For the full explanation of Leicester's housing and spatial development:

R. M. Pritchard, Housing and the Spatial Structure of the City. Residential Mobility and the Housing Market in an English City since the Industrial Revolution (Cambridge, 1976).
In the 1880s and 1890s, the borough expanded northwards along Belgrave Road with the combined development of textile factories and the associated artisanal housing. Numerous streets running between Belgrave Road and Catherine Street, constructed by speculative builders like Alfred Herbert, provided terraced housing for workers in the textile factories and mills.

The expansion of the borough required more church provision. parishes. Initially, the expansion, concentrated in the inner urban area, could be accommodated by new inner urban parishes, such as St George's (1823-7) and Holy Trinity (1839) funded under the Million Act of 1818 for the construction of new Anglican urban churches.

With the northerly development of the borough, however, along and off Belgrave Road in particular, with vast extents of artisanal terraces, it became necessary to divide up the enormous parish of St Margaret's, with St Matthew in 1867 and St Mark (1869-72).


Building development

How can we analyse the building development within the borough and the City?

Byelaw building regulations

During the 1830s, a small number of borough corporations acquired private Acts to permit them to regulate sanitary requirements for new building developments. In 1848, the Health of Towns Act formalised this procedure, but, as permissive legislation, it needed to be adopted by borough corporations. Whilst some borough corporations refused to accept the new legislation, for fear of central influence through the General Board of Health which supervised the arrangements, Leicester Corporation quickly acceded to the new legislation and its provisions were almost immediately in force in the borough. Thenceforth, under the new byelaws, plans would be required to be submitted and approved - as far as basic sanitary provision was concerned - by the local authority under the locally-promulgated byelaws. In 1858, the statutory basis of these powers was confirmed by the Local Goverment Act. Further provision was made by Cross's Housing Acts of 1872 and 1875. We have consequently a register of all byelaw building (later planning) applications from c.1848 describing the premises to be constructed, the date of application, the architect, the owner, and the location. Moreover, the deposited plans (ground plans, sections and elevations) survive in profuse number for Leicester. The buildings encompassed included domestic (housing), business (factories), schools and most types of premises. Under the 1947 Town and Country Planning Act some categories were exempted (National Health Service, for example), but in many cases courtesy plans were even so deposited.

Rate books

During the eighteenth century, it became increasingly common to compile rate books for the collection of the poor rate. Initially rather inchoate as to the detail, after the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act, volumes consisting of printed blank forms were introduced requiring compulsory data about owners, occupiers, address or location of the premises, a description of the premises, their rateable value, and the rate to be collected. The collectors completed these volumes annually, especially after 1867 when the rate books validated who held Parliamentary suffrage (based on ratepaying). The rate books are arranged by urban parish and within that by the route that the collector followed. Intermittently, new valuations were composed. Rate books and valuations continue into the twentieth century, but from 1888 they are supplemented by electoral registers which also assist in analysing building development. From 1925, only valuations registers were produced, and those on an intermittent basis (legally they were supposed to be produced every five years, but the intervals became increasingly long).

O.S. largescale maps

Originating in 1791 during the Napoleonic Wars for purposes of defence, from 1801 the Ordnance Survey produced measured mapping of the country. Preliminary small scale drawing in preparation for the 1" O.S. coverage of the country are available, but for the purposes of urban history and building development it was not until the 1860s - with the compilation of 6" mapping - that O.S. maps become significant. Even more important for analysis of building development are the 25" maps and the 500 Town Plans which appeared from the 1880s.