Expansion of the borough and City

Into the late nineteenth century, the demographic expansion of urban places - their population - expanded as much by immigration into the urban place as by natural increase. The spatial extent of the urban area, however, remained fairly static. Changes occurred in the density of land use within the urban places. During the nineteenth century, nevertheless, the intensification of land use itself became insufficient to meet the demographic demands. By the last quarter of the nineteenth century the necessity for new housing and building made it inevitable that urban places expand outside their previous boundaries. That expansion was achieved through private bill legislation in Parliament allowing boundary extensions. Principal boundary extensions occurred in the mid 1880s, mid 1930s and increasingly from the 1950s. As a result, villages (and their parishes) were incorporated into the borough of Leicester in the late nineteenth century, such as Humberstone (A on the aerial photograph) and Evington. From the 1950s, the urgent demand for more housing resulted in further plans to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government for housebuilding - both Council estates and private developments - on the new periphery of the City (Leicester having acquired this status in 1919).

The aerial photograph (left) indicates the ripple effect of this housing development and boundary extension. In the inter-war period, a new Council estate was constructed at Northfields, adjacent to the Towers Hospital (mental health hospital) which had previously been isolated from the borough in open country. Boundary extension had earlier incorporated this area into the borough, but it was a very long time before the area was developed for a Council estate. At that earlier time, the village of Humberstone had been incorporated into the borough. From the 1950s, new housing development was inaugurated on the east side of Humberstone village, as the Netherhall Estate (D), extending almost to Scraptoft village (E) outside the borough. By the 1970s, the pressure for housing resulted in the production of the Hamelton estate (C).