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Life Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors in Leicester

Snapped with my cheap smartphone in the Cultural Quarter of the city, Orton’s Brasserie is a posh restaurant, a homage to the (in)famous playwright, Joe Orton. He was born in Leicester in 1933. He wrote “Entertaining Mr Sloane” and “Loot”. A film about his life, “Prick Up Your Ears” was released in 1987, twenty years after he was murdered by his lover, Kenneth Halliwell.

He borrowed books from a public library, altered the book covers with cheeky illustrations, then replaced them on the library shelves. For this, he was arrested by the police (well, it was 1962). There are plans to erect a statue of Orton in Orton Square, outside the Curve Theatre.

In the foreground there is a rocket, part of the “Rocket Round Leicester” trail of 40 colourful spaceships in the city as part of a fundraising scheme for the local hospice (Loros).

The Curve Theatre with reflections. And a naked policeman (wearing his helmet).
There is a door somewhere along this glass wall of the Curve Theatre.
The Curve from Southampton Street. Apart from the hanging baskets on the lamp posts, check out the shrubs growing high up on the walls of Alexandra House, the yellow stone building.

Alexandra House was built at the end of the 19th Century as a warehouse to store bootlaces (you needed four storeys to store laces?). The architectural historian, Pevsner, described Alexander House as one of the finest warehouses in the country. Faire Brothers & Co supplied shoelaces worldwide, with brands like “Old England” and “Jumbo”. During World War Two, despite being damaged by German bombers, the factory produced millions of parachute cords.

During the war, rubber was a scarce commodity, so Faire Bros. invented and produced the rubber-free “Natty Grip” fitting for suspender belts and “Gripknit” flexible corsetry for servicewomen (“Women in Action”). The building was converted to 175 apartments a few years ago.

Beautiful craftsmanship on the upper floors.
You don’t get wonderful street name signs like this anymore

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Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors Narrow

Narrow boats. On the Grand Union Canal just south of Leicester, by Kilby Bridge. The doors are not the most noticeable features of the canal boats.

Not sure if they will be using the ball and chain attached to the prow
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Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors Corners

I was not aware that there are some TD contributors who are especially enamoured with corner doors. I have a couple here from Leicester’s Clarendon Park .

“Love Me Do” by the Beatles, but this also refers to “Love My (Hair)Do”

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Life Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors JWH

John Woolman was a famous Quaker in the 18th Century. He lived in New Jersey and was a strong abolitionist. In 1772 Woolman sailed to Britain to speak out against slavery. Instead of taking a passenger’s cabin, he showed his egalitarian spirit by lodging with the crew. When he arrived in London, the Quakers were rather taken aback by his shabby clothing, but when he spoke condemning the injustice of slavery, he was accepted.

To spread the word, he set off to travel north to York but declined to travel by stagecoach because he felt it was cruel to drive the horses so hard. Instead, he walked, preaching against slavery en route. Sadly, he picked up smallpox along the way and died just after reaching York. He is commemorated by the establishment of John Woolman House. This is a Quaker residential home for older people, close to New Walk. The doors facing New Walk are painted in bright colours.

This door without a handle is not part of John Woolman House
And neither is this distressed door. It is on Princess Street Backways.
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Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors on New Walk 3

The Belmont Hotel is situated on New Walk where it meets De Montfort Square. The building used to be the home of Ernest Gimson, described by the art critic Nikolaus Pevsner as “the greatest of the English architect-designers” (according to Wikipedia). Through the dining room window, you can see a table set for afternoon tea. Hopefully we will be able to eat at restaurants soon.

The next few houses are neighbours, from 104 to

This door is slightly different, a modern attachment to the main house.

Across the bridge over Waterloo Way, the houses change character. I like the wrought iron work on the first floor balconies.

This house seems out of character, detached from the rest of the street, with a fine lawn.
This beautiful window is part of a residential home for older people. The New Walk Museum is on the other side of the walk.
Very Georgian, with classical design on the edge of the roof.

More New Walk Doors next week.

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Life Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors on New Walk 2

Further down the walkway, there are some houses which have been converted into student accommodation and university departments.

X&Y occupying a flat-fronted, white-rendered Georgian facade

The next few doors have the same portico with fancy scrolling holding up a plain lintel

CBA? My crude interpretation of this three letter acronym is “Can’t Be Ar*ed”. But I like the stone work around the door and the fancy window above.

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Life Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors on New Walk 1

New Walk is a Georgian promenade, set out by Leicester City Corporation in 1785 to connect Welford Place in the city centre with the racecourse (now Victoria Park) to the south. This walkway follows the Roman road, the Via Devana. Originally, it was called “Queen’s Walk” (after Queen Charlotte) but it is know referred to as “New Walk”. For over 50 years, it has been protected as a conservation area.

This is the beginning of New Walk, close to Victoria Park.

The fine houses of New Walk are now offices occupied by accountants, lawyers, dentists. My own dentist’s premises are just out of shot in the photograph above. However, 200 years ago, rather than working here, professional people had their homes here.

This is the wrought-iron gateway to the car park at the top of New Walk. The red shield displays the city’s coat of arms. There is a Covid-19 testing station at the far end of the car park.

One of the gatehouses is now the premises of the Leicester Counselling Centre.

The charity, Leicester Counselling Centre, has been providing psychological support for the people of Leicester for forty years.

Many years ago, a counsellor asked me to take charge of one of my patients as she was expressing suicidal thoughts during a counselling session. I drove to the centre and as I escorted my patient out of the door, I tripped over a grid (not present in the above picture) and fell. My patient said, “That would be a first, ME taking YOU to the Accident and Emergency Department!”

A pair of fine panelled doors with leadlights and a stone surround, with a Porsche parked outside.

The walkway has several pleasant parks and open squares along its length. The Oval is oval-shaped, popular in the past with children’s nannies. De Montfort Square is larger and has a statue of the Minister, Robert Hall, who supported efforts to improve the working conditions of hosiery workers in Leicester. One of his sermons is entitled, “On the Advantages of Knowledge to the Lower Classes“(1810).

Number 15
Could Abacus House be the premises of a firm of accountants? Excel – ent, but a shame that the door is in the red.
Some of the wooden railings of houses on New Walk have sprouted fungi. As this railing can be replaced, I suppose it is non fungible (apologies for the pun)
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Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors local

Paradoxically, I live in a modern house in a conservation area called “Knighton Village”. Some of the houses at the top of the road are over a hundred years old and they have interesting doors.

This is at the end of the street, but there is no connection with EM Forster’s “Howards End”
Thank you note, below the miniature version of Durham Cathedral’s lion head knocker
I like the appearance of this simple, wooden door, with matching garden gate
Another lovely door, perfect for the conservation area
Beautiful colour, matching front door, portico, drainpipe and garage door.
This two-legged dragon is a new addition to the lilac-coloured door’s house roof. There are several dragons or “wyverns” perched on gables in the city. These monstrous creatures appear on the seal of Thomas of Lancaster, who used to be the Earl of Leicester.
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Life Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors Victoria Park Road

Victoria Park used to be a race course in the centre of Leicester. When the horse races shifted south to Oadby, Victoria Park became a … park. These crumbling Victorian villas are situated on the southern edge of the park.

Some fine decoration on the arch around the door
With plain stone surround, stained glass inserts, coach lights and a red door
The lead protection over the ornate brickwork is falling down
You get a glimpse of the tiled mosaic floor of the hallway
Seen better days
So has the car parked outside, which hasn’t moved for months
Finally, Montello, a fine front portico

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Life

Thursday Doors in Church Gate

The recent snow, followed by rainstorms, followed by more snow has made walking in the countryside around Leicester a mudbath.

We walked along the canal, but some towpaths were flooded.

We wandered into Abbey Park – busy with people exercising themselves, their children and their dogs. So we decided to do a stroll in the urban jungle of Church Gate. This runs from Gravel Street to the Clock Tower, meeting the Haymarket and joining Fosse Way. Some buildings are impressive, but most of the street is sadly run down, with boarded up shops and rubbish cluttering the doorways. The old auction rooms have moved to the west of the city, near Leicester Forest East.

Just a few photos to give you the general idea.

Some of the architecture is solid and refined.
I don’t know what happened to TJ’s Burgers, Halal food, dodgy upstairs window, but the iPhone hiccoughed at a crucial moment
Next door to TJs is Onyx, at Granary Mews. This is one of the most salubrious night clubs in the city, sadly closed by Covid restrictions. Only £5 admission and open until 6am (but no further admissions allowed after 4am for some odd reason). It looks a bit like a gaol.
Moving away from Church Gate to St Martin’s, we saw a barbershop. It’s for men’s hair only judging by the red symbol within the logo “Shortys”. And the alluring young lady wearing a tight top and red hot pants, wielding a pair of shears, perched on a barber’s pole. It has patriotic red-white-and-blue spirals, rather than the traditional barber surgeon red and white stripes (blood and bandages). Perhaps she does wet shaves with a cut-throat razor?