Wakerley was born in 1862 and came to Leicester from Melton Mowbray
at the age of about 23. Twelve years later he was the Mayor of Leicester
and an Alderman, and was celebrated as an architect, business man, and
politician. In the 1920s he was the Chair of Leicester's first Housing
and Town Planning Committee, as well as being a Weslyan local preacher,
and President of the Temperance Union. He also made several attempts
to enter Parliament as a Liberal candidate for the Melton Mowbray Division.
made a great impact on Leicester and the full story of his life is told
in the book 'Arthur Wakerley' by Jean Farquhar. As well as this, photographs
and discussion of some of his buildings can be found in 'The Quality
of Leicester' published by Leicester City Council, and the impact of
his design for council housing is put into context in 'Leicester in
the 20th Century' edited by Nash and Reeder.
of Wakerley's buildings are shown in the photos on the left. His celebrated
design for affordable council housing (1) is mentioned in this Trail.
His building on the High Street (2) has been known variously as the
Coronation Buildings, Jubilee Buildings, or The Singer Building. The
teardrop window (3) is on the London Road, the Synagogue (4) is on Highfields
Street, while the Turkey Cafe (5) is on Granby Street.
Trail is based on 'A Town Trail - In Search Of An Architect', part of
a series of town trails published by Leicester City Council around 1975.
It concentrates on Wakerley's development of the industrial suburb of
This website is part of the East Midlands Oral History Archive and has been compiled by Colin Hyde. Any comments can be sent to him via the 'Contact us' button at the bottom of the page.