Stoneygate

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Inglewood (1892), Ratcliffe Road, designed by Ernest Gimson

Stoneygate is part of the City of Leicester, England.

Situated on the south-east side of the city some two miles from the centre, Stoneygate is a mainly residential suburb characterised by its large Victorian houses. It straddles the London Road which connects Leicester with the town of Market Harborough and was formerly the main route for horse-drawn carriages between Leicester and London.

History[edit]

Brookfield on London Road, Thomas Fielding Johnson's family home

The name 'Stoneygate' originates in Old English as "stone road", and Ordnance Survey maps show the former route of the Roman Gartree Road leading south-east from Leicester towards Little Stretton, Medbourne, Corby and eventually, Colchester.

Stoneygate's historical significance was recognised when it was designated a conservation area by Leicester City Council in 1978. The Stoneygate Conservation Area (which also includes properties in the adjacent suburb of Clarendon Park) is bounded by Victoria Park Road to the north, Queens Road to the west, Stoneygate Road to the east and Shirley Road to the south. A map is available on the Stoneygate Conservation Area Society website (see external links below).

There are many examples of well-preserved Victorian family homes in Stoneygate as well as slightly later Edwardian buildings and -in the southern section- homes built after the Great War of 1914–18 and influenced by more modern architectural styles, notably Art Deco. Particularly worthy of note are 'Brookfield' and 'The Firs' on London Road; two remaining examples of the oldest and grandest homes built by wealthy commercial families to imitate the country estates of the local gentry. There are no less than ten Grade II listed residential properties. These include 'The White House' in North Avenue designed in a variation of the Arts & Crafts style by Ernest Gimson in 1898 and 22 Avenue Road, designed in the modernist style by Fello Atkinson and Brenda Walker of James Cubitt and Partners in 1953. The Stoneygate Conservation Area Society, a group of local volunteers with a current membership of over 170 households, exists to inform the public about the Conservation Area, its history and proposed developments that will affect its future.

Profile of one Stoneygate house[edit]

In Stoneygate Road (No. 58), on the corner of Aber Road, is a large three-storey red brick Victorian building in the gothic style. This was built in 1880 to plans by local architect William Beaumont Smith to relocate the 'Home for Penitent Females' from its previous premises at 16 Blue Boar Lane in Leicester. 'The Home', as it was known, was a charity run by a Committee of local philanthropists and religious leaders to provide welfare and reform for unmarried mothers (often referred to as 'fallen women'). It is assumed that the women's children would have been taken from their mothers and would be treated as orphans or adopted soon after birth. The charity would generate income by taking in washing which would be done by the inmates.

The original plans are dated 23 July 1880 and appear to have been submitted for approval on 21 August that year and include a section of building up to No. 60 Stoneygate Road, which was never completed. The main three-storey component provided a kitchen, dining room and matron's office on the ground floor, with two floors of dormitories, individual bedrooms and bathrooms above. In an 'L'shaped single storey projection to the rear was the laundry and associated out buildings. A coal yard, carriage house and stable were added in 1882, also to designs by Beaumont-Smith.

William Beaumont-Smith (WBS) appears to have begun his career working for Parsons & Dain who were quite a successful firm of local architects in the early Victorian period, William Parsons being responsible for some of Leicester's grand civic buildings including the Leicestershire County Lunatic Asylum (later part of the University of Leicester) and the Theatre Royal (now demolished). They were also responsible for early parts of the Leicester Royal Infirmary. By 1855 Parsons seems to have disappeared from the partnership and WBS has taken his place; the firm now being called Dain & Smith. They are recorded in local directories as practising from 21 St. Martins in Leicester and during this time WBS was resident in London Rd (Stockdale Terrace and 51 London Rd – next to the Hind Hotel, opposite the railway station).

By 1876 WBS was on his own – not sure what happened to Dain – and was practising from Greyfriars Chambers, 7 Friar Lane, Leicester, where he continued to work until his death in 1899. He was also Leics. County Surveyor from this time until his death. His private residences during this time may say something about his fortunes as a sole practitioner: in the early years (1876–77) he was resident at No. 2 New Walk – the town end of a fashionable residential pedestrian thoroughfare. By 1878 he was at 'Trentham Villa' in Granville Road and remained here until 1881. This suggests he was doing very well indeed – they were (and some remain) grand houses overlooking Victoria Park at the southern end of New Walk. However by 1889 he had moved to 61 Evington Rd – still nice houses but nothing like as grand and Granville Rd. He remained in Evington Rd until the late 1890s – in 1899 he was living at 11 Alexandra Road in Stoneygate. The property was called 'Campsie'.

By the 1930s No. 58 Stoneygate Road had become 'The Home School' and some alterations were made including the addition of the single storey recreation room adjoining No.60 and the conversion of part of the outbuildings to a chapel. In 1942 a further single storey building was added to the rear of the recreation room as an air raid shelter. In the late 1950s the building changed hands again, this time passing to the NHS for use as a new community-based rehabilitation facility for women (later mixed) with learning disabilities. The facility, known as the Stoneygate Hostel, formed part of the Glenfrith group of hospitals along with Stretton Hall hospital. The Hostel was closed by the NHS in the mid-1990s and the property was marketed for sale by Innes England of 12 De Montfort Street, Leicester. Following further adaptations to suit its needs, the building is now occupied by the Leicester Montessori Grammar School.

Listed Buildings in Stoneygate[edit]

  • AVENUE ROAD: No 22 (Grade: II; Reference: 469641)
  • AVENUE ROAD: No 22 Garden Room (Grade: II; Reference: 469642)
  • CLARENDON PARK ROAD: Church of St. John the Baptist (Grade: II star; Reference: 188621)
  • LONDON ROAD: Clarendon Park Congregational Church (Grade: II; Reference: 188697)
  • LONDON ROAD: No 1-4 Scholars Walk, listed as No. 254 Stoneygate School (Grade: II; Reference: 188694)
  • LONDON ROAD: No. 223 (Listed as The Firs) (Grade: II; Reference: 188696)
  • NORTH AVENUE: No12 The White House
  • RATCLIFFE ROAD: 34–38 (Grade: II; Reference: 489933)
  • RATCLIFFE ROAD: No 56 Ratcliffe Lodge (Grade: II; Reference: 469448)
  • RATCLIFFE ROAD: No. 32 Inglewood (Grade: II star; Reference: 188782
  • SPRINGFIELD ROAD: Nos. 4 & 6 (Grade: II; Reference: 188809)
  • STANLEY ROAD: Eastfield (Grade: II; Reference: 490908)

Amenities[edit]

Stoneygate is well-provided with its own local amenities. In addition to the medical practice on Springfield Road and the St John the Baptist Primary School on East Avenue, there are several private schools (including Montessori), nurseries and dental practices. Stoneygate also has a wide variety of fashionable shops and boutiques on Allandale Road and Francis Street.[1]

Transport links[edit]

Stoneygate has two very frequent bus services operated by Arriva Fox County routes 31 and 31A also Centrebus operate UHL Hospital Hopper that only stops on Stoughton Road South. Leicester's London Road railway station is a ten to fifteen minute journey by bus, car or taxi.

Political[edit]

Stoneygate gives its name to a Leicester City Council ward that also includes parts of Evington Valley and Highfields. It is part of the Leicester South parliamentary constituency whose MP is currently Jon Ashworth (Labour).

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Stoneygate Conservation Area Society website

For Conservation Areas in Leicester see Leicester City Council website

Coordinates: 52°36′58″N 1°06′11″W / 52.616°N 1.103°W / 52.616; -1.103