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The Stoneygate Conservation Area

Stoneygate is one of the most handsome and architecturally interesting parts of Leicester. In 1978, it was designated a conservation area and in the same year, The Stoneygate Conservation Area Society was formed.

The Conservation Area, which also includes part of Clarendon Park and Knighton and crosses three City Council wards, is made up of properties representing nearly two hundred years of the City’s history. The oldest building (`The Firs’ at 223 London Road dates from the 1820s. The newest (the £20 million South Lodge Care Home at 307 London Road) opened in 2010 but retains the façade of an earlier house built in the 1870s as a centrepiece.

In 1846, nine years after Victoria became Queen, there were ten houses in Stoneygate; all of them along London Road which was the main horse-drawn coach route between Leicester, Market Harborough and the capital.

By the time she died in 1901 there were hundreds. The last decades of the nineteenth century saw a building boom in Stoneygate which leaves the ones we have experienced in the shade.

Most historical houses and nearly all of Clarendon Park is Victorian development and Victorian building styles set the tone of the area. The ornate brick and stonework and elaborate individual features of buildings are typical.

Walking through the streets on a quiet evening, you can’t help but be impressed by the richness of detail and variety. In the grander parts like St Mary’s, Knighton Park and Ratcliffe Roads, there’s a sense of scale and openness.

Architects and builders used to show off their skills on the outside; today they seem to save them all for the inside. In a new house, the real talent is in fitting so many rooms and facilities into the available interior space. Much less time and effort is expended on the exterior design, and it shows. Very few people involved in the design of new housing developments expect future residents to walk the street and admire their neighbours’ architecture but the people who built houses in Stoneygate did.