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20A Millstone Lane

A Grade II Listed Building in Leicester, City of Leicester

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Latitude: 52.633 / 52°37'58"N

Longitude: -1.1355 / 1°8'7"W

OS Eastings: 458602

OS Northings: 304265

OS Grid: SK586042

Mapcode National: GBR FGL.80

Mapcode Global: WHDJJ.J2HT

Plus Code: 9C4WJVM7+5Q

Entry Name: 20A Millstone Lane

Listing Date: 16 December 1975

Last Amended: 27 April 2020

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1263349

English Heritage Legacy ID: 432538

Location: Leicester, LE1

County: City of Leicester

Electoral Ward/Division: Castle

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Leicester

Traditional County: Leicestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Leicestershire

Church of England Parish: Leicester St Martin

Church of England Diocese: Leicester

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An early-C19 domestic range now converted to offices.


An early-C19 domestic range now converted to offices.

MATERIALS: the building is constructed of red engineering brick with a slate roof.

PLAN: the street-front range is rectangular on plan. There is a later extension to the rear which forms an overall L-plan footprint.

DESCRIPTION: the building is of two storeys and has a classically proportioned front elevation. There are two sash windows on the ground floor with flanking wide and round-headed carriageway arches. That to the left is now in use as the foyer to the building and has a replacement timber gate. That to the right remains a carriageway entrance and has its original, though restored, timber panelled gateway with original metalwork in situ. The first floor has three widely spaced multi-pane sashes, the central with 8 over 16 panes, those to either side 8 over 8 panes. There is a projecting string-course between the ground and first floors and a dentiled eaves course. There is a single circular structural tie plate towards the right and a single downpipe towards the centre. There is a brick gable stack to the right.

The rear elevation comprises the carriageway to the left of the ground floor with three windows to the right of that, one if which is smaller than the other two. The remainder of the ground floor is obscured by the later extension. The first floor has regularly spaced multi-pane sashes. All the windows are set segmental headed brick arches and have slate cills.

INTERIOR: the interior has been converted for office use and been renewed to meet those requirements. The stair remains in its original location and the original plan form is largely discernible. One fireplace remains in situ on the first floor and other features may also survive beneath the modern finishes, e.g. suspended ceilings but it was not possible to ascertain that during the site visit.


Leicester is one of the oldest settlements in England and its origins can be traced back at least to the Iron Age. There is significant remaining evidence of the Roman settlement particularly on the east bank of the River Soar where the bath house and palaestra at Jewry wall represent the only standing remains of Ratae Corieltauvorum and one of the largest standing pieces of Roman civilian building in the country. However, there is little known of the settlement between the Roman departure and the medieval period.

In the Middle Ages, Leicester became an increasingly important urban centre. William Conqueror ordered the construction of the first motte and bailey castle in the late C11. This was later rebuilt in stone and the great hall survives containing one of the finest medieval interiors in the country. The city became closely associated with Simon De Montfort who became the Lord of the Town in 1281, and one of the city’s two universities is named after him. The town also became closely linked to the royal family through the earldoms of Leicester and Lancaster, which were joined under one person, Robert Beaumont, in the late C14. This led to further expansion and prosperity in the late-middle and early-modern periods.

The town also became a focus for religious devotion, with an area next to the Castle known as the Newarke, being the location for a collegiate church as well as other religious centres. After his death at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, the body of King Richard III was brought to the town and buried in the church of the Greyfriars, a Franciscan abbey which tradition has it had been founded by De Montfort in the late C13. Cardinal Thomas Wolsey died at Leicester Abbey in 1530 on his way to face trial in London and was buried there. Other major individuals to be associated with the city include Robert Dudley, who was made Earl of Leicester by Elizabeth I.

The church of Greyfriars was destroyed in 1538, after the Dissolution of the Monasteries. The site was sold and a manor house built with an associated estate. Both the monastic buildings and the location of Richard’s tomb were lost by the late C17. The manor belonged to Alderman Robert Herrick and remained in the family until the early C18 when it was sold to Thomas Pares. The former Greyfriars precinct was then divided with a new thoroughfare, called New Street laid north-south across it. The street plan more generally continues to resemble that of the medieval borough, although street names have changed, with the boundaries of the precinct on the whole respected.

Throughout the early C18 the two parts of the estate were gradually parcelled and sold for development. It was in the Georgian period that the wider Greyfriars estate was developed, primarily as residences for the professional and polite classes. Many of the remaining buildings date to that period and are domestic in both scale and character. Industry did encroach at the fringes and commercial activities and industry such as hosiery appear on the 1888 map of the area. Latterly the area became the legal centre for Leicester and many of the buildings were converted into offices. The manor house was demolished in 1872 although its garden remained unencumbered of development, as did that of 17 Friar Lane. Both became car parks in the C20.

Leicester itself became an industrial centre following the construction of the Grand Union Canal, which linked the town to London and Birmingham at the end of the C18. By 1800 the population had reached over 17,000 and continued to grow throughout the C19. The first railway arrived in the 1830s and Leicester was linked to mainline network by the 1840s, which allowed for significant industrial expansion. The major industries were textiles, hosiery and footwear. The size of Leicester increased dramatically at this time and many surviving medieval and early-modern buildings in the Greyfriars area were either replaced or refaced in brick at this time. The C19 also saw the construction of several large schools in the area.

Although the city faced significant economic and social challenges in the C20 it remains a vibrant urban centre and is now known as one of the most culturally diverse cities in Britain. The Greyfriars area has been the focus of international attention and economic investment since the remarkable discovery of the remains of King Richard III under a council car park in 2012 and his re-burial in the Cathedral in 2015. Resultant extensive research and archaeological investigation led to the Scheduling of the former monastic site in December 2017 (see List entry: 1442955) and the renaming of the Guildhall/Cathedral Conservation Area to Greyfriars.

20A Millstone Lane appears on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey (Leicestershire, 1888) with the same footprint as currently. The historic carriageway to the court at the rear remains in situ with its cobbled surfacing. Like many residential buildings in the area the building was used as legal offices. The building was originally listed in 1975 as 22 Millstone Lane before changes to the address.

Reasons for Listing

20A Millstone Lane in Leicester, dating to the C18 is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:
* as a well executed example of C18 domestic architecture;
* for the classical form, proportions and detailing of the building and survival of significant features such as the roof structure.

Historic interest:
* as an example of a building set within a historic urban context which displays the evolution of both the building and the area from domestic to commercial in the C19 and C20.

Group value:
* with other listed buildings in the vicinity, specifically 20 Millstone Lane but also 9 and 11 Millstone Lane (List entry: 1074000) and the former Constitutional Club (List entry: 1389645).

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