The Church Walk Cottages

The Church Walk Cottages that were built in the 16th century

The Church Walk Cottages c.1905
The Church Walk Cottages c.1905

Next the Globe Inn at the Junction of Church Street/Station Road in Hinckley was a huge old half-timbered barn, almost giving one the idea of a Tithe barn. There were other out-buildings adjoining the old vicarage and all the back part to the garden was an old half-timbered creation very quaint.

11th October 1935 The Hinckley Urban District Council announced at a Hinckley UDC meeting the following years Hinckley Slum clearance programme. Church Walk was one of the Areas for clearance. The town was changing, although all the proposed slum clearance did not take place the following year as planned.

When the preservation of the Church Walk cottages was first mentioned the public response was enthusiastic. The Cottages were old sixteenth century timber-framed buildings. The Hinckley UDC received a letter from Mr William Keay (Architect for the extension to The Cottage Hospital and Designed the Police Station) who was the local representative of H.M. Office of Works (Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings).

20th September 1936 William had inspected the cottages along with the chairman of the Hinckley Urban District Council and John Stewart Featherston (Architect for the Pumping Station, Hollycroft Park and The Fire Station) who was the council surveyor. William noted 'five timber-frame cottages with thatched roof in Church Walks... Specimens of this type are so rare in the country that I consider every effort should be made towards their preservation... It seems to me that the cottages in Church Walks have such an admirable setting in the adjoining public gardens and would make an excellent background when viewed from the park. As you are aware, I act as the local representative to H.M. Office of Works (Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings), and I am sure this department would be pleased to know that your council had decided to preserve these ancient and interesting specimens of buildings.'

07-March-1952 The Hinckley Times wrote 'Spare these Cottages! Can Church Walks Property be Saved from Demolisher's Axe?... The property is a good example of sixteenth century building, a type which is very rare in the country'

31st March 1955 Work had begun on the demolition of the cottages in Church Walk, the cottages had reached an advanced a stage of decay and the efforts to preserve them were ineffectual.

The thatched, timbered cottages in Hinckley's Church Walk were being demolished. They had looked old worlde and picturesque despite their thatched roofs having bowed to the elements. They had been constructed of good old English oak, almost as tough as steel.

Unfortunately, they had been allowed to deteriorate and needed a huge sum of money spending on them. If money had been spent some said they would have become a tourist attraction and also a museum could have been put inside. But it was not to be.

11th March 1955 An article in the Hinckley Times described the tragic destruction of the Church Walk Cottages: 'Down they come, Goodbye to another bit of old Hinckley. Those timbered cottages in Church Walk were beautiful... once. They were also tough. Demolition men found that out when they pulled them down this week. They may have looked old-world and picturesque. Their thatched roofs may have bowed to the elements and the neglect of the past few years may have brought them low, but those timbers which framed them were still erect and stout. True it was possible to point to decay here and worm holes there, but most of those beams were in a good state of preservation. They were good old English oak, tough almost as steel. Hundreds of years old they still needed a sharp, fine saw and a lot of sawing to get though. Only the first two cottages nearest the car park are coming down at this stage. The next one is still inhabited...'.

29th February 1959 One thatched cottage that had remained in Church Walk, while the cottage was being demolished the thatch caught fire. The demolition workers could not put out the fire and the Fire Brigade had to be called.

Sometime between October 1961 and 31 March 1963 Nos. 21-23 Church Walk were demolished.

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