About: London Road
London Road stretches throughout the South-East side of Leicester, connecting Oadby and Leicester city centre. Many of the city’s important locations, such as the University of Leicester and Victoria Park are located on or close to this busy main road, which also forms part of the A6. Originally, London Road was a simple track through a hill and connected to Evington Footpath. London Road was named “The London Waye” on Jon Speed’s map of 1600, and was mentioned as “The Harborough Way” in John Ogilby’s map of 1675.
In the early 18th century, people referred to London road as “The Turnpike” leading to London following the formation of the Turnpike Trusts. Even into the nineteenth century, London Road remained a country road, although a few houses were built on it.
The first railway station on the present site was Leicester Campbell Street Station, which was built in 1840 and located behind London Road. However, the traffic of passengers and cargo gradually increased and a new station with a larger capacity was needed. Therefore, London Road Railway Station was constructed and opened in 1892.
London Road witnessed rapid development in the 1920s and 30s, with motorcycle shops, car dealers, insurance companies and many other shops and offices opening along the road. After the Second World War, the private houses along London Road became surgeries, offices and retail shops. Nowadays, a wide range of restaurants from all over the world can be found on London Road. In a half-mile stretch, there are places where you can enjoy food from Pakistan, Turkey, Britain, Italy and many other countries. London Road restaurants are the perfect example of why Leicester has been dubbed the most multicultural city in the UK.
To find out more about the change of London Road in recent years, click here.
Adapted from Boynton, H (2001) The Changing Face of London Road, Leicester. Leicester: Dr Helen Boynton.
Click on the photos to see what London Road was like in the past.