Sunday, 19 June 2016

Red, white or maybe green?

Ah, hello! Thanks for dropping by. If you landed here because of your interest in the 2016 US Presidential campaign, you may wish to go back to your search results and try a different link, unless you're interested in the houses of Loughborough, in which case, do please read on!

There's something that's been bugging me for a while, a couple of years in fact, since I did my tour guide qualification, when I had the luxury of time to spend looking through books, maps, newspapers and all the ephemera in the local studies room at Loughborough public library.

Now, I'm no map reader, but I spent hours poring over the old maps of the town, trying to visualise where things were then and where they are now - if you see what I mean! A good friend had said it would be really interesting to overlay the older map with a newer map and see what once stood on the site of those things that are so familiar to us today.

What a good idea, I thought, but not one I've ever had time to do anything about (I'm sure there's someone out there who has had the time and skills to do this though!), except to puzzle over the odd thing that I couldn't quite make sense of at the time.

So, I've now been thinking about this for more than 3 years, and, as is often the case, it's taken me this long to work it out. Ok, so it's been bubbling away in the back of my mind for this long, whilst a whole lot of other things have been at the front, but gradually I've managed to make some sense of what appeared to me to be conflicting information.

Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to get much pictorial evidence I need for this blog, so I hope my words, and the few pics I've got will be enough to convince you!

On an 1880s map of the town, I was looking along Leicester Road when I spotted the words "White House". Hmmm, was that going North or going South? Did I have the map up the wrong way, the right way, upside down, or what? Well, whichever way I held the map, it seemed to me that the White House was on the wrong side of Leicester Road. Ah, now, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, is it not? I was aware that the route of Leicester Road had changed over the years, and that the main road used to turn into Pack Horse Lane at one time (which, of course, means it was one-way in the opposite direction from what it is today), so maybe Leicester Road further down had moved too? Not very likely really, is it?!

Anyway, my consternation was because I had discovered whilst investigating the history of Middleton Place, that there was a White House on the Fairfield School site. This was so called because at one time, Fairfield House had been built as the home of the White family, who were owners in the hosiery company Paget and White, in 1823, before Augusta Sophia Middleton moved here quite some time after the death of her husband, Edward William Craddock Middleton, who died in 1887. At the time of the 1901 census she was still living in Shelthorpe Cottage (now The Cedars) and some of the White family were still living in the White House, but shortly afterwards, the Whites had moved out, and Mrs Middleton had moved in. 

Today, Fairfield House, now called the White House, is still on the Fairfield School site, but the view has been rather eclipsed by a new building, which sits in front of it. The view from Southfields Park isn't all that great either.

As we all know, Fairfield School is on the right hand side of Leicester Road as you head towards Leicester, and I'm pleased to tell you that this part of Leicester Road follows the original road and hasn't moved! If we travel out of Loughborough along this stretch of Leicester Road, to the point where there is a left turn into Beeches Road, with the BP garage on one corner and Maher's the off-licence on the other (actually, Maher's is now called Lifestyle Express), let's stop here for a moment. 

I believe this is the position of the other White House, which appeared as the only White House on that 1880s map! Maher's Lifestyle Express is it! If you walk along Leicester Road just beyond that left turn and look at the corner shop from the side and the back, I think you'll agree that this would have been quite a substantial property at the time it was built. And I believe this it the White House I couldn't quite place until recently. I haven't had time to check and see when it was built, nor who lived there over the years, so that's a blog post for another day! Talking of which, I haven't had time tonight to cover the Red House, or the Green House, or do I mean greenhouse? So that'll have to wait a while too!
Walking away from Maher's down Leicester Road

Maher's from the opposite side of Leicester Road

Maher's on the corner of Leicester Road and Beeches Road

A map of LES campus showing the White House in the middle of the block on the front right (No. 5)
A view of the White House (formerly Fairfield House) from Southfields Park

Fairfield (now the White House) just above middle of photo
White House, corner Windmill (now Beeches) Road


You are welcome to quote passages from any of my posts, with appropriate credit. The correct citation for this looks as follow:

Dyer, Lynne (2016). Red, white or maybe green? [Online] Available from: [Accessed 19 June 2016]

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