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Leicester Special Collections

Case study - St Nicholas Circle

Many parts of Leicester were affected by the slum clearance and road building programmes of the post-war period, and some of these areas have disappeared from the map completely. One such area is that at St Nicholas Circle (Holiday Inn/Southgates Underpass/Jubilee Square). Several streets and many buildings were demolished to make way for the central ring road in the early 1960s. Although few of the buildings were genuinely old, the street pattern had changed little for centuries and many people lamented the destruction of a part of 'old' Leicester. One major loss was Carey's Cottage, the home of the celebrated missionary William Carey who became the full-time pastor of Harvey Lane Baptist Church in 1789. This had been a small museum since 1915.

The map below shows the area in 1953 and indicates where the photos below the map were taken. Doll & Brenda, whose memories you can listen to below, grew up in 60 St Nicholas Square, next to the pub, in a house that was half in Thornton Lane (close to photo 3). The cemetery they mention can be seen on the map.

Doll (Doris) Oliver and Brenda Brewster talk about the St Nicholas area as it was in the 1940s.

Map of Leicester in the 1950s

Map of St Nicholas Circle, 1950s.

This map shows the area now: