Loughborough, Luddites and Lace Trail

Loughborough, Luddites and Lace walking trail: a virtual walkaboutLoughborough, visiting the sites associated with Heathcoat and Boden and lacemaking in the town. Snippets of info about the sites in question accompany each picture. Devised and created by lynneaboutloughborough, following a guided walk led by a descendant of a lacemaking family.

The year 2015 saw a number of important anniversaries in Loughborough, including 100 years since the registering of the Ladybird Books logo, and 50 years since the completion of The Towers hall of residence on what is now the university campus. 2016 is no less rich in anniversaries and includes the 100th anniversary, on 31st January, of the dropping of Zeppelin bombs on Loughborough and on 28th June an attack on a local lacemaking factory by The Luddites. 

In recognition of the importance of the Luddite raid, known as the "Loughborough Job" a number of events are planned during the weekend of 25th June, which includes the Picnic in the Park. Today, in advance of this, I was lucky enough to be part of a small group who were walked through the story of Heathcoat and the Luddites.

The walk below more or less follows the route of the actual walk we took, and includes a little bit of info about each location. This is not the full story of the Luddite attack on Heathcoat's factory as this is covered elsewhere, so I will be very brief!

Let's start our walk in Queen's Park, off Granby Street, on the steps of the Charnwood Museum, once the home of the town swimming baths:
The Charnwood Museum in Queen's Park
Opened by Joseph Griggs, Alderman, and the first Mayor of the Borough of Loughborough, in 1899 as a swimming baths, Queen's Hall was built to celebrate the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria. If you bathed in the morning, the cost was 2d, in the afternoon it was 1d, but by the evening the cost was only 1/2d: I wonder why that was!! Chlorination came to the baths in 1934, and the baths closed around 1975 when the leisure centre opened. In 1980 the building was re-named the Queen's Hall and used for craft fairs and then the flea market, which is now held most Fridays in the Market Place. In 1999, Queen's Hall became home to Charnwood Museum, and is well worth a visit!

In front of the Museum you will see a couple of ornamental ponds, with a little stone bridge between them, and the cast of the Great Paul bell at one end. The park was created on land that once belonged to Island house, so called because the house was surrounded by not just the Woodbrook, but also lots of little streams. These ponds that you see now, are actually flowing streams, and pass under the town. The Woodbrook flows alongside the park, and can be seen at the New Street entrance.  

Standing on the bridge, looking towards Granby Street

Looking from the Great Paul bell towards Granby Street

The Woodbrook at the New Street entrance to Queen's Park
If you are standing looking at the museum turn along the path to your right which will lead you out o the park and onto Granby Street, almost opposite the Carnegie Library.
Public Library on Granby Street
Turn right down Granby Street: if you look down towards the Cattle Market you should have a good view of the art deco facade of Loughborough's cinema, originally built in 1914.
Odeon cinema in Cattle Market
Continue down Granby Street, pass the Granby Street car park on your right and pause outside what is now Swinton Insurance and look to the opposite side of the road where you will see the Woodbrook as it passes between two buildings.
The Woodbrook passing between two buildings on Granby Street
Now, cross Granby Street, and re-trace your steps back up Granby Street, but when you reach Whalley's clothes shop, turn right into Packe Street. If you cross Packe Street here, you can look across at the clothes shop.
Whalley's clothes shop on the corner of Packe Street and Granby Street
Between the windows on the top floor you will see an elaborated carved, terracotta green man. Terracotta is a popular feature in Loughborough, and was probably made by the Hathern Station Brick and Terra Cotta Company. I'll leave you to decide if you think the green man is a pagan symbol, or a symbol of good luck! Suffice to say, there are a large number of them to be found in Loughborough!

Carry on walking up Packe Street, past the St John's Ambulance HQ, and the Full Gospel Church, until you see the back of the library on your left and the back of Iceland on your right. Walk towards Iceland and the alleyway by the side of it. This will bring you out onto Market Street, formerly known as Malt Mill Lane, or Mill Lane, on account of the busy malt industry that was situated here at one time. 

The building that is Iceland stands on the very spot where Heathcoat's lacemaking factory was in 1816, and it is under the little alleyway we've just walked through that the Woodbrook meets with the other little streams, and flows off towards the Rushes via Brook Side.  
A view of Iceland from Market Street (formerly Malt Mill Lane)

A view of the alleyway between Iceland and Wild Lime (formerly Varsity)

A closer view of the alleyway
The positioning of Heathcoat's lacemaking factory was undoubtedly deliberately chosen for its easy access to water, although this was not enough to power his machines by water wheel. The laceworkers were poorly paid and probably a little perturbed by the developments that Heathcoat was making towards mechanising lacemaking which would have led to many of them being put out of work.They themselves may not have had the courage or wherewithall to do something to prevent this, but there was another group of folk, the Luddites, who did.

Lacemakers may well have lived in cottages on what is now Ashby Square / Derby Square, where the Oriental Supermarket is now, and these houses would have ben similar to those that existed on Orchard Street at the time of the dropping  of Zeppelin bombs on Loughborough.
The Oriental Supermarket as it is today
If you are standing looking at Iceland, turn and continue along market Street, at the end of which you can see the Town Hall.
Loughborough Town Hall in Market Place
Turn right into Cattle Market, and walk just past the Town Hall, and turn left into Town Hall Passage.
Town Hall Passage with its lovely mosaics
When you come out of the covered part of Town Hall Passage you will pass a number of interesting features. On your right at ground level you will see some old stones and some old bricks at the base of a more modern wall. There used to be some houses along here, so perhaps these stones and bricks were once part of these.
Old stone foundations (?) along Town Hall Passage

Old brick wall along Town Hall Passage
Also on your right, but more at roofline level, you can see the side of the town's cinema. From the ghost sign you will see that it was once called the Empire, and you can also see the some of the art deco windows
The Empire ghost sign, just beneath the first of the 3 high windows 
Three art deco windows in the Odeon cinema
Carry along to the end of Town Hall Passage. You will see the former Magistrate's Court, and one-time police station on your left, although you get a better view if you cross over Woodgate.
The former Magistrate's Court and police station
On the corner of Woodgate and Packe Horse Lane is the Old Packe Horse Pub, now the Organ Grinder, and here we take up the story of Heathcoat once again. On the night of 28th June 1816, a group of Luddites came to the town, with the purpose of destroying the lacemaking frames in John Heathcoat's factory. But, before doing this, they fuelled themselves with ale in local hostelries, including possibly, the Duke Of York (now demolished, but was on Nottingham Road), The White Lion on Swan Street (where Hartley's estate agent either is now or was recently, on the Swan Street corner with George Yard), the Seven Stars (which was at the top of Shakespeare Street on John Street), and also in the Old Packe Horse. 
The Old Packe Horse fronts onto Woodgate

The Old Packe Horse runs along Packe Horse Lane
Turn into Packe Horse Lane and follow it to its junction with Southfields Road. Cross Southfields road at the pedestrian lights and walk along Leicester Road, keeping the park on your right. You will pass a row of shops, including a doctor's surgery.
Row of shops on Leicester Road

Park View doctor's surgery

Further shops on Leicester Road
Slightly further along on Leicester Road, you will see two houses slightly set back from the line of the shops you see above. 
Heathcoat and Boden's houses on Leicester Road
One of the disadvantages of urban walking these days is that it is almost impossible to take a photograph that doesn't include the motor vehicle! 

Anyway, the house on the left of the pair was the home of John Heathcoat at the time of the Luddite raids on his factory. It is now home to the Bridge, a local charity helping the homeless, but has also been an antique shop, a solicitors office, home to the Amateur Swimming Association and to a local architectural drawing company. 
Heathcoat's former house on Leicester Road
In 2006 the discovery of a secret tunnel leading to a secret room within the property led to much excitement, and was covered extensively by the local newspaper, the Loughborough Echo, which recently reprinted the whole story.

What I have omitted to mention so far is that Heathcoat was not the sole owner of the factory on Market Street, and he did indeed have a partner called John Boden. in 1816 John Boden was living on Leicester Road next to John Heathcoat, and there is a possibility that as well as there being a secret tunnel and room in Heathcoat's house, there was also a secret exit from Boden's house.
Boden's former house on Leicester Road
Local theory is that Heathcoat and Boden were both aware of the unpopularity of the new lacemaking equipment, were aware that the Luddites had already attacked a number of places with such equipment and were in a way prepared for an attack on their own factory. Heathcoat was, in fact, in Tiverton at the time of the raid, which took place at around 11.55pm on the night of 28th June 1816. Boden, however, was certainly in the factory at 11pm, but was not seen again until 5am.  

If you are still on the park side of Leicester Road, do cross over (you may have to go forward to the next set of traffic lights, or back to the previous ones), so that you may walk into Gregory Street, which is further along Leicester Road, away from the town centre, past the music shop, the chip shop, the supermarket, the motorcycle shop etc. and has a large Victorian building on its corner.
Slightly obtuse view of Victorian Rectory on the corner of Gregory Street and Leicester Road
A view down Gregory Street
At the end of Gregory Street was a house called Burton House where Heathcoat lived at one time.
The few houses that are left on Gregory Street

Two very old workers cottages (spot the ghost sign on the end terraced house)
Continue down Gregory Street until you reach the junction with Moira Street and turn left here. If you consider where we are, this road runs parallel to Leicester Road, so it will be no surprise to you that the buildings at the end of Heathcoat's garden have a presence on this road.
Entrance to Heathcoat's house from Moira Street 
Continue to the end of Moira Street, turn left onto Barrow Street. Walk down Barrow Street until it changes to Jubilee Way and you reach the junction with Pinfold gate on the left, under the iron archway. 
Chemist on Pinfold Gate

Pinfold Gate

Pinfold Gate, formerly the Beauchief and the Britannia
The buildings on your left, the chemist, and so on. Pinfold Gate was the first lacemaking district in the town, and these properties were probably lacemaking factories. At one time Heathcoat lived on Pinfold Gate.

On the opposite side of Pinfold Gate, you might be able to catch a glimpse of the new cinema and restaurant complex that has been built on the site of the old hostpital.   
Doctor's surgery on Pinfold Gate with view of new cinema complex
Walk up Pinfold Gate and pause to look at the workers cottages that are locally listed. 
Workers cottages on Pinfold Gate
Continue up Pinfold Gate until you get to its junction with Leicester Road / High Street. At this point you can either retrace your steps and go up Woodgate, down Town Hall Passage on the right, and end up at Market Street, and return via the alleyway, Packe Street and Granby Street. Or, when you reach the end of Town Hall Passage, if you turn left and then take Granby Street on your right you will end up back at Queen's Park.

Alternatively, carry on down High Street, into Market Place, and pick up either Market Street or Granby Street as above.

This is the end of our walk. I hope you've enjoyed seeing some of the sites associated with Loughborough, Luddites and Lace!

If you want to know more about the Zeppelin raids on Loughborough which took place on the night of 31st January 1916, take a look at the Zeppelin trail. If you want to know more about art, architecture and sculpture in the town have a look at the Sculpture trail

If you want to know more about the wonderful market town of Loughborough, it's past and present, pop over to the blog.

You are welcome to quote passages from any of my walks, with appropriate credit. The correct citation for this looks as follow:

Dyer, Lynne (2017). Loughborough, Luddites and Lace walking trail. Available from: http://lynneaboutloughborough.blogspot.co.uk/p/loughborough-luddites-and-lace-walking.html [Accessed 29 April 2017]

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I post no pictures that are not my own, unless I have express permission so to do. All text is my own, and not copied from any other information sources, printed or electronic, unless identified and credited as such. If you find I have posted something in contravention of these statements, or if there are photographs of you which you would prefer not to be here, please contact me at the address listed on the About Me page, and I will remove these.
Thank you for reading this blog and I hope you enjoyed this walk. 


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