Walk around Loughborough

Guide: Lynne Dyer

Tuesday 18 July

Tuesday 18th July saw a group from the Society taking an evening walk around Loughborough with Lynne Dyer, an accredited Leicestershire guide and resident who gave us lots of interesting facts and stories about the town.

We started outside the Public Library in Granby Street looking first at the façade of the Carnegie funded library built in 1903-5. Standing outside the newer section built in 1965 is a bronze statue of a boy extracting a thorn from his foot. This was a gift from Loughborough’s twin town - Epinal - in 1957.  It disappeared one day in the 1980s and was later found in the River Ouse in Yorkshire.

Crossing Granby Street car park where the cattle market was held and the selling ring floor still remains, past Clarks dye works and down Old Bleach Yard to Wards End, we heard about the alabaster and bleach works once based in the area.

Looking up in Devonshire Square above the length of discount store and shops is a mural, painted by Wei Ong in 2014, representing the town, its people and local landmarks.

Walking down Cattle Market and into Market Square the buildings take our attention. The Odeon cinema (formerly the Empire and the Essoldo) was built in 1914, later an Art Deco façade was added, tiled in Hathernware tiles. The NatWest bank is a fine example of the Gothic style with turrets and carvings. The Town Hall, built as the Corn Exchange in 1855, has a fine clock. If you stand beneath it, you can see that it is angled in a way that makes it visible from both ends of the town. The HSBC bank has a base made from polished Mountsorrel granite. On the corner, atop Lloyds Bank, is an allegorical female figure holding a scroll, sadly her other arm which used to hold a moneybag has dropped off sometime in the last few years!  Finally in the Market Square - the Marmite moment - you either love or hate the Sockman sculpture, created by Shona Kinloch in 1998, he represents the hosiery and knitwear industries that are part of Loughborough’s history.

The take-home message from our walk must be: when walking around a town, look up and down and you’ll find many interesting reminders of the past.

Lynne writes a blog about Loughborough and her website includes some self-guided walks http://lynneaboutloughborough.blogspot.co.uk with much more detail than is included here.