St George’s Hill
Maps And Features
The name is less than 200 years old, as St George’s Church was not built until 1825. The name had a wider usage at the beginning of WWII, when properties in nowadays Loughborough Road and Church Hill used St George’s Hill as their address.
St George’s Hill is highlighted on the maps below. Existing features are annotated in blue, new features in red. Noteworthy features:
- Califat Tramway – This had been built for the 1850’s Coleorton No 2 mine, named Califat. Although disused since the 1870’s mine closure, the tramway appeared on the 1883 and 1903 maps. The route was parallel to St George’s Hill, through the front gardens of the terraced houses and front rooms of Ivy Leigh Cottages.
- Forest View – The house known as Forest View features on the 1962 map, on the site of previous buildings on earlier maps. Forest View was demolished in 2019 and a new house is being built in 2020.
- Footpath To Hough Mill – The western footpath passed Forest View to Hough Mill is unchanged on all the maps. The pre 1936 Thringstone parish boundaries near Hough Mill (then known as Thringstone Smock Mill) are on the three earlier maps. The 2020 map shows the 1998 access track to Hough Mill.
- Isolation Hospital – The six bed smallpox isolation hospital was built in 1884. It became a house in the early 1930s. The eastern footpath to Hospital Lane crosses the Coleorton Railway cutting and passes to the south of what is now Highfield House.
- Coleorton Railway – The horse drawn Coleorton Railway was built in 1833 to take coal from the mines in Newbold, Coleorton and Peggs Green (part of Thringstone until 1936). The tunnel under St George’s Hill, Loughborough Road and Tugby’s Lane was filled in during 1963.
- Kirby’s Post Mill – Thomas and Mahala Kirby continued to run the post mill and grocery business towards the top of St George’s Hill until their respective deaths in March and April 1894. It is believed they were the last full time millers in Swannington.
- Peggs Green Roundabout – Mee’s blacksmiths gave way to progress and the Peggs Green roundabout in the late 1950s.
There are three sets of terraced houses in St. George’s Hill.
St George’s Terrace – The terrace of nine houses at the bottom of St George’s Hill is shown on the 1883 map. The houses front directly onto the street.
Ivy Leigh Cottages – The terrace of four houses was built around 1905. In 1911 James Birkin lived in one of the houses with his wife and seven children. The houses had small front gardens and large front windows.
Council Houses – In the early 1930s several short terraces of council houses were built next to Ivy Leigh Cottages. The properties are named “Council Houses” on the 1939 register, they were also known as Cademan View. Properties were renumbered when house numbers became more established in Swannington.
- During the First World War there had been concern over the fitness of British men who lived in the slums. Welsh architect and politician Sir Tudor Walters led a committee that in 1917 proposed housing standards such as maximum of eight houses in a terrace, front and rear gardens, minimum room sizes, indoor bathrooms and sculleries etc.
- The standards were adopted by the Housing, Town Planning, &c. Act 1919, known as the Addison Act after the government minister Dr Christopher Addison. This Act led to the building of more than a million council houses.
- The council houses in St George’s Hill followed the standards as far as possible. The lack of piped water (until 1938) prevented full implementation.
Life On St George’s Hill
The Trust Research Team has identified the people living in St George’s Hill at the time of the 1911 census St George’s Hill 1911 and the 1939 register at the start of WWII and used for ration books and identity cards St George’s Hill 1939
Families seem to have enjoyed living on St George’s Hill and several lived there for decades. These include:
- Barkby – The coal mining Barkby Family spread through St George’s Hill and Hough Hill, diversifying occupations and travelling to far flung corners of the world during wartime. Read more about the Barkby family.
- Berkin – Two branches of the Berkin family with an 18th century connection. One stayed in Leicestershire and stayed on St George’s Hill, the other trailblazed, mined and farmed in Montana, United States of America. Read more about the Berkin family.
- James – Sidney James was a stock room hand in a Coalville elastic web factory who joined the navy during the Second World War. His ship was sunk and 469 men died, yet Sid survived. He married Tan Yard born Kath Pickering and they lived on St George’s Hill. Read more about the James family.
- Pickering – Kathleen Pickering was born into Tan Yard poverty. The family moved to Red Hill farm when her brother worked there. In later life Kath played football, ran the Wesleyan Chapel Sunday School and lived on St George’s Hill with her husband Sid James. Read more about the Pickering family.
Wendy Moulds grew up in St George’s Terrace during the 1940s, read her riveting account of outdoor privies, washing and ironing without electrical appliances and the friendly people who lived there.
The six bed smallpox isolation hospital was built in 1884. It became a house in the early 1930s. The eastern footpath to Hospital Lane crosses the Coleorton Railway cutting and passes to the south of what is now Highfield House.
During nearly 50 years of operation it only had two members of staff:
- Ann Platts was the caretaker 1885-1912 and when patients appeared gave up her cleaning job to look after them.
- Nurse Wardle was a uniformed nurse who ran the hospital 1912-1930s when she moved to Ravenstone Hospital, the almshouse for women.
Lesley Hale wrote about the history of Swannington Isolation Hospital