Sunday 22 November 2015

Old Bleach Yard

Today I was lucky enough to be able to attend the opening up of the Old Bleach Yard!

If you know Loughborough, you are probably familiar with Angel Yard in Market Place, as being the original home of Wills and Hepworth, the publishers of Ladybird books, or maybe The George Yard, at one time home to James' Vaults. Yards like this, as well as courts, were very common in the Loughborough of old, but have changed over the years as new developments have replaced them.

The Old Bleach Yard is the path leading down by the side of the vacuum cleaner shop and The Moon and Bell (or Atherstone House) in Ward's End. For many years I used to buy my birthday cards in the pine shop that used to be on the left towards the bottom, but of late I have had little reason to go down there. The yard ends with a wall, and some concrete garages, with the old Clarke's dyeworks to the right. 

Well, I say this, but now the area has been transformed, the garages and wall knocked down and the pathway opened up into the Granby Street car park, with the aim of making it easier for folk who've parked there to come directly to the wonderful Ward's End, Devonshire Square, Bedford Square shopping area.

There is so much history associated with this area, I don't know what to highlight!! Obviously, Clarkes Dyeworks has played a very important part here, and I blogged quite some time ago about the Clarke family, and about some of the places, like The Gables, Park Street and Park Road where members of the family lived. The Woodbrook which runs through Queen's Park and across Granby Street was also important to the dyeing and bleaching industry. As you can probably tell from the name of this yard, there was also a bleach works, that went hand-in-hand with the dyeworks.

The cattle market used to take place near the opening of the Old Bleach Yard onto Ward's End, before it moved into what is now the Granby Street car park, evidence of which is still there in the form of the ring of stones near the entrance. Also, somewhere in the vicinity was the Drill Hall where the TAs used to meet (don't quote me on that: it might not have been the TA!!)

Just up the road from the entrance to the yard is The Orange Tree pub, previously the Wheatsheaf, and behind this a yard where Henry Moore (the spa ornament maker, not the sculptor!!) lived and worked on fashioning alabaster ornaments (I blogged about this a while ago, too!)

Just down the road from the yard is Devonshire Square, an area that has recently been rejuvenated with a colourful mural depicting local scenes, and created by Silent Hobo (subject of an earlier blogpost).

Whilst I was in town, I looked around Ward's End and took note of the many new shops that have opened in the area, like the Deli at 58, a new coffee shop, and a relatively new florists. Standing cheek by jowl with old-established businesses like George Hill's and Kent Stevenson, I'm sure this new link between the car park and Ward's End will encourage more shoppers to visit the area.

To end, here's some photos of today's event.




  1. Sorry _ I was in Manchester or O would have been there.

    1. No worries, Bill! We were entertained with speeches and ribbon-cutting!


If you have found this post interesting or have any questions about any of the information in it do please leave a comment below. In order to answer your question, I must publish your query here, and then respond to it here. If your information is private or sensitive, and you don't wish to have it on public display, it might be a better idea to email me using the address which is on the About Me page, using the usual substitutions. Thanks for reading the blog.