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  • Leicester’s worst night of Second World War bombing was around Highfields in November 1940
  • On 19 November, at 10.40pm, three large bombs fell on the crossroads of Sparkenhoe, Saxby and Stoughton Streets
  • On 31 January 1941, four members of the ARP team received certificates of merit from the Duchess of Gloucester

Blitz Night

Leicester’s worst night of Second World War bombing was around Highfields in November 1940. 108 people died in the City, on this ‘Blitz Night’. On 19 November, at 10.40pm, three large bombs fell on the crossroads of Sparkenhoe, Saxby and Stoughton Streets. Saxby Street Methodist Church received a direct hit. Luckily 40 people in the Wesleyan Chapel schoolrooms next door (now Sparkenhoe Primary School) only had minor injuries. At 56 and 58 Saxby Street, six people died.

Help raced to the scene

18 members of the local Air Raid Precautions (ARP) Mobile First Aid Unit, led by Dr Ernest Garrett, came to help. They set up a first aid station for the injured, at 80 Sparkenhoe Street. Their bus, parked in Stoughton Street, was hit by a bomb and three police officers nearby, Detective Sergeant Leonard Norman and Detective Constables Brian Hawkes and George Trump, were killed.

Certificates of Merit

On 31 January 1941, four members of the ARP team received certificates of merit from the Duchess of Gloucester, Deputy Commandant-in-Chief, Order of St John.

Medical Officer Dr Ernest Garrett
Sister Ivy Marsh
Senior First Aid Officer Carrie Wells
Nurse Hilda Hefford
For displaying ‘the utmost gallantry and devotion to duty in most trying circumstances.’

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Roman Leicester

(47- 500) A military fort was erected, attracting traders and a growing civilian community to Leicester (known as Ratae Corieltauvorum to the Romans). The town steadily grew throughout the reign of the Romans.

Medieval Leicester

(500 – 1500) The early years of this period was one of unrest with Saxon, Danes and Norman invaders having their influences over the town. Later, of course, came Richard III and the final battle of the Wars of the Roses was fought on Leicester’s doorstep.

Tudor & Stuart Leicester

(1500 – 1700) The wool trade flourished in Leicester with one local, a former mayor named William Wigston, making his fortune. During the English Civil War a bloody battle was fought as the forces of King Charles I laid siege to the town.

Georgian Leicester

(1700 – 1837) The knitting industry had really stared to take hold and Leicester was fast becoming the main centre of hosiery manufacture in Britain. This new prosperity was reflected throughout the town with broader, paved streets lined with elegant brick buildings and genteel residences.

Edwardian Leicester

(1901 – 1910) Electric trams came to the streets of Leicester and increased literacy among the citizens led to many becoming politicised. The famous 1905 ‘March of the Unemployed to London’ left from Leicester market when 30,000 people came to witness the historic event.

Modern Leicester

(1973 – present day) Industry was still thriving in the city during the 1970s, with the work opportunities attracting many immigrants from all over the world. While industry has declined in recent years, excellent transport links have made Leicester an attractive centre for many businesses. The City now has much to be proud of including its sporting achievements and the richness of its cultural heritage and diversity.

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