This imposing late Victorian house has something of a baronial style which is perhaps not surprising as it seems to have been built for the youngest son of woollen hosiery manufacturer Robert Walker, a Glaswegian Scot who had come to Leicester in 1825 as a teenager and had become, by the time of his death in 1883, head of the firm which ultimately became Wolsey knitwear.
His son, Robert James Walker, joined the family business and lived at Ormidale until his death in 1939. Ormidale is an estate in Argyllshire, the county to which Robert James.’ brother William retired and which they both seem to have known well.
After the Second World War Ormidale became a private doctor’s home surgery, retaining this use until c1968. Its owner made several tentative applications for a change of use (hotel – refused, pub/club – refused, school – approved after being initially refused, dwelling houses, bungalows, flats – approved, student hostel – approved) and there was another from ‘The Constitutional Club’, apparently seeking to turn it into a nite-spot (refused).
It subsequently became a private school c1970 and then a care home between 1986 and c2000. Consent for demolition was granted in July 2001 and the present apartment complex named The Laurels, designed by Marchini Curran Associates, was built on the cleared site by David Wilson Homes in 2003.