Inglewood, Ernest Gimson’s beautiful arts and crafts house on Ratcliffe Road, is today nationally recognised as one of the finest examples of its type; designed in his home town by one of the leading exponents of the Arts and Crafts Movement.
But it was not always so. In January 1975 the executors of the deceased owner applied to the Leicester City Council Planning Department for permission to demolish it and to build in its place “four new detached dwellings with garages”.
Happily, thanks to a powerful lobby from local conservationists, sanity prevailed; the Council turned down the application and in March 1975 English Heritage (now Historic England) gave Inglewood a Grade Two listing.
Ernest Gimson’s Inglewood: the House and the people who have lived in it
The above controversy is recounted in Ernest Gimson’s Inglewood: the House and the people who have lived in it, a recently published book by Inglewood’s current owners Adam Suddaby and Victoria Gifford which, lovingly and in meticulous detail, records the history of the house.
To say that this beautifully produced volume is a labour of love would be an understatement. It is a wonderful document of both the architectural and the social history of the house and its times. Designed in 1892 and built on a substantial plot on the corner of Ratcliffe Road and Elms Road, Inglewood has been home to just five families over the past 130 years.
The first two occupiers were tenants, as Gimson didn’t sell Inglewood until 1918, five years after the Evans family moved in. They remained in residence for sixty-one years, having succeeded the first two tenants, Joseph and Cordelia Levy (1893-1901) Alexander and Lucy Baines (1901-1913).
From 1975-2001 the Theophilus family were in residence and for the past twenty-one years Inglewood has been the home of the authors, who have painstakingly restored the house to its present superb condition.
The book is copiously illustrated and contains dozens of fascinating photographs including several of the house both externally and internally, all the previous owners and a meticulous pictorial record of the 21st century restoration. There are also many plans and drawings, charts, maps and newspaper cuttings.