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Memorial Square and Clocktower
Coalville is located in Leicestershire
 Coalville shown within Leicestershire
Population 4,494 [1]32,987 including conurbations[2]
OS grid reference
District North West Leicestershire
Shire county Leicestershire
Region East Midlands
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district LE67
Dialling code 01530
Police Leicestershire
Fire Leicestershire
Ambulance East Midlands
EU Parliament East Midlands
UK Parliament North West Leicestershire
List of places

Coalville is a town in North West Leicestershire, England. It had a population of 4,494 in 2001, and the population of its conurbation was estimated to be around 33,000 in 2003.[1][2] It lies on the A511 trunk road between Leicester and Burton upon Trent, close to junction 22 of the M1 motorway where the A511 meets the A50 between Ashby-de-la-Zouch and Leicester. Coalville is the administrative seat of North West Leicestershire District Council and serves as a market town for the district. It borders the upland area of Charnwood Forest to the east of the town. Coalville is twinned with Romans-sur-Isère in southeastern France.


  • History 1
    • Pre-industrial period 1.1
    • Coal-mining 1.2
    • Leicester and Swannington Railway 1.3
    • Assent to administrative town 1.4
    • Timeline 1.5
  • Civic heraldry 2
  • Trade and industry 3
  • Transport 4
  • Education 5
  • Museums 6
  • Culture and music 7
  • Gastronomy 8
  • Hermitage FM 9
  • Sport 10
  • Parish church and memorials 11
    • Vicars of Christ Church, Coalville 11.1
    • All Saints Mission Church 11.2
    • Saint James's Church, Highfield Street 11.3
    • St Mary's, Snibston 11.4
    • St David's, Broom Leys 11.5
  • Other places of worship 12
    • Baptists 12.1
    • Conregationalist (United Reformed Church) 12.2
    • Free churches 12.3
    • Jehovah's Witnesses 12.4
    • Methodism 12.5
    • Plymouth Brethren 12.6
    • Roman Catholicism 12.7
    • Salvationist 12.8
    • Spiritualist 12.9
    • Unitarian and Free Christian 12.10
    • Religion in 2011 12.11
  • Coalville Churches Together 13
  • Political History 14
  • Clock Tower War Memorial 15
  • Other Buildings and Landmarks of Interest 16
  • Road Names 17
  • Emporium Nightclub 18
  • Public Houses and Working Men's Clubs 19
  • Notable residents 20
  • See also 21
  • References 22
  • External links 23


Coalville is a product of the Industrial Revolution. As its name indicates, it is a former coal mining town. The name may derive from the name of the house belonging to the founder of Whitwick Colliery: 'Coalville House'.

Pre-industrial period

In the early nineteenth century, the area now known as Coalville was little more than a track known as Long Lane, which ran approximately east-west, stretching between two turnpikes, Bardon and Hoo Ash.

'Long Lane' divided the parishes of Swannington and Whitwick (both lying to the north of Long Lane) from the parishes of Snibston and Ibstock (both lying to the south).[3]

A north-south track or lane stretching from Whitwick to Hugglescote crossed Long Lane, at the point where the Clock Tower War Memorial now stands. This track or lane is now Mantle Lane and Belvoir Road. The Red House, an eighteenth century building, close to this cross-roads, was one of very few buildings then standing.
Samuel Fisher, writing his memoirs at the end of the nineteenth century, gives a fascinating insight into what the town looked like in 1832. Standing close to where we now find the clock tower, Fisher describes how, on looking down Long Lane towards Ashby, "we see a large tract of waste on both sides of the road, still traceable, covered with gorse-bushes, blackberry brambles, etc., with not a single house on either side of the way" until arriving at the Hoo Ash turnpike.[4] Then, looking toward Huggeslcote (down a track that is now Belvoir Road), "we see a magnificently timbered lane without a single house, with the exception of White Leys Farm and the Gate Inn on the Ashby Turnpike". In the direction of Bardon, there were no houses until arriving at a group of five or six cottages on the corner of what is now Whitwick Road and Hotel Street, and in the direction of Whitwick (the modern day Mantle Lane) there was nothing apart from a smithy and a carpenter's shop, and the houses of these tradesmen. These would have stood on the site of what is now The Springboard Centre (formerly Stablefords wagon works). From this wilderness emerged the modern town of Coalville, on a rapid scale, following the advent of deep coal mining.

Despite its emergence as one of the largest towns in Leicestershire, Coalville's history was not well documented until the establishment of historical societies in the 1980s, though a commendable resource of information had been put on record by a few independent local historians such as Samuel Fisher, A E Hawthorn, J Massey and William Corah, who for many years during the twentieth century had produced a column in the Coalville Times, under the pseudonym, 'Lavengro'. In more recent years, a wealth of material charting the town's history has been published through the combined efforts of the Coalville 150 Group and the Coalville Historical Society and in 2006, these two groups amalgamated to form the Coalville Heritage Society, which has an informative website.[5]


William Stenson
George Stephenson

Coal has been mined in the area since the medieval period, a heritage also traceable in the place name Coleorton, and examples of mine workings from these times can be found on the Hough Mill site at Swannington near the Califat Colliery site. A life-sized horse gin has been built on the Hough Mill site and craters can be seen in the ground, where the medieval villagers dug out their allocation of coal.

The seam is at ground level in Swannington, but gradually gets deeper between Swannington and the deepest reserves at Bagworth; consequently, it was not until mining technology advanced that shafts were sunk in the district now known as Coalville, beginning with Whitwick in 1824 and at Snibston in 1831.

Deep coal mining was pioneered by local engineer Leicester and Swannington Railway at the same time.

Quarrying, textile and engineering industries, such as railway wagon production, also grew in the town during the 19th century. Stenson is sometimes described as 'the Father of Coalville'.

Coal-mining came to an end in Coalville during the 1980s. Six collieries – Snibston, Desford, Whitwick, Ellistown, South Leicester and Bagworth – closed in and around Coalville in an eight-year period from 1983-1991, resulting in about five thousand men being made redundant.[7]

The disused colliery at Snibston has been regenerated into Snibston Discovery Park, a museum focused on transport, mining and engineering. The area formerly occupied by Whitwick Colliery has been redeveloped as the Whitwick Business Park and which incorporates a Morrison's supermarket. There is also a small memorial garden here, established in memory of 35 men who died in the Whitwick Colliery Disaster of 1898, which occurred as a result of an underground fire, though sadly, the etched metal plaque commemorating this terrible calamity has (of 2014) been removed from the large granite memorial boulder.

Leicester and Swannington Railway

The Leicester and Swannington Railway - Leicestershire's first railway - opened in 1832, reaching Coalville in 1833, and had a small station at Long Lane (now Ashby Road) in Coalville–-the first street in the town, which still has some of the original miners' cottages, which are next to the modern police station and opposite the sorting office. Snibston Colliery opened in 1833. The railway was extended to Burton upon Trent in 1845, placing Coalville on an important route between Burton and Leicester. Heavy coal traffic encouraged the construction of further railways linking Coalville to Nuneaton and, later, Loughborough, over the Charnwood Forest Railway.

In the 20th century the railways to Nuneaton and Loughborough were closed and dismantled. Passenger services were withdrawn from the Leicester to Burton line in September 1964, but it remains open for goods traffic.

After 1993 there was a plan to restore passenger trains on the Leicester-Burton line through Coalville as an extension of Leicestershire's Ivanhoe Line. In 2013, excitement was caused when a passenger train made a very rare pass through because of a cut off elsewhere and in the same year, a group known as 'The Campaign for Better Transport' petitioned for the freight track to be upgraded to mark the 50th anniversary of the network cuts introduced by Dr Beeching. The Leicester to Burton track was one of ten lines that this group called to be re-opened, with a proposal for it to be renamed the National Forest line. However, a spokesman for the County Council said, "We have been unable to reintroduce Leicester to Burton passenger trains because the costs of about £50 million to upgrade the route and £4 million per year to operate services do not represent good value for money." [8]

Assent to administrative town

The Coalville Urban District was formed in 1894, and which came to assimilate several outlying villages following local government changes in 1936. The Coalville Urban District was superseded in 1974 by the North West Leicestershire District, which was formed by a merger Ashby de la Zouch Urban District, Ashby Woulds Urban District, Coalville Urban District, Ashby de la Zouch Rural District, Castle Donington Rural District and Ibstock from the Market Bosworth Rural District.


  • 1824: Long Lane (Whitwick) colliery sunk by William Stenson
  • 1831: George Stephenson's Snibston Colliery sunk
  • 1833: George Stephenson's railway reached Coalville
  • 1836: Coalville's first permanent place of worship opened (became the London Road General Baptist Church; now re-located as the Greenhill Community Church)
  • 1836 - 1838: Coalville Church of England church (Christ Church) built/opened
  • 1845: Burton-on-Trent and Leicester now connected by rail, with Coalville "en route"
  • 1858: The Bardon Hill granite quarrying company formed
  • 1894: Coalville Urban District Council formed
  • 1898: Whitwick Colliery Disaster
  • 1909: Coalville Grammar School opened (Forest Road)
  • 1909: Alfred Edward Pallett formed manufacturing company (became 'Palitoy')
  • 1920: Pallett's company produced its first toy
  • 1925: Pallett's company produced its first doll
  • 1925: Clock Tower (War Memorial) opened
  • 1927: Leicestershire Miners' Association building in Bakewell St. opened
  • 1963: New Broadway Shopping Centre opened
  • 1964: Passenger line closed on the railway
  • 1974: Coalville Urban District dissolved and replaced by North West Leicestershire Dictrict
  • 1975: Transferral of open-air market to newly constructed market hall
  • 1980s: Demise of coal-mining industry
  • 1990: Morrison's supermarket built on the site of Whitwick Colliery
  • 1994: Palitoy factory closed
  • 2005: Stephenson College new building opened
  • 2005: Castle Rock High School new building opened
  • 2013: Tesco pulled out of the main town regenaration
  • 2014: Broom Leys suburb was officially named
  • 2015: Ford Motors, Coalville, start work on the regeneration of the town

Civic heraldry

Coalville is the administrative headquarters of North West Leicestershire District. The district's coat of arms was granted on 30 October 1974, and bears the motto, 'EX TERRA OPES', which means, "From the earth wealth" - a reference primarily relating to Coalville's prosperity as a result of extractive industry, coal-mining, quarrying and brick-making.[9]

Trade and industry

Within thirty years of the town's birth as a result of the collieries, many additional industries became established within the town, such as flour milling, brick making, engineering and the manufacture of elastic web.[10]

During the twentieth century, Coalville was home to Palitoy, a celebrated national toy company. It manufactured some of the most popular toys in Britain, some original items and others under licence. Its products included Action Man, Action Force, Tiny Tears, Pippa, Tressy, Merlin, Star Wars figures and the Care Bears. The company was founded by Alfred Edward Pallett in 1909 to produce celluloid and fancy goods. Their first toy was in 1920 and the first doll in 1925. The Palitoy site was closed in 1994.

Aggregate Industries has its headquarters at Bardon Hill Quarry and is one of the ‘big five’ construction material suppliers in the UK. The company was originally established in 1858, though the earliest reference to a granite quarry at Bardon Hill would appear to be 1622, in William Burton's "Description of Leicestershire".[11]

Terex Pegson Limited is a UK manufacturer of mobile crushing machines, and is part of the Terex Corporation. Pegson is headquartered in Coalville, with a distribution centre for North America in Louisville, Kentucky. The manufacturing plant has been located for many years on Mammoth Street, off the Whitwick Road and the company is able to trace its origins to the company of Samuel Pegg and Son, which was originally set up on Alexander Street, Leicester in 1830, when its main concern would have been connected with hosiery machinery.[12]

Tulip Foods (formerly Belvoir Bacon) on Mantle Lane was incorporated as a limited company on 1 July 1954, having started about twenty years previously, as a slaughter-house supplying pork products to a local shop in Coalville owned by the Bloor family. By the 1960s, the factory had begun to distribute its products nationally. The factory became known locally as "Piggy Bloor's". The Belvoir name was replaced by Tulip in 2003.[13]

View of the installation at the Tower of London, 9 August 2014

Numerous business parks and industrial estates have been established in and around the town of Coalville following the decline of coal-mining and allied industries. Calder Colours, based on the Coalville Business Park, are manufacturers of high quality art and craft materials. In 2014, this company gained the distinction of producing the hundreds of litres of red top coat and terracotta base coat paint for the commemorative art installation at the Tower of London entitled Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, marking the centenary of the outbreak of World War I.[14]


There are a number of bus services that run through Coalville with the majority run by Arriva Midlands. From Coalville, buses run to Leicester, Loughborough, Burton-on-Trent, Hinckley and East Midlands Airport. The nearest passenger railway station is Loughborough, about eight miles north east of Coalville. There have been calls to reinstate passenger services through the town on the Leicester to Burton upon Trent Line[15] - however, following Leicestershire County Council's 2009 report citing construction costs of £50 Million and a large operational subsidy, the scheme was dropped despite outcry from proponents.[16]


The town has a Further and Higher Education College, Stephenson College, which operates approximately 800 different courses in academic, vocational and industry-specific subjects.[17] The college moved from former mining college buildings in the town centre to buildings beside the A511. Stephenson Studio School, which opened to students in September 2011, is located in two "clusters" of Stephenson College, caters for ages 14–18.

King Edward VII Science and Sport College, (formerly "King Edward VII Community College", and earlier "King Edward VII Grammar School") caters for 14–18 year olds, providing GCSE's, A-Levels and a number of vocational courses. In 2008 the college joined the 88% of the state-funded secondary schools to gain a specialist designation under the former Specialist schools programme,[18] gaining the status of 'specialist sports and science college'. In recognition of this, a new sports hall was constructed between 2009 and 2010. The main school building celebrated its centenary in 2009.

Castle Rock High School is a high school located on the top of Meadow Lane, with a spectacular new school building, constructed in 2005. It enrolls about 530 students, aged 11–14. The school changed status to academy in August 2012. Castle Rock also has a Specialist Sports College label. It also is in the top 7% of all high schools in the UK for best year 9 results.

Newbridge High School, also a specialist sports college, with a student population of around 600 respectively. The school celebrated its centenary as a school building in 2009, having originally opened as the Coalville Grammar School.

The town has a number of primary schools including All Saints Church of England Primary School, Belvoirdale Primary School, Broom Leys Primary School, Warren Hills Primary School and St Clare's Catholic Primary School.[19]

In the nineteenth century, a day-school operated in the premises of the Bardon Park Chapel (see Other places of worship/Congregationalist, below) from the 1840s until around the time of the Elementary Education Act 1870.[20] This day-school was affiliated to the British and Foreign School Society.


Snibston Discovery Museum

Snibston Discovery Museum, located on Ashby Road, is built on a site of the former Snibston Colliery. It features interactive exhibits, an 0-4-0ST steam locomotive, a fashion gallery and more. The museum focuses on technology and design and how it affects everyday life. Early 2015, Conservative controlled Leicestershire County Council announced that the museum would be closed due to its £900,000 annual running cost. The cabinet member for museums, Councillor Richard Blunt, said that it was hoped a smaller mining heritage museum would replace the existing museum, however all the land is being sold for housing. He also asserted that the country park would be preserved and expanded and that the Century Theatre would remain open.[21]

Donington le Heath Manor House Museum is based on a medieval manor house dating back to about 1280 and which was a family home for 700 years. The site was acquired by the local authority in the late twentieth century having fallen into a state of disrepair, and was subsequently redeveloped into a museum. The house is believed to have once been owned by Sir Everard Digby, a member of the group responsible for the Gunpowder Plot of 1605.[22]

Culture and music

The Coalville and District Male Voice Choir was formed in 1944. Mrs Cynthia Moseley is only the fourth musical director in the choir's seventy-year history, having succeeded Aubrey Ward, Les Anderson and Harry Toon. The town is also home to the Broom Leys Choral Society.

The town also has a tradition of brass band history and is home to the Desford Colliery Band, founded in 1898. This ensemble has performed all over the world, recorded award winning albums and continues to be at the forefront of British music making. Their club, known as 'The Brass House', is located on Albert Road.[23]

The Coalville Amateur Operatic Society was formed in 1919, and has been staging operas, modern musicals and concerts in the Coalville area ever since. The society currently meets for rehearsals on Monday evenings at The Brass House, Albert Road, and on Thursday evenings at The Old Adult School Hall and Theatre on Bridge Road, both venues located near the town centre.

The Old Adult School Hall and Theatre on Bridge Road is the home of the Coalville Drama Group, formerly known as the Coalville Adult School Drama Group. The Drama Group has been presenting plays, dramas, comedies, pantomimes and other productions since the mid fifties. The Drama Group meets on Tuesday and Friday evenings. The Drama Group enjoys a long and unbroken history of presenting plays at both the Hall, and further afield in the Leicester Drama Festivals.


Historian [24]

Hermitage FM

Launched in November 2009, Hermitage FM is the community broadcaster for North West Leicestershire. It has a community coffee lounge based in its premises in Memorial Square, open to members of the public daily.[25]


Coalville Town Football Club - known as The Ravens currently play in the Northern Premier League Division One South. In 2010–2011 Coalville reached the FA Vase final becoming the first Leicestershire team to ever achieve a place in the final.

The Coalville Rugby Football Club was founded in 1903 and has a modern clubhouse off Hall Lane, Whitwick, replacing one that had previously stood on Broom Leys Road.[26]

The District Council's Hermitage Leisure Centre off Silver Street, Whitwick, was officially opened on 30 April 1981 by Olympic athlete Sebastian Coe.[27] Facilities include four squash courts, a multi-purpose room with weight training equipment and a bar. Sebastian Coe returned in 1987 to open a further phase, incorporating a multi-purpose sports hall and health suite.[27] External facilities include a floodlit all-weather play area, fishing lake and sports pitches. The fishing lake occupies the site of a former clay quarry which became filled with water after it had been redundant for some years following the demise of the adjacent brick-making works, all trace of which has now disappeared following the development of the Hermitage sports complex. The development of the quarry into a fishing lake entailed it being drained and partially infilled so as to allow a graduated incline of the land on its periphery below the water level.

Parish church and memorials

Coalville Parish Church

Coalville's parish church, Christ Church on London Road, was built between 1836 and 1838.[28] The architect was H. I. Stevens of Derby. In 1853, a chancel was added, making the building cruciform, and the church was restored between 1894 and 1895.[29] Vestries for the clergy and choir were erected on the north side of the chancel in 1936.[29]

The building is a plain and routine example of Early English style revival, comprising nave, transepts, chancel and western tower. The nave is fairly unusual in that its north and south aisles are not separated from the nave by arcades. The tower contains four bells, played on a clavier and has embattled parapets; access to the church is via the main west door, located in the ground floor stage of the tower. The local historian, Edgar Hawthorn, claims that construction of the church was funded by George Stephenson,[29] though this assertion has been called into question by more recent historians.[30]

The tower contained a single bell until 1936, when a further three bells were presented by Dr Francis E Knowles of America. Dr Knowles had ordered these bells from the foundry of John Taylor at Loughborough, but in the meantime, the church in America was destroyed by a tornado. Through the influence of the then vicar, the Reverend W A J Martyr, Dr Knowles (originally of Melbourne in Derbyshire) was persuaded to present them to Christ Church, Coalville.[29]

The church houses a brass memorial plaque to the victims of the Whitwick Colliery Disaster (1898) and the gravestone of James Stephenson, who came here through the influence of his brother,

  • Examples of Coalville dialect
  • Coalville Town website – helping to promote the town and local businesses
  • Coalville on Leicestershire Villages

External links

  1. ^ a b "NORTH-WEST LEICESTERSHIRE profile" (PDF). Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "DEMOGRAPHIC PROFILE OF NORTH WEST LEICESTERSHIRE", Leicestershire County Council, 2005, retrieved 2011-07-10
  3. ^ Both Hugglescote and Donington-le-Heath were part of Ibstock parish until 1878.
  4. ^ Fisher, S., "Reminiscences of Coalville", Burton, Ashby and Coalville Guardian, 1897
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b c d Coalville Conservation Area: Character Appraisal and Management Plan, May 2014, North West Leicestershire District Council
  7. ^ This Is Leicestershire website, 11.06.2009
  8. ^ Leicester Mercury, 27.03.2013: "Rail reinstatement calls unlikely to succeed"
  9. ^ Civic Heraldry of England website; accessed 23 September 2014.
  10. ^ "The Official Guide to North West Leicestershire", published by Ed. J Burrow and Co, London, circa 1986, p. 28
  11. ^
  12. ^ Samuel Pegg and Son infosite; accessed 23 September 2014.
  13. ^ Tulip Foods official website; accessed 5 October 2014.
  14. ^ Calder Colours infosite; accessed 23 September 2014.
  15. ^ KINGSCOTT, Geoffrey (2006) - Lost Railways of Leicestershire & Rutland. Countryside Books, Newbury, Berkshire, UK. p.33
  16. ^ CHAPMAN, Gemma (2009) - "Ivanhoe line officially scrapped". Coalville Times, Friday 18th September 2009, p.4. From Coalville Town Library Archive.
  17. ^ "Courses". Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
  18. ^ "Specialist Schools". The Standards Site.  
  19. ^ "List of primary schools in North-West Leciestershire". Leicestershire County Council. Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
  20. ^ Documents held at the County Record Office, Wigston
  21. ^ Leicester Mercury, 14.01.2015
  22. ^ Donington le Heath Manor House, official website: ""
  23. ^
  24. ^ "Coalville Food Drink Music Festival",; accessed 2 October 2014.
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^ a b c d "The Official Guide to North West Leicestershire", published by Ed. J Burrow and Co, London, circa 1986. Page 29
  28. ^ Pevsner, Nikolaus (1960) The Buildings of England: Leicestershire and Rutland, Penguin Books, p. 88
  29. ^ a b c d e f A.E. Hawthorn, "A Church, A People And A Story", 1953
  30. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Baker, 'Coalville: The First Seventy Five Years', Leicestershire Libraries and Information Services, 1983.
  31. ^ The London Gazette, 2 March 1858
  32. ^ Pevsner, Nikolaus et al, "The Buildings of England: Leicestershire and Rutland, 1984
  33. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Town Guide, Coalville Urban District Council, circa 1968
  34. ^
  35. ^ Pevsner, N. "The Buildings of England: Leicestershire and Rutland", 1984.
  36. ^ The London Gazette, 22 March 1955.
  37. ^
  38. ^ Coalville: A Trip Through Time, D.W Baker, 1994.
  39. ^ The Travels and Observations of Elizabeth Hewes, 2011"
  40. ^ a b
  41. ^ For example, the King exercised royal prerogative by granting a declaration of indulgence
  42. ^
  43. ^ A memorial on the wall of the Bardon Park Chapel evidences this
  44. ^ Coalville Evangelical Church infosite; accessed 2 October 2014.
  45. ^ Wesleyan Reform Union, Leicestershire; accessed 2 October 2014.
  46. ^
  47. ^ Protestant Non-Conformity in Coalville and Greenhill,; accessed 2 October 2014.
  48. ^ Coalville Times newspaper, issue 1174: 04.09.1914
  49. ^
  50. ^ St Wilfrid of York Roman Catholic Church, Coalville Park, Coalville, Leicestershire infosite; accessed 23 September 2014.
  51. ^ Convent of the Poor Clares infosite; accessed 23 September 2014.
  52. ^ Bibliography of Unitarian Congregations Which have Existed Since 1800 compiled (circa 2012) by Alan Ruston, accessible on the website of the Unitarian History Society,
  53. ^
  54. ^ a b This is Leicestershire website, article dated 11.06.2009
  55. ^
  56. ^
  57. ^
  58. ^
  59. ^ Coalville Times newspaper, 20 June 2014.
  60. ^
  61. ^ The Changing Face of Whitwick, Whitwick Historical Group, 1990
  62. ^ Broom Leys Hous School profile,; accessed 2 October 2014.
  63. ^ "Images of England: Coalville", D.W Baker and others, 1998.
  64. ^ The Architect and Building News, volume 3, page 224, 1915.
  65. ^
  66. ^ Griffin, Colin, The Leicestershire Miners, Volume II, 1988, p. 115
  67. ^
  68. ^ Coalville Public Arts Trail Leaflet
  69. ^
  70. ^
  71. ^ The Buildings of England: Leicestershire and Rutland. By Nikolaus Pevsner, revised by Elizabeth Williamson with Geoffrey W. Brandwood.
  72. ^
  73. ^
  74. ^
  75. ^ Mines of Memory publication, Leicestershire County Council.
  76. ^ Pevsner, Nikolaus et al, "The Buildings of England: Leicestershire and Rutland", 1985.
  77. ^ Grace's Guide to British Industrial History:
  78. ^
  79. ^ Baker, D.W, "Coalville: A Trip Through Time", 1994
  80. ^
  81. ^
  82. ^
  83. ^ Emporium Club, Coalville,; accessed 2 October 2014.
  84. ^ Information on History of Coalville's Public Houses and Working Men's Clubs taken from website by Stephen Neale Badcock - GeoCities - no longer extant
  85. ^ a b c d e f White, William, History, Gazetteer and Directory of Leicestershire and Rutland, 1846
  86. ^
  87. ^
  88. ^ Coalville Remembered published by Coalville 150 Group 1983
  89. ^ White, Francis and Co - History, Gazetteer and Directory of the County of Derby, 1857
  90. ^
  91. ^ Kathleen Fidler biodata,; accessed 23 September 2014.


See also

  • Hugh Adcock (1903–1975), former Leicester City, Bristol Rovers and England footballer
  • Tina Baker (born 1958), TV presenter
  • William Bees (1871-1938), Recipient of the Victoria Cross; buried in the London Road Cemetery
  • Norman Bird, actor (1920–2005)
  • Simon Bookish, musician and composer
  • David Brett, actor, singer and arranger. He was one of the original members of The Flying Pickets
  • Kathleen Fidler (1899–1980), writer [91]
  • Thomas Hemsley (1927-2013), actor and opera singer, awarded CBE in 2000
  • Tom Hopper, actor (born 1985)
  • James Hunt (1943-2006), barrister and High Court Judge
  • Joe Lees, former Barnsley, Rotherham County, Lincoln City and Halifax Town footballer
  • Gregg Mayles (born 1971), video games designer
  • Thomas Ignatius McCarthy (1880-1951), architect
  • MC Pitman, hip-hop artist who performs in the persona of a Coalville miner
  • Tommy Robinson (1909-1982), former footballer
  • George Smith (1831–95), Victorian philanthropist
  • Gemma Steel (born 1985), British long-distance runner
  • William Stenson (1770-1861), mining engineer, founder of Whitwick Colliery; plaque on London Road marks site of former residence
  • Edwin Walker (1909-1994), former Leicestershire cricketer
  • Steve Whitworth (born 20 March 1952), former professional footballer who made nearly 600 appearances in the Football League playing for Leicester City, Sunderland, Bolton Wanderers and Mansfield Town. He was capped seven times for England
  • Sid Wileman (1910-1985), former footballer

Notable residents

The West End Club, located at the 'Hoo Ash Island' end of Ashby Road is the largest licensed premises in the town.

The Waggon and Horses public house stood at the bottom of Ashby Road, until it was closed and demolished, circa 2000.

The business park which lies adjacent to the pub was formerly an area occupied by the Whitwick Colliery. The Victoria Hotel was opened before 1846[30] Victoria Road and Albert Road are to be found close by, which were developed with terraced properties, circa 1900.

The Victoria Hotel on Whitwick Road, is now known as "The Vic Biker's Pub" (or, more commonly, 'The Vic') and has established a firm reputation as a venue for live bands at weekends, typically of 'classic rock' genre. The venue also attracts large numbers of motorcycle enthusiasts who assemble with their vehicles in the car park on week nights.

The Stamford and Warrington public house is connected with one of Leicestershire's most notorious murder cases. This occurred in 1877, when one Joseph Tugby - a sixty-four-year-old pedlar, who had been drinking at the hostelry - was followed out of the premises and beaten to death on a nearby railway footbridge by three local men - John Swift, John Upton and James Satchwell - all of whom were subsequently hanged. Their execution, at the Welford Road Gaol in Leicester, was apparently the last triple hanging to be carried out there. Tugby's grave can be found in the disused Roman Catholic cemetery on Parsonwood Hill, Whitwick in the form of a slate headstone (now fallen over) and which asks for forgiveness for his killers.[90]

The Stamford and Warrington, standing close to the railway crossing on High Street, is a small traditional public house that has remained largely unaltered internally over the past fifty years. The premises is of stripped classical style with a faience front façade and derives its name from the fact that the Earl of Stamford and Warrington was once 'lord paramount' of the manors of Hugglescote and Donington, the pub being located in Hugglescote parish, prior to the creation of Coalville Civil Parish toward the end of the nineteenth century.[85]

The Snibstone New Inn, near Memorial Square (known locally as 'The Snibby') was built in 1836.[30] Curiously, the spelling "Snibstone" - as used in the name of this inn - has always appeared to deviate from the traditional spelling of "Snibston" - the parish in which it used to stand, prior to the amalgamation of this parish into the new civil parish of Coalville. In William White's Directory of 1846, the pub is listed as 'The New Inn', in the Coalville part of Whitwick, with the name of the landlord given as Thomas Coldwell.[85] In Francis White's Directory of 1857, it is listed under Packington, which contained the chapelry of Snibston, and the landlady is named as Margaret Coldwell, presumably widow of Thomas.[89]

The Saint Wilfrid's Social Club was a large premises of wooden construction that formerly stood on London Road, opposite Saint Wilfrid's Roman Catholic Church. Used as a social centre for many years by members of the Saint Wilfrid's congregation, this closed in recent years and is now demolished.

Dennis Baker - in his book, "Coalville: The First Seventy-Five Years"[30] asserts that this building appears to have had rather a 'bloody history'. In about 1799, for example, it is recorded that the landlord was shot and injured whilst answering a knock at the door one night; this resulted in the hanging of a sweep from nearby Thringstone, though several years afterward, a man sentenced to death for horse-stealing at Copt Oak subsequently confessed to having committed the shooting. Baker also writes that the Red House was once referred to locally as 'The Cradle and Coffin' - apparently based upon an unsubstantiated legend that a former landlord allowed his child to starve to death and then buried it in its cradle in the yard after his wife had absconded with a customer.[30]

The Red House, near Memorial Square, is the oldest public house in the town and is of an eighteenth century origin, thereby pre-dating the modern town of Coalville. For some years toward the end of the twentieth century, this pub was known as The Steampacket, before reverting to its original name. In 1846, the landlord appears as one Joseph Burton.[85]

The Railway Hotel on Hotel Street closed its doors in the 1990s and has since been used as a Montessori nursery. A Grade II listed building, this also originally served as the ticket office for the newly opened Leicester and Swannington Railway. In 1846, the landlord was recorded as one Samuel Clifford.[85]

The Queen's Head at the top of Spring Lane, on the corner of Thornborough Road closed many years ago. It is included among the list of Whitwick public houses at the Whitwick WorldHeritage page, though in fact, historically, would have stood in the parish of Swannington.

Potter's Snooker Club was situated centrally, in Owen Street. The club was opened in the late twentieth century and has since closed.

The Monkey Walk in Marlborough Square is a Wetherspoons franchise, formerly occupied by Lloyds Bank until this was relocated to more modern premises in the 1990s just a short distance away on Belvoir Road. The Monkey Walk derives its name from an area once demarcated by the Co-op clock above the Co-op premises in Marlborough Square (now a bookmakers) and a clock above Lashmore's jewellers on High Street (now the La Torre restaurant). The unattached young men and women of the town would at one time shuttle between these two landmarks on a Saturday & Sunday evening "eyeing up the talent" and the resultant parade earned the nickname of the "Monkey Walk".[88] The pub is immediately opposite the site of the Co-op end of the area.

The Miner's Welfare Club on Owen Street was a huge concern for many years. This impressive building was destroyed by an arson attack during the 1980s. A miniature steam railway was once located to the rear of the premises, which has since been re-established in the grounds of the Hermitage Leisure Centre.

The Marlborough Club in Marlborough Square was formerly known as The Coalville Liberal Club.

The Margaret Street Working Men's Club - as the name suggests - formerly traded in Margaret Street, in the town centre. Following its closure as a licensed premises, the building was taken over by the New Life evangelical church, which is a thriving concern, as evidenced by the presence of its website.

The Litten Tree was a relatively short-lived venture that occupied a former retail premises in Marlborough Square. Prior to its conversion into a public house, the building was occupied by the "Teddy Edwards" clothing store. The premises is now unoccupied.

The Leicester Inn, located opposite the town's municipal building on London Road was formerly known as The Leicester Hotel, until this was changed some years ago.

The Jolly Colliers is located on Thornborough Road and was once a relatively isolated building until this area was redeveloped with the coming of the new 'Stephenson Way' bypass. It is now somewhat overshadowed by the presence of a KFC outlet and the new Stephenson College.

The Halfway House on Belvoir Road - it is said - derived its name due to equidistance between the settlements of Coalville and Hugglescote. This establishment was once frequented with patrons drawn to the regular greyhound races that were held for many years on a track to the rear of the premises, though the greyhound course was closed in the 1980s and the land has since been redeveloped with housing. The Coalville Greyhound Course is said to have once been amongst the most prestigious such facilities in the country, regularly drawing large crowds and attracting competitors from northern counties, more traditionally associated with the sport. Afghan hound races also took place here. The Halfway House closed its doors in 2014.

The Greyhound and The Royal Oak public houses stood side by side on High Street, until both were knocked through to form a large new pub called The Pick 'n Shovel, circa 1990. This establishment closed after about ten years and then stood unoccupied for a number of years, until being demolished in 2015. For many years, The Royal Oak was a popular adjunct to the 'betting shop' which formerly stood next door, around the corner on Belvoir Road. The site is currently being redeveloped by a building complex comprising 14 one bedroomed flats, due for completion in April 2016. The cost of the redevelopment is £2.2 million, which cost has been met by the East Midlands Housing Group, with contributions from North West Leicestershire District Council and the Homes and Communities Agency.[87]

The Grand Wine Bar boasted an opulent and lavishly designed 'art-deco' interior, with spiral iron staircases leading to upper level balcony seating areas, opened in the 1980s, in a frontage, partitioned from 'Central Park' nightclub, on Belvoir Road, next door to The Engine public house. This establishment did not thrive however, and became known as "Chunky's Fun Pub", before its eventual closure during the early 1990s, after which it was incorporated into the club premises behind, which subsequently became the now-defunct Emporium nightclub.

The Fox and Goose was a large and imposing public house sited at the junction of London Road and Broom Leys Road. For some years toward the end of its life, the pub was known as the Minnesotas Sports Bar. This building was demolished in about 2010, having fallen into a state of considerable disrepair during a period of disuse and the site has since been redeveloped by a housing complex named "Fox Leys", with an adjacent Spar supermarket. In 1846, the landlord was recorded as having been one Thomas Smith.[85]

The Engine on Belvoir Road was originally known as "The Engineers' Arms" and for many years served as a 'meeting place' for patrons who later proceeded to the town's nightclub next door, before the relaxation of licensing laws.

As noted elsewhere, The Emporium Nightclub on Belvoir Road occupies a premises which has been used as a nightclub venue under many different guises over the years. The club closed its doors as 'Emporium' in 2014.[86]

The Davey Lamp was a modern public house, opened in the 1980s on the Agar Nook estate. This closed after only several years.

The Cocked Hat was a twentieth century public house built on the Greenhill Estate. This closed, circa 2000, and has since been demolished. The site is currently undeveloped.

The Coalville Labour Club stands off Bridge Road and contains a function room which is regularly hired out for wedding receptions and private parties. This was built in the 1950s, the original Labour Club was a corrugated iron structure further down Bridge Road on the same side but closer to the bridges.

The Coalville Constitutional Club was built in 1897 and stands almost opposite the former Railway Hotel. The building has an impressive internal foyer, incorporating an imposing wooden staircase of massive proportion and a well preserved encaustic tile floor. A stone tablet, located in the lobby, lists the founding dignitaries.

The Brass House on Albert Road is home to the Desford Colliery Band.

The Bluebell and The Fountain public houses stood either side of an area known as "Marshall's Yard", now occupied by the public library on High Street. Both closed in the 1960s and have since been demolished. In 1846, the landlord of 'The Blue Bell' is given as one Thomas Price.[85]

Blooblos was a small nightclub situated just inside the New Broadway shopping precinct which was opened during the 1970s by Graham Tom of Bardon Aggregates (the club, however, was a private venture by Graham and had no connection with Bardon). Punk rock had just taken off at the time the club first opened and many of the well known punk rock groups played there The club was above the Midland Bank (now HSBC) and became renowned for the fact that one of its walls consisted entirely of a mirror, causing many unsuspecting patrons to walk straight into it, much to the amusement of more regular onlookers. The club was also known as "Loretta's" and "Ricardos" during its history, before it closed, probably during the late 1980s.

The Bardon Road Working Men's Club is located on the corner of Bardon Road and Waterworks Road and has been more recently known as The Bardon Community Venue.

Other public houses and working men's clubs appeared during the twentieth century, as the town continued to grow and 'push outward' with estate housng. The following summary of the town's public houses and working men's clubs affords some insights into the social history of the town.[84] Here they are listed alphabetically:

As with the neighbouring village of Whitwick, the proliflic development of hostelries in Coalville is closely associated with the town's coal-mining heritage. The local historian, Denis W. Baker notes that in 1841, a typical miner's budget included a sum to buy for his family's weekly consumption of three gallons of beer and evidence, from cases in the local police courts, indicates no diminution of this amount by the turn of the century.[30]

Coalville saw the establishment of many public houses during the nineteenth century as the coal-mining community grew, though several of these hostelries have since closed. The oldest among them is The Red House, an eighteenth century coaching inn, which stood alongside a track known as Long Lane in something of a wilderness before the settlement of Coalville was begun, following the discovery of coal early in the nineteenth century.

Public Houses and Working Men's Clubs

The town's nightclub, Emporium, was the UK's largest independent "superclub".[83] Prior to becoming the Emporium, the venue had a succession of names and different owners, from the time of its conversion from a cinema to a nightclub in the 1970s. Initially, the club retained the name of the cinema before it, "The Grand". The club then underwent a succession of different ownerships and name-changes with, among them: Tiffany's, Benson's, Phase Three, Central Park and Chrystals, among others.

Emporium Nightclub

Broughton Street derives its name from Canon Henry Ellis Broughton, vicar of Hugglescote, 1889-1924.

More research is needed in order to shed light on the origins of some of the town's unusual road names, such as Mammoth Street and 'The Scotlands'.

Road Names

The Whitwick Business Park, which incorporates the Morrison's Supermarket and the adjacent retail complex occupies a redeveloped part of the town which, for more than one hundred and fifty years, had been occupied by Whitwick Colliery. Officially opened on 6 November 1990, the Morrisons store comprises some 70,000 square feet and is a prominent feature overlooking the Stephenson Way, with a clock tower containing four faces at its south-west corner. Morrisons recently launched its own national clothing brand, 'Nutmeg', choosing to locate its headquarters close to the Coalville store.[82]

Stephenson College is an imposing, 'state of the art' building, standing off the Thornborough Road. In March 2006 the architects, Pick Everard, received the Leicestershire and Rutland Society of Architects' President's Award for the 'cutting edge' design work on the college, which was completed in 2005.[81]

Stenson House is the formal name of the town's original municipal building on London Road. An attractive interwar neo-classical style edifice, this was designed by H. Langman and completed in 1934.[6] The building contains the debating chamber for elected representatives to North West Leicestershire District Council and also, since April 2012, has been used for wedding, civil partnership and other celebratory occasions, having replaced the registration office on Ravenstone Road.[80] Stenson House is connected to a large complex of offices accommodated in a rear extension which faces Whitwick Road, which was progressively added during the 1980s and 1990s. The name, 'Stenson House', was retrospectively given to the council chambers to commemorate William Stenson, founder of the Whitwick Colliery, whose mansion house formerly stood on the site of the present day car park, adjacent to the council offices.

Stenson House, January 2013

The Springboard Centre on Mantle Lane occupies a large Victorian building that was formerly occupied by Stableford and Co. - a wagon works established in 1862, which had manufactured railway rolling stock for home, colonial and foreign railways, employing 900 to 1,200 men.[77] In 1985, the derelict premises was acquired by the Leicestershire County Council, the local district council, British Coal and other backers and used as a venue for the establishment of small businesses. The centre originally contained twenty one units and has since grown to accommodate businesses occupying more than seventy units; since its opening, over four hundred and thirty businesses and organisations have been based within the centre and the annual average number of jobs based with or connected with the Springboard Centre is in excess of three hundred and sixty.[78] The row of houses adjoining the Springboard Centre were built by W.D Stableford to house the families of men who came from the Black Country to work at his waggon works.[79]

The headstocks and nineteenth century pithead buildings of the former Snibston Colliery form a prominent feature to the west of the town and in 2012, work commenced on a £1.4 million restoration scheme, the buildings having appeared on English Heritage's annual "at risk" register due to the state of the pithead structures, which had reached an advanced state of decay.[74] The colliery was sunk in 1831 and closed in December 1983.[75] The Pithead Baths on the north side of Ashby Road are by J W M Dudding and date from 1940.[76] These have now been used to accommodate local business ventures.

Another building of note is the former Regal Cinema, which also stands in Marlborough Square. The revised edition of Pevsner's 'Buildings of England' draws attention to the building's faux Egyptian façade.[71] The Regal was built on the site of the former Olympia picture house (which had been built in 1910) and opened on 2 November 1933, with a seating capacity of 1,200. The 'Cinema Treasures' website notes: " the Regal Cinema had a brick and artificial stone facade with a pylon on the right to accommodate the entrance. Fountain motifs here were repeated inside the two-level auditorium as ante-proscenium grilles above balconettes, lit by Holophane colour lighting. Foyer murals of Italian gardens were by scenic artist George Legge of Bryan’s Adamanta, Birmingham".[72] In 1992, the building was acquired by Flutters Bingo.[73]

The former Rex Cinema in Marlborough Square retains numerous original art deco fittings and features. This is now a Dunelm Mill shop. The cinema was built by Walter Moss and Son at a cost of approximately £25,000 and was capable of seating 1,250 people. The cinema was opened on 2 February 1938.[70]

The New Broadway Precinct occupies a large part of the town centre, with two main entrances on High Street and Belvoir Road. Though now regarded as outdated, this development was the first modern shopping precinct of the post-war era in Leicestershire and its construction cost approximately £1,000,000 in 1963.[27] It contains seventy one shopping units and was overhauled in about 1990, when slate roof canopies were added around the precinct interior.

The disused Municipal Cemetery off London Road contains some interesting monuments, such as those marking the graves of several victims of the Whitwick Colliery Disaster of 1898, and also the grave of William Bees, a recipient of the Victoria Cross. The cemetery also contains a number of Commonwealth War Graves.

The Mother and Child is a bronze sculpture standing outside the public library, and which won the Sir Otto Beit Prize for 1963. The statue is by Robert John Royden Thomas and represents a mother looking forward, with her child looking behind her at a string bag she holds, which contains lumps of coal, a bobbin, books, a baby doll and another item, representing the mining, elastic, web weaving, toy manufacturing (Palitoy) and other industries of the town's past. The sculpture was unveiled on 11 October 1963 by Colonel P H Lloyd, Chairman of Leicestershire County Council, and stood in the New Broadway Shopping Centre until it was moved to its present location on High Street in 1988.[69]

The Miners' Memorial Statue is a bronze sculpture situated on the site of the old railway station and which was officially unveiled by David Taylor MP and the Right Reverend William Down, Assistant Bishop of Leicester, in 1998 to mark the one hundredth anniversary of the Whitwick Colliery Disaster, in which thirty five men and boys lost their lives. The inscription reads: "This memorial is dedicated to all miners of Leicestershire who gave their lives winning the coal".[68] The statue was sculpted by Judith Holmes Drewry. A measure of criticism has been aired by some of the former mining community that the representation of a man, standing with a raised pickaxe, does not reflect the true conditions of the narrow seams of the district, in which men would have more typically been forced to hew coal from a prostrate or kneeling position.

The Methodist Church in Marlborough Square is a good example of design by the local architect, Thomas Ignatius McCarthy, and together with the art deco cinema houses and former Lloyds bank forms a group of characterful buildings, though their impact is possibly detracted by the use of the square as a public car park. The Methodist Church, built as a Primitive Methodist chapel in 1903, contains a gallery extending around the interior, accessed by two polygonal towers either side of a large, four-light lancet widow on the frontal facade.

The Marlene Reid Centre on the corner of Belvoir Road and Melbourne Street was erected in 1881 as a Wesleyan Methodist chapel. This is a neat red brick structure, with rounded windows in the classical style forming an attractive feature in its upper storey frontage.

The Market Hall, housing the town's general market, was constructed in 1975 at a cost of approximately £300,000. According to a contemporary publication, "the construction of the twin hyperbolic paraboloid main roofs is unique".[27] Situated next to the railway line, close to the site of the original station, it has been suggested that the Market Hall would make an ideal modern station should the railway be re-opened to passenger services.

Marlborough Square Methodist Church, built 1903

The Mantle Lane Signal Box has stood for more than a century overlooking the railway bridge on north side of Memorial Square. Opened in 1910, this is a 'Midland Railway Type 4c box', fitted with a 28 lever frame. Another signal box, dating from 1907, and which had stood at the crossing on Hotel Street, was dismantled several years ago and re-erected in the grounds of the Snibston Discovery Park.

The former Leicestershire Miners' Association building can be found at #8 Bakewell Street, and was built between 1926 and 1927 at a cost of £4000[66] Originally founded as the Coalville and District Miners' Association in 1887, this became the Leicestershire Miners' Association in about 1907 and held its meetings in a variety of venues around the district until the Bakewell Street premises was built. In 1945, this building became the headquarters for the Leicestershire Area of the National Union of Mineworkers. It is now home to a company called Stirling Solutions, which produces software for the road haulage industry.[67]

Leicestershire Miners' Association

Standing a short distance from the old Co-operative Bakery, on the corner of Market Street and Wolsey Street are the former East Midland Housing Association Offices, which was provided with a third storey extension, circa 1990. Founded in 1946 as a traditional housing association by a group of homeless ex-servicemen with an initial capital of just £39 and 10 shillings, this organization has since transferred its headquarters to Memorial House on the Whitwick Business Park and is now a huge concern known as the East Midlands Group, acting as landlord for 18,000 homes.[65]

The former Co-operative Bakery near Mantle Lane is a large three storey stone and brick building, built by the Coalville and District Working Men's Co-operative Society to provide bread and confectionery to the local district. Built in 1930, this is currently derelict.[6]

The Belvoir Road Co-operative Store is a three storey building which stands as an expression of interwar social and economic confidence in the town, being the organisation’s fourth town centre premises, opened in 1916 and designed by Thomas Ignatius McCarthy.[64] Despite alterations to its ground floor and a modern addition at its southern end, the building maintains a significant presence in the street scene with its brick and faience triple gabled frontage.[6]

Coalville Grammar School was built on Forest Road in 1909 and replaced the Harley Charity Grammar School at Osgathorpe. This imposing building was built at a cost of £7,145 by J.E Johnson of Loughborough and a 'Harley Memorial Tablet' was unveiled inside the building. The first headmaster was Mr L Storr-Best, D. Lit, M.A.[30] Following the transferral of the grammar school to a new site at Warren Hills in the 1960s, the building became the home of Newbridge High School. An arson attempt nearly destroyed the building in 1984[63] and led to reconstruction of the upper storey and a new bell turret.

Broom Leys House (now known as Broom Leys School) is possibly the best example of a wealthy Victorian's house in the area.[61] The house was built on the site of an eighteenth century farmhouse purchased by William Whetstone in 1845 and designed by the eminent architect, Joseph Goddard. Whetstone was the owner of Ibstock Colliery and a former Lord Mayor of Leicester. In 1908, the house was bought by Horace Rendall Mansfield, the Member of Parliament for Spalding, Lincolnshire, subsequently being purchased by the Whitwick Colliery Company in 1911. In 1914, it was loaned from the mining company to house Belgian refugees during the First World War and in 1915, the house started to be used as a hospital for the war wounded.[62] Following the First World War, the house became a school and is now one of the largest primary schools in Leicestershire.

In addition to the clock tower war memorial, three other buildings in Coalville have been given Grade II listed status. The other listed buildings are the parish church of Christ Church; the former Railway Hotel and the Castle Rock Sixth Form College, formerly a country house attributed to Pugin.[60]

In June 2014, it was reported that consideration was being given by the local district council to the designation of the Coalville town centre as a conservation area, something which English Heritage has encouraged. In a letter to the council, English Heritage stated, "Coalville is a good example of the type of commercial and industrial settlement that grew up rapidly in the 19th century following the discovery of coal, but which in Leicestershire is somewhat unusual and it has a number of 19th and 20th century gems, such as the Rex Cinema".[59]

Due to its relative modernity and past industrial character, Coalville has few listed buildings. The central core of the town is characterized by streets of homogeneous terraced housing, built toward the end of the nineteenth century and during the early part of the twentieth century, to accommodate the families of those employed in coal-mining and other industries, with more salubrious detached housing concentrated on the London Road and Forest Road, typically occupied by the families of those employed in managerial positions within these industries.

Other Buildings and Landmarks of Interest

A well known landmark at the centre of the town is the clock tower, a war memorial in memory of Coalville residents who gave their lives in the 20th century's two world wars: The memorial clock tower was designed by Henry Collings and built by W Moss Ltd in 1925 at a cost of £2,250. It was designed to replace the first cenotaph to The Fallen which had been installed in the boundary wall of the railway station in 1919. The memorial clock was officially opened by Mrs Booth of Gracedieu Manor at a memorial service on October 31, 1925. Ten thousand people attended and the Coalville Company of the 5th Leicestershire regiment led a procession, headed by the regimental band. A procession of ex-servicemen and a detachment of C squadron of the Leicestershire Yeomanry marched from Whitwick and another party of ex-servicemen, including 22 surviving members of the 'first fifty' was led from the Fox and Goose public house by The Hugglescote and Ellistown Band. The tower rises 68 feet above pavement level and is a Grade II listed building. The building was admired by the architectural critic and historian, Nikolaus Pevsner.

Clock Tower War Memorial

In terms of parliamentary representation, Coalville has been part of two constituencies since the end of the First World War, which has seen the election of representatives from all three traditional political parties. From 1918 until 1983, Coalville had been part of the Bosworth parliamentary constituency, which was represented by Liberal, Labour and Conservative Members of Parliament throughout this period. Since 1983, Coalville has lain within the parliamentary constituency of North West Leicestershire, which has been represented by both Conservative and Labour Members of Parliament, the current MP being Andrew Bridgen, a Conservative.

Candidate Party Candidate Votes (2009) Candidate Share (2009) Party Votes (2005) Party Share (2005)
Graham PARTNER British National Party 1039 27.7% 0 0.0%
Paula Diane PURVER Conservative Party 953 25.4% 1419 24.4%
John LEGRYS Labour Party 840 22.4% 1976 33.9%
Phil HOLLAND Independent 592 15.8% 1620 27.8%
Sue MORRELL Liberal Democrats 326 8.7% 807 13.9%

Election Result for the Division of Coalville - Leicestershire County Council, 04.06.2009 (Taken from Leicestershire County Council Website)

Candidate Party Candidate Votes (2013) Candidate Share (2013) Party Votes (2009) Party Share (2009)
Terri ENYON Labour Party 1294 44.7% 840 222.4%
Phil HOLLAND UKIP 825 28.5% 0 0.0%
John COTTERILL Conservative Party 476 16.4% 953 25.4%
Graham Ronald PARTNER British Democrats 215 7.4% 0 0.0%
Lee James WINDRAM Liberal Democrats 84 2.9% 326 8.7%

Election Result for the Division of Coalville - Leicestershire County Council, 02.05.2013 (Taken from Leicestershire County Council Website)

Traditionally, district of Coalville was a Labour stronghold, and until the 1990s, the Labour Party held 36 out of the 40 seats on the district council, with its industrial and coal-mining heritage seen as a deterministic factor in its political profile.[54] In the early twenty first century however, the localized political landscape changed drastically, with control of the district council ceding to the Conservatives. In 2015, the council's website shows that there are currently 20 Conservative councilors compared to 16 for Labour and 1 for the Liberal Democrats, with 1 member sitting as an independent.[55] In 2009, the British National Party gained its first seat on the Leicestershire County Council, when their candidate, Graham Partner, took the Coalville seat from the Labour Party with a majority of 86.[54][56] Labour regained the seat in the council elections of 2013 however,[57] with Partner (who had by then defected to the British Democrats) coming in fourth place and UKIP coming second.[58]

Political History

The Anglican, Evangelical, Roman Catholic and 'non-conformist' churches in the district co-operate in an ecumenical alliance known as Coalville Christian Church Unity. The Jehovah's Witnesses and Spiritualist Church in the town are unconnected with this movement.

Coalville Churches Together

In the 2011 census, the electoral ward of Coalville was found to contain 5988 inhabitants and revealed the religious make up of the town to be 60.1% Christian, 32.4% No religion, 0.6% Hindu, 0.3% Buddhist, 0.2% Muslim, 0.1% Agnostic, 0.1% Sikh.[53]

Religion in 2011

A Unitarian hall was opened on Bridge Road in September 1908 and functioned until 1946.[52] A Spiritualist congregation subsequently took over the building.

Unitarian and Free Christian

There is also the Spiritualists' National Union on Bridge Road. The Bridge Road building was formerly a Unitarian chapel.


The Salvation Army formerly had a purpose-built hall on Gutteridge Street, though due to a decline in its membership this building was recently sold off and is now used by an evangelical free church. A small group of people formerly associated with the Gutteridge Street church now meet for worship on Sunday afternoons at the Saint Wilfred of York Roman Catholic Church in the town.


National Spiritualists' Union Church, Bridge Road, Coalville

Another important development within the Coalville Roman Catholic community was the founding of the Convent of the Poor Clares, on Forest Road, close by the railway bridge "where the Sisters dedicate themselves to the education of the children of Saint Wilfred's Parish".[33] The present school was opened and formally blessed by the Right Reverend Bishop McGuiness in May 1976.[51] The Cistercian monastery of Mount Saint Bernard Abbey is also located close to the town, on the fringe of Charnwood Forest.

In June 1961, the modern day Saint Wilfrid of York Catholic Church by Desmond Williams[49] was built on London Road, next to the Coalville Park, and which remains a thriving concern, serving a community of people of many nationalities. The western facade of the church is clad in green Swithland slate with a carved stone statue of St Wilfrid in the gable by Michael Clark. [50]

In 1913, Coalville became a Roman Catholic parish in its own right, under the guidance of Father Degan, a local activist who championed the cause of the local mining community. Under his guidance, the Catholic community grew substantially and in 1956 a church hall was erected on Ibstock Road in Ellistown, to relieve the congestion in the church of Saint Saviours.[33]

In the year 1900, again through the generosity of Mr de Lisle, a new church was erected on the site and which was opened by [40]

The neighbouring parish of Whitwick was a focal point in the Roman Catholic revival early in the nineteenth century due to the zealous missionary work instigated by Ambrose de Lisle of Gracedieu Manor, a mission which eventually spread to encompass the new town of Coalville. Until 1887, the small community of Catholics residing in Coalville had to travel to Whitwick to celebrate Mass. In that year, Mass was first celebrated in a private house on Ashby Road and services were subsequently held in a local dance hall and later in a theatre owned by Mr Charles Tyler.[33] After a few years, Mr Edwin de Lisle offered to build a temporary church, entirely at his own expense, on a site on Highfields Street, which had previously been acquired by Father Matthew O'Reilly, the parish priest at Whitwick. This was an oblong building of corrugated iron.[33]

Roman Catholicism

A congregation is recorded meeting in a room in Hugglescote in the 1880s and 1890s, and by the turn of the century in a room in Coalville. This may have been the same meeting place, as the boundaries of Coalville had been extended through the local government reforms. The precise location is unknown. [47] The Brethren were still extant in the town during the First World War as in September 1914 it was recorded in a local newspaper that this church was one of three that had yet to appoint collectors for the Prince of Wales’s War Relief Fund in Coalville parish.[48]

Plymouth Brethren

The United Methodists had a church on London Road. This was founded in 1910 on land acquired by the United Methodist Church in Loughborough.[33] Following the Methodist national union in 1932, the London Road Church continued to be served from Loughborough until 1943, when the chapel was transferred to the Coalville circuit and was served by a minister who lived opposite, at #76 London Road.[33] The church was once known for its lovely garden, but closed some years ago and has since been demolished, the site subsequently being used for new housing.

The former Wesleyan Methodist Chapel on Belvoir Road

The Wesleyan Methodist Chapel building (erected in 1881) still exists on Belvoir Road and is now used as a community resource, known as the Marlene Reid Centre, named in commemoration of Marlene Reid of Whitwick who died in 1986, and whose own disability inspired her to pioneer local voluntary services, also earning her Leicestershire's 'Woman Of The Year' award in 1983.[46]

In 1861, a Primitive Methodist Church was built next to the railway crossing on Belvoir Road. This structure still exists, with lancet windows still visible at the rear of the premises as one walks along the footpath which follows the route of the old railway line. This church was in turn replaced by a new building in Marlborough Square in 1903, and which is now known as the Marlborough Square Methodist Church. This was built to seat 600 people, with school hall, vestries and classrooms.[33]

The Primitive Methodists originally had a place of worship on Ashby Road, and also a Sunday School, in a building that later became known as the 'Snibstone Band Room'. This was used from 1832 until 1861 and was eventually sold to the Baptists and is now the site of the Ebenezer Baptist Church.[33]

There are also Wesleyan Reform chapels in the nearby townships of Ellistown and Ibstock. [45] Another Methodist faction - the

There were, at one time, three different Methodist factions active within the town of Coalville - the Primitive Methodists, the United Methodists and the Wesleyan Methodists - and each had its own own chapel. All of these societies united nationally in 1932 and their buildings became known simply as 'Methodist Churches'. The three Methodist congregations all eventually amalgamated locally and were assimilated within the church in Marlborough Square, which is the present day Coalville Methodist Church.


Jehovah's Winesses have a modern 'Kingdom Hall' on Albert Road, replacing one which formerly stood on Ashby Road. The building comprises a brick built rectangular hall, with a gabled entrance lobby on the west side, which is faced with stone ashlar and within which is a castellated brick façade containing the main door.

Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, Coalville

Jehovah's Witnesses

The Yesterday, Today and Forever Church is an independent evangelical church which was established in the former Salvation Army Hall on Gutteridge Street.

There is also a Pentecostal church (Full Gospel Mission) on James Street, affiliated with the Elim Pentecostal Churches of Great Britain.

The New Life Church is an evangelical free church on Margaret Street, which occupies a premises which was formerly a working men's club.

Coalville Evangelical Church, is an independent church affiliated with the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches, and which can be found on Belvoir Road.[44]

Coalville Evangelical Church

Free churches

Around 1900, the Bardon Park Congregational Chapel became concerned that it was not sufficiently influencing the spiritual life of the town of Coalville and opened a new chapel in the town.[30] This was "an iron building which used to stand on what is now the flower plot at the corner of Broom Leys Road and London Road" and the building was also used as a place of worship by a society of United Methodists, before they built their own church on the London Road in 1910. A house called "Hazeldine Villa", adjacent to the iron building, was the residence of the Congregationalist minister.[33] The mission proved to be a short lived venture however, as Hazeldine and the iron chapel were sold off in 1909.[30]

Around 1800, the then minister at the Bardon Park Chapel opened a chapel at Donington-le-Heath.[43] This building was relatively short-lived and was eventually demolished. Its exact location is unknown. From the 1840s until circa 1870, the Bardon Park Chapel operated a day-school at Bardon Park, in the hall to the rear of the chapel. This school was affiliated to the British and Foreign School Society. (BFSS schools were often known as "British Schools", distinguishing them from the "National Schools" affiliated to the Church of England). A painted alphabet board on the wall of the old schoolroom at Bardon Park Chapel dates from the 1840s.

The Bardon Park Chapel, situated about three miles from Coalville, is a Grade II Listed building, widely regarded as being the oldest non-conformist place of worship in Leicestershire. Built in about 1694,[42] the chapel was affiliated to the Congregational Union from about 1830. In 1972, the Congregationalists united nationally with the Presbyterians to form the United Reformed Church. The "Bardon Chapel" thus serves as the modern day United Reformed Church for the communities of Coalville and North West Leicestershire.

The moated old Bardon Hall at Bardon Park became a place of Dissenting worship, and was registered as such after persecution of Dissent had eased.[41] After the events known as the Glorious Revolution (1688) and the Act of Toleration 1689, the owner of Bardon Hall and Park built the Bardon Park chapel or meetinghouse at the gate of his estate, as a place for non-conforming worship.

Following Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660, the re-establishment of the bishops, and Parliament's attempt in 1662 to impose a single form of religious observance throughout England (the Act of Uniformity 1662), the vicar of Ravenstone (John Shuttlewood or Sittlewood) was removed from office in 1660, the vicar of Whitwick (John Bennett) was removed from office in 1662 and William Sheffield (a former rector of Ibstock, but who had moved to Stoke Golding where he was a curate) was suspended on 13 October 1662. All three became Nonconformist or Dissenting preachers. Shuttlewood and Bennett were both later imprisoned for Nonconformity.

Congregationalism would appear to have been the first Protestant non-conformist religion active in the Coalville district.

Conregationalist (United Reformed Church)

In 1879, further doctrinal differences led to 149 members of the General Baptist Chapel being erased from their communion.[30] Seventy three of these individuals then formed themselves into a Particular Baptist Chapel and went on to build the Ebeneezer Baptist Church on Ashby Road, which was completed in 1881.[30] Whilst the church was being built, services were conducted in an old wagon repair shop.[33] Structural alterations and additions were made to the building in 1908 and instead of two entrances to the church, one main entrance was made, as it is today.[33] The church once played a prominent part in the musical life of the town, and it was here that the Snibston Colliery Miner's Welfare Silver Prize Band was formed.[33]

This chapel was still flourishing in 1907, when it was redecorated, with "Strict Baptist" newly painted on the door.[30] It was probably this chapel that was the one referred to as a "Calvinist chapel" in Kelly's Directory of 1881. Another source has it as a "Calvinistic" chapel.[40] The building still exists and is now occupied by the Balti Tower Indian restaurant and an oriental food store. For many years after its closure, part of the building was occupied by "Kemp's grocery store". The stone plaque, bearing the name, "Cave Adullam" can still be seen set above the frontage; this term has its origins in the Bible (I Samuel, 22:I).

In 1852, a society of Strict Baptists built a chapel known as "Cave Adullam" on the opposite side of the road to the General Baptist Chapel on London Road.[38] According to local writer, Elizabeth Hewes,[39] this was erected by William Stenson - the founder of Whitwick Colliery - who was a staunch baptist, as a more "select place of worship" for himself and his wife. Stenson lived just a very short distance away, also on the London Road, on a site which is today marked by a brass plaque. The local historian, Dennis Baker does not mention Stenson's involvement with this chapel, attributing its formation to a break-away movement from the General Baptist chapel as a result of doctrinal differences.[30] Stenson was undoubtedly a pioneer of the Baptist mission in Coalville however, and his grave can be found in the old Baptist cemetery off Grange Road, Hugglescote.

Following the chapel's closure, the congregation transferred to a new premises at Greenhill known as the Charnborough Road Baptist Church, which was registered for solemnizing marriages on 15 March 1955.[36] This church is still in use and is now known as the Greenhill Community Church, being affiliated to the Baptist Union.[37]

The General Baptist chapel in Coalville was built on land provided by the Whitwick Colliery Company [33] and occupied a site close to the present day council offices, at the junction of London Road and Whitwick Road. This church, which became known as the London Road Baptist Chapel, became the first permanent place of worship in Coalville when services began in 1836.[33] Built at a cost of £560, the chapel had 600 sittings and a Sunday School attached. For many years after its demolition, the junction on which it had stood was still referred to as 'Chapel Corner'.

There were, at one time, three different Baptist churches within the town of Coalville - belonging to General Baptists, Strict Baptists and Particular Baptists.


The town of Coalville has a rich and diverse history of Christian places of worship. During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, numerous non-conformist chapels were established, some of which gave rise to break-away factions. Following the decline in the membership of traditional non-conformist societies, the town has seen the establishment of numerous evangelical free churches in more recent years. An official town guide, produced by the Coalville Urban District Council, circa 1968, has proved to be a useful source in chronicling the development and histories of early religious groups.[33] The activity of the various sects and denominations, past or present, within Coalville is set out here in an alphabetically ordered manner:

Other places of worship

St David's is a 20th-century foundation in a northerly suburb of Coalville.

St David's, Broom Leys

St Mary's, Snibston is an ancient parish church set in a rural location close to Coalville. The church building is notable for being very small, no longer than twenty four feet, comprising a nave and chancel in one. The fabric is mainly medieval, though the current lancet windows were installed in 1847. The foundations of a tower were discovered in 1930.[35] Until a Coalville parish (the Christ Church parish) was created, Snibston parish covered much of the south-westerly part of the area that is now Coalville.

Saint David's Church, Broom Leys

St Mary's, Snibston

This church has closed in recent times and in 2014 was refurbished and re-opened as the 'MP Persona Training' gym.[34]

This Anglican church was built in 1915, to serve the parish of Snibston. Highfield Street today however would be considered to be a part of Coalville. A brick built structure, by Stockdale Harrison and Son, Pevsner refers to its "interesting internal arrangements with the roof supports forming passage aisles.[32] The interior woodwork is of Columbian pine and a sanctuary, vestry and sacristry were added in 1966.[33]

Saint James's Church, Highfield Street

Due to the rapid growth of the town in the 19th century, a mission church known as 'All Saints' was erected on Ashby Road in 1895, on a site given by Messrs T and J Jones of Coalville. This was served by the clergy of the parish church.

All Saints Mission Church

  • 1840 - 1843: John McCormick
  • 1843 - 1876: William Gardner
  • 1876 - 1895: Charles Williams
  • 1895 - 1903: J H Mitchell, BA
  • 1903 - 1908: Frederick G Copeland
  • 1908 - 1919: Samuel Hosking
  • 1919 - 1926: W M McNeile, MA
  • 1926 - 1946: W A J Martyr, MA
  • 1946 - 1976: A Stanley Oscroft, ALCD
  • 1976 - 1985: Roger A Hinton, BA
  • 1985 - 1990: Russell Parker, BA, M.Th
  • 1990 - 1995: Steven Michael Lee, BA
  • 1996 - 2006: T L Ringland, BSc, BA
  • 2006–present: Martin J T Joss, Captain, CA, BA

Vicars of Christ Church, Coalville

The longest serving vicar of Christ Church was the Reverend William Gardner, who held the living for thirty-three years. The east window was installed as a memorial to Gardner, his wife and daughter.[29]

The small churchyard contains the grave of Amos Clarke, who, although blind from the age of eight days, was organist at Christ Church for some fifty years. Following his death in 1930, he was buried on the south side of the church as near to the organ as possible - at his own request.[29]


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