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Unlike Nottingham, which became restricted by its open fields which were not enclosed until
1845, Leicester was able to expand outside its original medieval enclave, first
through the enclosure of the South Field.
Enclosure of the South Field
Enclosed for building by three common fields (East, South and North Fields), the borough was constrained in its building development. The Borough Council therefore established the South Fields Committee for its enclosure. As the freemen relinquished their rights in the South Field in return for Freemenís Common, the enclosure allowed the southward expansion of the built-up area. An Enclosure Act of 1804 was followed by the Enclosure Award of 1811. A high-class southern suburb resulted reflected in the polite Regency housing on Regent Road and opposite the Museum on New Walk as well as the Proprietary School (Museum). Further towards the borough, King Street Crescent comprised Leicesterís attempt c. 1820 to imitate the crescents of Bath and Buxton. The cottages such as Crescent Cottages were built in the 1830s opposite King Street Crescent. In Nottingham , the freemen refused to abandon their rights in the fields, but at Leicester an accommodation was achieved by which the freemen relinquished their rights in return for Freemen's Common.
Subsequent to the enclosure of the South Field, urban development was allowed up
Regent Road and Princess Road. By the late 1830s, the area intended for
urban middle-class dwelling was populated enough for a Million Church to be erected as a new ecclesiastical
district - Holy Trinity. The (Nonconformist) Proprietary School was introduced into the area in 1836 (now the New Walk Museum).
Within a decade,
consequently, the suburban area had begun to expand.|
Its further development, however, was circumscribed by two restrictions: