Standing on Church Road, in a secluded part of the old village of Belgrave, and only two miles north of Leicester, Belgrave Hall is in an idyllic setting. The three storey brick building, in a plain Queen Anne style, was built between 1709 and 1713 for Edmund Cradock, who unfortunately died soon after completion and it passed out of the family in 1715. The Vann family owned the property from 1767 to 1844 and they were responsible for the building of Belgrave House which is on the opposite side of Church Road.
John Ellis, a wealthy businessman who was responsible for bringing the railways to Leicester moved into the Hall in 1846 with his wife, seven daughters and a son Although only middle class and not considered gentry, John Ellis’s daughters were seen as the best educated and most emancipated women in the district. Dedicated Quakers, they took a keen interest in politics and were active members of several charities. In 1874 they started the Town Mission in order to educate the poor and in 1877 they moved the school to Bath Street. Known as the Belgrave Adult School, it was one of the first establishments for adult education outside of a major town and the building it can still be viewed in Bath Street to this day.
The last of the Ellis sisters died in 1923 and Belgrave Hall was bought by Thomas Morley, a Leicester hosier. In 1933 it was purchased by Leicester Corporation for use as a museum and botanical garden
The main garden to the front of the building is now Belgrave Gardens, and is across the road, by the river. To the rear of the Hall visitors can enjoy the immaculately maintained formal and informal walled gardens which were first introduced by John Ellis, a keen horticulturist.
Moore. A 2003 Ellis of Leicester: A Quaker Family’s Vocation, Leicester, Laurel House Publishing
Pevsner. N. 2003 The Buildings of England: Leicestershire and Rutland, London, Yale University Press