Historic Leicester Folk
A most interesting and amusing talk was given to the Woodhouse & Woodhouse Eaves Local History Group by Blue Badge Guide Robert Gregory on Monday, 10 November 2014 entitled ‘The good, bad & sometimes ugly, naughty and nice Leicester people’.
Edward Vaughan was a former vicar of St. Martin’s Cathedral and the porch there was erected in 1896/7 and paid for by public subscription to honour the work of Edward and his 3 sons. They were instrumental in providing education for working people, particularly framework knitters and established Vaughan College in 1862.
Albert Hattersley was the only man who escaped over the wall of Leicester Prison – this has the highest prison wall in the country being 40ft tall, 16ft thick at the base and 6ft at the top. He managed to get onto a train to Nottingham later that day but was arrested at the station there because a passenger had left a copy of the Leicester Mercury on the train with his picture on the front and was recognised immediately.
Frederick Goodyear was Chief Constable in 1836 and lived for many years in a cottage built next to the Mayor’s Parlour in the Guildhall. His salary was £125 per year and he did much to stamp out corruption in local politics with cells built next to his cottage.
George Davenport, who lived in Wigston was Leicester’s most notorious highwayman. He was originally a framework knitter in the late 1790’s but, due to his athletic build was able to escape detention many times saying ‘catch me if you can!’. He was eventually caught, convicted and hanged at Redhill.
Daniel Lambert was famous for his obesity, weighing 53 stone and a waist measurement over 9 feet!
He did work in the county jail in Highcross and saw the 4th Earl Ferrers of Staunton Harold, said to have a violent temper, who murdered a servant with a pistol. He was held in the Tower of London, tried in the House of Lords where he pleaded insanity but was convicted and hanged at Tyburn before a large crowd in 1760.
Robert gave many interesting anecdotes about all these historical personalities and will be welcomed back for further tales in the future.
Our next meeting is on Monday 8th December 2014 when David Bell will talk about Leicestershire and Rutland Ghosts and Legends.