Around old Burbage the Second Time

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

Page 4

co-operative society in burbage co-operative society in burbage
The next six photographs cover the various stages of the Co-operative Society in Burbage from the first half-yearly accounts of 1874 to 1933. In those early years the Co-operative Society played a very important role in the village community. There were branches at Wolvey and Sharnford, with three branch shops within Burbage itself, at Three Pots Estate, Sketchley Road and Windsor Street. Although these branches in the village have been closed for a number of years now, other small private businesses are run from the buildings.

In June 1928 it was reported that plans were approved for a new Bakery and offices at the main building in Church Street. With the old offices vacated, improvements were also able to go ahead in the Central Grocery shop. By the time the next Committee report was issued in December 1928 it was announced that agreement had been reached to purchase one of the most popular Bakery and Grocery businesses in the village — that of Mr. H. W. Foster, in Windsor Street.

Mr. Foster entered the Society's service as foreman baker, thus giving the 'Co-op' the monopoly as far as bread baking was concerned in the area. Within the first six months of Mr. Foster being there, and still using the old bakery, output rose by 56% to 194,626 21b. loaves. The highest output up to November 1934 was 216,451 21b. loaves, baked in the last half year of 1929. Time has taken its toll on the 'Co-op'. At one time there was a range of departments — Grocery, Butchery, Bread and Confectionery, Drapery, Boots and Shoes, Furniture, Hardware, Coal, Save in the Penny Bank, Mortgage facilities, Life Assurance Scheme, etc., etc. All that remains today is the Grocery department and the Chemist. The most recent closure was that of the Butchery in February, 1983.

co-operative society in burbage co-operative society in burbage

co-operative society in burbage co-operative society in burbage

new road in 1910
A tranquil village scene, captured by a photographer around 1910 in that part of New Road immediately to the rear of where now stands the War Memorial. In 1910 it was then the Village Green.

As in most old photographs, it is always interesting to look deeper into a picture rather than merely taking a casual glance at the general view. For instance, in this photograph note the style of dress, the cobbled pavements, thatched cottages adjoining the old Co-operative buildings.

entrance to the old rectory (moat house) in 1933 inside the old rectory in 1945
A view of the entrance to the old Rectory (Moat House) on the left of the photograph, which was taken in January 1933. This picture was sent to me from Australia by a lady who formerly lived in Burbage.

This is the only photograph to come to light so far which was taken inside the old Rectory. This particular one, taken in 1945, is of four of the oldest residents of Burbage attending a supper given in their honour by the Rector. They are, from left to right, (sitting) Mrs. Bishop, Mrs. Randle, Mr. Reuben Smith and Mrs. Wood. Standing are Miss Ada Pughe and the Rector, the Rev. R. D.H. Pughe.

church street looking south in 1910
Church Street, looking south, as it was around 1910. This most interesting street gently winds its way from Archer Cottage, past the War Memorial, then slopes gradually to the south, curving past the houses of three centuries, to end where Lychgate Lane, Lutterworth Road and Windsor Street all meet.

A great number of thatched cottages at the lower end of Church Street have been demolished within the past fifty years thus causing a great loss of character to the area.

view of church street in burbage during the 1920s 18th/19th century coaching inn
Another view of Church Street, taken some years later—possibly in the mid 1920's — from the area around the Horsepool and looking north. Each group of buildings shows its own individuality from the next, and creates a certain charm and interest to this particular area. The photograph also suggests a most tranquil way of life.

At the Anchor Inn (the white building with the sign hanging from its wall) the Court Leat was held. In former days the Court Leat virtually took the place of the present day local government. It was at one time a very important body which dealt with all matters of public interest in the parish, but lost much of its powers in later years. Apart from receiving quit rents, it retained jurisdiction over the village bell ringers, parish pumps, the Pounder and pinfolds, management of the common lands and the buying and selling of property belonging to the Lord or Lady of the Manor.

The Horsepool. This is the area from "The Croft" (formerly the "Roebuck", said to be an 18th/19th century coaching inn) to the Congregational Church, running west for approximately 100 yards. It was at one time a very picturesque area of our village, as can be imagined from the two photographs on this page taken around 1907. The photograph shows two ladies and a small boy in front of the only house still standing today out of the many originally erected in this area at the turn of the century. They are (left to right) Madge Campton (later Mrs. Owen), Mrs. Emma Botterill (who lived at the house), and Stanley Campton.

wedding group of mr and mrs t. haygarth wedding group of mr and mrs t. haygarth
The photograph shows a wedding group of Mr. and Mrs. T. Haygarth. The wedding took place at the Parish Church on 4th June,1907 and the photograph was taken outside the home of Mrs. Sarah Mayne, The Cottage, which stood just a few yards to the left of The Croft.

1 Nurse Mayne (Later Mrs. Gent), 2 May Dudley, 3 Mr. Tom Haygarth, 4 Mrs. Annie Haygarth, 5 Mrs. Sarah Mayne,'6 Elsie Dudley, 7 Eleanor Mayne, 8 Kate Mayne (later Mrs. Dudley), 9 Ada Baum (later Mrs. Lord), 10 Alice Mayne, 11 ,12 Florrie Mayne, 13 ,14, 15, 16 Edgar Mayne, 17, 18 Mrs. Emma Botterill.

chestnut villa in the horsepool area a view in the horsepool area
Still in the Horsepool area, these two photographs show some of the properties in existence before the demolition gangs moved in. Bungalows for senior citizens now stand on this site. The two houses on the right in the top photograph are still standing.

The house on the front right top photo holds happy memories for me. It is called "Chestnut Villa" and when I first started work the Parker family lived there. It had little garden and Mr. Parker and his sons used to work the old Rectory garden access to which was gained through a gate halfway along the footpath running from the Horsepool to Grove Road. The garden was walled to the north side, with hedges on the other sides, and it was surrounded by beautiful tall trees, a most enchanting situation and a joy to all who visited it.

Whenever I had the opportunity — mainly on a Saturday morning — I would take a trip round to Chestnut Villa to see if anyone was working in the Rectory garden and, if so, I quickly made my way there to give a little help and to take in that magical air which seemed to dominate the site. It was a wonderful setting — red brick wall, a greenhouse which always appeared to be filled with flowers and ferns, a cherry tree with a garden seat in the shade beneath, and what seemed like all the birds in creation singing merrily.

Alas, the old Rectory was demolished, its old garden built on, and the family which lived in Chestnut Villa moved to another home. In the lower photograph note the southern end of the Wesley Chapel in the background.

back of houses along church street view of church street in 1954
Moving from the Horsepool towards Lychgate Lane, the two photographs show what you would have seen in this area up to the 1960's.

The top photograph shows, from the left, the rear of the thatched cottages which stood on the site of the present Library, to the small row of houses set at right angles to Church Street and on the opposite side of the road from the present Imedusa Salon. The whole of this area was demolished some twenty years ago.

The bottom photograph, taken in 1954, is a most interesting view of this part of Church Street, as it has almost been completely transformed since that time. The whole block of houses in the left, starting with the three storey building and looking towards Lychgate Lane, has disappeared under the hammer of the demolition gangs.

Looking just over the Lane from the signpost, we see the small workshop of Mr. Alan Smith, the village's last shoe repairer and beyond this workshop, a small group of buildings with three different roof levels. It was in these buildings that the last of the village blacksmith worked until around 1948 when the forge went out for the last time, and yet another old craft died. On the right-hand side of the picture, the shop farthest away was the 'Co-op' Chemist, also licensed to sell wines and spirits. The only shop in the whole of Church Street to survive nearly ninety years of almost non-stop trading, and still selling food to the community, as always, is the one nearest to the front of the picture on the right.

the white cottage which stood at the top of lychgate lane
The photograph on this page shows the white cottage which stood at the top of Lychgate Lane, with some of the Lord family who occupied the cottage at that time. A village lady told me that she could well remember that way back in 1906 one of the owners of the cottage sold chips, when you could buy 2d worth in a newspaper. Around 1912-14 the cottage was struck by lightning and subsequently caught fire, and in answer to the call, the fire tender was pushed down Windsor Street from the hosiery factory of Moore, Eady Murcott and Goode (now Britannia Buildings) to quell the flames.