History of Highfields

Highfields is known in Leicester as a place made up of people from a huge variety of different races, religions and cultures that are connect by a wonderfully strong sense of community.

It has not always been the busy and dynamic suburb it is today. Not too long in the past it was a sleepy rural area known as High Fields because of its position as one of the highest pieces of land near the City. It had many streams and windmills set amongst the farmers fields which were accessed by short lanes off London Road. Two of these lanes still exist as Prebend Street and Saxby Street but they have been considerably widened since.

Familiar Highfields landmarks, the 5 tower blocks in the area were built in the 1970's – this photograph was taken not long after they were completed.

Familiar Highfields landmarks, the 5 tower blocks in the area were built in the 1970's – this photograph was taken not long after they were completed

A map of High Fields (also known as St Margarets Fields) from 1828

A map of High Fields (also known as St Margarets Fields) from 1828. London Road goes up the map from bottom left centre, notice the short lanes coming off to the right giving access the farm land that made up High Fields

Farm Land

Residential buildings first appeared in the 1820’s starting from London Road and slowly encroaching across the farm land. The first terraced houses were built in Lincoln Street, Hobart Street and Seymour Street in the 1860s with many more terrace houses being built over the following decades.

Something quite unique about the Highfields area is that there have been no large scale re-developments of the area, so much of it still looks very similar to how it did in the late 1800’s. A mixture of large and small houses, catering to families of differing incomes as well as a variety of places of worship to serve the diverse communities that settled there.

During more recent times Highfields has had a wide variety of communities from all over the World calling it home, this is reflected in many ways; from the types of food sold in the local shops to new and old buildings being used as community centres and places of worship by local people.

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