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The Changing Face of Mill Lane

The photos on the left have been taken from what used to be, approximately, the corner of Gray Street and Mill Lane, looking east to Oxford Street. The photos follow the progress of a street lined with houses, shops, and pubs in the decades up to the 1950s (1), through the demolition of the north side for the Polytechnic in the early 1960s (2, 3, 4), the creation of the Queen's Building (5), and the traffic controlling of the 2000s (6,7).
The decision to create a polytechnic in Leicester (now De Montfort University), and the need to expand the Leicester Royal Infirmary, coincided with the slum clearance programs of the 1950s. The housing around Mill Lane had been built before the building regulations of the 1870s, and were of poor quality; few of the people who moved to the modern housing estates on the outskirts of the city mourned their passing, although many missed the close communities which had evolved.
The changes in this area have been documented in 'Walnut St: Past, Present & Future' by Colin Hyde, while the experiences of people moving out of areas like this and into new council housing have been collected in 'A Home of Our Own' by Bill Willabond.
Notice how the presence of parked cars has gone full circle - there were none to begin with and there are none allowed to park today. It is often pointed out that the cars shown in the 1960s are all British (4), while those in the 1990s (5) are not!
B&W photos are courtesy of the Records Office for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland
Mill Lane pre-1960s Newarke Tavern, Mill Lane Site of Leicester Polytechnic, Mill lane Mill Lane 1960s Mill Lane 1994 Mill Lane 2001 Mill Lane 2003
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