner, The Buildings of England, 177).
'The building has been planned in two sections, one forming the main office block, and the other the Council Chamber block. they are joined by a link which on the ground floor serves as the Collection and Rates Offices and on the first floor provides the Ante Room leading to the Council Chamber. The main office building, which is just over 210 feet long, faces south, and comprises a basement and three storeys above it. The reinforced concrete frame of the building is faced with reconstructed Portland stone panels, and the window frames are of aluminium. The Council Chamber, which is elliptical in plan, is on the North side of the building, where it can be seen from Argent's Mead, and is faced to harmonise with the rest of the building. The room below the Council Chamber (known as Argent Hall) has seating accommodation for 150 and is a suitable venue for public meetings, lectures, exhibitions, etc. The main entrance hall to the office building rises through two floors, with a gallery at first floor level, connecting the wings on either side. The floor is paved with buff terrazzo tiles, and the wall directly opposite the entrance doors (containing the main lift to all floors) is covered with Petro marble, cream in colour with a very strongly marked brown grain. The Council Chamber is entered at first floor level. Seating has been arranged for the Chairman of the Council and 42 Councillors and officers. The Chairman's desk is on a raised dais, behind which is a panel of Rosso Levanto marble, and above this is displayed the Council's Coat of Arms coloured heraldically. The windows are at a high level, and the walls are panelled to a height of about 10 feet with strips of Nigerian Pearwood of concave section for acoustical reasons. The ceiling is painted pale blue with a suspended centre portion in which the lighting is concealed. The desks are finished in mahogany, and the chairs upholstered in brown cirrus. The Public Gallery (approached from the second floor) has seating, also upholstered in brown cirrus, for 60 people. In the Civic Suite on the first floor are two Committee Rooms, one seating 24 persons and the other 12. The larger Committee Room has the walls panelled in Agba, which is very light brown in colour, and the other in Elm; both have furniture to match the panelling, and the floors are close-carpeted in blue. Near to the Committee Rooms are the Chairman's Room and retiring rooms for members, furnished with settees and easy chairs and decorated in light colours. To the right of the entrance hall is the Treasurer's Department and to the left the Health Department. The Clerk's Department is on the first floor. The Surveyor's Department, the Staff Room and Canteen and the Caretaker's flat are on the second floor. The basement contains (in addition to accommodation, made by arrangement with the Leicestershire County Council for a Civil Defence Area Control Centre and Weights and Measures Office) strong rooms, stores, boiler room and fuel store. The building is heated by a low pressure hot water system pumped from coal-fired boilers' (Hinckley Urban District Council [souvenir programme], Official Opening of New Council Offices, 17th July 1968).
The final cost of the new offices, including roads, car parks, furniture, fees, etc., was nearly £373,500, excluding the purchase of the site. The building was officially opened on 17th July 1968 by Lord Fisher of Lambeth (Geoffrey Fisher, former Archbishop of Canterbury). Parnell & Sons' complete set of plans and papers relating to the project are preserved at Warwick University, Modern Records Centre.
In 1974, under local government reorganisation, the offices became the home of the newly constituted Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council (coat of arms, above).
COUNCIL SCHOOLS - see BOARD SCHOOLS
COUNTY COURT BUILDING 1878 - see POLICE STATION AND SESSION HOUSE
COX'S ABBEY Upper Castle Street. Slum properties were demolished here in 1932. Amongst them was some of the worst housing in the town (below) (Hinckley Times, 23 Dec 1932).
The CROSS KEYS Upper Castle Street. Appears in Pigot's 1822-3 Directory and in subsequent trades directories until 1835.
CROSS KEYS YARD Upper Castle Street (below). Slum properties here demolished 1937-8 (Hinckley Times, 15 Oct 1937). Notable as the birthplace of Nat[haniel] Langham (1820-1871), who became the pugilistic (bare knuckle boxing) champion of England in the 1850s.
The CROWN AND ANCHOR 106 Castle Street. Appears in Pigot's 1822-3 Directory and in subsequent trades directories until 1953-54. See David J. Knight, 'Some notes on 63-65 Castle Street', Hinckley Historian, 40, 3-8.
CROWN AND ANCHOR YARD Castle Street. In 1873 the Local Board published a report on the dilapidated state of properties in 'Anchor Yard' (Leicester Journal, 17 Oct 1873). Slum properties here were finally demolished in 1937-8 (Hinckley Times, 15 Oct 1937).
The CROWN INN/HOTEL 78 Castle Street. See photograph in F. Shaw, Hinckley in Old Picture Postcards, vol.2, no.31 (below). Appears in trades directories from 1848. The present facade is circa 1880. Closed 1980s and divided into retail premises.
A B C D E F G H I J-K L M N O P Q R S St T U-V W-Z