Museum
Nellie Taylor Nellie Taylor Nellie Taylor

Mary Ellen ‘Nellie’ Taylor (Suffragette) 1863 - 1937

For 10 years the Taylors (Thomas, Nellie and their three children) lived at Westerby House, Smeeton Westerby.

On March 5th 1910 Nellie Taylor organised a WSPU (The Women's Social and Political Union) meeting in the Kibworth Village Hall when an audience consisting mainly of women listened to speeches by two famous suffragettes, Alice Pemberton-Peake and Dorothy Pethwick. From 1910 to 1912 Dorothy Pethwick was the WSPU organiser in Leicester.

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This brief note is about Smeeton Westerby resident Captain Thomas Smithies Taylor (born 5 July 1863), who founded a company that was to dominate lens manufacturing in the inter-war period. Through his camera lenses, the world quite literally saw the twentieth century.

Sometime after 1901 Captain (Army Service Corps) Thomas Smithies Taylor and his wife Mary Ellen (née Bennett) moved first to Kibworth Harcourt, and subsequently to Westerby House in Smeeton Westerby. They remained at Westerby House for a decade until sometime after the Great War.

Thomas, originally from Willesden, London, where he spent part of his apprenticeship at 'R & J Beck’, a noted firm of optical instrument makers who had first established a reputation for fine, high-powered microscopes[1], was recorded in the 1911 census, in Westerby House as a ‘scientific instrument manufacturer’. Taylor was initially an optician and had, with his engineer brother William (1865-1937), started a lens manufacturing company, Taylor, Taylor and Hobson, in Leicester in 1886. In 1893 they began manufacturing the ‘Cooke Triplet’ lens, which reduced chromatic aberration to a minimum. The Cooke Triplet lens set the standard and was used by professional and amateur photographers a-like, including T.E. Lawrence and Ernest Shackleton. By 1911 the company had indeed expanded to be a scientific instrument manufacturer, specializing in photographic lenses and other optical goods; engraving machinery and other fine tools, golf ball moulds, and time-recording clocks. [2]

On the eve of the Great War, Taylor, Taylor and Hobson was one of the British manufacturing companies at the forefront of the second industrial revolution of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It was during this period that the British lost their economic preeminence as Germany and the USA emerged to challenge her.

4517 150x150The two Kibworth villages developed distinct identities throughout the nineteenth century, based in large part on their different economic character. Kibworth Harcourt remained largely agricultural with a vibrant service sector based on provisioning the A6 traffic. Kibworth Beauchamp always had a more industrial character, from when the weavers predominated and this continued with industrialisation in the nineteenth century as factory production took hold in the village.

The differing economic chracteristics was also subtley reflected in the more "advanced" politics that developed in Beauchamp in contrast to the Tory dominance in Harcourt. This is evident in the choice of street names in the expanding Beauchamp village, with new streets named after the leading Liberal politicians of the late nineteenth century, such as Gladstone and Melbourne. These political rivalries sometimes also found expression in public bitterness, as evidenced in April 1897, when a suggestion that both parish councils co-operate in planning Queen Victoria's jubilee celebrations was decisively rejected at a Harcourt parish council meeting.

What is evident from reports of the meeting is that there was a general feeling in Harcourt that Beauchamp considered themselves more advanced in their civic efforts. The meeting instead agreed that Harcourt would build something permanent to mark the Queen's jubilee, with perhaps a village hall "emphatically asserting that Merton College, the lords of the manor, would have pleasure in giving the necessary ground." pdfKibworth-Harcourt-Parish-Meeting-1897.pdf

On an earlier occasion, in 1885, when the new vicar, the ebullient Bangalore-born Merton man Edmund Knox, took on the ecclesiatical parish of Kibworth, the rivalry between the two Kibworths was one of the most striking, and challenging, aspects of his new living. 

Beauchamp, he noted, the home of 'stockeners' and predominantly 'radical', was in stark contrast to Harcourt, 'the home of the sporting squirearchy and retired businessmen of Leicester'. 
Between the two 'was kept up a half-playful antagonism', with even the most minor disagreement eliciting 'fiery eloquence' poured forth with 'passion such I had never heard in Oxford'. 
On one occasion, he recorded: 
The vestry debated warmly the plan of a sewer which was to run down a road that divided the two villages [Ed. A6]. It was even suggested, with a fine disregard of costs, that two parallel sewers should be constructed, that the sewage of one village should not be 'contaminated' by the waste of the other.
Kibworth Relay for Life 2012

In early July the Kibworth Relay for Life was held in the grounds of the Kibworth Football club over the weekend of 7th July 2012.

The goal of the Relay was to raise money for Cancer Relief and each team had to walk for 24 hours. In keeping with a very wet summer of 2012, rain was a constant feature of the weekend, with the result that the relay course became very muddy and challenging over the course of the weekend.

Jubilee 2012 Jubilee 2012 Jubilee 2012 Jubilee 2012 Jubilee 2012

5206 The Kibworth villages staged a number of events to celebrate the the Queen's Diamond jubilee.

   

Smeeton Westerby Trail


  1. Smeeton House START
  2. The Elms
  3. Corner House, Mill Lane
  4. The King’s Head
  5. Sub Post Office
  6. Springfield Farm
  7. Main Street
  8. Village Hall
  9. Rose Cottage, Debdale Lane
  10. Farmhouse
  11. Blacksmith’s Lane
  12. 33 Main Street
  13. The Bank
  14. 62 Main Street
  15. Main Street Wall
  16. Beaker Close
  17. Stattis Fair area
  18. 53 Main Street
  19. 63 Main Street
  20. Westerby House
  21. Smeeton & Westerby border
  22. Christ Church
  23. Pit Hill Allotments
  24. Ivy Cottage, Gumley Road
  25. Smeeton Terrace
  26. Apple Tree Cottage
  27. Highfields
  28. Smeeton Farm
  29. Rose Cottage
  30. Footpath detour
  31. Debdale Wharf

 

Heritage Trails Gallery

Kibworth Harcourt Trail

Harcourt Trail

  1. Coach & Horses Inn START
  2. Raitha’s Restaurant (formerly Rose & Crown)
  3. Main Street
  4. 10 Main Street
  5. 15 Main Street
  6. 16 – 18 Main Street
  7. The Barn at rear of 25 Main Street
  8. 20 Main Street
  9. 24 & 31 Main Street
  10. 28 Main Street
  11. Harcourt Terrace
  12. The Munt (Kibworth Castle)
  13. Turnpike Route
  14. 51-53 Leicester Road
  15. Paddocks Farm
  16. Congregational Chapel
  17. The Manse
  18. The Limes
  19. Priory Farm
  20. Boboli Restaurant – (formerly Three Horse Shoes)
  21. Manor Farmhouse
  22. 78 Main Street
  23. The Slang
  24. Cross Pump
  25. Jubilee Green
  26. The Village Cross
  27. The Old House
  28. The Old Barn
  29. Joiners Cottage
  30. The City
  31. Kibworth Harcourt Windmill
  32. Former Land Army Hostel
  33. Former Harcourt House
  34. Rector’s Plantation
  35. Lychgate & Cemetery

 

Heritage Trails Gallery

 

heritage trails

 

Heritage Trails Gallery

Kibworth Beauchamp Trail

Beauchamp Trail

  1. Coach & Horses Inn START
  2. Grey House, Church Road
  3. 30 Church Road
  4. St Wilfrid’s Church
  5. The Villas
  6. Station Hollow
  7. Former Railway station (Isabel Lane)
  8. The Pharmacy
  9. The Railway Arms
  10. Village Hall
  11. Stuart Court
  12. Old School Surgery
  13. Former Infants’ School, Paget Street
  14. The Bank
  15. 33 High Street
  16. The Manor House, 30 High Street
  17. Cross Bank House, High Street
  18. Lantern House, 4 High Street
  19. Former Gas Works
  20. Thatched Cottage, Weir Road
  21. Barrack Yard
  22. Tudor Cottage
  23. Smeeton Road
  24. Smeeton Court
  25. Clock Tower
  26. 36 High Street
  27. Mud Wall
  28. St Wilfrid’s Hall
  29. Methodist Chapel, School Road
  30. Kibworth Grammar School Hall
  31. Old Grammar School
  32. Former Railway Sidings
  33. Ridge & Furrow
  34. Little Lebanon
  35. Navvies Row, Leicester Road

 

Heritage Trails Gallery

Kibworth Harcourt Map 1609

This map, from the first decade of the 17 century, illustrated Kibworth Harcourt on the eve of the agricultural revolution, just prior to the enclosure movement that would wipe out the Medieval strip farming.

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