Our autumn guided walk on October 8th was a new departure for us. Besides opting for a Saturday
morning to allow members who work full-time to attend, for the first time, rather than examining historic
houses in particular parts of the conservation area or the work of individual architects, we focussed on a theme.
Our guides, Peter Jones and Leigh Picciano Moss, introduced us to a series of houses, most still standing, which had, at one time or another, been used as places of `learning and education’ and several of which were still being used for the purpose.
We began near the Victoria Park end of London Road with Hollybank Court on the site of which had stood a house used during the Great War as Minerva College, a private boarding school for young Jewish ladies run by the three nieces of ex mayor Sir Israel Hart which had relocated from Dover to avoid the terrifying Zeppelin raids.
We moved to the pair of 1860s houses Oaklands and Edina, both of which had briefly been private Victorian boarding schools and then on to nearby Stoneygate School, purpose built in 1859 as Franklin’s (later Rudd’s) School and converted into privately-owned flats as part of the Scholars Walk development in 2003.
We stopped to admire Brookfield and learn about its link to the Fielding Johnsons and its post-war role as a School of Nursing and Midwifery and then moved on to Stoneygate College in Albert Road, also purpose-built as a private boarding school in the mid 1880s by the three Mackennal sisters.
Finally, (and topically, given Leicester’s diverse modern population), we learned about the Islamic Academy, on the corner of Stoneygate and London Roads, its previous role as Woodbank School and its origins as the home of hosiery manufacturer Thomas Henry Downing.
Our thanks to Leigh and Peter for such an interesting event!