The Wakerley Trail


Arthur 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.
Wakerley 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.
Some 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.
This 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 North Evington. 
Link to The Wakerley Trail pt 1 or The Wakerley Trail pt 2 or Wakerley Houses
The City Council have designated Spinney Hills Park as a conservation area: http://www.leicester.gov.uk/departments/page.asp?pgid=3825
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.
Turkey Cafe Synagogue Teardrop Window Coronation Buildings Housing on Gedding Rd
[Contents][University Home] [East Midland Oral History Archive Home Page] [contact the East Midland Oral History Project]