Clarendon Park in 1960 Part 1: Clarendon Park Road

This week’s local history purchase was the 1960 Kelly’s Directory of Leicester, which was published at the tail end of the publishing history of the trade/street directory.  The binding is still the familiar red, gold and black with advertising on every possible surface, and it’s still a weighty tome – but Kelly’s and its rivals faced competition from telephone directories and by 1960 its days were numbered.  It’s still a fascinating read for those of us so inclined, and I have enjoyed making comparisons between Clarendon Park in 1960 and 1912.

Although Queens Road is the obvious choice, for comparing the shops and businesses of the past and present, I find the lesser shopping streets more interesting.  I started with Clarendon Park Road, which several older residents of Clarendon Park Road have told me used to be full of useful little shops.  I took a notebook on a walk down Clarendon Park Road and noted the current shops and businesses.   I added these in italics to the list below of 1960 shops and businesses.  What is interesting is how many broadly similar or even the same businesses there are trading at quite a few of the premises – such as a branch of the Belgrave Laundry Co at number 107, which is now Bliss dry cleaners, or the bicycle dealer John E Chamberlain at 214-6 (now Julies Cycles).  Some businesses have moved to different premises, such as Spiers Pharmacy, which in its earlier incarnation was at the premises now occupied by Hot Ice Printing.

There are also a lot of changes.  There aren’t any greengrocers on Clarendon Park these days, more’s the pity – but we do have a few take aways and a running shop (which I suspect would have been utterly baffling to the Clarendon Park residents of 1960!).  I was surprised at how many shops and businesses there still are on Clarendon Park Road.  I had expected the number to have dropped considerably.  There are some former shops that have been rather insensitively converted to houses, and some attractive shop fronts that have been badly modernised (the former Tango tanning shop at 179 and 181 for example.  Grey double glazing is never a good look, chaps).  But on the whole we are very lucky in still retaining much of the Victorian character of the shops and houses on Clarendon Park Road.  Let’s keep it that way.

* Disclaimer: Many of the shops and businesses on Clarendon Park Road don’t have visible street numbers, so there may be some small errors (please feel free to point them out to me!).

Clarendon Park Road

  • 107 Belgrave Laundry Co Ltd, the (branch office) Bliss – dry cleaning
  • 109 Mitton, Wm – upholsterer Mittons – carpets and mattresses
  • 111 Kirby & West Ltd – dairymen Mittons
  • 111A Dilks, R & Co Ltd – hosiery manufacturers
  • 113 Matthews, N P – auto body repairs  Red Cross mobility shop
  • 113 Leicester Car Valet Services
  • 117 Tony’s Cut Price Stores – grocers Natwest Bank
  • 123 Copping, Jack – newsagent
  • 125 York, Wm – ophthalmic optician
  • 127 Brown, Harold F & Co Ltd – plumbers Habito – lettings agent
  • 129 Clarke’s Shoe Repair Service Empty – was antiques
  • 131 Cave, Ernest Arthur – fruiterer TJs Burgers and Kebabs
  • 131 Tanner, A G – motor engineer Gents & Boys Hairdressers
  • 157 Warren, Frederick William – boot dealer Labels – designer dress agency
  • 161 The Tawa Curry Hut – takeaway
  • 163 Smith, William H (Coal and transport) Ltd – motor coach proprietors First4Lettings
  • 165/7 Popple, S H – clothing manufacturers
  • 179 & 181 Worthington’s Cash Stores – grocers Stetfords lettings
  • 193 Hubbard, Mrs E M – newsagent
  • 195 Leicester Horticultural Engineering Co Ltd – horticultural machinery engineers
  • 199 Leicester Trustee Savings Bank (branch) Power Thompson
  • 201 Rowley, William – grocer Knighton Supermarket
  • 205 Rowley, R – fishmonger Knighton Flowers
  • 217 Spiers,  Arthur H – chemist Hot Ice Printing
  • (Clarendon Park Baptist Chapel) N&S Coaches Ltd – motor coach proprietors
  • 229 Parton, J L – chiropodist
  • 231 S R Parton & Associates – chiropodists and podiatrists
  • 241 Allen, Ernest A – painter & decorator
  • 245 Langran, Ronald J – newsagent Stuff – antiques & curios
  • 247 Roxby’s – drapers Revivals – dress and toy agency
  • 249 Parry, L – wallpaper dealer
  • 251 Jesson, I M – confectioner
  • 257 Green, Mrs M – teacher of music
  • 277 Plinsent, Arthur Ernest – shopkeeper
  • 323 Worsley, W – confectioner
  • 325/7 Spiers Pharmacy


  • (Parish church of St John the Baptist)
  • 64 Whowell, William & Son Ltd – crepe rubber factors ( Plantation ho)
  • 66 Reggio Garage – motor engineers Reggio Garage
  • (St John the Baptist Junior School)
  • (British Legion – Knighton Branch)
  • (St John’s Church Rooms)
  • 78 Radar Electrical Co – television installations Anita’s cards/Radar
  • 82 Adlard & Roffe – bakers
  • 84 The Loughborough Building Society
  • 98 Peadon S A & Son Ltd – bakers Rebecca’s – cakes
  • 140 Weaver, Edward G – hairdresser Kanta Mantini hairdressers
  • 142 Elson, Mrs H – confectioner The Offie – beer retailer/off license
  • 144 Clarendon Books – secondhand bookshop
  • 146 Armstrong, C P – greengrocer The New Golden Chef – chinese take away
  • 146 Leicester Running Shop
  • 160 Pickering, H – joiner
  • 190 Hobson, Ernest D – boot repairer Ellerington Fine Art Gallery (opens September 2012)
  • 192 Smith, J S (Leicester) Ltd – hardware dealers Lucky 13 Tattoo
  • 196 Ruckley, Gordon W – stationer The Snug – beauty parlour
  • 196 Lorne Road Post Office
  • 198 Clarendon House – chinese take away
  • 200/204 Leicester Co-operative Society Ltd – grocers Co-operative
  • (Aged Pilgrims’ Friend Society’s Homes)
  • 208 Roxby’s – drapers Central Studios – photographers
  • 214/216 Chamberlain, John E – cycle agent Julies Cycles
  • 228 Sarson, Joyce E – greengrocer
  • 246 Shrimpton, Miss Frances – dressmaker
  • 280 Ward, J – butcher Charlie’s Pine
  • 296 McCoan, Colin K – physician Clarendon Medical Centre

4 responses to “Clarendon Park in 1960 Part 1: Clarendon Park Road

  1. I can well remember E A Caves the fruiterer of 131. I worked there from 1959 to 1961 whilst in the 6th form. The shop was run by Bill Pell on behalf of his wife, the daughter of E A Cave. Bill was an ex RAF flight engineer who had served on Sunderlands in the Med’ during the war and had many interesting tales to tell. Working with me at this time was Dicky Armstrong, later to become Sir Richard Armstrong, Musical Director of the Welsh and then Scottish National Operas. He would often have to dash off to play the organ at St Johns church for a wedding, funeral or some other event. We sold almost anything including cigarettes and it was a bit like an early ‘Open All Hours’. Certainly we had a lot of fun!

    • That’s fascinating Bill, thanks so much for posting. I don’t suppose you have any photos or other related memorabilia you’d be willing to share with us? I’m very interested to hear about Dicky Armstrong – was he a Clarendon Park resident then? I feel another article coming on.

  2. Very interesting! I moved to 186 Clarendon Park Rd as a student in 1972 (and am still in the area)
    I remember Spiers chemists which was opposite at 217 – and have a photo somewhere. Was surpised to see P.O. at 196. In 1972 it was at 190 (where the post-box still remains). The chinese takeaway was there in 1972 – one of only 2 takeways at the time, the other being the chip-shop on Queens Rd/Avenue Rd ext. corner). There was another shop I remember on that stretch which would sell you one fishfinger or beefburger – very useful for students at the time who lived mainly on a diet of baked beans and toast!

  3. Around 1957-58 I was Head Choirboy at St.John’s Church who followed in the footsteps of Richard”Dicky”Armstong. He was a very gifted organ player. I often wondered what became of him….now I know thanks to Bill Newton. I also had a paper round working for Copping’s newsagency. It was a killer to get up at 5am every day on freezing winter mornings and spend an hour delivering newspapers on my bike for the sum of 2shillings weekly!
    Copping had a Boxer dog that he played with endlessly and spent much of his time sending the dog off down the road so that he could blow a special whistle he had (which was only audible to dogs!) so as to have the animal come running back to him at full pelt!
    As far as the history of St.John The Baptist church and school goes I do recall the Rev. Harris-Harris Evans and his aide-de-camp Priest a beady eyed dislikeable personality whose name I have gladly forgotten. He made life a pain at the St.John’s Youth Club of which I was also a member. Ian Molyneux of Molyneux Electrical Queens Road was Youth Club Leader.
    Mr. Shakespeare was caretaker at the school and I spent many hours there with him and his wife along with friends of mine. I got the opportunity to play on the piano on the school stage as much as I wanted to!
    My last and most indelible memory is of Mr. Gee who when I was 14 was a teacher at the school. He was responsible for thrashing me across the backside with my shorts down to my ankles using a rattan cane at the behest of the then Master of Buckhurst 195 London Road Church of England Children’s Society (now The Children’s Society UK)Home, an insane monster named Pop Andrews who committed suicide in gaol awaiting trial for sex crimes. Andrews somehow convinced Gee to come to the Children’s Home to give me what he termed ” A professional thrashing”. This criminal assault upon me is recorded in my personal story. Had it not been for the fact that I emigrated to Australia, that animal Gee would likely have been left languishing in a hospital somewhere hanging within an inch of his wretched life, having been on the receiving end of my most violent ADULT wrath!
    I have in my possession to this day, a letter written by Pop Andrews which I secured from “The Children’s Society” files held on record by them about me In it he states ” I had to have him thrashed today” . He ends his letter “Pray God we can save him from becoming a menace to himself and society”. This, from a sex-abuser of children and one who took the cowards way out by suicide, rather than face justice.
    I would like this post to stay on the public record to prove by this example, that those who profess to be Christian and Godly and use Religion as a front to hide their real character and cash in on the “Blind faith” put in them by others are often far removed in character from what they profess to be.
    If any relative of Gee reads this….(.I guess the man himself is dead….No tears from me and thank the Lord for his demise!) know that the name of Gee will forever be an anathema to me and that I will ensure that his name be left in the annals of discredit wherever I can it find to publish what I have just revealed about him.
    I am approaching 70 now and I still live with massively unresolved anger and terrible memories in my mind, constantly, every day of my life.
    History is not all about fond memories!
    © ♯♪♫ ♂PM

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