PICTURE THE SCENE: It’s Saturday morning. You’ve just stepped out of the Northern Cobbler after enjoying a drop of Ethiopian Yirgacheffe and a salted caramel and peanut butter slice the size of a paving slab. Fortified with caffeine and sugar, you bound over to the pedestrian crossing on your way to Queens Road shops. Maybe you’re heading to White Elephant to rummage through pricey vintage paraphernalia, or to Dr Protein for some hardcore Ripped Freak bodybuilding supplements. Maybe both. Whatever you’re up to, and it’s none of my business, next time you’re waiting at the junction of Clarendon Park Road and Queens Road, glance east and take in the vista.
The view has changed little in the last hundred years as the postcard above, posted in February 1908, shows. The tall gothic tower of Christchurch still dominates the scene, with everyday life in all its mundane glory going on around it. I love the little details in the photograph like the horse-drawn carriage heading off into the distance leaving a trail of horse poo in its wake. The slightly faded background and the ambiguous handwritten message add a touch of intrigue to the whole scene.
This second postcard was posted five years later in October 1913 and it shows a very similar view, taken from a bit further away from the church. The incidental details in this case are even more interesting. The windows are being cleaned at HC Browning (now Mittons) – the window cleaners are at work on the building with a couple of their wooden ladders still out in the road. They’ve brought their dog with them for company.
Tom and Agnes
The photo was taken by Thomas Moore – his name is in the bottom right-hand corner of the postcard. Thomas and his wife Agnes, who lived at 111 Queens Road at the turn of the century, were prolific photographers of the local area. The couple travelled around Leicestershire on their bicycles building up a comprehensive record of the county’s scenery, architecture and communities. This postcard is just one of many they produced of the streets in their immediate neighbourhood.
Up the junction
Below, for comparison, is a modern-day photo of the same Clarendon Park Road scene as it might appear to a coffee-fuelled hipster or peanut-loving postcard collector.
I’ll be sharing more postcards from my collection soon. In the meantime, catch up with my earlier article looking at six postcards sent to Clarendon Park at the beginning of the 20th Century.