of Leicester & Hull

of Coleorton & Griffydam -- Hugglescote & Donington le Heath
of Aylestone & Hinckley


with other links that go to
Griffydam, and Thurlaston,
Blaby and Leicester itself.

Coalville Clock Tower, c.1996
The Clock Tower
- the focal point of Coalville since the late 1800s
when a market was held here.

Originally, the area was called Long Lane, being the very long lane that ran from Bardon on the road to Leicester, right across and past Snibston pit and up the hill towards Hoo Ash Farm and Ravenstone. The Clock Tower was built in the early 1920s as a practical memorial to Coalville's war dead. My memories are of being dragged around by my mother or grandma, past endless green-canvassed market stalls all round to the right of the square, and quite a few along the left-hand side behind the bus stops along from the new post office, just behind that Midland Red bus on the image below. The bus has probably just come in from Ashby, and will set down on that far side, before coming round by the back of the Tower to its pick-up point for Leicester, just behind those mounds of shrubs on the corner.

Coalville Clock Tower, c.1966

All traffic went around the Tower, just as for a very large traffic island. Buses had their termini on both sides, and the road where the cars have come from in the top photo still leads to Whitwick, dipping down under the railway bridge that takes what is now just a freight line on to Ashby. There was a pub on three corners of the square; two of them are still on the corners of Belvoir Road behind the camera, and one to the right on the market corner.

The rest were shops of every kind, row upon row of those ubiquitous green canvas window blinds, especially up and down the main shopping street, Belvoir Road. The fish n' chip shop just by the Ashby bus stop was the best for miles around and was one of the few at that time to sport a 'sit in' cafe with a few seats for weary passengers waiting for or changing buses. And just a little further along down Ashby Rd, who recalls "Chad's Cafe". It had a sign outside - of a chad! This establishment was also a popular haunt of BMMO crews from the depot down the road. I only very recently discovered that one of my aunts worked in that cafe at one time, towards the end of the war and directly after.

Coleorton Moor, looking north past the Angel Inn, c.1955

Coleorton Moor, looking north, past the Angel Inn, c.1955, taken from the front of what became "Haywood's Cottage". Rob & Jeff did a lot of their growing up around here at their grandparent's cottage on The Moor, especially between dad's RAF postings and various house moves. This used to be Arthur Haywood's cottage, famous round here in the 1950s for his 'left wing views', illustrated by his placing a huge life-size carving of a brown bear in the centre of the front garden. The brown bear was very much a symbol of Soviet Russia and notorious murderous leader, Stalin. I wonder where that went.

Arthur was a 'one-off', very much out on the edge of his family, and always at odds with them. The wider HAYWOOD family seems to have come mainly from Griffydam, but the area's graveyards are littered with the name, from Breedon in the north, down through Worthington, Griffydam, Pegg's Green, and Coleorton itself, to Ravenstone and Hugglescote in the south, and over to Thringstone and Shepshed to the east. Perhaps most of these Haywoods think they're unrelated - maybe, but the earliest I know of is a Thomas, b.1802 in Griffydam, mine and Jeff's g-g-g-grandad.
Does anyone have anything earlier than that?

A page of more Haywood Family History.

Mum's HOLT family were in Highfield St, Coalville,
for most of the 20th century, at least from 1910 through to 1972.
My grandfather, Harry Holt, was born to a
mining family in Donington le Heath near Coalville, in 1893.
Harry Holt, in the Snibston Colliery Band, we think
			c.1910-12, or just before the Great War.
Harry served in both the Leicestershire and Northamptonshire regiments as a Lewis gunner during the very last days of the Great War. He'd signed up into the Leicesters TA in 1911, enlisted for war service on 5th Aug 1914, and was held back on account of his being a miner. By now married with two daughters, he finally got called in May 1918, sent to France in late September and took part in brief battles near Le Cateau along with the 2/Bedfordshires and Royal Fusiliers in early October. He demobbed in January 1919 from the 6th Battalion Northamptonshires. He returned home to his job as a miner at South Leicester Colliery at Ellistown, and had two more daughters, four in all, the last of which was Sylvia, our mum.

This large pencil/charcoal drawing fascinated me when I was a boy.
It hung over the sideboard in the back room at 208 Highfield Street,
right up until he died of pneumonia, caught after a fall in the dark,
ironically during a blackout, during the miners' strike of 1972!
Harry Holt, Pte, in the uniform of the Royal Leicestershire Regiment, around the start of the Great War.


VALERIE . . . a former pupil of Sir Jonathan North Girls School
on Knighton Lane East, in Leicester.
Val left to pursue a career in floristry in 1967. Worked as a florist for 6 years
at Simpkins & James in Horsefair Street, then Flowercraft in Cank Street,
before we moved to Hull.

ROBERT . . . a former pupil of Crown Hills Secondary School
on Gwendolen Road in Leicester.
Rob spent most of working life in the bus industry, firstly on Leicester City Transport,
then later on both East Yorkshire Motor Services and Hull City Transport.
Before joining LCT in 1968, worked for a short while at
Simpkins & James, where they first met.
Rob says that Val is his "Aylestone Duck". M'Duck.

Now retired ~~ for sure.

LCT . . 1968 - 1973 || EYMS . . 1973 - 1979 || KHCT . . 1984 - 1993

View this page on the Net with a Side Menu of links?

Email us at : Rob & Val

members of:
Leicester & Rutland Family History Society - H0789


a very stunted tree
showing where we come from


of Griffydam
& Leicester

HILDA SMITH of Aylestone Leicester

HARRY HOLT of Donnington
le Heath
& Coalville

of Shepshed


of Hinckley

EDITH BENNETT of Sharnford nr Hinckley

THOMAS SWANWICK of Blaby Leicester

of Aylestone

of Leicester & Coleorton

of Hugglescote and Coalville


of Hinckley

of Aylestone & Leicester


of Leicester

married Aylestone 1971

of Leicester




our three grand-daughters





ELEANOR MAY - b. 2001
ROWENA HOLLY - b. 2003



Update to this short table;
The most recent information we currently have on each of our lines:
Arthur HAYWOOD'S grandfather was Josiah, b.Griffydam 1852,
and Josiah's grandfather, Thomas, was also living in Griffydam by 1820,
but where was he from. We think he was born in 1790... but where?

Harry HOLT'S father was b. Thurlaston, as was his before him, in 1867,
but there is almost no trace of HOLT in Thurlaston - so where were they really from?
Did they hail from Hugglescote in the first place, moving back there from Thurlaston ?
It is surprising how much folks did move about, and occasionally some
returned to their original roots. Perhaps we'll never know.
A temporary collection of some old Holt Family Photos are on this link:

Violetta MANDERFIELD'S family are connected, back in the 1700-1800's,
to the well-known ORRINGE and CORBETT lines of Shepshed.

Arthur HAYWOOD'S maternal grandmother was Edith ISON ,
daughter of HENRY HASTINGS ISON , b.1810, and himself a
descendant through his mother of the HASTINGS of Humberstone,
who were of the same HASTINGS family that go back to Ashby and
Kirby Muxloe Castles, and way beyond to the Plantagenet era.

But that is just one line, amongst hundreds. Henry Hastings of Humberstone, born
about 1605, is my 8th greatgrandfather up that direct line, but at that level in
any family tree we all have 64 great-grandparents! And I know nothing
whatsoever about any of the others, so that illustrates perfectly that this particular
'bloodline' is very thin and diluted indeed. At the next level, it is 128, then 256, and so on.
Another four or five generations, and we all have thousands and thousands of
great-grandparents, hailing from just about everywhere in the British Isles,
and a good bit of western Europe too. Few of us are from where we think we're from.
The truth is, we're from just about everywhere ! And when we talk about distant ancestry,
that is only true if all those grandfathers had the fathers they thought they had.
A well-known family history truism is, "don't believe everything you think."

John STEVENS' father and grandfather came from Hinckley and Barwell,
but we now know that prior to that, in the early 1800s, from Enderby and Croft,
with links before that back to Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire.

We now have a little more info on the BENNETTS of Sharnford,
Val's branch originally came from North Kilworth, though there is a mystery as to
why so many were called CAVE BENNETT back in the mid-1700's onwards,
around several dozen males of other surnames in the county had the christian name, Cave.
Could this be a similar story to the HASTINGS name above? Are they distantly related, or just grateful tenants.

The SWANWICK family, as far as we know, were always from Blaby, as we have no trace prior to 1793.
And the FRETTERS originally came from Spratton and Welford in Northamptonshire,
with connections to many of the villages thereabouts; Brixworth, Cold Ashby, Naseby, etc.

Recent information from a LRFHS member suggests that the SMITH family of Aylestone may well
have also hailed from Northamptonshire, in the village of Ruston.
There is a strong possibility that my SMITH Aylestone family knew Val's FRETTER Aylestone family -
the 1881 Census shows their back gardens were adjacent. I wonder if they got on okay?


Recommended ! A good history of the church,
plus many more photos, also a
Virtual Tour, and Panorama of the interior,
Parish Groups, Scouts, etc, and links
to other Aylestone churches. Excellent Site!!
Sutton & Wawne Museum
in Sutton on Hull, East Yorkshire

Family History, and links to War Memorials, etc, plus
the excellent and acclaimed Resource Centre within the
museum hosted inside the Old School,
with more records & family history resources
than you can shake a stick at.
The Royal Society of St George
Patron : H M The Queen
See what Englishness is all about,
and why it's under threat.
Sorry, old site now defunct. Collection has been sold.
It's not generally known even in Hull, but the founder
of the famous marque of HUMBER CARS actually lived
in the town for a time. This link used to take you to one
of Hull's gems, the largest working collection of these
superb cars anywhere in the world.
with the passing of Tim Airey in 2006,
this site has long closed, but some of it
can still be accessed through the fantastic
a superb archive of old sites going back several years.
See more information on Home Page.

- a list of all the city's 1,280
or so civilian casualties of the Hull Blitz;
a terrible archive, and a record of one city's price
for its north-east coast location.

one of the best family history sites on the whole of the web -
bar none!
Grid of all 16 maps -
in a 4x4 grid, take 2.28 Mb of space
links to the index above, showing the actual location
and type of enemy bombs during five years of war
Good quality photographs of
Dozens of churches now listed,
this well-laid out site is growing nicely.
its history; the new houses,
war damage, and 2007 Flood,
and lots more to do with East Hull.
Lots of excellent photos,
a real flavour of the area.
the Leicestershire Legend of
a wonderfully told tale linking local legend with
actual history. So, why DID King Richard lose his
crown on Bosworth Field? And what's the connection
with Donington Manor? Kids will love this.
in Hull during the Blitz

Our house - and the unfolding story of the
unfortunate family that first bought it in 1934,
and the tragedy of total war.
The GPO War Dead Memorial - Hull
A link from the family above, as their daughter
worked for the GPO, and is named on the memorial
as the only civilian, and the only 'Miss'.
run by the Ordnance Survey -
a brilliant resource of photos of just about
every map grid square in the country!
Dozens of photos of all towns -
lots of both Hull and Leicester.
This is the one we've been waiting for.
See these superb
by Andy Savage.
Over 800 photos of the city,
and Derbyshire towns and villages,
and some in Staffs and Leicestershire too.
Would that Leicester had a site only half as good!
The Music Education Council
- we're strong believers in the re-establishment
of music education in schools.
For those that feel as strongly, this needs your support.
Yorkshire Births Marriages & Deaths
A free index concentrating on Yorkshire only,
superb to navigate, with BM&D registrations
since 1837, and in many cases, up to the 1950's.
An excellent local village website, dedicated to both family history
and social history, with a full list of burials in their chapel churchyard. GRIFFYDAM HISTORY GROUP
lots of Haywoods in there!

The Whos-Who of Radical Leicester --- an excellent site by Ned Newitt
The other side to Leicester's history that I should have taken more notice of when at school.
I have a grandfather listed on here, Arthur Haywood.
"This site is about the many people who have been involved in the continuing struggle for social justice in the Leicester area. It aims to provide a short biography of those individuals who tried, in some way, to improve the life of their fellow citizens. I hope that this site can remind us of their contribution and tell us something of the issues they faced and the obstacles they had to overcome." Ned Newitt

TWO SONNETS My father, the late Norman Haywood of the RAF pages, had two brothers, both now sadly deceased. One, my late Uncle Don, was an unpublished poet, who also served in the RAF, and later worked at Snibston and Lount pits before a lifetime of service with Severn-Trent Water Board.
I have placed a few of his lines below;
'Sonnets from the Edge of War'

as a memorial to all those of his and my father's generation,
who spent much of their childhood 'down the shelters',
or otherwise deprived and disadvantaged by war.

Born in 1930, Don's memories are of the events in and around Gough Road, in Leicester, during those years of the blitz. It was a major 'target area' for the Luftwaffe, with so much engineering and industrial premises around.  Gough Rd is at the northern end of the St Barnabas Rd-East Park Rd industrial area, with St Saviours and Green Lane Roads nearby. There was a major boot & shoe factory at the top of their street. A good many of the machines that manufactured most armaments, from small arms to tanks and artillery, or repaired equipment essential for the war effort, was made in Leicester. Major shoe factories, that would make boots for all three armed services, were in the city.

Thankfully the area would not be heavily hit, but it was expected to be so. It is a sobering fact that today's youth would not, could not, put up with as much. Is this how it was for you? These lines quite moved me when I first read them. What did my Mum and her sisters think, as a 10-year old, as she stood at the bottom of her father's Coalville garden and watched the glow in the sky over the fields as Coventry burnt, some 25 miles away?

Fear, I should think - pure, undiluted fear. They must have thought that their world was coming to an end - and for some, it surely did.

Sonnets from the Edge of War


Clear moonlit nights filled with the fearful drone
Of war-planes on their odyssey of wrath.
Descendants of the Vandal and the Goth
Extending to the skies their battle-zone.
The thump-thump-thump of anti-aircraft fire
Reverberates around the shelter’s walls,
Unsettles the children in their makeshift stalls
Draws feigned indifference from a troubled sire.
When resonates the All-Clear’s steady wail
White knuckled fists unclench and trembling lips
Begin bravado’s artificial chants.
Recidivists and those who nightly fail
Conceal with overcoats the sodden slips
And dark-stained trews that brand them miscreants.

by Donald Russell Haywood ©1999


During WWII, city children in their last year at school were allowed to volunteer to pick potatoes and supplement the deflated workforce to garner this vital harvest.

Unbuttered bread , but with a scrape of marge,
Stale cheese, or jam soaking into the bread.
The outer leaves of lettuce and onion spread
Between hard crusts, loaf-ends cut overlarge.
This simple fare, brown paper wrapped, re-used
From yesterday and loosely tied with string
Sustains soft sinews through the wearying
Cortege of snail-like hours - youth’s dance abused.
As evensong wafts softly from the church
Tired limbs descend ungainly from the bus
That brought the schoolboy home from the fields of toil
Clutching potatoes on his homeward lurch.
Devours his prize as mother starts to fuss
And scrapes his boots free of the foreign soil.

by Donald Russell Haywood ©1999


Don used to work down Snibby Pit, in the early 50's. He recalls the feeling of luxury when the new pit-head baths were opened, just across the Ashby Road from the pit itself. I recall my amazement to learn that the baths had to be built and paid for by the colliers themselves! They all paid a penny a week out of their meagre wages for the 'privelege' of a bath and going home clean. No wonder they became so militant with bosses as tightfisted as that !!

Coalville, Leicestershire.

Brief wraithes of steam unfurl pale arms,
With fingers, unsubstantial, fey,
Grope dark discoloured walls before
Evaporating all away.

Twin contra-turning pulley wheels,
Their spokes in stroboscopic race,
Disclose the vertical approach
Of colliers from their working place.

Hauled swiftly from the caverned streets
Of a sprawling subterrainean wen
They dash across the Ashby Road
In little knots of shabby men.

Torn, shapeless trousers, knee-pad girt,
A No-So patch unsullied yet,
Coal-blackened faces zebra-striped
From dried-up river-beds of sweat.

Honed through the adolescent years,
From male exclusiveness distilled,
Come ribaldry and cutting wit
As requiems for stints fulfilled.

As colliers make this brief traverse
Their banter's often overheard
But some will cross the road and make
The pithead baths without a word.

Garrulous or taciturn
They hasten to the shower jet
To be reborn beneath the flow
And cleanse the skin of grime and sweat.

But cleansing showers and draughts of air
Inhaled above the terrestrial crust
Could not begin to purify
Nor ever cleanse the lungs of dust.

by Donald Russell Haywood ©1999

Uncle Don died in 2017, aged 86.

I have decided to publish all of his poetry on this website, and so will progressively type up each one and post it here.

Don typed up each of his poems, and kindly gave them to me as a 'collected set' in a folder for my keeping. He also numbered them and organised them, with an index, into an order of his own design.

They will appear here just as he wote them.

The Collected Works of
D. Russell Haywood
1930 - 2017