• The original building was set among fields and orchards in 1801
  • Said to be haunted by famous detective ‘Tanky Smith’
  • Originally called The Bishops Blaize

A Saint and a Marquis

London Road was part of the old Loughborough to Market Harborough turnpike road. It was maintained by ‘tolls’ or fees paid by travellers collected at ‘toll gates’. In 1801 an inn was built near the London Road toll gate and named ‘The Bishop Blaize’ (after the patron saint of wool combers). Apart from the inn and a few houses around it, the area was just fields and orchards. Around 1813 the inn was renamed ‘The Marquis Wellington’ after Arthur Wellesley (later made Duke of Wellington) who was created a marquess in 1812 following successful military campaigns.

Ghostly sightings

In 1907 The Marquis Wellington was refurbished. It was given an ornate bow frontage of cast lead by a local craftsman plumber, featuring the gilded head of the Marquess of Wellington. The inn, which has belonged to Everards Brewery since 1893, is said to be haunted by the ghost of Victorian detective ‘Tanky’ Smith.

Edward Wood Hall

In 1910 the Victoria Road Church (on the corner of Victoria Road and London Road) extended its premises to provide a hall for recreational activities (next door to The Marquis Wellington). It was named after Edward Wood, a member of the congregation, who started life as an apprentice printer to Thomas Cook aged 11, later becoming Mayor of Leicester and founder of the shoe business that became Freeman Hardy and Willis. The Hall is now owned by the University of Leicester. It was renamed in 2003 as a tribute to Sir Thomas Alexander Fraser Noble MBE, a former University Vice-Chancellor.

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Gallery

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.

Medieval Leicester

(500 – 1500) The early years of this period was one of unrest with Saxon, Danes and Norman invaders having their influences over the town. Later, of course, came Richard III and the final battle of the Wars of the Roses was fought on Leicester’s doorstep.

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.

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.

Early 20th Century Leicester

(1910 – 1973) The diverse industrial base meant Leicester was able to cope with the economic challenges of the 1920s and 1930s. New light engineering businesses, such as typewriter and scientific instrument making, complemented the more traditional industries of hosiery and footwear manufacturing.

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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