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  • Markfield Local History Group

Streets of days gone by - A journey along Main Street

Main Street runs from Ashby Road at the top, to London Road at the bottom. It has been home to many of the village's houses, shops, pubs and churches over the years.

We start at the top of Main Street at the Police House, looking onto the junction with Ashby Road.

Notice the former cells facing the left fork as you pass by!

We now turn around to look down Main Street, from just past the Police House. This postcard probably dates from around the 1930's.  

Note the people who have turned out to be in the picture!

A similar scene in 2015, but starting nearer Ashby Road, with 188 Main Street on the left.

This was originally called the Dandees. It was home to Dr Robinson, the village doctor. The surgery was a large wooden hut in the garden. Around 1925 he bought the second car in the village, a Morris Cowley!

Note the newer bungalows on the right that have replaced the houses in the earlier picture.

This (1940's?) view looks up back up Main Street towards Ashby Road, with the horse drawn cart outside the Red Lion pub, now the Fusion Indian restaurant. The "crown" on the roof was the air raid siren in the second World War. The "Institute" (started in 1920) is just inside the photo, in the bottom right hand corner.

The Red Lion was originally in the building next door (now the hairdresser), which was built in 1760 by Benjamin and H. Read.

A similar scene to the above and below pictures taken in 2015, the former Red Lion is immediately recognisable, but perhaps not too much else.

However, hairdresser is in fact those same buildings. The door nearest the Red Lion has been bricked up, the front wall rendered in white and the ground floor windows replaced.

The 1760 date stone is sadly hidden behind the studio sign.

Here is a close-up 1950's picture of the Red Lion and the Post Office.

The Red Lion sold ales from the Offilers Brewery in Derbyshire.

The Post Office was run by A. Reid, who was also a stationer and tobacconist. Kodak films were sold and developed. Before becoming the Post Office, the building had been a greengrocer's shop.

A similar view, but looking further down Main Street.

See the post box, by the Post Office.

The next, much earlier, photo below shows the rectory (now the old rectory). It was built in 1770, probably as a Master Hosier's house with the workshop to the side. It was then used as a school, before becoming the rectory in 1847 until replaced by a new building in 1960. It is very similar to the Master Hosier's House on Darker Street in Leicester.

The Congregational Church sits behind. Built in 1842 as the Bourne Methodist Chapel, it later became the Primitive Methodist Chapel and finally in 1963 the Congregational Church when the 'Prims' moved to join the Wesleyan Methodists down the road. Note that the doorway is in its original position, where the noticeboard is now.

The Institute (1920) has not yet been built.

This picture shows a similar view, some years later - 1950's or 1960's. 

The Institute is just visible as the road bends out of site. The front of the old rectory and the junction with The Nook are obscured from view, where the car is.

A telegraph pole has appeared, and the path and road are made up.

This 2015 picture hasn't changed too much, although no-one turned out for the camera!

The wall around the old vicarage has been replaced and windows added facing Main Street.

The Institute is visible at the far end of the photo.

This early 20th century view looks down Main Street.

The first building is now the fish and chip shop. The next building along with the proper shop front is now the Chinese takeaway, although the end block has been replaced with just a ground floor building.

Next is what is now the Congregational Church Hall, at that time the Methodist Chapel.

Following down the photo is now a vacant shop unit, and then what is now Bown's Homeware shop.

At the time of this picture, the shop was the Earl Grey pub. This was acquired and run by relatives of the current shop owner for a couple of years. The wide arched entrance was where the horse drawn drays delivered the beer to the cellar. 

This picture enlarges part of the above photo, better showing the Earl Grey pub sign. It closed in the 1920's, probably around 1927.

It then became a grocery store serving Markfield and delivering to neighbouring villages. 

There were once 14 pubs in Markfield. See the notes of the Group's November 2019 meeting for further details.

This next photo from circa the 1950's starts at the post office (which has moved down the road), looking back up Main Street. The former George Inn can be seen at the end of the row of cottages, which is now the front of the Co-op. The Miners' Welfare Institute is the last building visible in the distance.

Some of these cottages were demolished to make way for Neville Drive.

With bunting for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in June 1953.

The board above the shop window is advertising the Picture Post.

This much earlier postcard also starts at the Post Office, but this time looks down Main Street, with three people posing for the camera. The Trinity Methodist Church (built in 1894 as the Wesleyan Methodist) can be seen in the distance, opposite the turning for The Green. Note the absence of telegraph poles and the cobbled pavement, compared to the later picture above.

The wall is now where Neville Drive meets Main Street.

The same view in the snow, but probably 30 to 40 years later.

This picture seems to date from soon after the Second World War, so possibly the harsh winter of 1947.

Now looking back up Main Street, a group of children pose for the camera (and a dog!)

The wall to the right is where Neville Drive is now. The old George Inn (now the Co-op) is visible to the right, after the wall and terraced cottages.

Look for the gable end and chimney of the house in the distance, and use this to position the current view, below.

Note also the public telephone box to the left.

A similar view in 2019.

The gable end and chimney of the house in the older photo above is just visible in the distance to the left after the white van.

The stone walls to the left front of the photo are possibly the same as those behind the phone box.

Next we stop to take in the 1950s view down Main Street, from just past the junction with The Green.

Note the period car outside the shop.

This 2016 view shows the extension to the front of the Methodist Church.

The bay windows in the first house are no more, having been replaced with modern flat windows.The second house is no longer a shop.

In the distant left, newer houses have replaced some of the old cottages.

A similar spot, but looking up Main Street, with the trees bordering the Lower Green on the left. The Wesleyan Methodist Church is just visible through the trees. 

Note the young girl - the coat suggests perhaps the 1940s or 1950s. An interesting old vehicle is parked up.

This scene probably dates from the early 1900's, and is not easily recognisable today. The Victorian house with the girl outside has been demolished, as has the old thatched cottage. However the end of the house at the corner of Main Street and London Road (Joyner's Corner, as was) is visible, and the outhouse that precedes it is now a dwelling.

The row of cottages on the Forest Road side can also be made out, some with thatched roofs now long gone.

Modern views are shown next.....see what you can place!!

The equivalent modern views.

The row of cottages are the first from the Forest Road corner. Note they are now rendered and the thatch roof is no more.

Now we reach 'Joyner's Corner', the end of our journey along Main Street, near its the junction with London Road. Note that it was called 'Pet's Corner' for a while. 

This picture was taken in the 1950's. A car can just be seen in the distance at the entrance to The Green.

The row of three cottages has lost its thatch, but is not yet rendered.

Also see the ''Park Drive cigarettes' sign!

The same scene in 2016. The former shops on the right are now houses.

The farmost cottages in the earlier photo have been demolished to make way for new houses. The nearer cottages that remain have been tidied up and rendered.

Photos of the Co-op and surrounding buildings can be found on the Co-operative Society page.

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