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  • Hart & Levy Clothing started to embrace new technology which meant they could make cheaper clothes
  • The Wimbledon Works was built for Hart & Levy in 1870 and designed by Leicester architect William Jackson
  • The site was “state of the art” with manufacturing, warehousing and offices all in the same building

Hart & Levy Clothing

Israel Hart moved from Canterbury to Leicester in 1859. In the same year he and Joseph Levy formed a men’s clothing business, called Hart & Levy. They started with traditional tailoring and embraced new technology which meant they could make cheaper clothes.

Hart & Levy Catalogue, 1931

The Wimbledon Street Warehouse

Known as the Wimbledon Works, it was built for Hart & Levy in 1870. It was designed by Leicester architect William Jackson. The building is three floors high, with a deep basement and entrance on the corner of Wimbledon and Southampton Streets. The site was “state of the art” with manufacturing, warehousing and offices all in the same building. Hart & Levy had other warehouses on Wharf Street and Granby Street. They also had a shop where the clock tower is today.

The Wimbledon Works. Credit: University of Leicester

Mass Production

Towards the end of the 19th century the business grew rapidly. Mass production and new shops made it easy to sell to ordinary people. By 1894, Hart & Levy had 18 shops across the Midlands, the North and East Anglia. The Wimbledon Works is now a Grade II listed building. It is an extremely well-preserved example of a Victorian clothing and tailor’s warehouse. Leicester Museums & Galleries have some clothes made by Hart & Levy.

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Roman Leicester

(47- 500) A military fort was erected, attracting traders and a growing civilian community to Leicester (known as Ratae Corieltauvorum to the Romans). The town steadily grew throughout the reign of the Romans.

Tudor & Stuart Leicester

(1500 – 1700) The wool trade flourished in Leicester with one local, a former mayor named William Wigston, making his fortune. During the English Civil War a bloody battle was fought as the forces of King Charles I laid siege to the town.

Georgian Leicester

(1700 – 1837) The knitting industry had really stared to take hold and Leicester was fast becoming the main centre of hosiery manufacture in Britain. This new prosperity was reflected throughout the town with broader, paved streets lined with elegant brick buildings and genteel residences.

Victorian Leicester

(1837 – 1901) The industrial revolution had a huge effect on Leicester resulting in the population growing from 40,000 to 212,000 during this period. Many of Leicester's most iconic buildings were erected during this time as wealthy Victorians made their mark on the town.

Edwardian Leicester

(1901 – 1910) Electric trams came to the streets of Leicester and increased literacy among the citizens led to many becoming politicised. The famous 1905 ‘March of the Unemployed to London’ left from Leicester market when 30,000 people came to witness the historic event.

Modern Leicester

(1973 – present day) Industry was still thriving in the city during the 1970s, with the work opportunities attracting many immigrants from all over the world. While industry has declined in recent years, excellent transport links have made Leicester an attractive centre for many businesses. The City now has much to be proud of including its sporting achievements and the richness of its cultural heritage and diversity.

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