Monday 14 December 2009

Advent 14: The Market Square, North Evington

Arthur Wakerley was a Mayor of Leicester and an Alderman, and was celebrated as an architect, business man, and politician. In the 1920s he was the Chair of Leicester's first Housing and Town Planning Committee, as well as being a Weslyan local preacher, and President of the Temperance Union.

In the years around 1900, Wakerley perceived a need for good quality working class housing in Leicester, and to this end bought land comprising mainly brick pits and mud in the Spinney Hill/North Evington area. He set about creating a self-contained suburb which would provide everything its population required to work, rest and play. On Asfordby Street he built a market place with a hall, surgery, shops, and a police and fire station. Wakerley charged low prices for sites to encourage factories to the area, and by 1914 there were 28 factories employing over 5,000 people in 31 different trades.

Unfortunately, the market was never a success; having become run down its market license was withdrawn in 1947, and it was only in 1982 that it was redeveloped by Rod Hackney & Associates as an open area with bandstand, as shown in the picture above. More on Wakerley and his vast contribution to Leicester at: