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11-13 Wellington Street

A Grade II Listed Building in Castle, City of Leicester

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Latitude: 52.6313 / 52°37'52"N

Longitude: -1.1316 / 1°7'53"W

OS Eastings: 458872

OS Northings: 304086

OS Grid: SK588040

Mapcode National: GBR FHL.4M

Mapcode Global: WHDJJ.L4C2

Entry Name: 11-13 Wellington Street

Listing Date: 5 September 2016

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1438099

Location: Leicester, LE1

County: City of Leicester

Electoral Ward/Division: Castle

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Leicester

Traditional County: Leicestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Leicestershire

Church of England Parish: Leicester Holy Trinity with St John the Divine

Church of England Diocese: Leicester

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Former shoe factory built c.1866.


Former shoe factory built c.1866.

MATERIALS: red brick laid in Flemish bond, painted on the ground floor, with dressings of red, buff and vitrified brick, buff terracotta and stone. Slate roof covering.

PLAN: the building forms part of a terrace on the south-west side of Wellington Street and has a U-shaped plan with a small rear range forming a courtyard.

EXTERIOR: the three-storey building (plus basement) is in the Ruskinian Italian Gothic style and has a symmetrical façade of ten bays. The ground floor gives the impression of an arcade of recessed round arched openings with Italian pointed brick arches, divided by attached columns on square stone plinths and bases with a stone annulet and highly ornate foliate capitals. The first and tenth bays are occupied by entrance doors, accessed up a short flight of steps, which have four raised and fielded panels with shouldered arches, the upper two panels longer than the lower two. A segmental arched carriage entrance with double-leaf vertical plank doors occupies the central two bays. An ornate curlicue pattern is carved into the stone above the doors, and the Italian pointed brick arch has a keystone of carved foliage. The three door openings are flanked by attached square columns with the same stone plinths and capitals already described. On the left of the carriageway the fenestration consists of two-light windows, and on the right multi-pane windows. Heavy, ornate cast-iron grilles protect the basement windows (now blocked). A moulded brick string course demarcates the ground floor from the first floor which is lit by one-over-one pane sash windows with gauged brick arches of red and vitrified brick. The window bays are divided by chamfered brick pilasters with stone bases embellished with a course of vitrified brick, and stone capitals with shallow concave moulded sides. Above each capital is a short decorative band in buff terracotta with a chevron pattern below, flanked by moulded corbels. An elaborate buff terracotta string course in the form of an entablature runs above the brick arches, consisting of an architrave bearing a Greek key pattern, a frieze divided into square panels with raised foliage, and a moulded cornice. The second floor is lit by two-light pointed arch windows with a roundel at the apex set under Italian pointed brick arches with billet moulding in buff brick. The imposts have a short decorative band in buff terracotta with a course of vitrified brick above and below. The buff terracotta cornice is embellished with egg and dart and is supported by a corbel-table with carved bands, foliate corbels and chevron pattern.

The internal courtyard is two window bays wide on the south-east side (the rear elevation of the main range), and four on the north-west and south-east sides. The fenestration mainly consists of two-over-two pane sash windows under cambered brick arches. On the north-west side the second-floor windows have been replaced with uPVC, the brick arches replaced with concrete lintels and the upper courses of brickwork rebuilt. The second floor windows on the south-west side have also been replaced with uPVC. The first bays of the north-west and south-east sides have a flight of steps leading up to doors with rectangular overlights, providing access into each side of the building. The much lower range making up the south-west side of the courtyard has a pitched roof and large openings on the ground floor for parking cars. The first floor is lit on the left by a two-over-two pane sash window, and on the right a cambered brick arch indicates the position of a former window (now bricked up). Above this are four smaller windows, mostly two-over-two pane sashes.

INTERIOR: this has high ceilings (some now suspended) and large rooms, some of which have been partitioned in the C20, particularly on the first floor. The original internal walls are of painted brick and some original wooden floorboards are exposed. The entrance doors in the outer bays open into a small hall with partially surviving geometric tiled floors. A door straight ahead leads to a flight of stairs enclosed by panelling with long chamfered panels; and a large door with six raised and fielded panels opens into the room along the frontage. There are secondary staircases at the south end of both the north-west and south-east sides of the building, some of which have square balusters and newel posts and panelled doors. Other plank and batten doors with strap hinges survive. In the south room on both sides are projecting chimney breasts with bricked up fireplaces. Other original features include a single square chamfered pillar on the ground floor of the south-east side, and a chamfered bridging beam and a round pillar on the first floor. The suspended ceiling on the second floor has some dislodged panels through which it is possible to see what appears to be a king post roof truss with diagonal struts.

Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 ('the Act') it is declared that the suspended ceilings and C20 internal partitions are not of special architectural and historic interest.


The industry for which Leicester is best known is hosiery but the census returns show that during the 1860s it declined in favour of the boot and shoe trade. In 1861 the hosiery trade dominated the workforce of 17,064 males above 20 years of age with a labour intake of 3,320 whilst boot and shoe manufacture absorbed 1,362. By 1871, 2,867 out of 23,692 were classed as hosiery workers whilst shoemakers numbered 3,714. It was during this period of expansion that the shoe factory at 11-13 Wellington Street was built in an area shown on the 1888 Ordnance Survey map to be characterised by industry, including a hosiery works, a hat factory and printing works. The land upon which 11-13 Wellington Street was built was conveyed in 1866 from James H. Lilley Esq. to Mr John W. Rowles, a shoe manufacturer. The factory was presumably built in the same year or shortly afterwards. Wright’s Directory of 1885 shows that the building was then occupied by two separate boot and shoe manufacturers, G.P. Simons and John Rawson.

The standard arrangement in boot and shoe factories, which was well established by the mid-C19, was for rough-stuff cutting (in which the soles were worked on) to take place on the ground floor or basement, and clicking (cutting the leather into pieces) to take place on the upper floors since the main requirement was light. This endured in multi-storey factories until the 1890s and was modified only as new processes, such as closing (stitching parts of the shoe together) were brought in from home-based workers. On each floor of the factory, since the principal requirement was unobstructed working space, internal partitions and light wells were kept to a minimum. Structurally, footwear factories were uncomplicated and they housed so little weighty machinery above ground level that there was no need to support the floors with an internal row of columns. The drive shafts, wheels and belts that ran the machinery were either suspended from mountings attached to beams or fixed to the walls. Motive power was produced by steam or gas engines which were generally located in the basement or on the ground floor.

The Ordnance Survey map of 1888 shows 11-13 Wellington Street to have a U-shaped footprint with a small rear range (possibly stabling) forming a courtyard. The footprint remains the same on the 1904 and 1915 maps but the 1954 map shows that the rear range has been slightly extended on the north-east side. In 1959 the factory was purchased by the Leicester Mercury and was described as a warehouse, possibly being used as overflow storage for the newspaper. In 1964 the building was sold to W. N. Gutteridge, a haberdashery company which specialised in manufacturing buttons. In 2016 Gutteridge’s sold the premises. Internally the building has been subject to alterations, including the blocking up of the fireplaces and the partitioning of some areas, particularly on the first floor. On the north-west range the second-floor windows have been replaced with uPVC and the upper courses of brickwork rebuilt.

Reasons for Listing

11-13 Wellington Street, a former shoe factory built c.1866, is listed at Grade II the following principal reasons:

* Architectural interest: it is an architecturally distinguished example of the Italian palazzo style factory, characterised by a different architectural treatment on each floor in which a variety of materials and motifs are used to create a finely detailed polychromatic façade;

* Design: its design, consisting of the impressive frontage with parallel ranges around an open courtyard, windowed on all elevations to allow as much natural light in as possible, reflects the nature of the work carried out;

* Preservation: it has a well-preserved, legible plan form which demonstrates how the factory originally functioned;

* Group value: it has group value with numerous listed buildings nearby, particularly the Grade II listed early C19 14 and 16 King Street.

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