The history of grandeur. Halls and Hotels
Built between 1897 and 1898, The Grand Hotel is now owned by the hotel chain Ramada Worldwide and operates as the Ramada Jarvis Leicester.
It is described as one of the finest Victorian buildings in Leicester and is the work of Cecil Ogden, Simpson and Harvey and Amos Hall.
A grade II listed four-story building with attic in the Franco-German Renaissance style, the building comprises of red-brick with stone dressings and paired flanking columns on each upper floor.
There is an elaborate elevation facing Granby Street with two ornate pedimental gables with flanking turrets and a magnificent double-domed cupola.
The Belvior Street elevations boasts a larger gable with flanking octagonal domed turrets and a large tripartite round-arched window.
The lower section of the building consists of modern shop fronts, except where the iron-canopied entrance to Granby Street stands.
The Grand Hotel would make a great temporary residence for any visitor of Leicester, especially those who appreciate authentic Victorian architecture.
Quenby Hall, Village of Hungarton
Built in 1627 by George Ashby, Quenby Hall boasts a fine display of Jacobean architecture that remains largely unspoiled to this day. The hall has been described as the most important building of its kind in the county, as it is one of a handful still remaining.
Quenby Hall is a grade I listed building, built of red brick diapered with dark blue brick and comprising of three storeys with a basement and an extensive well-kept garden area.
The building has two protruding wings and central rectangular porch to give a W shaped facade, with a beautiful stone doorway complete with rusticated jambs. To front of the building are a number of magnificent stone mullion and transom windows, with a number of full-height cantent bays that form a large part of the buildings character.
To the parapet stands a stone bellcote with bell, above a curious diamond-shaped clock face which sits just below. The home remained in the hands of the Ashby family for over three-hundred years, until it passed to the de Lisle family (who are able to trace their ancestry back to the Norman conquest of 1066) in the twentieth century.
Throughout the nineteenth century, Quenby Hall was rented to various noteworthy figures such as the 5th Marquis of Waterford, and possibly the Empress of Austria. It is known that the Queen of Denmark and Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester and David Niven stayed here during the time that Sir Harold Nutting owned the building until his death in 1972.
Quenby is also credited as ‘the home of Stilton cheese’, as it was produced here by the daughter of Elizabeth Scarborough and sold at a family inn on Great North Road in Stilton. As the production of Stilton had ceased around 1720, the current owner Freddie Lisle decided to revive the tradition in honour of Quenby’s heritage.
Quenby Hall is not open for public viewing today, although it is available for hire as a venue for weddings, banquets, conferences and various other events.
Beaumanor Hall, Village of Woodhouse
Situated on the edge of Charnwood Forest in the picturesque village of Wooodhouse, this impressive stately home was designed by architect Richard Railton (who was also responsible for the design of Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square) and was started in 1842.
William Herrick inherited the Beaumanor estate from his uncle together with an earlier Georgian mansion, although this was demolished in favour of the new hall which would eventually come to cost more than £37,000.
A grade II* listed building, this Jacobean hall is a magnificent though somewhat hidden architectural masterpiece of the highest quality of workmanship. Comprising of red brick with a symmetrical entrance that includes three large Dutch gables and a number of curious chimney pieces rising above, there is an arched doorway with an elaborately carved oak double-door and a rusticated stone surround.
A beautiful half-round oriel window protrudes above the entrance, surrounded by a number of two, three, four and five-light windows which form the alluring character of the central facade.
To the rear of the hall is a well-kept and spacious garden with a number of intricately carved stone adornments and a surrounding stone pathway, where visitors can stroll the perimeter and admire the hall in all its excellence.
The interior of the hall is something very special, appearing almost Tudor/Georgian in style and feel although arranged in a rather imperial layout. Visitors will enter the hall to the sight of the magnificent two-story imperial staircase, which flows towards the large contemporary stained-glass window provided by Warrington of London. This room also contains an elaborately paneled oak ceiling which dates from 1853, along with a stone fireplace and a richly carved stone archway which leads into the dining and reception rooms.
Beaumanor is open to the public subject to times and dates and is especially popular with younger children, who flock to learn about its WWII history and live the authentic experience of wartime life. The hall is also available for banquets, conferences, weddings and other events.
Groby Old Hall, Village of Groby
Located in the expanding village of Groby, close to the site of Groby Castle (originally an 11th century motte and bailey castle constructed by Hugh de Grantmesnil, then demolished under the orders of Henry II), the Old Hall stands beside the church of St. James.
Originally the site of a 13th century manor house, the building (then an administrative centre) was inherited by William Ferrers in 1279, then by the Grey family in 1445. Thomas Grey, 1st Marquis of Dorset, began to improve the building and modernise it’s appearance around 1495, before moving on to his building project at Bradgate.
The Old Hall is a Grade II listed building and appears externally as an early 15th to 16th century red brick structure. A three-storey tower stands close to the entrance that has become something of a village symbol, looking slightly out of place alongside the sixteenth-century structures.
Fragments of a chapel wall still remain to the rear of the building, along with the remains of animal holdings and smaller workshops. Although by the late sixteenth-century the hall is described as ‘much decayed’, there is evidence that the building was occupied continuously since the departure of the Grey family.
In April 2010, the Channel 4 television programme Time Team began an archeological dig to the rear of the hall in search of the site of Groby Castle, which was confirmed to have been ‘very successful’ by Tony Robinson himself.
The building can be viewed from the A50 road today, although the site itself is privately owned and not open to the public.