Howard Road 1911 – 2011

HUGE apologies for this being the first post in a very long time.  Real life work commitments have been keeping me from going to the record office, and I have barely sat down to do anything historical in weeks.  But enough about the high-pressure Clarendon Park life we all lead today (cue violins), and more about the past.  I thought we’d start afresh with Howard Road, one of my favourite parts.  It’s a bit like Clarendon Park Road in that there is a real mix of housing, though none of it as grand.  There is/was a sprinkling of shops and businesses, but of a smaller and humbler nature as they are not on a main thoroughfare.  Several purpose-built shops have now been converted into houses, but a few linger on.  Here is a snapshot of businesses in 1911, from the census and Kelly’s Directory:

    • 21 Howard Road – Mrs Lydia Fletcher, beer retailer and shopkeeper
    • 43 Howard Road - Ruby Gursley, general draper
    • 47 Howard Road –  Cuthbert Chapman, scientific instrument designer
    • 59 Howard Road – Julia Annie Hill, boarding house keeper (2 boarders)
    • 77 Howard Road - George Edward Pritchard, grocer and confectioner
    • 84 Howard Road – Sarah Benskin, dressmaker
    • 85 Howard Road –  Charles James Groves, boot repairer

59 Howard Road or "Ashbourne Villa" - Julia Annie Hill ran a boarding house here for many years

It’s worth mentioning that the lower end of Howard Road (towards Welford Road) was still pretty new in 1911.  Many of the houses from about 90 onwards were not built until 1903-6.

There were never very many businesses on Howard Road, because unlike Clarendon Park Road it’s not a main thoroughfare – especially now that it has been divided up for traffic calming.  There are only a handful today and several have been converted into housing like number 77, which in 1911 was a grocer and confectioners, and was last used as a general corner shop and off license.  It stood empty for many years and was a bit of an eyesore until it was renovated in 2009/10 and converted into two houses.  The old off license illuminated sign was still there until a few months ago. 

 Anyway, it’s good to be back and I promise to be a better Yourhistories from now on and not to get distracted by gin other things.  Yours, Elizabeth.

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7 responses to “Howard Road 1911 – 2011

  1. Jan Skoczylas

    When we first moved to Leicester, I lived at 88 Howard Road (where the Piano Teacher now lives). We were there when the roads were blocked off. The biggest moaner was the old ‘Rag ‘n’ Bone’ man who had to take a cicuitous (sp?) route to get down Howard Road. I certainly remember the Off Licence, though at the time it was more of a general grocers. There was also Mrs Eagle who ran a fairly ‘traditional’ newsagent almost opposite Richard Woods’ butchers shopr. I remember being sent to her shop with a pint glass to buy paraffin. Most of these businesses were on the other side of the road (odd numbers) – any reason why?

    Keep up the good work and many thanks for the research – it makes for an ejoyable read

  2. Thanks Jan, I’m glad you enjoy reading the blog. It’s a good question – why were the businesses mainly on the odd side of the road? It might partly be answered by the date that the streets on the right hand side of the road were either built or completed, eg Lorne Road, which was built much earlier than the side of Lorne Road which is to the left of Howard Road. Howard Road itself was not built up with houses beyond Cradock Road until after 1901. If Howard Road was the thoroughfare, it makes sense that the shops would be built on the side of the road which was most built up, which was the left hand (odd) side.

    Could you put a date to the road blocking off? I have seen a document at the record office which proposes the traffic calming measures and tree planting, etc, but nothing to say exactly when it was done.

  3. Jan Skoczylas

    According to records (and my memory), Clarendon Park was designated a GIA (General improvement area) in 1971. There is a link to the records office about the whole process here:

    http://record-office-catalogue.leics.gov.uk/DServe/dserve.exe?dsqIni=Dserve.ini&dsqApp=Archive&dsqDb=Catalog&dsqCmd=Show.tcl&dsqSearch=(RefNo=='LE/41/482‘)

    I was still at Avenue Junior School at the time so events are a bit hazy.

    Sorry I cant be of further help on that. If you need any more queries answering, dont hestate to contact me

  4. Thanks very much for that, I will.

  5. An interesting read as always Lizzie. Great to have you back, Jane.

  6. In the early ’80′s the Grocers shop at the bottom of Cradock Rd was run by Mr. Patel. He and I would often discuss the Cricket, if England happened to be playing India. He was a true Gent.

  7. Hi. I am the grand daughter of Mrs Vera Stafford who ran the corner shop – 21 Howard Road until she died in 1979. She came to Howard Road at about the age of 2-3 years old and lived with Mrs Pitts. She was married to Charles Stafford and had a daughter, Jean (my mum).
    I remember the horses delivering the beer and bottled pop (it was owned by Shipstones) We stayed there, as children, every summer whilst Vera and Charles went to Mablethorpe for their two week summer holidays.
    Many happy memories of that little corner shop, now a house, I believe.

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