The Buildings of Hinckley

Buildings that start with the letter St

St. Albert's School


St. Francis' Church

ST.FRANCIS' CHURCH (C of E) 1934 Tudor Road. Originally the Middlefield Mission Room, built to serve the new Middlefield housing estate. Dual purpose hall/church, single gabled space with screened off sanctuary, and mock half-timbering to exterior (below). Designed by H. M. Jepson of Queen's Buildings, Stratford Street, Nuneaton. The plans are at LRO (LRO: DE 1469/93). Demolished c.1998 to make way for St. Francis' Community Centre (completed 2000).

St. Francis' Church, Tudor Road, 1998

Above: St. Francis' Church, Tudor Road, 1998

St. George's Hall / Ballroom

ST. GEORGE'S HALL/BALLROOM c.1874 St. George's Hall was built c. 1874 by Mr. Trivett, landlord of the George Hotel, Market Place, on a site adjoining the hotel (replacing or extending the Corn Exchange of 1854?). It was put to many uses; meetings, theatrical performances, 'animated pictures' etc. Until the erection of a purpose-built police court in Stockwell Head in 1878, the Petty Sessions (Magistrates' Court) were also held here.

'St. George's Hall, attached to the George Hotel, will hold about 500 persons, and is also used for lectures and concerts and Corn Exchange' (Kelly's Directory of Leicestershire & Rutland, 1895).

From the 1890s it began to show films, and in 1910 became Hinckley's first full-time cinema, the Electric Picture Palace at St. George's Hall, owned by the Hinckley Electric Picture Company (Hinckley Times, 4 July; 18 July 1910), although this lasted only until 1911 (Brian Hornsey, Ninety Years of Cinema in Hinckley).

In about 1926 the old St George's Hall was converted into a Palm Lounge (Hinckley Times, 22 Mar 1929). A new ballroom was built in 1935, the foundation stone being laid 14 May. 'This important extension to Hinckley's ancient George Hotel, which in the old days was a calling house for the stage coaches between London and the North, has been the subject of much favourable comment, both from the local Urban District Council and the Justices who approved the plans, the latter expressing the opinion that it would add considerably to the social amenities of the Hinckley district.' At 57ft by 97ft it was 'one of the finest in Leicestershire [and] when completed the new ballroom would be second to none in the Midlands' (Hinckley Times, 17 May 1935). The architect was E. H. Crump, FSI, surveyor to Hinckley UDC, the contractors Messrs Ottey and Clegg of Leicester.

Artist's impression of St. George's ballroom shortly after its opening in 1935
Artist's impression of St. George's ballroom shortly after its opening in 1935.

On Thurs 28 November 1935 the ballroom was opened by Sir William Edge MP. 'The hall has been erected over the yard of the George Hotel, so as to provide an excellent and capacious covered [car] park, the whole building having been built on ultra modern lines, with a floor that is without a superior in Leicestershire. The first floor accommodation comprises, in addition to the ballroom itself, a kitchen, a gentleman's bar and cloakrooms, while on the second floor is an excellent balcony, affording a view of the whole ballroom, another bar and a ladies cloakroom. The ballroom itself accommodates 900, the dancing space being 99 feet by 57 feet, with a floor of the best maple procurable. A modernist bandstand occupies a position at the head of the hall. In keeping with the progressive spirit of the town, the building presents an imposing exterior, while the interior possesses all that modern requirements demand. It is, indeed, a place of distinction which will provide a much-needed addition to the social amenities of the town.' The main entrance to the ballroom was in the private road at the rear of the hotel leading from Station Road to Regent Street. Edge asserted at the opening that there was no more beautiful hall in the country than the one Mr Hartopp (proprietor of the George Hotel) had placed in Hinckley (Hinckley Times, 29 Nov).

'Dances are held at St. George's Hall, adjoining the George hotel (now being rebuilt), which has a very good dance floor. This dance hall is considered to be one of the best in the Midlands' (The Official Guide of the Hinckley & District Chamber of Trade (1951)).

The hall was used until the early 1960s for plays, band concerts, bingo etc, before the old theatre front was demolished to make way for part of the new Edwards Centre. The rear 1935 portion (of which the foundation stone remains to the left of the doorway) became a bingo and social club, later Bubble's Nightspot, Buzz nightclub etc.


St. John's Church

ST. JOHN'S CHURCH (C of E) 1952 Coventry Road. A Sunday School meeting was held on 4th January 1934 in a room behind Port House, Coventry Road. This is reckoned the beginning of this church, a mission of the parish of Holy Trinity. £300 was raised by voluntary efforts and the first St. John's church, a wooden hut, was built on land already owned by the Church Council. This was dedicated by the bishop of Leicester on 22nd September 1938. The designs for this building, situated between 168 and 156 'Nuneaton Road' (Coventry Road) and dated May 1934, are at the county record office. They were the work of H. M. Jepson ARIBA of Nuneaton (LRO: DE1496/93).

St. John's church, 1970

Above: St. John's church, 1970

A grant from the Diocesan Church Building Society made possible the erection of a permanent mission hall/church and in 1948 plans were commissioned from William Keay of Leicester. The foundation stone was laid 23 Feb 1952 by Sir Robert Martin (account in the Hinckley Times, Fri 29 Feb 1952). The builder was Mr S. Russell, whose estimate for the work was £2,231 (plus architect's fees, £125; heating installation, £256; finished floor, £185; lavatories, belfry etc, pulpit, communion rail, flooring to sanctuary, cupboards, chairs etc, £450) (LRO: DE1496/116/25). The church was dedicated by the bishop of Leicester on 19 November 1952.

At the county record office are the plans, dating from 1948, for 'St. John's Church Hall' by William Keay of Pick Everard, Keay & Gimson, 6 Millstone Lane, Leicester (LRO: DE1496/116/1).

St. Mary's Church

ST. MARY'S CHURCH The mother church of Hinckley, dedicated to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The following is an account of the church as it stood a few years prior to its extensive rebuilding in the 1870s:

'The Church consists of a nave with side aisles, small transepts, & a chancel. At the west end of the nave is a square tower embattled, and surmounted by a lofty & wide proportioned spire - near the west side of the tower is a good curvilinear window of 4 lights - the belfry windows are long, each of 2 lights of the same character. Beneath the battlement is a band of panelling. The windows of the aisles & clerestory have been entirely deprived of their tracery. The nave has 5 pointed arches on each sided with octagonal pillars. The roof of the nave has been a handsome one, but now entirely concealed by a flat modern ceiling, excepting the elegant pierced brackets supporting the beams. The transepts are equal in height to the side aisles. The chancel is rectilinear - the side windows are of 3 lights - the eastern one of 5. There is a good organ erected by England at the west end of the nave. The church is pewed and galleried. The transepted chapels are merely extensions of the aisles. The chancel has been enclosed - the tower window being renewed. Some part of the walls near the w end of the n aisle has been renewed. The roofs are leaded - of low pitch & without parapets. The windows are all poor in the western part of the church, of 2 & 3 lights without [ ]. There are modern n & s pinnacles. The chancel windows. The original hoods and corbels remain over the windows. The tower & spire are remarkably satisfactory as a composition though perhaps the former is low in proportion to the latter. The details are perpendicular save the w window which is Decorated of 4 lights. The tower has 3 string courses descending it - a battlement & 4 pinnacles. The w doorway has a wide arch with plain mouldings. The buttresses are angular. The belfry windows very large & long - of 2 lights with transoms. The spire is octagonal, & has 3 tiers of spire lights set on the same side' (Church notes of Sir Stephen Glynne, 1868. Record Office, Hawarden, Flintshire).

Watercolour showing St Mary's in the early nineteenth century

Watercolour showing St Mary's in the early nineteenth century (preserved in the church).

See Thomas Harrold's comments in the article 'Old Hinckley' and H. J. Francis (History of Hinckley) on the rebuilding of the church in medieval times. The stained glass referred to by Harrold is now at Hinckley Museum together with the capital of a side pier and a stone bearing a mason's mark (the vitrification of the glass implies an early fire). The accounts for the new organ described in Nichols' Leicestershire appear in the Feoffment accounts. During the restoration/enlargement of 1875 an old oak beam was discovered dated 1246, but it was in such poor condition that it disintegrated when removed.

From the south, showing old spire, before 1786 Tower from West about 1810, after a drawing by William Bass

From the north, after 1786, showing the spire as rebuilt by John Cheshire

Above, left: From the south, showing old spire, before 1786. right: Tower from West about 1810, after a drawing by William Bass. bottom: From the north, after 1786, showing the spire as rebuilt by John Cheshire.

1763 - Re-seating and new pulpit (LRO: DE1225/29)

1766 - Old font removed from church. This had been 'cut out of a part of an old marble monument in Queen Anne's reign'. It was used for secular purposes until 1839, when it was purchased by Benjamin Law at a sale and presented to St. Peter's Roman Catholic Chapel (F. C. Bedford, The Church of The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (1936)).

1782 - Oil painting of the Presentation in the Temple by Jordano Lucca, purchased at Christie's and presented to the church by John Nichols, the county historian and publisher of the Gentleman's Magazine. At one time it formed an altarpiece; it now hangs above the pulpit.

1786 -The surveyor and architect, John Cheshire ( -1812) was employed to rebuild the spire. 'A subscription was opened, and, by the liberality of the inhabitants, the ill-proportioned old spire of the church at Hinckley was last year taken down, and a new one erected with more taste and elegance' (Gentleman's Magazine, 1787, pt. II, 790; also 1789, pt. I, 214). 'The steeple having been much injured by time and lightning, a new spire (much loftier and more taper than the former one)… was erected in 1788 [sic], with three tiers of windows, open' (Nichols, Leicestershire, 683). 'The spires of the old church at Birmingham, St. Mary's at Leicester, and lately the newly-erected spire at Hinckley, are standing objects of [Cheshire's] performance' (Gentlemen's Magazine). The diameter of the base is 19ft 6in, its height 108.5ft (Pevsner, The Buildings of England, 176-7). See the 18th century engravings, above, for a comparison between the stumpy old spire and elegant new one.

1806 - Nave ceiled and roof repaired (Nichols, Leicestershire, IV, 4ii (1811), 683)

1807-8 - Aisles and chancel ceiled (Hinckley Parish Magazine (1867-8), 82)

1809 - Brick north porch replaced by stone one (Nichols, Leicestershire, IV, 4ii (1811), 683)

1816 - Gallery built in north aisle

1819 - Gallery built on south side to designs by William Ashby of Hinckley, carpenter/surveyor? [Incorporated Church Building Society 55: Lambeth Palace Library.]

1835 - 'enlarged' at a cost of £700 (raised by rate) [Incorporated Church Building Society 2400: Lambeth Palace Library]]

1838 - At LRO (DE/1225/130/1-3) papers concerning proposed addition of vestry at north end of transept, 1838. The include the elevation and plan, correspondence and specifications. Designed and built by Thomas Harrold of Hinckley at a cost of £111.

1852 - Repairs. Removal of internal plaster. 'Frescoes' revealed (Leicester Journal, 9 July 1852).

1857 - West window restored.

1863 - Chancel restored and refurnished. New tiles. [?] Stained glass placed in east window. Archt. W. Gillett. Contractor - B. Broadbent. (Leicester Journal 24 April 1863; Builder, 21 (1863), 320) [Glass by Sebastian Evans for Chance (Pevsner, The Buildings of England, 177)? - but see under 1868 below]

1868 - Memorial east window 'The Resurrection' (Sills Memorial) designed and executed by W. Holland & Sons, Stained Glass and Decorative Works, St. John's, Warwick. Inscription to William Sills, d. 23 June 1866 aet 71 (LRO: DE1225/122/4-5). The window was replaced in 1923. [There is also a Sills Memorial window of 1868 at Knipton Church, Leicestershire.]

1875-6 Major restoration and enlargement initiated by the Revd William H. Disney, beginning with the south side of the church. Plans approved by vestry, 23 Apr 1875; work started 7 June 1875 (Leicester Journal).

Interior looking west before the restoration, showing the west gallery and organ plans of St. Mary's before and after the two campaigns of enlargement and restoration, 1875-6 and 1877-8

Above, left: Interior looking west before the restoration, showing the west gallery and organ (LRO: DE1225/242). right: plans of St. Mary's before and after the two campaigns of enlargement and restoration, 1875-6 and 1877-8.

The old south aisle, transept and vestry were replaced by a wider south aisle, transept and chancel aisle, the latter containing the vestry and organ chamber. The nave roof was also repaired. There was also some refenestration (tower windows replaced). The west doorway was removed and a new one with similar detail put in. The whole area was reseated and refloored. New doors, pulpit, heating apparatus and font were installed. The bells were rehung and the clerestory altered from two to three-light windows. The galleries in the south aisle and at the west end were removed and the tower arch opened, the organ being rebuilt. A new stained glass window was inserted in the south transept (Farmer Memorial). The overall cost was about £5,400. The architect was William Smith of John Street, Adelphi, London; theccontractor J. & W. Harrold of Hinckley (Leicester Journal, 3 Nov 1876; 10 May 1878; AAS 14 (1877-8), lxi; Incorporated Church Building Society 7883: Lambeth Palace Library).

Laying the foundation stone of the new south aisle, Sept 17 1875 (LRO: DE1225/242)
Laying the foundation stone of the new south aisle, Sept 17 1875 (LRO: DE1225/242).

1877-8 - After a short pause the north side was rebuilt to match the south, including repewing, reflooring and reglazing. The cost was about £2,500. The architect, again, was William Smith; contractor, J. & W. Harrold (Leicester Journal, 20 Apr 1877; 10 May 1878. Printed circular, Nov 1874, with Ecclesiastical Commissioners' files, Church of England Record Centre - also files relating to ICBS grant at Lambeth Palace Library, with groundplans).

St. Mary's from the east, about 1905

Above: St. Mary's from the east, about 1905

1880-1 - Chancel restored. New buttresses built. Roof renewed except for main timbers. Floor and lower part of walls tiled with Minton's tiles. New reredos. Choir seats extended. Organ renovated. Cost about £1000. The architect was Ewan Christian for the Ecclesiastical Commissioners (contractors J. & W. Harrold of Hinckley). His drawings of 'Hinckley chancel in it's present state' (May 1880) are with the Ecclesiastical Commissioners' files, Church of England Record Centre (NRO ML 601; Leicester Chronicle, 26 Feb 1881; Leicester Journal, 3 Sept 1880; 25 Feb 1881).

1881 - Stained glass window inserted in south aisle window (Atkins Memorial)

1883 - Galleries partly removed, some windows altered, doors removed from pews, roof repaired. £369 [NRO ML 1119, 645-7, NRO X922].

1888 - Present high altar erected (it was lengthened about 1926). The imitation mosaic panels of the reredos depicting the symbols of the four evangelists, were removed to the cemetery chapel in 1920 to make way for the new Peace Memorial rerodos.

The Chancel in 1903 showing choir stalls, high altar (redesigned with new reredos, 1920) and east window (replaced, 1923)
The Chancel in 1903 showing choir stalls, high altar (redesigned with new reredos, 1920) and east window (replaced, 1923).

1891 - Ancient stone pillars demolished and new pillars erected at the entrance to the churchyard.

1893 - '… the south chancel was divided off as a side chapel by a handsome oak screen and altar of beautiful design, with Reredos representing the crucifixion and SS Mary and John' (Wright's Directory, 1900). The altar, screen and reredos were dedicated in May 1893 when the screen was described as 'handsomely carved'. They were the gift of Captain Parker and Miss Towneley Parker (Hinckley Times, 6 May 1893) (below).

South chancel screen, 1893

Above: South chancel screen, 1893

1895-7 - Tower, nave parapet/pinnacles etc. restored by R. J. & J. Goodacre for £2500 (LRO DE 1225/92/10) (printed circular with engraving, Eccles. Commissioners files, Church of England Record Centre. Also LRO: DE 1225,92/10, 12, 22, 32; DE 1225/96)). Contractors Messrs. Pendleton and Bambury of Leicester. Estimate £1806 15s. Pendleton and Bambury's account for the restoration of the tower came to £1298 15s.

1897 - 'Re-opening of tower and dedication of new window in side [north-east window of north transept] chapel, 29 Jan 1897' (the latter the gift of Miss Parker). By Charles Eamer Kempe (Pevsner, The Buildings of England). (LRO:DE1225/98/1-3) (below).

Kempe windows in north transept, 1897

Above: Kempe windows in north transept, 1897

1898 - Stained glass window inserted in north transept window (Davis Memorial)

1905 - 1 June - Dedication of new carved oak rood screen and beam (in part a memorial to Queen Victoria), designed by Hicks & Charlewood of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and carved by Ralph Hedley of Newcastle. (LRO DE1225/31/1-11.) 'The canopy or vaulted work under the beam itself is most exquisite in character, design and workmanship. Surmounting the gallery a plain latin cross of oak, nine feet high' (Hinckley Times, Sat 2 June 1905). The cost was £250. The figures were added to the rood in 1931 (see below).

Rood screen and cross, 1905

Above: Rood screen and cross, 1905

1908 - Dedication of new organ (Hinckley Times, 13 Feb 1908)

1908 - Stained glass west window inserted in side chapel (Parker Memorial)

1920 - Peace Memorial Reredos installed - Archt. Temple Lushington Moore, 46 Well Walk, Hampstead (contractors Messrs. J. Thompson of Peterborough) (printed circular, Eccles. Commissioners files, Church of England Record Centre). Included carved, gilded and coloured reredos, riddell post and standard candlesticks. Hinckley Times, 31 July 1920, noticed the death of Temple Moore. Reredos dedicated 28 Sept 1920. The old stone reredos was removed to the cemetery chapel. See also LRO: DE1225/123, 33, 77/1-14.

Peace Memorial Reredos by Temple Moore, 1920

Above: Peace Memorial Reredos by Temple Moore, 1920

'It has been designed by the later Mr Temple Moore, FRIBA, the eminent architect, and since his death has been carried out under the superintendence of his son, Mr Leslie Moore, FRIBA...The reredos is of English oak, richly carved and fully decorated in gold and colour. In the centre is a seated figure of our Lord in Majesty, and on either side in smaller niches, which have cusped and crocketted canopies, are full-length figures of the twelve apostles bearing their emblems. All the figures are carved in half-relief and coloured and gilded, with a blue background. The whole reredos is surmounted by a carved and gilded cresting. The walls of the sacrarium have been panelled in oak to a height of five feet, and the arch of the organ chamber of the north aisle has been fitted with a fully traceried oak screen' (Hinckley Times, Sat 25 Sept 1920). A full account of the unveiling of the peace memorials appeared in the Hinckley Times, Sat 2 Oct 1920.

1921 - Stained glass window installed in south aisle in memory Stephen Pilgrim (1824-1912) by Burlison & Grylls, 36 Great Ormond Street, London. Depicts the Nativity with SS James, Stephen and Helen in top lights - LRO: DE1225/34/1 (below)

Pilgrim Memorial window in south aisle by Burlison and Grylls, 1921

Above: Pilgrim Memorial window in south aisle by Burlison and Grylls, 1921

1923 - Replacement of stained glass (Sills Memorial) in east window, as memorial to Ethel Atkins. Burlison & Grylls. - LRO: DE1225/35 (below, left and right)

1923 - Chancel repaired by Caröe and Passmore of London (contractor A. Goodman, 3 Albert Road, Hinckley).

East window by Burlison and Grylls, 1923 East window by Burlison and Grylls, 1923

Above: East window by Burlison and Grylls, 1923

1925 - Stained glass window in north aisle in memory of Elizabeth and Margaret Mary Yeomans. By Christopher Webb, FBSMG, 17a Friary Street, Guildford. Signed design of March 1925 at LRO: DE1225/37

1928 - Stained glass window inserted - LRO: DE1225/26/2

1929 - Alterations to Lady Chapel - LRO: DE1225/40/1-12

1931 - Addition of carved figures of Our Lady and St John to rood screen (the gift of the late Maria Aucott); stone entrance pillars rebuilt; gates removed and new wrought iron entrance gates installed. Dedicated Passion Sunday (Hinckley Times, 22 March 1931).

1933 - Stained glass window inserted in east window of north transept (Blakesley Memorial)

1942 - New memorial screens in north transept. By Baines, Provis & Cope, 16 New Street, Leicester. Ex. W. Stanger, 21 Grange Lane, Leicester. Included oak screen, repairs to floors etc. Sept 1941-Aug 1942. (LRO: DE4447/41/1-4)

1946 - Oakwork screens north aisle to create new vestry and children's corner. By Baines, Provis & Cope. Ex. R. H. Taylor, 2a Jarrom Street, Leicester. - LRO: DE1225/45/2 and DE4447/40 (3 sheets of drawings showing plans and elevations).

1952 - Stained glass window inserted at west end of south aisle (donors Herbert G. and Edith S. Clarke of Forest View, Butt Lane). By Clare Dawson, FBMGP, of The Glass House, 11 Lettice Street, Parsons Green, London SW6.

1954 - Stained glass window inserted at west end of south aisle, in memory of Henry and Ellen Taylor and their son, Clive (1899-1951), headmaster of Latimer Street School, Anstey. By Clare Dawson (see above). See Brian Davis, 'Two Outstanding Windows in St. Mary's, Hinckley', Hinckley Historian, 57 (Spring, 2006).

[NMR - 16 photos of St. Mary's church]

St. Mary's Parish Hall

ST. MARY'S PARISH HALL 1934 St. Mary's Road. At the county record office (DE/225/169/1-3), 'Proposed Parish Room, Hinckley'. Two sets of plans (elevations, sections and plans) by J. Goodacre of R. J. & J.Goodacre, 5 Friar Lane, Leicester, dated 18 November 1903. One storey building to cost £500, two storey £750. In Queen Anne style. [Were these carried out? There was certainly some sort of parish hall in use prior to that built in 1934-5.] Also at the county record office (DE/1225/172/1) are the designs for the present 'St. Mary's Hall' (plans, elevations and sections) by E. J. Crump, architect and surveyor, of Barclays Bank Chambers, Hinckley, 2 June 1934.

The hall was opened on Saturday 7 Sept 1935 by the Bishop of Leicester. 'The new church hall has been erected on an ancient site formerly known as "Hunter's Row" and it stands alongside the churchyard and in proximity to both the church and the vicarage… The accommodation consists of a small hall, 40ft x 19ft, retiring room 14ft 6in x 14ft, entrance hall, vestibule and a commodious kitchen. The building has entailed a cost of £2,500, but when the future enlarged hall is erected it is estimated that it will cost only an additional £1,200 as all the heating, sanitary and serving accommodation has been installed to provide for future additions' (Hinckley Times, 13 Sept 1935, together will full account of opening ceremonies). The contractors for the work were Messrs Greaves Brothers of Hinckley.

St. Mary's Parochial

ST. MARY'S PAROCHIAL (now C. of E. PRIMARY) SCHOOL 1854 Station Road. Erected in 1854 as Sunday Schools by and for the parish church. In August of that year it was reported that the Gothic style had been chosen and that the the schools 'will be an ornament to the town, more particularly to the neighbourhood where [they] are situated' (Leicestershire Mercury, 19 Aug 1854). Another newspaper considered that the design did 'credit to the architects and builders - Messrs Thomas and George Harrold - whose fame for uniting durability with economy, together with chasteness of design and skilfulness in execution, may now be said to be accomplished' (Leicester Journal, 25 Aug 1854). They were formally opened by the Earl Howe on 17th October. Originally consisting of a schoolroom of a 'large dimension' - 62' x 24' - it was situated opposite what was then known as Westminster Square, near to the Priest Hills [Station Road did not yet exist]. 'The style [is] Early Gothic, with a bell gable in front'. The architects and builders were said to 'have displayed considerable taste in the matter'. The contract for the building was valued at £417 and the overall cost, including fittings, was £540 16s (Leicester Journal, 20 Oct 1854).

St. Mary's school - tower, 1872-4 Original schoolroom, 1854

Above, left: St. Mary's school - tower, 1872-4. Above, right: Original schoolroom, 1854

On 7 January 1856 a Parochial School - a day school administered by the Church - was inaugurated 'in the fine gothic rooms lately erected in connection with the parish church'. The patrons were Earl Howe of Gopsall, the Dean & Chapter of Westminster, John Hayes, Esq., and the trustees of the late Alderman Newton's Charity who transferred to it the green-coat school and its endowment. A first class certificated master was appointed, with a mistress from the Home & Colonial Training Institution, London. The intention was 'to place this institution upon such an efficient and permanent basis as shall be worthy [of] the importance of the town…' (Leicester Journal, 11 Jan 1856).

'St. Mary's National School is a neat brick building of Gothic architecture, built in 1855 at a cost of £400 raised by subscription' (William White, History, Gazeteer and Directory, 1863).

Between 1871 and 1873 the schools were enlarged to accommodate 445 children (Kelly's Directory, 1891) including a new bell tower. On 4 May 1871 a meeting was held to consider the proposed expansion. The schools accommodated 250 children but were already overcrowded. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners were to be approached for a small piece of land between the schools and Hunter's Row in order to create a new schoolyard. £50 had been subscribed with a further £20 promised; a circular was to be issued to invite further contributions (Hinckley News, 13 May 1871). In May of the following year the plans, comprising an additional wing for 2oo children, came before the Local Board . It was originally intended 'to continue the present building by the side of the Station Road to the corner leading up to Hunter's Row', but alterations to Station Road by the Board had compelled the school trustees to change their plans, with the new wing now extending further in, towards the church. The work would now cost £350 insted of £200. The trustees requested the Board to build the wall now required to enclose the land given by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners as a playground, from the corner up to Hunter's Row. A decision was deferred whilst enquiries were made (Hinckley News, 8 May 1872). By September work was underway: 'The trustees are now making considerable addition to the old building, and are now erecting a new wing, which, when completed, will be a great improvement and will give accommodation, which is much needed'. The cost was now estimated at £500 (Hinckley News, 14 Sept 1872).

1893 - Tenders were invited for alterations to St. Mary's church schools from Mr. F. A. Maltby, Architect, Church Walk, Castle Street, to be submitted by 5th April (Hinckley Times, 25 March 1893).

1899-1901 - Repairs, alterations and additions by R. J. & J. Goodacre of 5 Friar Lane, Leicester, including two new classrooms, cloakrooms, lavatories, and store room, so accommodating 120 more children. Total cost £820. This also included changes to the elevation of the tower (above, left), as shown in in Goodacre's drawing of Dec 1900 (LRO, DE4447/48).

1930 - alterations to school premises - archt. J. Walker, of Heaton & Walker (Hinckley Times, 8 Aug 1930).

11 May 1995 - celebrations were held here to mark the 175th anniversary of the first primary school in the town, the National School in Grimms Lane (1820) to which this school was the successor.

1998 - More building work.

2002 - Major extensions underway.

NMR- 1 photo

[Amongst the papers of the architect Henry Goddard (1792-1868) are two schemes of c. 1840 for a school at Hinckley, the identity of which is unclear.]

St. Mary's Vicarage

ST. MARY'S VICARAGE [?]16th Century Church Street.

This, the original vicarage for the historic benefice, is described in a series of glebe terriers (now at the county record office, although one is reproduced in Nichols, Leicestershire, and a copy of another is in the Pickering collection, Hinckley Library). The vicarage was situated at the top of Church Street (or Church Lane) adjoining the churchyard, its site now occupied by the playground of St. Mary's Primary School.

Original schoolroom, 1854

Above: The old vicarage, marked (8), from John Robinson's plan of Hinckley, 1782

'There is no Glebe-house, but a house called the Vicarage which I find accurately described in old Terriers as standing at the end of the sixteenth century - reported to me, by persons competent as being now utterly unworthy of any repairs. I am at present obliged to reside in it but under great inconvenience. The situation of the house is bad, being 5 feet below the level of the immediately adjoining church yard, as well as being surrounded on other sides by very serious nuisances' (Revd. George Dealtry, 8 Nov 1843, in printed questionnaire; Ecclesiastical Commissioners file 3279, Church of England Record Centre).

'He [the curate-in-charge] lived in the vicarage, a wretched old building immediately adjoining the churchyard and falling into decay' (W. H. Disney, Incidents During Thirty Years Clerical Work in Ireland and England (London, 1898)). (The writer, who was vicar from 1874 until 1884, was speaking of the situation when he first arrived in the town.)

'Next the Globe was a huge old 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' (The Hinckley Chronicles, 25).

Engraving showing priory house, church and vicarage (B), from Nichols' Leicestershire, 1811

Above: Engraving showing priory house, church and vicarage (B), from Nichols' Leicestershire, 1811

An engraving published by Thomas Short about 1840 shows the church and vicarage.

At the county record office is a Conveyance of 30 Dec 1874, from Revd William H. Disney to the vicar and churchwardens of Hinckley, of the 'old vicarage house and premises in Hinckley as a site for a school and for Residence of Teacher' (DE4447/47). In preparation it was 'repaired, and occupied by Alfred Webb, Headmaster of the Church Schools, until its demolition in 1881' (F. C. Bedford, The Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Hinckley (1936)).

St. Mary's Vicarage 1872

ST. MARY'S VICARAGE 1872 Argent's Mead.

'The vicarage house is a commodious residence, standing amid five acres of ground…' (Wright's Directory, 1894).

Plans were commissioned in 1866 and the new vicarage was built 1872-3 by the Revd William Henry Disney. His architect was William Wigginton FRIBA of 3 Newman's court, Cornhill, London EC (tracings of plans and elevations are at the Church of England Record Office). The contractors were John & William Harrold of The Borough, Hinckley. The cost was a substantial £1550, resulting in 'a handsome residence'. The stabling and out-offices were added in 1875 for a further £350. In 1886 a 'new porch, larder etc' were added to designs by William Bassett Smith of Drummond Chambers, 10 John St., Adelphi, London (contractors John & William Harrold of Hinckley).

William Wigginton's drawing for Hinckley Vicarage (Church of England Record Office)

Above: William Wigginton's drawing for Hinckley Vicarage (Church of England Record Office)

The vicarage was renovated and modernised in 1928. In 1956 it was purchased by Hinckley UDC. Known as Argent House, and occupied for some years by the council Surveyor's Department, it was demolished early in 1967 in preparation for the building of new council offices.

St. Mary's Vicarage, with vicar, about 1905
St. Mary's Vicarage, with vicar, about 1905.

St. Paul's Church

ST. PAUL'S CHURCH (C of E) 1911 Leicester Road. Intended as a chapel-of-ease to St. Mary's, the parish church. At the county record office (DE/1225/180/1-3) are three sheets of designs, dated 20 June 1911, for a 'Sunday School building to be used as a temporary church until a permanent church is built'. These are by Edward de Wilde Holding. of the Corn Exchange, Northampton. They comprise a ground plan, south elevation and two sections.

The church was opened on 10 June 1911. 'The new church, dedicated by the name of the apostle St. Paul, has been erected to supply a want which is being increasingly felt in the rapidly developing district in the north-east portion of St. Mary's parish. The building is to serve the dual purpose of a Sunday school and temporary church, until a permanent church is erected. As a Sunday school it will provide accommodation for about 300 scholars, and when used as a church it will seat a similar number. The accommodation in the present Sunday schools is for 604 scholars, whilst there are now 650 on the books... a desire that something quite apart from the ordinary iron building should be adopted in this instance, and the architect, Mr E. de W. Holding, with much ingenuity, has succeeded in erecting a church temporary only in name for the structure is built of local bricks of a pleasing red colour, and the whole of the roof area is covered with slates of a good wearing quality.

St. Paul's Church shortly after completion
St. Paul's Church shortly after completion.

Internally a most pleasing effect has been produced by the adoption of aisles and a clerestory, the latter supported upon pitch pine posts, thus providing a more ecclesiastical interior than is usually associated with temporary churches. The vestries, with ample fittings, are situated at the west end of the church and so constructed with folding partitions that they can be thrown into one large class room, and over the vestries is built a useful lantern room. The acoustics of the new church are excellent. Externally the chancel is separated from the nave by an artistic bellcote, which contains a bell weighing 1.5 cwts, of good tone. Internally the chancel floor is slightly raised from the main portion of the nave, and the whole when viewed from either end presents a spacious and proportionate aspect. The building is well lighted with windows glazed with lead lights having broad cames [sic], whilst the matter of ventilation has been well studied.

The church is mainly seated with very comfortable chairs given by members of the congregation of St. Mary's and friends. The priest's desk and choir stalls have been worked up from old oak seats made out with new wood, and the piscina and font are of stone of simple but excellent design. The pulpit has been made by a member of the congregation - Mr T. Garner. The whole of the work has been soundly carried out by Messrs W. H. Littler and Son, of this town... The total length of the church from east to west is 98 feet, and the wideth from north to south 29 feet. The new church has cost £560 to build, and other expenses will bring the total up to nearly £800. Of this £567 has already been raised, while the font has been given by "A Friend", the paten and chalice by the children of the Band of Hope; the lectern and prayer desk by the Vicar and churchwardens of Holy Trinity, the Bible by Mr Geo. Cholerton, and the hymn board by Mr R. Noon' (Hinckley Times, 17 June 1911).

Interior shortly after completion
Interior shortly after completion.

In March 1920 a brass lectern was dedicated as a 1914-18 war memorial. It was manufactured by Messrs. Barrett & Co., Birmingham (Hinckley Times, Sat 27 March 1920).

This building was used for worship until its demolition in about 1994, the proposed permanent church never having been built. Private housing now occupies the site.

St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church


St. Peter' Roman Catholic School

ST. PETER'S ROMAN CATHOLIC SCHOOL 1907-08 The first sod for the new school was cut on 15 January 1907, and the foundation stone laid on Easter Monday, 1 April 1907 by Mrs. Langmore of Leicester (Hinckley Times, 6 April 1907). [A photograph of the laying of the foundation stone appears in F. Shaw, Hinckley in Old Picture Postcards, vol.2, no.64.] The school buildings were formally opened on 20 April 1908 by Major Worsley-Worswick of Normanton Hall. The builders were Messrs. Hall and Son, and the cost £1,400.

St. Peter' Roman Catholic School St. Peter' Roman Catholic School

At the opening the Major said he was 'agreeably surprised by the beauty of the new buildings, and had no idea the schools were anything like their size and magnificence'. He then unveiled a figure symbolical of Christ crucified, 'which rests on a rest[sic] wall' (Hinckley Times, 25 April 1908).

St. Peter's School shortly after its completion
St. Peter's School shortly after its completion.

[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]