Category Archives: Uncategorized

Death and burial in Clarendon Park

Bit gloomy, this subject, but it’s a big one and actually quite interesting.  Not everyone who lived in Clarendon Park in the past died there, but a lot did and especially – sadly – the children.  National infant (under 1 year) mortality in Victorian England was something appalling like 160 per 1000 live births in 1899 and the figure for Leicester, as a town, was probably significantly higher.  One in three children would not live to see their fifth birthday.  Adults also had a much lower life expectancy than today.

I have been transcribing the burial records of St Mary Magdalene, Knighton, listing every person who died whilst living in Clarendon Park.  It is time-consuming work – so far I have finished 1887-1906 and 1929-1950 and there are literally hundreds of names.  Each entry records the person’s name, their address, age and the date they were buried.  You are welcome to ask me to look up any name or address (I found a tiny baby who died at my house in 1900..very poignant).  Anyway, the list forms a useful snapshot of death in Clarendon Park, though totally unscientific.  Here are the results for 1887 – 1906:

  • <1m             32
  • 1m – 6m     45
  • 7m – 12m  45
  • 13m – 2y    32
  • 3y – 5y        13
  • 6y – 10y     8
  • 11y – 19y   19 (of which 7 were aged 17)
  • 20 – 30       24
  • 30 – 40      30
  • 41 – 50       30
  • 51 – 60        31
  • 61 – 70       28
  • 71 – 80       18
  • 81+             14 (the oldest person was 93) 

As you can see, the vast majority of deaths were in children 2 years or younger, though the risk levelled off a bit after that.  A surprising amount of people died in early adulthood, and most adults died in what we would now consider middle age, rather than after the current retirement age.  There must be many more deaths in the 81+ bracket today.  It is notable from the records how the number of child deaths gradually reduces and the age of people generally increases over the 19 years I looked at.

So, how and where were all these Clarendon Park folk buried?  There isn’t a burial ground in Clarendon Park itself.  Many people were buried at Welford Road Cemetery, which opened in 1849 and provided space for people who were not members of the Church of England, as well as those who were.  Clearly a lot of people chose to be buried at St Mary Magdalene, Knighton, as St John the Baptist, Clarendon Park and St Michael and All Angels, Knighton had no graveyard (many if not most new Victorian churches were built without).  Even nonconformists were buried there – under the Burials Act of 1880 any christian burial could be carried out at parish churches, and quite a few Methodists and other nonconformists were buried at St Mary’s.  Some people were buried in other parishes, for example if they had lived many years in a village or another part of Leicester before moving to Clarendon Park.

Victorian funerals were big business, with mourning warehouses advertised in the local press.  The middle classes were obviously able to spend more on the trappings of mourning but it was a matter of pride for many poorer people to give a decent funeral.  Many would not have been able to provide even that.  Cab Proprietor William Maurice Jackson was also a funeral undertaker, and coffins would have been provided by some of Clarendon Park’s many carpenters, joiners and builders.

Thank goodness those days have passed, and most Clarendon Park dwellers are in good health and can expect to live to a reasonable age.  I promise to bring you something less morbid next time!  Regards, Elizabeth.

Montague Road 1911 – 2011

48 Montague Road - in 1911 a butchers, in 2011 "Centre of Balance" (alternative therapies)

I couldn’t wait for 2011 to start – it seemed like such a good opportunity for comparisons between today’s Clarendon Park and the area as it is shown in the 1911 census and other sources.  In fact, I considered writing a short book about it….but then I remembered that I have two young children, a husband and a cat.  I might get round to it when the next census is released I suppose.

So here is the first in the series of comparisons.  I’m starting with Montague Road because, although it is far from the most attractive road in Clarendon Park, the contrast between 1911 and today is very strong.  Today there are just a handful of visible businesses – a hairdressers, a crystal healing type shop, a pine furniture shop, a small kitchen and bathroom showroom.  There also seems to be a couple of small businesses operating from within someone’s home.  Now, in 1911 (according to the 1911 Town and County Directory of Leicester and the 1911 census), the following businesses existed:

  • (unnumbered) William Maurice Jackson, cab proprietor and funeral undertaker (also at 1 West Avenue)
  • 25 – William Henry Cox, bricklayer and builder
  • 39 – John Kyle, hot water and sanitary engineer, and gas fitter 
  • 41 – Albert Edward Deacon, haberdasher and stationer
  • 48 – Thomas Harding, butcher
  • 50 – Frederick Payne, fishmonger
  • 52 – Henry Miles , bootmaker and repairer
  • 54 – John Nicholson, grocer
  • 56 – Herbert Crofts, newsagent and confectioner
  • 60 – Arthur Short, cycle maker and repairer
  • 62 Eliza Broughton, shopkeeper
  • 63 — Alfred Measures, Grocer
  • 64 – Arthur Hirst, dealer in groceries and provisions
  • 65 – Thomas Emms, confectioner
  • 77 – Frederick Walker, boot and shoe repairer
  • 79 – James and Emma Tipper, laundry
  • 83 – Walter Wymer, green grocer and drayman
  • 96 – Henry Bennett, grocer
  • 98 – William Henry Johnson, bootmaker and repairer

96 Montague Road - in 1911, a grocers and in 2011 a private residence. The building has been rendered to hide signs of its former use.

Bankrupt!

In these modern times of crunched-credit, no one thinks anything of going bankrupt.  After seven years or so, a bankrupt is almost back to normal financially and I doubt there are many people who would shun them or think of them as shameful.  But back in Victorian times, when even the act of writing a cheque that you knew would bounce was a serious criminal offence, there was a huge stigma attached to bankruptcy.  Names were printed not only in the ‘official’ source (The London Gazette), but also in The Times and local newspapers.  It was whilst browsing The Times Digital Archive that I began to notice the Clarendon Park bankrupts.

The person with the dubious honour of being Clarendon Park’s first bankrupt (at least according to The Times), was Elizabeth Nancy Jackson.  Born in Poplar, London c1825, she came to Leicester 1861-71 with husband William – a commercial traveller – and their six children.  In 1881 she resided at Ramsey Villa, 1 West Avenue, describing herself as “dealer in works of art and antiquities.” 

Unfortunately Elizabeth’s businesses failed.  In October 1885 The Times printed the first notification:  “Bankrupts – Adjudications – Jackson, Elizabeth Nancy, Leicester and Clarendon-park, near Leicester, antique china and curiosity dealer, and dairy and cab proprietor.”  By February 1886 it was all over.  Elizabeth’s creditors were offered 7s 8 1/2d for each pound they were owed, i.e. less than half.  I bet the name of Jackson was mud all over Clarendon Park and half of Leicester.

By 1887 son William Maurice Jackson had taken over the cab business, which thrived for at least another 25 years.  One of these days I will look into that business properly, as it looks to me as though the premises are still standing.  In the meantime, I have plenty more tales of bankruptcy woe to share with you, so buy your handkerchieves now whilst stocks last!  Regards, Elizabeth.

St John the Baptist War Remembrance Plaques

The remembrance plaques are sitauted near the altar at St John the Baptist church.  They list the 58 men in the parish who lost their lives during World War I and the 14 in World War II.  To the Glory of GOD and in memory of the men of this parish who gave their lives in the War 1914-19

Claude ALEXANDER, Horace J ALEXANDER, Harry ASPDEN, J Thomas BAKER, Charles BARSBY, W Henry BEAMAN, Percy C BECK, Harold S BELLAMY, J Harry BIRD, Edmund G BLAND, Frank BROWN, Tom CHAMBERS, Reginald E CHAMBERS, William G CHAMBERS, David A BALDWIN, Harold CHAPMAN, Joseph CLARKE, Sydney CLARKE, Thomas A CLARKE, H Harry COLE, Arthur EAGLE, Arthur O ELLSON, Frederick FREARSON, J Oliver GAMBLE, H William HIND*, Henry D KNIGHT, Walter E LADKIN, Herbert LAWRENCE, Ernest LEWIS, George V H LINES, Frderick J LUCK, Walter MYATT, Walter H NEALE, Horace V POSTLETHWAITE, Clement A RILETT, A Andrew ROSS, G Walter ROSS, Frank RUSH, Guy E F RUSSELL, Everard R SHAKESPEAR, B Noel SHARP, George M SHERWIN, Robert SIMONS, George SIMPKIN, Samuel SMALLEY, Harold C SMITH, George B STAPLEFORD, Alfred E SWANN, Frank N TARR, Frederick W TAYLOR, William J TILBURY, Walter J TUFFLEY, Alfred WARBURTON, George WESLEY, Arthur WHATLEY, Harry E WILLSON, Albert G YORKE, Frederick W ZANKER

* Horace William, son of William Tom Hind

This tablet was placed here by the congregation of this church to commemorate with affection and gratitude those of this parish who gave their lives in the war of 1939-1945

Gordon BODYCOTE, Cyril Denys BOOTHRIGHT, John Ambrose BUTCHER, Dennis CRAMP, Frank CUER, Anthony Kyle DAWSON, Arthur Kenneth HALL, Frederick Walter KNOTT, Clifford Herbert LILBURN, Gordon MARSH, William Arthur NEWTON, Peter SALMON, Charles Peter Keith SMITH, Kenneth Frank WHITE

These men gave their lives for us and I, for one, am grateful.  Regards, Elizabeth.

The war memorials in their setting, next to the high altar

Remembering the Clarendon Park fallen

Lest We Forget

Private Harry Allen, 9th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment (1897-1916)

Harry Allen was born in 1897 in Leicester, the son of Charles Samuel Allen and Kate nee Thacker.  His mother died in 1904, when Harry was just 7, and his father remarried a much younger woman, Edith Lount.  They continued to live at 237 Avenue Road Extension until sometime between 1911 and 1914, when the family moved to 86 Lorne Road.  He had three brothers, John Rose, Walter Edmund and Samuel Purver, and two sisters, Gertrude Emma and Beatrice Violet.  Of these only his sisters survived to see the end of World War I.

In 1911, aged 14, Harry worked as a wool washer in the hosiery trade.  Aged 18, fully grown at 5 ft 4 and 3/4, Harry weighed just 8 stones and 1lb.  He had a fresh complexion, grey eyes and light brown hair. 

At the beginning of the war he lived 86 Lorne Road with the rest of his family.  His brother Samuel had died earlier that year aged 19.  He enlisted early on, on 8th September 1914, joining the Leicestershire Regiment.  His battalion, the 9th (service), was formed in Leicester in 1914.  Harry was sent with the rest of his comrades, first to Bourley Camp, Aldershot and then to Pernham Down on Salisbury Plain for final training.  In 1915 he embarked for France, landing on 29th July.  He served on the Western Front, where 517 men from his battalion died. 

Harry was wounded on 8th October 1916 – a “severe” shrapnel wound in his back (right scapula), chest and arm.  He was admitted to the field hospital, then transferred to a hospital in Rouen, then on 4th November to the The King George Hospital, in Stamford Street, Waterloo, an emergency facility created in what is now part of King’s College London.  Between 1915 and 1919 over 70,000 soldiers were treated there.  Harry was operated on and found to be in a very serious state internally.  He died on 7th November 1916, of shock and loss of blood. He is buried at Welford Road Cemetery, Leicester, where there is a memorial plaque. 

Harry’s medals, the Star, Victory and British, were sent to his father Charles.  None of Harry’s personal effects survived to send with them.

I will be posting details of the remembrance plaque at St John the Baptist Church on Remembrance Sunday.  Regards, Elizabeth.

A chemist in Queens Road for 100 years?

Let’s take a look at one of Clarendon Park’s businesses of the past, a dispensing chemist – W T Hind, of 76-78 Queens Road and also of 44 Montague Road.  I bought this label on ebay a year or so ago, and it got me interested in chemists in Clarendon Park.   I started looking into W T Hind and his business, and have uncovered quite a lot of information and sources.   I am planning to post information here as I find it.  If only Leicestershire Record Office wasn’t closed for stocktaking this week I could tell the whole story in one go but hey ho.

 The 1947 Kelly’s Directory of Leicester shows the following entry: “Hind, William Tom, 76 and 78 Queens Road and 44 Montague.  Telephone number 77140.”  The same telephone number is shown on the Inhalation label, which helps us to put a rough date to it.  Being in business for a long time was a good selling point in past times – less so now, I suppose – so Mr Hind helpfully put the date he started the business, 1888, on the label. 

So, looking at the 1891 census we find William Thomas Hind living not above the shop in Queens Road, but with his mother in St Peter’s Road.  He is a Chemist and Druggist aged 24, born in Leicester.  If his business started in 1888, he must have been just 21 at the time.  He seems to have moved house a lot at this time, living all over the city.  By 1901 he had married Lizzie Smith and helped produce three children.  The whole family now lived at 78 Queens Road with their servant.

In Wright’s 1909 Directory of Leicestershire Wm Tom Hind, 78 Queen’s Road, is the only chemist and druggist listed, which might explain why in 1911 the family (now with another daughter) lived at ‘Lindenhurst’ in East Avenue, Clarendon Park, a decidedly swisher address.  The eldest son, Horace William, is a pharmacy student.

This was a very long lived business.  In Kelly’s Directory of Leicester 1957, another chemist is listed, Frederick Leonard Hind (William Thomas’s third son, born in 1900).  There are now two telephone numbers and we are also told that they are dealers in photographic apparatus and materials.  In 1896 William had been granted a license to sell ‘medicated wines’, which is amusing when you consider all the other interesting potentially recreational chemicals a chemist could legally sell in those days.  In fact, there are a lot of W T Hind bottles and labels still kicking around, which give you an idea of how the shop must have looked and smelled.

W T Hind was still in business in 1984 – almost 100 years (Not the W T Hind though I hope – unless his pills were REALLY good!).  Over the next few days I hope to find out exactly when the business ended.

As to the premises – 78 Queens Road is currently home to the Co-Operative Pharmacy, formerly Gordon Davis pharmacy.  It is funny how business premises sometimes retain the same use for a long time.  It may well not have been used for any other purpose since it was first built.

More on W T Hind and its competitor for the oldest pharmacy in Clarendon Park, Spiers, soon.  In the meantime, I’d love to hear from anyone who remembers W T Hind.  Regards, Elizabeth.

Welcome and thanks for reading

I am starting this blog to share with anyone who is interested, the fascinating history of Leicester’s Clarendon Park as I discover it myself.  I am a former museum curator and a local and family historian of seventeen years experience, currently enjoying setting up my own history research service.  I moved to Clarendon Park five years ago and in that time have been researching the history of its buildings, businesses and people.  It is a vibrant area today and, judging from the information I have already uncovered, has always been full of – ahem – character.  But more about that in the posts to come.  In the meantime, thanks for looking and please feel free to contact me with any questions about Clarendon Park and I will do my best to help.  Regards, Elizabeth.