Loughborough and the villages and towns around it are built on centuries-worth of history. Here we share snapshots of the history of some of the people, places, buildings, institutions, folklore and traditions of the Charnwood area, as well as stories which explore national and international histories from a local perspective.

Get in touch if you have a local heritage story you’d like to share with the wider community.

  • A Loughborough boy’s experience of the Battle of the Somme

    1 July 2021

    July 1st 1916 Pte. W A Deakin* saw services in the trenches in France and Belgium and took part in the Battle of the Somme on July 1st 1916.  He wrote home to the Echo after the battle, which published his account. Here it is in full. ONE of the Loughborough boys, Pte. W. A. […]

  • On this day in Loughborough … 1996

    28 June 2021

    On 28th June 1996, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II visited Loughborough to open the new English and Drama building at Loughborough Grammar School. At the request of Her Majesty, an anthem specially-written for the school’s quincentenary in 1995 by Sir Andrew Carter – was played for the Queen in the drama studio of the building, which was […]

  • Memories of Charles Matthews, collector of local history

    14 June 2021

    Remember Loughborough Facebook Group member Dusty Miller knew Charles Matthews, who was a neighbour and friend of his father’s. Here, Dusty shares his memories of Charles and his passion for saving old photographs. Charles was a close neighbour of ours, he lived on New Ashby Road, we lived behind him on Blackbrook Road.  My father […]

  • Charles Matthews’ legacy to local history research

    11 June 2021

    The Founders and Notable Contributors to the Loughborough LibraryLocal History Collection Mr. Charles Matthews, a local historian and amateur photographer, salvaged a number of glass plate negatives of Victorian scenes of Loughborough that otherwise would have been lost. These are still in existence and held in the Loughborough Library archives. Alongside many items from his […]

  • Forest Line Exhibition at Loughborough Library

    17 May 2021

    Loughborough Library in Granby Street are celebrating the publication of a new edition of local historian Brian William’s book ‘The Forest Line’ with an exhibition about the former Charnwood Forest Railway in the local studies area. The exhibition sees a welcome return to visitors to the Library, with the Local Studies Volunteers who put it […]

  • Ralph Lemyngton’s Will

    4 May 2021

    The Will of Ralph Lemyngton a Rich Wool Merchant residing in Loughborough Merchant of the Staple of Calais, dwelling in LoughboroughAbstract of Will dated 4th May 1521. English. Probate 1521 Soul to almighty God, our blessed Lady St Mary and all the holy company of heaven beseeching them all to pray for him that he […]

  • On this day in … 1873

    17 April 2021

    17th April 1873 Mr John Wyatts begs most respectfully to inform the inhabitants of Loughborough and it’s vicinity that he has recently purchased two SHILLIBEERS (horse drawn hearses with room for mourners).  NB coffins supplied on reasonable terms. Snippets from the Loughborough Advertiser, Loughborough Herald and Loughborough Monitor. Collated by Loughborough Library Local Studies VolunteersSource: […]

  • Good Friday in times past

    2 April 2021

    ‘I was born and bred in the town and very well remember on Good Fridays around 6:30 am, the baker’s boy coming down our street – Albert Promenade – with a tray-load of hot cross buns on his head, waking the residents with his loud cry of his wares and price of a few coppers.’ […]

  • Burleigh Brook Park

    26 March 2021

    30th March 1899 ‘Councillor Geo. Adcock having laid out a park near Burleigh Brook, Ashby Road, at great expense to himself, announces a preliminary opening on 3rd April 1899.  The park is designed principally for the rational enjoyment and recreation of the people.  A good sized lake has been formed, and the park is about […]

  • The Battle for Cotes Bridge

    12 March 2021

    In 1643 the English Civil War had gone against the parliamentarians, who were commanded in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire by Lord Grey of Groby. The royalists were under the command of Lieutenant General Henry Hastings, Lord Loughborough. The following year parliament besieged Newark (February to March) and the royalist garrison there needed to be relieved. […]

  • On this day in Loughborough … 1971

    12 February 2021

    12 February 1971

  • Strike at the Brush Works in 1906

    31 January 2021

    ‘All Men are Brethren’ ‘For both he that sanctifies and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brothers.’ Hebrews 2:11-13 In June 2014, the Loughborough Archaeological and Historical Society (LAHS) Committee received a photocopy of an old black and white postcard from Heather Copley, […]

  • Pottering about … Burleigh Hall

    15 January 2021

    In 1840, T R Potter published a collection of essays entitled ‘Walks Round Loughborough.’ Amongst these was a description of Burleigh Hall. Demolished in 1961, it was replaced by the Edward Herbert Building and part of Administration Building I of Loughborough University. A remnant of the former walled vegetable garden survives adjacent to Administration Building […]

  • Childhood Memories of Boxing Day

    8 January 2021

    I remember enjoying Boxing Day as much as Christmas Day. First stop was to see the Quorn hunt in the marketplace. A fine spectacle they were too, resplendent in their scarlet jackets. This meet was well supported by the people of Loughborough. Then on to the drill hall in Granby Street to meet my grandparents, […]

  • William George Dimock Fletcher, a recorder of history

    4 January 2021

    William George Dimock Fletcher was born on 4th January 1851 in Handsworth, Staffordshire, the eldest child of John Waltham Fletcher and his wife, Elizabeth.  At the time of William’s birth John Fletcher was curate of St James’ Church, Handsworth, but his career would see him and his growing family moving on to Coventry and then […]

  • On this day in Loughborough … 1st January 1900

    1 January 2021

    ‘In an address given before the Wood Gate Young People’s Society, on the 1st January 1900, Mr Henry Godkin said ‘my mother[1] was born on Plough Monday in January, with snow and frost outside, and she has told me what fearful condition her mother was in that day.’ ‘On Plough Monday, boys and men used […]

  • A ‘Betwixtmas’ trip to the cinema, perhaps?

    31 December 2020

    ‘The cinema has always been a big attraction to the British public and nowhere more so than in Loughborough, where at different times we had one, two, three and four different cinemas operating. My first visit was with my mother in the early twenties. This was the new Victory Cinema, where I saw Charlie Chaplin […]

  • It was Christmas Day at the Workhouse …

    30 December 2020

    Read the poem ‘Christmas Day in the Workhouse’ by George R Sims here. Read articles by Lynne Dyer about Loughborough’s workhouses here.

  • A cure for Christmas podge!

    29 December 2020

    On a snowy day in early December 2017, I nipped down to the Old Rectory Museum in Rectory Place to meet a friend of mine, Dr Sara Read of Loughborough University. Sara is a specialist in early modern culture, literature, and medicine, (with a particular interest in women’s reproductive health) and had asked if she […]

  • In the deep mid-winter …

    28 December 2020

    ‘The winters seemed terrible. I can remember the canal freezing solid and the ice breaker would come down with seven or eight horses pulling it. In 1914 we had terrible snowstorms and the telegraph poles were lying flat on the railway. They were blown down in the blizzard.’ ‘In the winter after a hard frost, […]

  • Loughborough Rugby Football Club – a history

    27 December 2020

    The Nineteenth Century Loughborough Rugby Football Club (L.R.F.C.) was founded in about 1882 by C.D. Woolley, A. Thompson and William Webster. They played in a field in Moor Lane at the back of The Elms, the mansion and park of Mr. Henry Warner, hosiery manufacturer. Mr. Woolley was a mainstay of the club until he […]

  • The Fox and the Hounds …

    26 December 2020
  • Merry Christmas everyone!

    25 December 2020

    Wishing you all a happy, safe and hopeful Christmas. If history teaches us anything, it’s that all things – even bad times – will pass and happy days will return again. Many thanks to everyone who’s sent me snippets of local history to post on the site since May, especially Loughborough Library Local Studies Volunteers. […]

  • Christmas Eve in WW2

    24 December 2020

    During the Second World war we celebrated Christmas even though Britain’s future was uncertain.  Despite food being rationed, many of us living in a village[1] had our own garden or allotments where our parents ‘dug for victory.’ We were able to produce fruit and vegetables and various herbs. This state of affairs was taken as […]

  • Charles Dickens visits Mount Saint Bernard’s Abbey

    24 December 2020

    In an article entitled ‘Out of the World,’ which appeared in ‘All the Year Round’ in 1859, Charles Dickens describes a visit to St. Bernard’s Monastery one Christmas Eve, nearly 90 years ago.* Travelling by train from Euston he eventually arrived at ‘Buffborough,’ where he was met by an unnamed sombre individual who advised dining […]

  • On this day in Loughborough … 1869

    23 December 2020

    23rd December 1869 James Shaw, Town Hall Yard Photographic Rooms, still continues to execute Carte-de-Visite Portraits in the best style at 5/0 d per dozen. Snippets of history from the Loughborough Advertiser, Loughborough Herald and Loughborough Monitor, collated by Loughborough Library Local Studies Volunteers. Source: Matthew’s Local Newspaper Extracts Vol. 1

  • Christmas meats and poultry

    22 December 2020

    ‘At Christmas it was a joy to go round and look at all that meat. The sides, all hanging up in the shop. It was mostly local meat. Farmers used to come on certain days to the Cattle Market which stood where the car park is now in Granby street.’Contributor unknown ‘Frederick Hasenfuss, a celebrated […]

  • Christmas Tree, oh Christmas Tree …

    21 December 2020

    This year sees the tenth annual Christmas Tree Festival staged at All Saints’ Parish Church.  It’s fantastic that it’s gone ahead, albeit in a reduced ‘Covid safe’ fashion. The trees were put up last week, spaced at the end of alternate pews to maintain social distance for those looking at them, and with larger trees […]

  • ‘Hark the Herald Angels …’

    20 December 2020

    What’s your favourite Christmas carol? (And is there one you really really hate when you hear it on repeat in a shop?) I don’t know if it’s just me but I still remember how cross Miss Roberts the Limehurst music teacher used to get when we took a breath in the wrong places: ‘Born the […]

  • On this day in Loughborough … 1872

    19 December 2020

    Fire at Messengers, 1872

  • Yuletide Letters to the Forces

    18 December 2020

    Friday 18th December 1942

  • Wartime Christmas Market

    17 December 2020

    ‘Question raised as to Market at Christmas. Resolved to hold a Market on Christmas Eve 24th December closing at 11 pm and there be no Market on Sat 26th December.’Minutes of Estates Committee, 11th November 1914 ‘The Town Clerk submitted a letter from Councillor Stenson stating that several stallholders desired the Market to be held […]

  • Fancy a Christmas tipple?

    17 December 2020

    ‘There was a brewer’s dray man and he used to distribute the barrels of beer from the Midland Brewery with a shire horse and day. He drank that much that he would fall asleep with the reins in his hand. The horse would take him down to the brewery. Of course, there wasn’t much traffic […]

  • Christmas at Primary School

    16 December 2020

    23rd December 1897‘The first distribution of prizes of this school took place this morning. The children sang appropriate songs and a Christmas Carol. This was followed by excellent advice to the children from Dr Corcoran and Mr Peer, who complimented the scholars and staff on the fact that with the exception of Nanpantan, which had […]

  • Christmas Toys for Girls and Boys …

    15 December 2020

    ‘In Factory Street there was a model and doll factory. Lots of us had dolls for Christmas. They would be collectors’ items today.’1 With many thanks to John Toon, who sent in photos of two ‘Little Bear’ albums from the 1920s which had belonged to his late father Thomas of Sutton Bonington, as well as […]

  • Perfume for Christmas?

    14 December 2020

    ‘When leaving school my first working days were at the famous Zenobia which was owned by Mr W F Charles.  Two of the other co-directors were Capt. Huston, son-in-law to Mr Charles, and Mr Lax.  It was like belonging to one big happy family.’ ‘I myself worked in the packing department and the other different […]

  • Christmas at the Old Rectory

    13 December 2020

    Christmas Event at the Old Rectory Museum. December 11th 2010 ‘This is the second year that the Museum has opened its doors for a special Victorian Christmas.  There were lots of activities for the visitors, with traditional games kindly supplied by Ernie and Sheila Miller proving popular, as always.‘ ‘It was a real treat for […]

  • ‘Robins’ Breakfasts’ – 1911 to 1938

    12 December 2020

    In their collection of their grandfather’s memories, Joy Cross and Margaret Staple give a wonderful insight into the momentous task that local businessman A E Shepherd took on in running the annual ‘Robins’ Breakfasts,’ an exercise supported by townsfolk to ensure that the poorest children of Loughborough had a good meal on Christmas Day. In 1913, […]

  • On this day in Loughborough … 1873

    11 December 2020

    11th December 1873 The practice of boys playing Whip and Top on public thoroughfares has become prevalent and when remonstrated with they become abusive and violent.  The police have therefore seized a large number of whips and tops. ‘In my young days, we mostly made our own entertainment. We had our own gang, made up […]

  • On this day in Loughborough … 1874

    10 December 2020

    10th December 1874  Horse Race in Loughborough Meadow between Sam Dakin’s brown mare and Charles Fisher’s mare for £5 a side. Distance one and half miles.  Mr Fisher’s mare won by 40 yards even though Mr Dakin’s mare was favourite. Snippets from the Loughborough Advertiser, Loughborough Herald and Loughborough Monitor. Collated by Loughborough Library Local […]

  • Christmas cards #2

    9 December 2020

    With many thanks to Karen Ette* for sharing these pictures of Christmas cards from her own personal collection. ‘The various Christmas cards are mostly early 20th century, and I think the ‘sister’ one might be late 19th century. The two embroidered ones were sent to my maternal grandmother in Seagrave and the three others to […]

  • Christmas Cards #1

    8 December 2020

    People have been sending Christmas cards to friends and family for over a hundred and eighty years. Early Christmas cards were hand painted with scenes from nature to remind everyone that plants, animals and birds would come back again at the end of the dark, cold winter. The first ever printed Christmas card was made […]

  • Mistletoe for peace, not kisses

    7 December 2020

    A kissing bough made of twigs, evergreens and fruit which was hung from the ceiling was traditionally the centre-piece of Christmas decorations in the UK before Christmas trees were introduced.  Later, mistletoe was used instead, a tradition we’re more familiar with today. Apparently, the custom of kissing under mistletoe started in ancient Greece, where the […]

  • Please, sir, control those bands!

    6 December 2020

    I know very little about Loughborough’s bands, not being from a musical family and therefore never having followed them. My experience is confined to hearing my dad’s memories of the brass bands he heard in childhood in Barnsley Park, the concert I went to in the ’80s where the William Davis band played, (Roy Castle […]

  • Loughborough’s Christmas Lights switch-on – but when?

    5 December 2020

    By my reckoning, last Sunday in a non-Covid-world would’ve seen Loughborough’s annual Christmas light-switch-on event, with some celebrity or important local person standing on the Town Hall balcony (do they still stand on the balcony?) and flicking the switch. Do you know, I’ve only witnessed it once, and can remember next to nothing about it […]

  • Do you believe in Father Christmas …?

    4 December 2020

    I’m unashamedly making use of stories from my own family to help with these December diaries, but hope you enjoy them and that they spark memories for you, too. If they do, feel free to send them to me at lboro.history.heritage@gmail.com and maybe I can put them in a later post! The first is by […]

  • The Empire Bazaar and Christmas Fete 1922

    3 December 2020

    As December thoughts turn to shopping for Christmas presents, Jenny Clark reminds us of the longstanding link between ‘town and gown’ in Loughborough and tells the story of the part townspeople played in establishing ‘the Grove’ as a hall of residence. By 1922 Loughborough College had developed from a tiny pre-war Technical Institute providing classes […]

  • On this day in Loughborough … 1869

    2 December 2020

    2nd December 1869 ‘Mad-dog-at-large bites several people, including the assistant to Mr. Garton, Draper, of the Market Place.‘ There’s lots to be interested in in this short snippet of story, not least that the journalist who wrote it didn’t think it worth noting the name of the man who’d been bitten, just his ‘employer’ – […]

  • The Holly and the Ivy …

    1 December 2020

    Decorating homes with evergreens in mid-winter has been a part of life in Northern Europe for thousands of years, long before the arrival of Christianity. The Druids, the Romans and the Vikings all took greenery into their homes during the darkest part of the winter – as a symbol of everlasting life and a part […]

  • On this day in Loughborough … 1874

    30 November 2020

    Monday 30th November 1874 – (published 3rd December 1874) ‘On Monday last Loughborough was visited by one of the densest fogs remembered. Candles and lanterns were resorted to to get around, horses were led by their drivers carrying lanterns.’ Snippets of history from the Loughborough Advertiser, Loughborough Herald and Loughborough Monitor, collated by Loughborough Library […]

  • On this day in Loughborough … 1873

    27 November 2020

    27th November 1873 Thomas Griffin farmer of Sheepshead and Wm Adkin a labourer, were charged by Mr Riley, Sanitary Inspector, with depositing night soil on the highway. From the evidence it appears that several persons had accidentally fallen into it. They were fined 40/- with costs. Article provided by Loughborough Library Local Studies Volunteers.Source: Matthew’s […]

  • Brush workers filmed in November 1900

    20 November 2020

    Old film negatives found in a basement in Blackburn proved to be a ‘treasure trove of history’ which included footage of workers leaving Brush Electric Company’s Falcon works site in 1900. The ‘factory gate’ film was made by Sagar Mitchell and James Kenyon, two of the earliest in the UK to take advantage of the commercial […]

  • A history of Loughborough’s battle with fire – 1500 to 1667

    15 November 2020

    by John Gibson Disastrous Fires From the mid-1500’s onwards, with the town being built predominately of timber, all writers mentioning Loughborough speak of it as having suffered much from fire. Amongst others, the editor of the ‘Magna Britannia’ in 1720 says:- ‘Of late years it hath undergone many calamities by fire, insomuch that it hath […]

  • Brush at Brighton

    6 November 2020

    by Tony Jarram This article is a precis of a study taken during the official centenary year of the Brush Electrical Engineering Company Ltd in 1979. This was followed by additional research by the writer to support the 1982 Centenary of the Brighton Electricity Scheme. The Brighton Scheme 1982 marked an important centenary in the […]

  • Charnwood Ghost stories

    31 October 2020

    It’s the time of year when thoughts turn to ‘ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties, and things that go bump in the night.’  Or in other words, to the festival of Halloween, also known as All Saints’ Day. Stories of ghosts abound across the country, with many locations designating themselves ‘the most haunted in England’. […]

  • Black History Month: brave deeds on the battlefield

    23 October 2020

    The February 1915 Parish Magazine of St Peter and St Paul, Syston, contains a letter from local boy Percy Pollard, written to his mother on Christmas Eve 1914: ‘We saw an Indian soldier do a brave deed. He went right out in front of our trenches to get one of our wounded in. He carried […]

  • Black History Month: Asian Businesses in Loughborough

    16 October 2020

    October is Black History month and to mark this, we asked Loughborough Library Local Studies Volunteers for stories from their archives which document the lives of Black and Minority Ethnic communities in Loughborough and the Charnwood Area. Sadly, current restrictions have limited the group’s access to their actual resources in the local studies room at […]

  • Black History Month: The Martin Brothers

    9 October 2020

    ‘True Patriots Who Did Their Duty’* Yusef and Benyam Workinah Martin were the sons of Hakim** Workinah Eshete, known to the English by his adoptive name of Charles Workneh Martin. Their father had been found abandoned on an Ethiopian battlefield as a small child and taken by a British army officer to India, where he […]

  • Andrew Carnegie and Loughborough’s Carnegie Library

    2 October 2020

    Andrew Carnegie (1835–1919) was a Scottish-American industrialist and business magnate. He led the expansion of the American steel industry in the late 19th century and is often identified as having been one of the richest people in history. During the last 18 years of his life, Carnegie gave away some $350 million (estimated as equivalent […]

  • On this day in Loughborough … 1872

    26 September 2020

    26th September 1872 It was very cold in Loughborough, with falls of snow, rain and hail, accompanied with thunder and lightning. At Shepshed, the ground was covered in snow. On 22nd September the temperature fell below freezing. Snippets from the Loughborough Advertiser, Loughborough Herald and Loughborough Monitor. Collated by Loughborough Library Local Studies VolunteersSource: Matthew’s […]

  • Queen of My Heart (a Soldier’s Verse Letter)

    25 September 2020

    Letter writing was the main form of communication between soldiers and their loved ones in World War One, boosting morale and filling up long hours spent in the trenches waiting for the next conflict to begin. It’s not surprising to learn, then, that the British Army Postal Service delivered around 2 billion letters and postcards […]

  • St Paul’s Church, Woodhouse Eaves, Leics

    20 September 2020

    Standing on high ground to the south of Woodhouse Eaves is the imposing church of St Pauls. This church is much altered from the simple chapel, as originally built, to the design of the London architect William Railton. Railton was no stranger to Leicestershire having designed Grace Dieu Manor and three lodges for the Garendon […]

  • The Mayflower and Loughborough – is there a connection?

    18 September 2020

    The year 2020 marks the 400th anniversary of the voyage of the ship Mayflower from Plymouth to America. A significant number of the Pilgrims who boarded the Mayflower came from the religious congregations of Separatist Puritans. Fleeing from religious persecution in England, they had settled in Leiden in liberal 17th century Holland. They held Puritan […]

  • History at Home: winter talks by local history group

    15 September 2020

    The Friends of Charnwood Museum are staging monthly talks on a variety of historical subjects, each with a local flavour. Talks take place on Wednesdays at 7.30 pm and will be held virtually via Zoom.  They are Free to view at present. Call Charnwood Museum on 01509 233754 or email museum@charnwood.gov.uk  for the secure link to […]

  • New book published on People and Places of the Wolds

    14 September 2020

    This month sees the publication of a new local history book by the Wolds Historical Organisation, an active group of enthusiasts who research and share the history of the villages of Burton on the Wolds, Cotes, Hoton, Prestwold, Walton on the Wolds and Wymeswold. Produced by a group of writers, this collection of essays and […]

  • To build or not to build … Blackbrook Reservoir

    13 September 2020

    Nanpantan Reservoir was completed in 1870, to much celebration. As well as providing filtered water to Loughborough’s inhabitants, one bonus of the new reservoir was that for the most part, it eased the regular flooding of the town and made a huge difference to areas such as the Rushes and the streets around the Tatmarsh, […]

  • How Henry Fearon brought water to Loughborough

    4 September 2020

    Loughborough’s Local Health Board may have given in to pressure and sorted out the sewage problem in the town, but that was all they were prepared to action from William Lee’s recommendations to the General Board of Health in 1849.  Despite regular water shortages in dry spells, inhabitants had to make do with obtaining water […]

  • Loughborough’s Sewage System Sorted

    2 September 2020

    In June 1852 – after public pressure fuelled by the publication of a letter from Rev. Henry Fearon and his colleague Rev. J Robert Bunce – the Local Board of Health officially agreed to sort out a decent drainage system for Loughborough.  They appointed an engineer from Nottingham – a Mr Hawkesley – to survey […]

  • Fearon and Bunch take on the Local Board of Health

    1 September 2020

    In 1849, General Board of Health inspector William Lee ended his inquiry in Loughborough and left, his report available for anyone who wished to buy a copy from the local printer tasked with distributing it.  In it, his recommendations for improving the health of local inhabitants were listed, beginning with the need for a filtered […]

  • Fearon Fountain unveiled

    31 August 2020

    Loughborough’s iconic drinking fountain was unveiled in the Market Place on 31st August 1870 by Archdeacon Henry Fearon, who presented it to the town to mark the arrival of its long-awaited public water supply on the completion of the Nanpantan Reservoir. The fountain was made for Fearon by James and William Forsyth, brothers from Scotland […]

  • Nanpantan Reservoir 2020

    31 August 2020

    Nanpantan Reservoir was built to supply filtered water to Loughborough following recommendations made in 1849 by the government’s General Health Board Inspector, William Lee. Lee was called to evaluate the town’s water and sewage systems because of high local mortality rates and repeated outbreaks of cholera. The reservoir holds 29 million gallons of water on […]

  • Nanpantan Reservoir 1870

    31 August 2020

    ‘Four different engineers had given reports upon this question, dealing with the watershed of the Woodbrook at Nanpantan, and the Blackbrook near Onebarrow Lodge.  Eventually the former was selected, a reservoir and filter beds with capacity of 29 million gallons 8 ¾ acres in extent, and the town supplied from this source by natural gravitation.’  […]

  • Rev Fearon speaks at Health Board Inquiry

    30 August 2020

    In July 1849 – just over a year after Henry Fearon became Rector of All Saints Parish – an inspector was sent by the General Board of Health in London to assess the sanitary conditions in Loughborough.  His name was William Lee (1778-1863), a man with extensive experience in the field who led similar enquiries […]

  • Loughborough’s Health in 1848

    29 August 2020

    The industrial revolution caused towns such as Loughborough to grow rapidly as the newly-established factories drew the skilled craftsmen and women their machines were replacing away from their homes in the countryside and into the communal workplace. Population growth quickly created overcrowding.  The sale of pockets of town-land by the Earl of Moira in the […]

  • What has Henry Fearon ever done for us?

    28 August 2020

    Every time you draw a glass of water from a tap in Loughborough, spare a thought for Reverend – later Archdeacon – Henry Fearon, without whose cunning and determination that everyday action (which we so often take for granted) might not have come about. ‘But he lived way, way before I was born, so how […]

  • 150 years of the Fearon Fountain

    28 August 2020

    This weekend sees the 150th anniversary of the unveiling of the Fearon Fountain in Loughborough Market Place. To mark the occasion, we’re sharing the story of Archdeacon Henry Fearon and his connection to the campaign to bring fresh water to Loughborough. Fearon himself commemorated the success of the campaign by paying for the installation of […]

  • Boy Killed by a Lion in Loughborough

    21 August 2020

    Tudor England was a dangerous place. There were plagues and wars, perilous childbirths and shocking infant mortality. Many risks were faced by people as they went about their everyday lives but what follows must have been a strange fate even in those days. “Roger Sheppard, sonne in lawe to Nicholas Wollandes was sleayne by a […]

  • Burleigh Park in 1881

    15 August 2020

    In his ‘Historical Handbook to Loughborough,’ published in 1881 by Loughborough printers H Wills, the Rev W G Dimock Fletcher shares the history of Burleigh Park, an estate on the edge of Loughborough now owned by Loughborough University. ‘Burleigh, or Burley, in the township of Loughborough, is probably derived from beorh or burh, a hill […]

  • Loughborough Grammar and Commercial School

    9 August 2020

    ‘Then came a momentous day in the history of the town when, on August 9th 1850 the Lord Bishop of Peterborough, George Davys, D.D., returned to his native town to lay the foundation stone of the new Grammar and Commercial School in what is now the Burton Walks, which was to replace the old Free […]

  • Loughborough’s Great Cheese Sale of 1778

    7 August 2020

    The River Soar Navigation, also known as the Loughborough Canal, was opened in 1778. It brought great prosperity to the town, transporting large amounts of coal as well as other goods and raw materials. The importance of the Wharf can be judged by the fact that in August 1778 the first ever Cheese Sale was […]

  • The building of Loughborough Grammar School

    3 August 2020

    With its foundation stone laid in August 1850 by the Bishop of Peterborough, work began on a much anticipated new home for Loughborough’s ‘Grammar and Commercial School’ for boys. Construction was carried out by a builder by the name of Thomas Walpole, from bricks made at the nearby Tuckers Brickworks. The new school stood in […]

  • The Right Reverend George Davys, Bishop of Peterborough

    2 August 2020

    ‘”1780, November 2.  George Son of John Davies Gent. and Sophia his Wife was Born October ye 1st. 1780 and Baptized this Day.- Bap : 2.”  This was Dr. Davys, late Bishop of Peterborough, and formerly Preceptor to Her Majesty Queen Victoria.  He was born at the old Manor House, opposite the Church gates.’ So […]

  • Loughborough Flooded – 31st July 1735

    31 July 2020

    “From Lightning and Tempest, good Lord deliver us, Amen.” A Loughborough prayer from 1735 Extract from: Chapters in the History of Loughborough (1883)’ by Rev W G Dimock Fletcher The following Memorandum was wrote by Joseph Webster then Clerk of the Parish. – ‘Memorandum that on the last day of July 1735 there happened such […]

  • 18th Century Disasters in Shepshed

    26 July 2020

    As recorded by Rev. Thomas Heath Originally known as Sheepshead, the settlement was known for sheep farming and took its name from that. An ancient town, mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 as “Scepeshefde”, meaning ” a hill where sheep graze”. Sullington Road is claimed to be one of the oldest paths in the […]

  • Annette Ashberry (1894 – 1990): a pioneering engineer

    24 July 2020

    In 1920 Loughborough was awaiting the arrival of a unique and pioneering project, an engineering factory run by and employing only women. Atalanta Engineering Ltd duly arrived with Annette Ashberry as the works manager. Annette Ashberry had been born in Hackney in 1894 to a large Jewish immigrant family from Russia. WW1 proved tragic for […]

  • William Berridge: lay preacher and local weatherman

    19 July 2020

    ‘As the local weatherman, it was said on the retirement of Mr William Berridge that for more than a score of years he had never missed his daily duty at a certain hour of taking the meteorological readings and sending his recording by cypher telegram to headquarters.  He was fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society […]

  • Loughborough Family Connections: Nash – Burder – Fison

    17 July 2020

    A one-time resident of Ashby Road, the Reverend Frederick Gifford Nash was born in Fowlmere, Cambridgeshire on 30th June 1819. He attended Pembroke College, Cambridge University, was ordained in 1844 and became the Vicar of Diseworth from 1845 to 1851. He married Miss Sarah Eliza Hackett. On his retirement he moved to ‘Clavering’, Ashby Road, […]

  • Shelthorpe School – a Diamond Jubilee

    13 July 2020

    Shelthorpe Infant and Junior schools were created to serve the community of the Shelthorpe housing estate, built to the south of town by the Loughborough Corporation from 1926 onwards. The schools were designed by Edward T Allcock of Loughborough, the initial idea being they would stand around two enclosed quadrangles, though in the end these […]

  • Grace Dieu Priory

    12 July 2020

    Grace Dieu Priory is a former Augustinian nunnery in Thringstone, Leicestershire, founded in medieval times by Roseia de Verdon, a wealthy heiress in her own right and widow of Theobald Butler, who held extensive lands in Southern Ireland.  Theobald’s death in 1230 made Roseia a ‘femme sole,’ an independent woman no longer under the legal […]

  • Nicholas Alkemade – the man who fell to earth

    10 July 2020

    This is the story of a remarkable man. Nicholas Alkemade – ‘Nick’ to his friends and family – is most famous for his fall to earth without a parachute. This was only the start of a series of incredible events, any one of which would have finished a lesser man. To start at the beginning, […]

  • The Old Rectory and the bonfire of books

    6 July 2020

    The following story is from Loughborough resident David Taylor, a life-long congregation member of All Saints’ Parish Church. ‘It must have been about 1956 that the following events occurred.’ ‘Chas and I had been good friends at All Saints and also at school for some time, so it was not unusual to find us on a […]

  • To church on Sunday in times past

    5 July 2020

    In his 1979 publication ‘The Story of Loughborough 1888-1914,’ W Arthur Deakin, son of Echo founder Joseph Deakin whom he followed as director of the company, shared the childhood church-going memories of Mr Norman Bailey, a self-styled ‘Edwardian of Loughborough Congregational Church’ and himself the son of a local dignitary – Thomas W. Bailey, a […]

  • A Lockdown Tour of The Parish Church

    3 July 2020

    When I go on my exercise walks in our historic town, I imagine I am explaining to an imaginary audience thing they may not have known before.  Last week I went to the Parish Church to see a painted cross people had been writing about.  Then I sat on one of the seats outside and […]

  • Fishing in childhood

    29 June 2020

    Dad would take us fishing by the canal bank off Nottingham Road.  The three of us, myself and my two sisters. Mum would never join us in those days, she hated the canal and would have preferred us all to go to the park. Three nets and a jam jar with string tied around the […]

  • Loughborough United Reformed Church

    28 June 2020

    The United Reformed Church – formerly Loughborough Congregational Church – opened on Frederick Street in July 1908. At this point, Congregationalism had existed in the town for 80 years, its early days being ‘full of hardship and trial.’* After meeting in rooms in Mill Street and Sparrow Hill, the congregation had opened a chapel in […]

  • The Leicester Fortnight

    26 June 2020

    The much-beloved Leicestershire Workers’ July Fortnight started fifty five years ago in 1965. An announcement was made that factory holidays in Loughborough, Shepshed and other places in the district were to be changed from the first two weeks of August to the first two weeks of July. This meant that work at such places as […]

  • Aircraft production at Brush

    22 June 2020

    My grandfather and my father, both who worked ‘at the Brush,’ often spoke of the products that had been built there over the years. Whilst I could relate to the rail products as they were still being produced, aircraft intrigued me. There seemed to be little information available and memories had been lost or distorted […]

  • Origins of the Brush Electrical Engineering Co Ltd

    22 June 2020

    To study the history of the Brush Electrical Engineering Company Ltd it is necessary to follow two different paths. One originating in England in the Leicestershire town of Loughborough and the other on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean in the USA city of Cleveland, Ohio. The origin of the Loughborough operation was a […]

  • Richard Crosher: businessman, philanthropist and churchwarden

    21 June 2020

    Loughborough’s population grew so rapidly in the 1820s and ’30s it was decided that a new parish was needed. Emmanuel College, Cambridge – patron of the living of Loughborough – agreed that All Saints Parish could be split in two and that the new parish could take the college’s name. Thus Emmanuel Parish was born […]