Friday, 10 July 2009

A Leicester Couple


Two more favourites from 'Less Tar', as many of the locals say. First up is the Pork Pie Chapel. Any building in Leicester that's even vaguely circular is nicknamed after the ubiquitous local pie - see Southfields Library- and the 1845 Belvoir Street Baptist Chapel is no exception. Accept for as long as anyone can remember it's been the Leicester College of Adult Education. I should know, I inexplicably got turned down for a life drawing class here. Another odd thing is that the architect was Joseph Hansom, who not only designed this, Leicester's New Walk Museum and Lutterworth Town Hall in the same county, but also found time to knock out the Hansom Cab which was road tested down the road in Hinckley. Virtually next door is this 1930 manifestation of neo-Tudor at the corner of Wellington Street and King Street. In her revision of Pevsner's Leicestershire & Rutland, Elizabeth Williamson quotes somebody (she doesn't say who) as saying it was a 'vile impertinent lump', which seems a little harsh. Now inevitably a night club or similar, it was designed by GPK Young & Son in 1930 as the General Accident Building. I think it no general accident that the Family Young had been and taken a good look at Little Moreton Hall in Cheshire. Perhaps it would've been more authentic if they'd made it lean perilously and got insurance workers to throw the contents of chamber pots out into King Street.

8 comments:

Philip Wilkinson said...

From pork pie to magpie, you make Leicester look very good. I must revisit it soon.

Jon Dudley said...

Unmitigated facts spill from the blog of Ashley...Hansom, the designer of the cab! I am consumed with wonder. Great stuff! all pork pie references are especially tasty.

DC said...

Were you turned down as aspiring model or would-be artist at the life class...?

Peter Ashley said...

Trust you Wilko. I waded about for ages seeking a good title, and wallop!, you hit a six out of the ground. Pork Pie & Magpie. Brilliant.

I really did want to learn to draw people properly, and not just look at girls with their kit off. Cue Ron Combo.

Ron Combo said...

Remarkable, isn't it, how I get involved when the subject of naked totty comes up? There will be some incoming from Mrs Pouncer soon and then you'll feel the lash of her tongue.

Jonathan said...

The half-timbered building later became Leicester City Council's social club and we also used to play county chess matches there on a Saturday.

I must have lost more games in a second floor room in that building than any other.

Peter Ashley said...

Did you throw conquered chess pieces out of the window onto unsuspecting passers-by Jonathan?

Jonathan said...

No, but they may get hit by the odd discarded semi colon now I go to a writers' club in the other building.