The Buildings of Hinckley

Buildings that start with the letter G



Gas Showrooms

GAS SHOWROOMS 1924 Church Walk/39 Castle Street (below). Now occupied by travel agents. Although without one of the original bays, it retains its big glazed bow, making it an interesting corner site building.

gas showrooms

In January 1931 property in Church Walk, adjoining the Gas Offices in Castle Street (erected in 1924) was purchased 'at a cost of £2,450, these premises being adapted as Showrooms and connected to the Gas Offices in 1934, giving the Council the modern Gas Showrooms etc, existing today' (H. F. Warren, The Jubilee of the Hinckley UDC 1895-1945, 15-16).

Gas Works 1834

GAS WORKS 1834 'The town of Hinckley was not supplied with gas until the year 1834 [by the Hinckley Gas, Light and Coke Company]. The difficulties arising from this want were such as to render it impossible for any but those who experienced them to describe, and especially so in a thriving market town, with good houses and shops, commodious inns and taverns, and an increasing trade. The Parish Church and all the other places of worship were lighted with oil and candles, which made it not only an unpleasant, but expensive, mode of effecting the purpose.' First meeting of shareholders 13 March 1834. Site purchased on the Coventry Road from Mr. John Blakesley for the erection of the works. Mr. Samuel Crossley of London supplied the first meters and Messrs. Barlow & Oakes, of London, were the contractors for the buildings, at a cost of £2000. 'In process of time nearly all the shopkeepers availed themselves of it, and almost every house of business, as well as public buildings and other places of resort and amusement were lighted from the Hinckley gas works. The benefit derived from this facility led many of the principal inhabitants to have the gas placed in every room in their dwellings, and the same thing is continued to be done to a greater or lesser extent in all parts of the town' (Baxter, History of Hinckley, 66-67).

Gas Works 1873

GAS WORKS 1873 Coventry Road. 'Owing to the great demand for gas, occasioned by the extensive business of the town, the shareholders found it necessary to erect new and enlarged works, which would supply enough, even with an increasing consumption, for many years to come. The inhabitants had frequently been driven to great annoyances owing to the insufficiency of gas, and on some occasions the manufactories, the shops, the domestic hearth, and the public streets, were suddenly thrown into darkness, which created much confusion and alarm' (Baxter, History of Hinckley, 67).

'Bleak House', Coventry Road, about 1910. Demolition of 'Bleak House' in progress, 1970s

Above, left: 'Bleak House', Coventry Road, about 1910. right: Demolition of 'Bleak House' in progress, 1970s (Leicester Mercury).

The new works were opened on 8 August 1873, the overall cost being £7,500. They were designed to light a town of 7,000 inhabitants. Apart from the works, meters etc. 'there is a large house for materials, with a Director's room, Manager's office, meter-fitting place, and fitting shops, etc. A station meter was also purchased by the Company, shewing the amount of work done. The gasometer will hold 60,000 feet of gas. There is a tall chimney 87 feet high, square at bottom, and 2ft.9in. in top of the flue. Other parts of the works involve a scientific principle as well as a vast amount of ingenious contrivance. Mr. M. Billings, of Hinckley, was the contractor for the new works, and they were inspected by Mr. Goodacre, who said they would now bear comparison with those of any town of the size in the midland counties' (Baxter, History of Hinckley, 66-8). The new gas works were formally opened in August 1873 (Leicester Journal, Fri 15 Aug). By 1874 there were 106 public lamps supplied by the company at a cost of £3 5s per lamp.

Hinckley Gas Works in the 1950s dismantling of the last gasometer

Above, left: Hinckley Gas Works in the 1950s. right: dismantling of the last gasometer (courtesy David J. Wood)

In 1881 Hinckley Local Board purchased the Hinckley Gaslight and Coke Company Ltd. for £35,000, bringing it into public ownership, and adding the residents of Burbage to its clientele. In 1912 the capacity of one of the gasholders on the site was increased by 20,000 cubic feet.

In February 1922 it was announced that £40,000 was to be spent on improving the gasworks with 'vertical retorts' and other additions. The existing carbonising plant was 'inadequate, obsolete and very expensive to work.' Consumption of gas in the town had increased by 53% over the previous ten years and by 176% over the last twenty. 2000 tons of coal per annum would be saved when the new carbonising plant was in operation. The output in the previous year had reached 580,000 cubic feet in 24 hours and was increasing. In the present year the maximum quantity sent out in 24 hours was 653,000 cubic feet. The new plant would provide for 750,000 cubic feet in 24 hours. A tender for the new plant had been accepted from the Woodhall Duckham Vertical Retort Syndicate Company at a cost of £37,388, and the total expenditure was expected to be nearer £40,000 (Hinckley Echo, 17 Feb 1922).

Additions to the tune of £25,000 were announced in 1928: £17,085 for gasholder, tank, foundations and connections; £6,000 for purifiers and connections; £1,000 for station meter and connections; £250 for washer and £665 for contingencies (Hinckley Times, 30 Mar 1928).

In 1948 the gas industry was nationalised by the Labour government and Hinckley became part of the West Midlands Gas Board.

'The Gas Works are one of the most up-to-date in the country…' (Guy Paget & Lionel Irvine, Leicestershire (London, Robert Hale, 1950)).

In 1962 the production of gas ceased at the Hinckley works and clearing of the site began. The buildings fronting onto Coventry Road - colloquially known as Bleak House - were demolished about 1975.

At LRO (DE 1123), Deeds Concerning Gas Works (13) 1812-1881.

See also GAS OFFICES 1924.

The George Inn/Hotel

The GEORGE INN/HOTEL 18, Market Place. A former coaching inn (see stable yard entrance). It was in existence by 1671 (Nichols, Leicestershire, 673) and regularly featured in newspaper advertisements (see, for example, the Leicester Journal, 11 March, 1803).

In 1808 a new bowling-green was created in a close adjoining the George Inn (Nichols, Leicestershire, 682).

'The premises contained the Corn Exchange (1856) and, later, St. George's Hall. Before the construction of the post office in Regent Street, it acted as the post office. It was also the Parcel Receiving Office of the Trent Valley Railway in the 1850s and contained the Inland Revenue Office' (David J. & Jenny Knight in Hinckley Historian, 32 (Autumn 1993)). Until about 1878 - until the erection of a court house in the town - it was also used as a setting for the Petty Sessions in preference to the old Town Hall.

The George Inn, about 1905

Above: The George Inn, about 1905

In 1872 the landlord, William Trivett, was brought before the petty sessions charged with opening 'a kind of gin palace' in an adjoining building without obtaining the requisite license. During the proceedings a plan of the inn by Robert Goodacre, architect, of Leicester, was produced. Trivett asserted that he had only one bar, one commercial room and one dining room and although some alterations had taken place to link the inn and neighbouring building, this was an extension of the existing premises rather than the start of a new enterprise. The case against him was dismissed (Hinckley News, 12 Oct 1872).

Advertisement, 1950s

Above: Advertisement, 1950s

The George was being rebuilt by 1951 (The Official Guide of the Hinckley and District Chamber of Trade (1951)). In 1959 it was completely demolished and a new building erected on the site (re-opened late May 1960) which was subsequently renamed The Bounty (Hinckley Times, 3 June 1960).


The Globe Inn

The GLOBE INN Junction of Church Street/Station Road, next to the present St. Mary's Junior School. It appears in a newspaper advertisement in 1802 (Leicester Journal, 2 July) although was probably in business for much of the eighteenth century.

In 1873 alterations were made by the licensee, George Cooper, in order to make a front onto the newly created Station Road (Hinckley News, 21 March 1873).

Since it stood on land owned by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, there is correspondence concerning the demolition of the inn at the Church of England Record Centre, Bermondsey. The Globe was famous for its tripe suppers.

Station Road from the Market Place, about 1872, with the Globe Inn to the left.
Station Road from the Market Place, about 1872, with the Globe Inn to the left.

'Next the Globe Inn was a huge half timbered barn, almost giving one the idea of a tithe barn then other out-buildings adjoining the old vicarage. All the back part to the garden was an old half timbered creation very quaint. This was called Church Street' (Thomas Harrold in David J. Knight, The Hinckley Chronicles, 25).

The Globe appeared in the trades directories until 1900, and was finally demolished in 1905.

In June 1930 workmen were in the process of clearing the site for a public garden, the old inn's vaults being uncovered in the process (Hinckley Times, 4 July; 8 August, 1930).

Church Street from the Market Place, about 1872, with the Globe Inn just visible and half-timbered barn adjacent

Above: Church Street from the Market Place, about 1872, with the Globe Inn just visible and half-timbered barn adjacent.

The Golden Fleece

The GOLDEN FLEECE Advertised in the Leicester Journal, 30 Jan 1801. Not listed in the trades directories.

Grammar School Pre-1629

GRAMMAR SCHOOL, OLD, pre-1629 Castle Street (north side, beyond Grimms Lane). This was first mentioned in 1629 although it certainly existed before this date.

'It stood back from the street and was quite small, being about fifteen feet wide and twenty-five feet long. Six of seven steps led up to the entrance door. It was a half-timbered building and had square-headed wood mullioned windows which were glazed with diamond-shaped panes in lead lights' (Account of building taken from town account book). It had two hearths (Hearth Tax Return, 1604). All this suggests a late 16th century building in the local vernacular style. It was thatched, of 2 storeys and with 2 hearths, implying 2 schoolrooms. A yard at the back needed 'quick-setting' from time to time. There were 2 schoolmasters from at least the 1620s.

The feoffment accounts show considerable amounts of money spent on repairs to the building, e.g. 'It. for thatch, lathes, nails and spars and for thatching the scoule £0.3.0.' (1645). The accounts show the gradual replacement of lath with brick in the 17th century.

'The old town hall and school house remain, but are ruinous' (Universal British Directory, 1791). The school was still in use but in need of constant repair.

By 1831 the school was said to be 'in a very dilapidated state, but a National School has been built in its stead' [1820] (Curtis, Topographical History of Leicestershire (1831). The old grammar school was eventually pulled down in 1852 to make way for a number of houses erected by the Great Feoffment charity.

Grammar School 1877

GRAMMAR SCHOOL 1877 New Buildings (Grimms Lane). In 1875 meetings were held in the town to discuss the possibility of reviving the Grammar School, and in August 1876 a scheme was drawn up by which the financial resources of the Greater and Lesser Feoffment were to be directed to the new school.

The re-founded grammar school opened 12 Feb1877 in the building designed in 1820 by William Parsons for the Great Feoffment Charity as a Free or National School (the latter having vacated the building for the newly erected board school in Holliers Walk). (See NATIONAL SCHOOL for its earlier history.)

'The school had arched windows on both sides and the whitewashed walls were decorated with examples of the boys' work. The building was lit by gas lamps and was heated by a tortoise stove… The division of the large area into classrooms was effected by means of a partition which was operated on cogs and was moved by means of a handle…' (A. J. Pickering).

The old grammar school, with one of the Feoffment cottages in the foreground, about 1914 Lawrences self-service store, about 1954.

Above, left: The old grammar school, with one of the Feoffment cottages in the foreground, about 1914. right: Lawrences self-service store, about 1954.

By 1891 the Grammar School had 50 pupils, but in 1894 it decamped for new purpose-built premises on Leicester Road (now Mount Grace High School).

After this the building became the armoury of the drill hall of the Volunteer Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment. At Leics Record Office (DE 451/1184) is the 'plan of proposed addition to old grammar school, Hinckley' by Ball & Heaton, architects, 3 The Borough, Hinckley, Nov. 1902. This appears to have included new lavatories, coalhouse, 'kitchen or ladies ante-room', 'Gents' Ante-room' and passage, built in the yard of the old grammar school building, between it and the armoury and adjoining office. The drawings include a plan, two sections, elevation to yard and elevation to gardens. Total cost £492. Also at LRO (DE 451/1185) drawings for 'proposed scullery to the Drill Hall, Hinckley' (addition to offices at rear of main building), in form of groundplan, section and site plan. By Ball & Heaton, July 1904. Also (DE 451/1187/1-36) papers concerning alterations and additions to the old grammar school. These include an estimate from Ball & Heaton, 3 The Borough, Hinckley, 29 October 1902, as follows: 'Armoury £118; Repairs to existing buildings £90; Furnishing £60; archts fees etc. £23; Total £291'. Work carried out by Hall & Son. (9 December 1902) for £398.5s.6d. A letter of 22 April 1904 sanctions further work on the old school buildings at a cost of £71 in addition to £421 already sanctioned (1187/4).

See also 'Some Thoughts on the Old Grammar School', Hinckley Times, 2 May 1930, noting the building's transition from Free School to Grammar School to Territorial Army headquarters to Theatre and then to Skating Rink. Also D. Startin, The Hinckley Grammar School Foundation: The First 350 Years (Hinckley 1976), 20. See PALLADIUM for later history.

Grammar School 1894

GRAMMAR SCHOOL 1894 Leicester Road. The first purpose-built Grammar School for the town, situated in its then leafy margins. The architects' plans are held at the LRO (DE899) and include six sheets of designs for the proposed school and master's house by R. J. & J. Goodacre of Leicester, dated March 1893. The original school consisted simply of the headmaster's house and school in one block (below). 'Built by Moss and Son of Loughborough at a cost of about four thousand pounds, the new buildings brought better teaching facilities, more room, an adjoining playing field and proper sanitary arrangements. Twelve boarders could now be accommodated... Although the school building had no room for slojd (a specialised form of woodwork) it was magnificent compared to the old building' (D. Startin, 23). By 1903 there were 52 pupils attending, by 1913, 91. In 1901 the school admitted girls for the first time.

The original grammar school of 1894 (now Mount Grace High School)
The original grammar school of 1894 (now Mount Grace High School)

1906 - Extensions were built at a cost of £,1700. At Leics Record Office (DE 451/1186/1-2) is the agreement for alterations and additions to the grammar school between the governors and Charles Wright, builder, of Leicester, 6th and 18th June 1906. Cost £1420. Architects Barrowcliff & Allcock of Loughborough.

'Big School' in 1900 Grammar School from Butt Lane, about 1915

Above, left: 'Big School' in 1900. right: Grammar School from Butt Lane, about 1915

1920s - one classroom added to the front of the old building.

1927-8 - major additions and extensions were opened on Wed 11 July 1928 to designs by Capt Fowler, the County Education Committee architect. The new wing included three classrooms, a large assembly hall with new cloakrooms and a staff room. The old woodwork room was converted into a physics laboratory, and 'the hut' into a domestic science room and woodwork room. Out-offices were also erected.

'The new buildings, following the usual practice, have been lit by steel windows thus reducing the amount of wall space to a minimum. In the classrooms ventilation windows are provided opposite the main windows in order to provide cross-ventilation.

Hinckley Grammar School

In the Assembly Hall a new features which has been introduced into schools has been included, namely, the provision of disappearing sashes opposite to the wall windows whereby the school can be converted into a semi-open-air type of school; while for special occasions the corridor becomes a part of the hall. The school is heated by a low pressure hot water installation designed to heat thoroughly not only the classrooms but the cloakrooms, in order to assist in the drying of clothes in wet weather. The floors of the classrooms are of wood block on concrete, while that in the Hall is of boards on concrete. The floors of the corridors and entrances have been finished off in marble terrazzo paving The building has been faced with sand-stock bricks, and the roof has been covered with "Paragon" tiles"'. The general contractor was Mr A. Russell of Hinckley and the overall cost, £6,838.

'Further improvements are still required outside the school, namely, in the completion of the playing fields by the removal of the cottage and a new fence round the master's garden, and on the side of the playing fields facing the main road to replace the now worn out, quick hedge' (Hinckley Times, 20 July 1928).

Grammar School in the late 1920s/early 1930s
Grammar School in the late 1920s/early 1930s

The buildings became the home of Mount Grace High School in 1963 when the Grammar School moved to a new site in nearby Butt Lane, but on a site adjacent to Forest View, already owned by the Foundation.

Forest View, which was purchased in the 1940s by the Grammar School Foundation for use as its preparatory school
Forest View, which was purchased in the 1940s by the Grammar School Foundation for use as its preparatory school

Grammar School 1963

GRAMMAR SCHOOL 1963 Butt Lane. Work began February 1959 on the new premises for the Grammar School (Hinckley Times, 13 Feb 1959). The science block, which was being built, would cost £60,000, and was to be ready by the autumn. The second instalment was to be started within the year and this would then complete the new school.

Hinckley Grammar School

In 1963 the Grammar School moved from Leicester Road 'to its present magnificent site - overlooking the countryside towards Burbage and Elmesthorpe and adjacent to Forest View, a Victorian house still owned and used by the school.

The buildings then consisted of a main Teaching and Library block, a Science department building, which had been in use for some years, and a new PE Centre, which was still only partially complete. The old house around which the new buildings had been planned [Forest View] - and which in earlier days had been used as a private school and then as an Art annexe for the Grammar School - was to be refurnished as a Homecraft centre' (D. Startin, 44 - notes by W.O.Ruffle, headmaster).

Hinckley Grammar School

In 1967 a new classroom block was added, and in 1972 a building to serve as a design department. In the same year the sculpture of Cirrus by Bryan Kneale was purchased and installed in the grounds. (Of mild steel and stainless steel, it was exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts in 1972 (no. 36)). In 1974 the school was renamed the John Cleveland College, incorporating a community college, and has been subject to considerable expansion since then, at one point being one of the largest comprehensive schools in the country.

Aerial view of the John Cleveland College, about 1976

Above: Aerial view of the John Cleveland College, about 1976.

Granville Lode

GRANVILLE (GRENVILLE) LODGE 'The first house built on the spot known by the above title, was erected by a person named Orton. It is said that Lord Granville [Granville Leveson-Gower, 1st Earl Granville (1773-1846)] had a deformed son, whom he placed under Dr. Chessher. The boy lodged at this house, and hence arose the name of Granville Lodge' (Baxter, History of Hinckley, 28).

William Orton owned the land the house stood on, from c.1760 to at least 1818. He was resident at the time of Holden's Triennial Directory of 1809-11. The property is marked on Edward Phillips' map of 1818 (below), standing well outside the town on the Coventry Road.

map of william ortons land

'Granville Lodge once occupied by the Preston family is no longer in existence. It stood (together with three or four little cottages) between the present Granville Road Recreation Ground and Brandon Road, and the site is, I believe, occupied by a motor caravan dealers' (Warren, Hinckley Historian, 11 (Autumn 1982), 17).

Granville Lodge House, Coventry Road, as shown on the 1889 Ordnance Survey

Above: Granville Lodge House, Coventry Road, as shown on the 1889 Ordnance Survey

Great Feoffment Cottages

GREAT FEOFFMENT COTTAGES 1852 New Buildings (Grimms Lane)/Upper Castle Street and Wood Street. 'The old houses in Castle Street, belonging to the Trustees of the Feoffment Charity, were pulled down in the year 1852, and replaced by a number of substantial dwelling houses in a short time afterwards' (Baxter, History of Hinckley, 29).

cottages on Upper Castle Street, early 20th century cottages on Upper Castle Street in 1975

Above, left and right: cottages on Upper Castle Street, early 20th century, and in 1975.

The ancient charity of the Greater and Lesser Feoffment had been reorganised in June 1850 after protracted proceedings in the Court of Chancery. Under this scheme 'a row of ruinous old buildings in Upper Castle Street was projected to be pulled down, and on their site thirteen neat semi-detached dwellings were erected in 1852' (William White, History, Gazeteer and Directory of Leicestershire, 1863). Also demolished to accommodate the new houses was the old grammar school.

An early view of one of the cottages in New Buildings, adjacent to the old National School view of one of the cottages in New Buildings as it appears now

Above, left: An early view of one of the cottages in New Buildings, adjacent to the old National School. Above, right: As it appears now.

Thomas Harrold of T. and G. Harrold of Hinckley (1832-1919) 'was responsible for the construction of the dwellings just above the junction of Castle Street and New Buildings...' (David J. Knight, The Hinckley Chronicles, 1).

They are in attractive neo-Tudor style, constructed of chequered brickwork with stone dressings. Unfortunately the cottages have been badly mutilated by the insertion of shop-fronts, extensions to their rear etc.

Great Meeting Chapel

GREAT MEETING (UNITARIAN CHAPEL) 1722 Baines Lane, off Bond Street. Dated 1722.

'Completely domestic-looking, with segment-headed windows (two centre ones on the end elevation large) and no pediment. Double hipped roof and angle pilasters. Side towards the factory early C19. Original galleries inside. Alcoves flanking the pulpits for the early C18 theological students who attended an academy here' (Pevsner, The Buildings of England, 177).

'Before 1698 it is recorded that Samuel Ward's house was used as a meeting-place, although this has never been located. The Old Parsonage itself - from the evidence of the photograph now in the possession of the Trustees of the Great Meeting - seems to have originally been a half-timbered building with a stone plinth. Its 18th century frontage - facing Stocken head (as it was originally known) - was ivy covered, of four bays, with projecting wing, and was undoubtedly reconstructed at a later date to encase the timbered building underneath. It was at the back of this house, under the Ministry of the Reverend William Bilby that - on January 26th 1720 - a "parcel of ground, being the site of the present building, graveyard and cottages, was bought".

Hinckley Great Meeting Chapel Hinckley Great Meeting Chapel

The actual building commenced in the summer of 1722, when John Jennings was Minister. His famous pupil, Philip, later Doctor Doddridge, recorded in letters how he saw "the hurry of building" from his vantage point in the Old Parsonage on Baines Lane, in September 1722: "Nothing can be seen from my closet window but bricks and mortar, timber and sand. However, I hope that this will not last long, for the meeting-place goes on very fast and will be finished before Christmas… we have a congregation of 560 people and all perfectly united". In fact, the building was finished by December 1st, and… Jennings preached the first sermon in the new meeting-house. Doddridge recorded that "though the place be pretty large, it was very much crowded both parts of the day". The number quoted in Doddridge's letter gives some indication of the potential size of the congregation at this time. Indeed, we can even today appreciate the large size of the meeting-house, which must have seemed quite a substantial building in 1722 and which represented a significant addition to the townscape of early 18th century Hinckley. We feel that the builders themselves appreciated this significance in the evidence of dates and initials inscribed on various bricks on the building (viz. T.C. 1722 and E.W. 1722); and then the prominent insertion of a large date stone A.D. 1722 halfway up the exterior façade on the East side (unfortunately now obscured by a modern drainpipe!).

Hinckley Great Meeting Chapel Hinckley Great Meeting Chapel

… [The] Great Meeting is adorned with wide flat double pilasters at the four angles supporting an oversailing cornice, and with a double string-course in brick towards the top, the whole motif being a vernacular version of the Palladian style adopted in early 18th century stone-built houses and halls. Similar motifs can be seen on the contemporary Hall Farmhouse at Wigston Parva (1727) five miles away. Apart from this concession to the style of the time, the building… conforms to the "typical non-conformist rhythm of two larger middle and two smaller outer windows" (Pevsner, 1st Ed).

John Jennings... died of smallpox in 1723; and his pupil, Philip Doddridge, left to take over the new Academy at Kibworth Harcourt. Under the Ministry of Robert Dawson (1725-51) the gallery was erected (1727), "and the Meeting House also underwent a thorough repair, by subscription, in 1740" (Nichols). It has been suggested that the side aisles of the gallery were added at this time, but it seems that the gallery, though repaired in later years, is of one design throughout. …The severely plain exterior of the Great Meeting is complemented by the warm and varied textures of the interior. There is a sobriety that gains from a feeling of neatness and space, the colouration of oak panelling and beige-painted walls, and a sense of organic materials worked and tended with craftsmanship and affection. The roof is supported by two huge solid oak columns, made from whole tree-trunks, which penetrate the high irregularly-domed ceiling and skilfully hold together an intricate system of beams and posts which has needed comparatively little attention through the ages… The lower sections of these columns are braced with metal bands and strengthened with octagonal casings as part of a reinforcement of the structure of the building carried out in 1966. Their capitals are carved with a double roll-mould near to the roof. The other pillars in the building support the gallery, and date from 1727. They are more elaborate in their roll-mouldings than the main supporting columns, and are each based upon a tall square-sectioned podium with chamfered angles. The style is typical of the second quarter of the 18th century. However, these columns are not the oldest feature of the chapel interior; for it is recorded that the pulpit was brought from the Old Parsonage and erected here at the building of the Great Meeting in 1722. The egg-cup pulpit stands at the front (West side) of the chapel between the two tall round-headed alcoves that originally served to seat the students of the Academy. This pulpit seems to date from the turn of the 18th century; the balustrade bordering the steps up to it certainly looks early, and the simple octagonal shape with plain panels is a feature of pulpits of about 1700… Another treasure is the "Parliament Clock" marked "John Sebire London". This hangs from the gallery and dates from c.1740… The gallery of 1727 still contains its original layout of box-pews. In fact, the angle-irons securing the wooden panels can also be seen - as can the holes on the ledges where tallow-candles were inserted so that the prayer-books and hymn-sheets could be read on the wooden book-rests. These, and other fixtures such as kneeling-ledges, are all still in situ after 250 years. The larger box-pews in the main body of the chapel [shown in an early photoraph, above left] were dismantled in 1912 and replaced by the present more comfortable seating in a golden shade of Austrian oak… The present pews and notable for the unusual feature of decorated brass umbrella-holders fixed to their sides along the aisles. These were given in 1932… [The] alcoves either side of the pulpit… were used to seat the students of the Academy during the services, but were blocked up c. 1902, when the present embroideries were inserted in their place. These... are of a type known as "Crewel-work"... and belong to the Art Needlework Movement, developed in the 1870s as a reaction against mechanical canvas embroidery then prevalent. This in itself was an extension of the ideas of William Morris and his Arts and Crafts Movement, and a design for "The Apple Tree" appeared in a Morris and Company brochure in 1912. The Great Meeting embroideries show two thin, straggling apple trees each rising from a small hummock, and with other plants and saplings beside them. A survey of the embroideries carried out by the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1975 noted an affinity with contemporary designs of the Royal School of Needlework in South Kensington - a type which was clearly influenced by William Morris. The embroideries… were made by female members of the Atkins family.

Hinckley Great Meeting Chapel

The panelling along the front of the chapel below these alcoves was also part of the memorial from Hugh Atkins to his wife… The continuation of the oak panelling, and some of the reseating, was carried out in 1912 at a cost of £280, and was part of the memorial to Hugh Atkins, who died in 1911.' (Peter J. Foss 'The Human Scale: A Series on Local Buildings. 2. The Great Meeting', Hinckley Historian 2, 24-32 and 3, 24-29).

1869 - frontage facing Atkins factory added (date in Roman numerals over the door). The southern extension to this dates from 1900 and also 1930.

In 1897 Joseph Goddard and Company of Leicester were contracted to provide new designs for school accommodation (above) (See Brandwood and Cherry, Men of Property, 112). To allow for this (and the erection of a row of cottages) the former chapel-keeper's house on Baines Lane was removed. The former had been, until 1840, the schoolhouse of Joseph Dare. An accomplished and successful educationalist, as a poet Dare was also author of The Garland of Gratitude, many of whose poems dealt with local topics (Hinckley Times, 3 December 1898). The chapel trustees possess a watercolour miniature showing the chapel-keeper's cottage as it appeared in 1898, shortly before demolition. The Old Parsonage at the corner of Baines Lane and Council Road was also pulled down in 1906 when eight further cottages were built.

See comprehensive and authoritative account, with ground plan and photographic illustrations, in RCHM, An Inventory of Nonconformist Chapels and Meeting-houses in Central England (HMSO (1986), 121-3. NMR - 15 photos Attractive sketch of interior (above, right) by Cicely Pickering (1940) in A. J. Pickering, The Cradle and Home…

Grenville Lodge


The Greyhound

The GREYHOUND 9 New Buildings. The present pub was first recorded in the trades directories in 1828, although an earlier Greyhound Inn, on a different site and belonging to Hinckley Priory, existed in the 17th century. There is a reference to the latter's sale in the Victoria County History.

the greyhound, about 1905 the greyhound, about 2000

Above, left: About 1905. right: In 2000.

'Public house, mid 19th century, possibly with earlier fabric? Brick, rendered and colour washed with painted dressings: Concrete tile roof. Three storeys and three irregular bays. Moulded plinth, sill bands. Between bays two and three is six-panel door with overlight in moulded surround with cornice on carved brackets. Six-pane sash windows with brackets to sills, those to lower floors with type H lintels. Moulded eaves cornice. Small rebuilt end stack. Left return has central blind segmental-arched recess at first floor level; lower eaves at rear.' (Peter F. Ryder, Hinckley... Historic Buildings Appraisal (2000))

[Abbreviations: AAS - Associated Architectural Societies reports. HUDC - Hinckley Urban District Council. LRO - Leicestershire Record Office. NMR - National Monuments Record (Swindon). NRO - Northamptonshire Record Office. RCHM - Royal Commission on Historical Monuments for England. TLAS - Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological Society. VCH - Victoria County History]