Around old Burbage the Second Time

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

Page 5

the field between the white cottage in burbage mr ashby in linneys ice cream cart
In the field between the white cottage (see previous page) and the blacksmith's forge, the village Wake was held. Wake week was considered a very special occasion and all manner of festivities went on through the week. The Wake was always held at Whitsuntide. The Band would play its melodious tunes on the village green, games and sports take place, processions through the village, Fancy Dress, and dancing in the evening. The photograph on the opposite page shows the Fair on what was known as the Wake Field.

In the photograph below is Mr. Ashby in Linney's ice cream cart (which was based near the Lime Kilns Inn along the Watling Street) and was taken about 1933 down Lutterworth Road. The Ashby family now live in Australia.

the first burbage post office
This photograph shows the first Burbage Post Office which was run by a Miss Sparrow. Just round the corner in Windsor Street, her father ran a butcher's shop. The reason for the small gathering of children was because the Fair had arrived for Wake Week and they had come to see the men erecting the various roundabouts, sideshows, etc.

Looking at the left side of the photograph you can just see one of the buildings in Loomes Square, which stood where the Liberal Club car park is now located. Way back in 1846 the old Post Office building was a licensed public house known as The Boot Inn, the licensee being Joannah Bond.

william Wheelock a brick and tile maker
Every village community has its outstanding characters and much respected personalities, and I have selected three such persons about whom to write a few words, the first two being considered to enjoy a good living, and the third to be poorer than a Church mouse. William Wheelock was a brick and tile maker whose clay pit and kilns were located down Lychgate Lane on the right-hand side where the M69 now crosses the lane. Many houses built in the latter part of the 19th century in Burbage were constructed with his bricks and in the Congregational Church building, some of the bricks bear his name.

nurse louisa mayne the first trained midwife in burbage
Nurse Louisa Mayne was the first trained midwife in Burbage. Having qualified on 22nd February, 1906, she worked with a succession of Doctors in the village, starting with Dr. Smith and finishing with Dr. Charles O'Donovan, a greatly respected doctor in Burbage. During the period between 1906-1931 she delivered over one thousand babies, her fee being two guineas for a confinement and twelve days' visiting thereafter. I am told that there were many occasions when she did not receive her fee.

The area covered by Nurse Mayne stretched over the villages of Sharnford, Aston Flamville, Smockington, Sketchley and Burton Hastings — quite a distance to cover on a push bike, especially on dark winter nights. One dramatic happening in her career was when she had to stop workmen demolishing the Toll House at the bottom of Cock Hill while she delivered a baby there.

jemima leason lived in loomes square
Jemima Leason, a real village character, lived in Loomes Square. She delivered telegrams to outlying villages — Aston Flamville, Sharnford, Smockington and Burton Hastings.

When the Post Office was situated in the shop on the opposite side of the road to the old Horsepool in 1920-22, and run by Mrs. Kay, a young lady by the name of Elsie Wills would, for a small payment of 1d take the long distance telegrams down to Jemima and she in turn then walk the rest of the journey to deliver them. Jemima would receive 9d for her trouble. Often on the way back from delivery she would collect sticks for the fire in her apron as can be seen in the photograph which was secretly taken down Lychgate Lane by Nurse Mayne.

lutterworth road during early 1900s lutterworth road during early 1920s
Lutterworth Road from the Chequers Inn. The photograph on the left was taken around the turn of the century and the photograph on the right in the 1920's. Note that the thatched cottage just beyond the Chequers Inn has now been replaced by a more modern dwelling.

jim robinson with the new six-cylinder thornycroft coach 3d return ticket for the burbage to hinckley journey
A few yards down Lutterworth Road past the Chequers Inn is a right turn into what is now known as Britannia Road. (It was previously called Ball's Lane until a few years ago). Just along this road on the right hand side is the home of the oldest family business still carried on in Burbage to this day — that of Robinson's Coaches, started way back in 1923. The business has survived past depressions, the second world war and rival companies in the village and beyond. Other old established family businesses in the village have faded away, with the exception of Walter King & Son, Carriers, established in 1927, and they are related to the Robinsons (You can't get away from 'em in Burbage, you know!).

In the photograph above is Jim Robinson with the new six-cylinder Thornycroft' coach, taken about 1925-26, and to the right is the 3d return ticket for the Burbage to Hinckley journey.

In 1953 the Company sold the local route to the 'Midland Red' and concentrated on carrying workpeople to and from their places of employment, and private hire. However, in the late 1960's the Company acquired passenger routes once more, which were previously run by Brown Bros, of Sapcote. With a number of the family still working in the business, Robinson's coaches these days not only cover local routes, but travel all over the country and on the continent.

cottages along lutterworth road in burbage
Travelling back along Lutterworth Road in the direction of the Liberal Club, one comes to Strutt Road, where the two cottages in the above photograph used to stand. In the area at the southern end of Strutt Road and eastward to a position opposite the present Liberal Club car park, very many houses have been demolished, especially in the 1960's.

Some of these may be seen in the background of the two photographs of Lutterworth Road.

mrs mary godfrey standing outside the red lion along windsor street
From the Strutt Road — Lutterworth Road area, we now move back to the cross roads near the Library and turn left into Windsor Street. Many changes have taken place over the past eighty odd years as far as small businesses are concerned, and Windsor Street has had its share.

The lady in the photograph is Mrs. Mary Godfrey who appears on a number of the old picture postcards of Burbage taken in this area.

Nearly all the houses on the right-hand side of the picture have been demolished, but on the left side only a few have gone, one of these being the shop on the corner of Strutt Road formerly owned by Mr. Brandrick. This was mainly a cycle repair shop, but a number of bits and pieces for the home could be purchased there. Mr. Brandrick also took in items for dry cleaning at Sketchley, where he worked for many years.

The Red Lion by name certainly goes back at least two hundred years, for the following record appears in the Church Wardens Book:

"Officers chosen at the Parish Meeting at the Red Lion, Hester Buswells, in 1756: Mr. Dudley's choice, the Curate, April 20th; Mr. Tookey, of Sketchley, Churchwarden; Mr. Joshua Biddle, of Sketchley and John Smith, of Burbage; Kathy Smith, Overseers of the Poor; Edward Miller, Constable; William Musson, Master of the Works house.

Entered on Thursday of Easter week being the 22nd of April, took it at 60 pounds a year was to be paid, five pounds every Kalander (Calendar) month for the whole year.

First March 1757. It was agreed at the Town Meeting that there should be no money spent on the Palliter (Apparitor, the official messenger of the Archdeaconry Court) by the Church Wardens. Witness our Hands Rich'd Forryan, Joshua Biddle."

Two public houses that were in Windsor Street many years ago were the Crown Inn by the entrance to Wesley Walk, and the Bell Inn which stood where Numbers 17 and 19 Windsor Street are now situated. The Bell was recorded in 1837, but was short lived.