Until 1936 the whole of Spring Lane was part of Swannington. On the 1st April 1936 the area from the crest of the hill (Snibston No3 and Alexandra Cottages) to Thornborough Road was transferred into Coalville Urban District Council, it is now part of Whitwick parish.
Spring Lane South Side
Robin Hood Inn
The Robin Hood is at the bottom of the south side of Spring Lane. It is one of only two survivors of the thirteen former public houses in Swannington.
Snibston No3 Coal Mine
On the south side the railway headed towards Coalville. The Snibston No3 Colliery 1850-1880 and 1892-1895 was sunk next to the railway. Colliery house was demolished in the early 1980s.
There is a memorial mining wheel on the site and the primroses behind the wheel are a delight.
The three houses next to the railway at the crest of the hill are Alexandra Cottages. They were built to house miners at the adjacent mine. Previous occupants include the Brewin family in 1891 and the Smith family in 1911. James Arthur Smith was a stoker at the Calcutta pumping station and on the 24th April 1911 he married Maud Beatrice Hallam at St Andrews church, Thringstone. Maud’s father, Francis, was the pumping station engineer. James Arthur’s younger brother David was a miner still at the family home in Alexandra Cottages in 1921, by 1939 he was living in Thornborough Road and was a stationary engine driver at Calcutta pumping station.
Spring Lane North Side
Vine House is at the bottom of the north side of Spring Lane. For decades it was the Walker family’s butchers shop with the animal pound next to it and an abattoir at the rear. The abattoir was in use until the start of the Second World War when tighter regulations were introduced. As a result Jim Curtis was sent to Ravenstone Road to collect a bucket of blood for collecting black puddings. On his return journey his bicycle wheel got caught in the railway line near the Station Inn and he fell of. Nearby resident Mrs Gamble fainted when she saw Jim covered in blood, but both were unharmed.
Vine House also housed Calipso hairdressers. For many years the former abattoir was used as a joiner’s workshop by Rod Eynon Baldock. The property has been converted into a number of smaller housing units.
Former butcher Noel Walker described how in the early 1930s his two sisters played tennis at the Fountain Inn’s court and walked home in their tennis gear immediately afterwards passing Swannington House. A few minutes later Lady Beaumont’s maid delivered a note to Noel’s mother saying she had seen the girls walking half naked through the village and insisting that they changed in the pavilion in future. Tennis shorts are so scandalous!
Houses between Foan Hill and Incline
This row of houses was built in the late 1920s or early 1930s by George Lidwell, the Swannington builder who was also landlord of the Robin Hood 1912-1925. When he left the Robin Hood he moved into a house behind it that he had built.
At the crest of the hill are two historic sites. On the north side is the Swannington Incline, the western end of Robert Stephensons Leicester and Swannington Railway. The 700 metres of 1:17 slope was built in 1833 and had an engine house at the top to haul the coal trucks up. From 1877 to 1847 the engine lowered coal trucks to the Calcutta pumping station.