Francis Hewitt Senior lived at Knighton Drive (1878-1880) and ‘Southernhay’, London Road (1880-1895), one of a pair of semi-detached houses which were demolished in the 1930s to build the Grenfell Close flats. Hewitt married twice and they seem to have been built by him to accommodate his two families.
The son of a farmer from Welford, Northants, Hewitt was indentured as a teenager to the Leicester Daily Mercury and then became a ‘bookseller, stationer and general news agent’ living above the shop in Granby Street.
Recognising a growing public appetite for news, when the proprietor of the Leicester Daily Mercury and the Leicester Chronicle and Leicestershire Mercury died in 1877, Hewitt bought them from the executors and later also acquired the Leicester Daily and Weekly Post.
As publisher and editor he improved and modernized until in 1890 the papers moved to new premises in Wellington Street/Albion Street and a professional editor was appointed. Perhaps in recognition of this, in 1892 Hewitt became chairman of the Press Association. Following his death in Hunstanton in 1897, his son Francis junior took over the company and his only son, Francis Vernon was Chairman between 1911 and 1954 when the family finally handed on the baton.
Hewitt married first Catherine Russell of Leicester and then Elizabeth Cook of Kings Lynn who is buried alongside him in Old Hunstanton churchyard.