Around old Burbage the Second Time

Book written by John D. McNaughton on the brief History of Burbage in Leicestershire.


around old burbage the second time
The Parish Church of St. Catherine, with Archer Cottage, adjacent to the South Gate.

Following on the success of the first book 'Around Old Burbage', I now present a few more snips of history to whet your appetite in this new edition "Around Old Burbage the Second Time". This book takes on a similar style to the first book by following the main roads through the village, but at the same time giving, where possible, additional information on each area as you follow the route around.

Since the last publication I have received many new photographs, and those which I thought would be of general interest have been included in this edition. They cover the period from around the turn of this century up to the 1960's and indicate how various locations are for ever undergoing change.

At the turn of the century, Burbage was a very large rural parish, with its core around Church Street and Windsor Street area. Thus many of the early photographs are of one particular area or building, taken from several different positions. Some photographs of the same area or building appear in both booklets, but revealing different interesting features.

Without doubt there must be many more old photographs or postcards of Old Burbage still lying around out of sight in cupboards, drawers or attics, almost forgotten and I would urge those people who may have them to search them out and, if possible, contact me so that they may be reproduced for all to see. It has been said that one picture is worth more than a thousand words. If this is so, then we should all help to see that the pictorial history of Burbage is recorded for all to see and enjoy.

John D. McNaughton

looking down hinckley road
Burbage Road as it was up to the 1920's and before the first houses were built. The photographs was taken a short distance to the south of where Elm Tree Drive now lies, looking towards Burbage. Mr. Chesterman's coach can be seen, loaded to capacity — as many as twelve on top and six inside.

On days when the coach was heavily laden, the passengers would have to climb down and walk up any steep hill, and down, if asked to do so.

The coach service ran from Burbage to Hinckley at times most convenient to take villagers to and from their place of work, and at a cost of one penny (1d) each way. A coach service also ran to Earl Shilton at four pence (4d) per head. In those far off coaching days accidents were not unknown, and one such occurrence was recorded as follows:—

"On Friday evening, July 14th 1816, the Defiance coach was overturned at Burbage Common Tollgate, between Hinckley and Earl Shilton, by which four persons were killed, and several much injured. The evidence before the Coroner proved the misconduct of the Coachman, in driving at a most unwarrantable rate. The person who keeps the Toll-gate stated that such was the rapidity with which the coach descended the hill that she could scarcely perceive the horses' feet touch the ground. The coach struck against the gate post, and was dashed to pieces, the horses galloping away with the wheels until they got to the next Toll-gate.

There were four passengers inside the coach, and five out. Of the former, Miss Page, a young Quaker Lady of most amiable qualities, was killed on the spot, and Miss Basford, a friend and companion of Miss Page, and Mary Storer, a native of Hinckley, were severely hurt. Of the outside passengers, Gough the Coachman was instantly killed, Smith, a gentleman's servant, died shortly after, and a young man of the name of Bishop had his arm and thigh broken, and was almost dashed to pieces, and three others were very much hurt. In addition, a gardener of Hinckley met with his death by falling from the shafts of his cart while making the best of his way to assist the sufferers at the Turnpike-gate."

the cock inn, cock hill, burbage lash hill farm, burbage
Continuing along the Burbage Road in those early days, you would pass the Toll-gate house, which stood on the left side of the road facing Cock Hill (Junction of Sapcote Road and Hinckley Road — the Burbage Turn). Turning right up the hill you would pass this very old group of houses, which were still occupied until shortly before 1962, when they were demolished. The three storey section in the row facing the road is said to have been "The Cock Inn" from which the immediate area takes its name. There is reference to there having been a Cock Ale House in 1719.

Travelling a short distance in the direction of the Church, about two hundred yards in all and just past the conifer trees on the right of the above picture, the village Pound was situated, on the area of the present Hastings High School playing field, adjacent to the Hinckley Road, and formerly forming part of Lash Hill Farm (see photograph bottom/right), whose last owner was Mr. Boffey. The Pine Tree in the right of the photograph still grows to this day in a garden along "The Fairway".

The Pound was used to keep straying farm animals until claimed by their owners who would possibly have to pay a small fine. The man in charge was called The Pounder and was under the jurisdiction of the Court Leat (the local governing body).

iway hosiery premises in 1928, situated in hinckley road, burbage
During the first half of the 17th century the Hosiery trade was introduced to the area when William Iliffe brought a knitting frame to his home at Hinckley. Over the following 300 years the hosiery trade became the most important employer in the district. A. J. Pickering, in his book "The Cradle and Home of the Hosiery Trade" reports that in Burbage alone there were as many as 450 Stocking Frames in operation during 1844. Church records also show a very large number of Framework Knitters well into the late 1800's.

With the introduction of new machinery and steam power, the cottage industry as far as the Framework Knitters were concerned, began to decline rapidly and the workers moved into the factories where production was greatly increased. The above photograph shows a typical example of a hosiery factory of the 1920's. This particular photograph is of the Iway Hosiery premises in 1928, situated in Hinckley Road between what is now Sunnydene Garage and the Church Hall, and the present site of Iway Fashions.

In the photograph are, from left to right:
Front Row—Florrie Chamberlain, Doris College, Mabel Tansey, ?.
Second Row — Florrie Goodwin, Florrie Fisher, Lilly Burton, Elsie Goodwin.
Back Row — Elma Farmer, Mabel Chamberlain, John Iliffe, Arthur Greenway, Eileen Greenway, Doris Greenway, Laura Bennett, Dola Kay.

hensons waggon in front of the church of england school in burbage
The above photograph was taken outside the Church of England School (now the Church Hall) some time before the Great War. The occasion is unknown, but it shows a fine example of 19th century English craftsmanship in the form of a farm wagon which belonged to Hensons, of Aston Flamville.

The wagon resembles one of the large Yorkshire type, built in such a way that the small wheels turned underneath the corner of the wagon, thus giving a tight lock. Many other wagon builders used larger wheels, or wagons of a different design, and these were much more difficult to turn in a confined area.

Note the houses in the background with part tile and part thatch roofing. These houses stood on an area of land now owned by John Paul & Sons and Ivon Pearson & Son.