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Lynda Callaghan, Heritage Practitioner for the Saffron group, shares details from the group’s research and rehearsals during the Fashioning a City project.
The Saffron project was perfectly placed in its most southern corner: The Pork Pie Library. Built in 1939 to serve the growing Saffron Lane Estate, and soon to be built Eyres Monsell Estate in the 1950s, the library was both the focus and the venue for the project.
From here we could look northwards to the city, getting a full sense of how the area had grown from medieval fields, stretching through the estate itself, through private, middle class housing and into town past the site of the final man gibbeting in England, Wales and Scotland at the junction of Saffron lane and Aylestone Road in 1832.
Saffron ward then takes in the old cattle market on Freeman’s Common, past the Victorian housing of the “nut ‘streets, Hazel and Brazil etc. and right up to the imposing Leicester prison.
On our first adventure the group spent the afternoon just walking around the estate taking in the wide streets, the tree-lined open areas and of course, Tick Tock Park.
Due to a growing Leicester population and old housing in the city centre Leicester had desperately needed more housing and construction of the estate began in 1924. People were gradually moved out of overcrowded houses and in some cases city ‘slums’ to ‘paradise’.
A trip into town took in Leicester’s changing history and finished with a trip to the Newark Houses museum to get a real sense of 20th century Leicester and the changes it had gone through.
To find out more about Newarke House Museum, click here.
The project really came into itself once we had spoken to local people. The willing, and very able, lunch club at the library were full of tales of how life had been growing up on the estate or of moving up there as a child.