Tag Archives: Edwardians

Leonard Norman, a Clarendon Park Photographer

Sometimes I come across something on Ebay that really excites me.  Just a couple of weeks ago I spent the best part of thirty quid on a collection of 66 cartes de visite and cabinet cards barely held together by a falling apart album of very questionable taste – just to get hold of a single image that definitely isn’t worth £30.  But I didn’t care, firstly because the collection belonged to a Leicester family whose tree I have been growing from the tiny acorn of a single named and dated photograph, and secondly because the cabinet card I wanted is perfect.  Here is all about it.

The photographer is L. Norman of Clarendon Studio, Montague Road, Clarendon Park.  The card stock (dark green), the gold bevelled edge, the studio name in gold all point to a picture taken during the early 1890s.  The image is of a little girl in an outfit that almost certainly isn’t hers, and it’s not a very good image either – too much light in the top right hand corner and the little girl’s black- stockinged legs disappear in the gloom behind her.  However that really awful vase and feather are beautifully clear.

A trip to Leicestershire Records Office told me quite a bit about Leonard.  Leonard was born in Knighton village in 1870 and after school began work, as so many did, as a shoe clicker.  He moved to 28 Montague Road in 1893 (shortly after his marriage to Elizabeth Carter) and 30 Montague Road – the most likely premises for “Clarendon Studio” in 1897.  I suspect he occupied both 28 and 30 Montague Road between 1893 and 1907, when he moved to 51 Montague Road.  None of the street directories of the period described Leonard Norman as a photographer, in fact his first entry is in Wright’s Directory of Leicestershire in 1906, at 30 Montague Road, as a “picture framer.”  

30 Montague Road. It is still fairly apparent that this was once a shop premises

The 1901 census described him as “shopkeeper and picture framer.”  Picture framing and photography often went together at this time, for obvious reasons.  Leonard’s last directory entry was in 1912, but by this time he had already returned to his previous work as a shoe clicker so either the entry was out of date or Leonard was only working as a framer in his spare time.  I wonder how seriously Leonard took the photography side of his business, and how successful it was.  Clearly not all that successful – I feel quite sorry for him.

51 Montague Road

I am fairly confident that I will be able to find out the name of the little girl in the picture, as long as she was related to the Hughes family of Thornton Lane, Leicester, whence my album originated – and I think she must have been.  So you can see why I was so excited to get hold of that tatty album.  Regards, Elizabeth.

The Disappointing Holiday of Hannah Vice

I love this postcard of St Michael’s Mount, Penzance, which was posted to Mrs W J Vice of 222 Clarendon Park Road.  Not because of the picture, but because of the message from Hannah expressing her very English dissatisfaction with her holiday.  Listen to this:

The weather is just as dull as it was at home.  Not much sea and rather a dirty brown.  Did you come here as well as Swansea?  I forget!  There are some nice public gardens but small.  Went to the Baptist Chapel twice yesterday.  Yours with love Hannah.  Penlee Villa, Redinnick,  Penzance.

Poor Hannah!  I’ve been to Penzance once and it was lovely, although the sun was shining and I’ve never been a fan of large public gardens.

Mrs W T Vice was Mary Eliza Vice  (also nee Vice, 1857-1927), wife of William Thomas Vice (1862-1942), originally a corn miller from Blaby but by 1911 manager of flour mills for a biscuit manufacturer.  They had several children: Samuel (1886), Dorothy Martha (1888-1954), Gladys Mary (1890), Hilda Geraldine (1894-1931), and Marjory (1893) who died in infanthood.  All except Dorothy lived at 222 Clarendon Park Road in 1911.  I have no evidence for this, but suspect that the Hannah of rubbish holiday fame was William’s unmarried sister Hannah Eliza Ann Vice (1854-1928).  Virtually all the Vice girls – no pun intended – remained unmarried, and almost the whole Vice family returned to their native Blaby to be buried in the cemetery.

222 Clarendon Park Road - I've often admired this house

It’s a pity Hannah didn’t enjoy her holiday more because it was probably the last one she took for a long time.  The postcard was sent on 1st September 1913, not long before the onset of World War.  My mother in law is off to Penzance in a few weeks – here’s wishing her blue skies and a sparkling sea.  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.

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.

Clarendon Park 1909 businesses directory

Ok so the title of this article was a bit naughty.  There was no directory of Clarendon Park businesses in 1909 (Nowadays we have The Clarendon Directory, delivered free to our doors).  But there was a selection of directories available for Leicester folk to find their shops, businesses, gentry and postal delivery times, and I thought it would be interesting to list the businesses listed under Clarendon Park addresses.  Actually this is part of a much larger project I am working on, to record all the businesses and in particular the shops of Clarendon Park from its earlier days to the present.  I love the fact that there are and were so many shops here, and there is still a lot of evidence remaining of the shops that have long since been turned into private dwellings.

So here is an edited list of the shops and business of Clarendon Park in the 1909 edition of Wright’s Directory of Leicestershire:

  • Aerated water manufacturers – 2
  • Agents (house, land and estate) – 1
  • Bakers – 4
  • Boot and shoe makers – 11
  • Builders, bricklayers, joiners and contractors – 18
  • Butchers – 7
  • Carters (general) – 3
  • Chemists and druggists – 1
  • Chimney sweepers – 1
  • China, glass and homeware dealers – 1
  • Clock cleaners, makers and repairers – 2
  • Clothes and wardrobe dealers – 1
  • Coal agents,  dealers and merchants – 8
  • Confectioners and pastry cooks – 2
  • Confectioners and sweet dealers – 6
  • Cowkeepers and dairymen – 3
  • Cycle repairers, dealers and makers – 2
  • Drapers and haberdashers – 9
  • Dress makers – 14
  • Fishmongers and poulterers – 4
  • Florists and seed dealers – 1
  • General and hardware dealers – 3
  • Greengrocers and fruiterers – 6
  • Grocers and general provision merchants – 5
  • Hairdressers – 4
  • Horse and trap proprietors – 2
  • Ironmongers – 2
  • Launderers – 5
  • Market gardeners – 3
  • Milk dealers – 3
  • Milliners – 2
  • Newsagents – 1
  • Plumbers, glaziers and fitters – 4
  • Shopkeepers (not otherwise listed) – 21
  • Tailors – 5
  • Wine and spirit merchants – 2

I love the fact that Clarendon Park had not just one, but two aerated water manufacturers (one of which was our friend William Tom Hind).  Also that there were so many butchers, bakers, greengrocers and fishmongers.  All of which still exist in Clarendon Park today, but not in anything like the numbers.  We could blame Sainsbury’s (or Jacksons, as it was until a few years ago), but there has always been a Co-op in Clarendon Park Road and I would guess that people’s changing cooking and eating habits are just as much to blame.  I am just grateful there are still useful shops to be found.  Regards, Elizabeth.

Postcard from Whitwick to Clarendon Park

A postcard of Glasgow

  

 The postcard reads: “Dear Mrs. Stevens, We arrived quite safe at Whitwick & are enjoying ourselves very much.  I have seen Mother & Father and they are quite well, I hope you are.  Give my love to Mr. Stevens & yourself.  It is much quieter here than in Leicester, the air is much fresher.  We have been out every night so far & we are going to church tonight, with best love to you all from Milly.”   The postmark show that it was sent from Whitwick A on August 6th 1906, to Mrs. Stevens, 74 Montague Road, Clarendon Park, Leicester.              

The reverse

First let’s look at the addressee, Mrs Stevens.  John Stevens (born c1842), of Belton in Rutland, married Sarah Ann Jelley (born c1848), born in Burton Overy, in Leicester in 1867, thus elevating her to the exalted position of Mrs Stevens and freeing her from a rather silly name.  They started their married life in Leicester.  In 1871 they lived at 2 Bethel Court, Black Friars with their daughter Sarah Jane, who sadly died at the end of the year aged just two.  She was the only child to be born alive to John and Sarah Ann.  By 1881 they were living at 28 Cosby Street in St Margaret’s.  In 1881 John and Sarah lived alone at 28 Cosby Street in St. Margaret’s, Leicester.  John’s occupation was ‘Grocery’ and Sarah’s as ‘fancy hand’, which is not the disreputable trade it sounds like!     In 1891 John and Sarah Ann had moved to Montague Road – number 26, though as the road had only just been built a couple of years previously and may not have been completed (I need to check), it may have been renumbered later.  Because John and Sarah Ann spent at least 20 years living at the address on our postcard, 74 Montague Road.  In 1901 and 1911 – as with 1891 – they had a boarder, William Henry Thorp, a joiner.  That’s 30 years of playing gooseberry.  John was a domestic coachman, and I would love to know for whom…maybe for one of the grander houses in Clarendon Park or Stoneygate.  Sarah died aged 67 in 1915      

Now, as to “Milly”, the author of the postcard…I have looked into various possibilities.  Could she have been a sister of John or Sarah Ann?  Neither set of their parents seems to have been alive in 1906 so her reference to “Mother and Father” precludes that.  I can’t find any obvious links to either the Jelleys or the Stevens but as always, a simple solution has been staring me in the face, in the form of a Millicent Emily Jelly living at 20 Montague Road in the 1901 census.  There is absolutely no proof, nor any clue to a relationship, but it does seem more than a coincidence.  Millicent and Jell(e)y are two names that few people have attempted to put together (very wisely, I feel.  Though in searching I did find a baptism for Kelly Jelly, which amounts to child abuse in my view), and to be living in the same road is enough to satisfy me, in a strictly non-professional way of course.   

As to Milly’s remarks, whomever she may have been….she was obviously enjoying her holiday in sunny Whitwick (near Coalville) and who can blame her?  Out every night and church on Sunday.  The air must have been noticeably fresher, away from the factories and the smog of coal fires in close terraced houses.     Though why she chose to commemorate with a postcard of Glasgow is anyone’s guess.  If it was Milly Jelley then she would have been 14, just old enough to have started work, possibly as a tailoring machinist as she was in 1911.    She went on to marry Albert Hambly in 1922.        

I have a small collection of postcards to Clarendon Park.  I find them just as interesting as postcards of Clarendon Park.   I hope you agree.  Regards, Elizabeth.