Tag Archives: Hinckley Urban District Council

Scrap Book Project – Houses, Ledwell Drive, Glenfield

9 Ledwell Drive

After a couple of years living close to Leicester city centre in Tyndale Street my parents were ready for a move and were looking to go up a rung or two on the housing ladder, Dad had had a promotion at work at Leicestershire County Council working at the Education Department so the time was right to move on.

They chose the village of Glenfield which is three miles to the west of the city and in the 1950s was expanding quickly with new houses being built on the Frith Estate which was land that once belonged to nearby Frith Hall, a stately home set in parkland and surrounded by small farms.  What a shame that a house like that would be demolished.

Glenfield 1964

My parents bought a brand new semi-detached house built by Jelson homes in Ledwell Drive almost at the centre of the new development.  It was still a building site really because at the time we moved in only one side of the road was completed and the other was still under construction.

I don’t know why it was called Ledwell Drive, there doesn’t appear to be a local connection and the surrounding roads have no pattern as they would for example on a poets estate or a birds estate. The first house I ever bought was on Frobisher Road in Rugby on the Admiral’s Estate – Nelson, Drake, Blake, Freemantle etc.

I cannot find another Ledwell Drive in the UK but have come across two in the USA.  The first is in Seymour, Tennessee which looks like an up market sort of place in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains and the second is in the small township of Rocky Springs in North Carolina.

I was only two years old when we moved in and we left when I was four so I don’t remember very much about living in this house.  I do recall the building site opposite because one day I was crawling through a drainage pipe and cut my head open as I went through and I still have the scar to prove it.

Living here did provide one defining moment in my life – it gave me a life-long fear of dogs.  My dislike for them started when I was taken one day for a walk by my granddad and on a piece of waste land opposite the house and an Alsatian dog knocked me to the ground, pinned me down and stood on my chest.  The inconsiderate owner had let it off its leash and I was absolutely terrified.  Lucky for me that granddad was able to shoo it off and chase it away or else I was sure to have been a 1958, child chewed to death by a dog, statistic.  I have never recovered from the shock of that incident.

Dad worked hard on the house, he decorated it, he dug the garden, he put up pelmets, he put down paths, dug a vegetable patch and built a rockery.  Wherever we lived Dad always built a rockery!  The family got bigger and in October 1957 my sister Lindsay was born.

Andrew and Lindsay

We didn’t stay in this house very long, I am not really sure why but it probably had something to do with Dad’s job.  In May 1957 he was appointed to the post of ‘Land Charges Clerk’ at Hinckley Urban District Council at an annual salary of £533.  That doesn’t sound a lot but it meant that his salary had rocketed by nearly 125% in just four years.  That is a serious increase in anyone’s career and salary and I can only imagine how excited he must have been at that time.  In the year 1990 my salary increased by 35% in one jump when I got a new job and for a few months, until expenditure caught up with income, I thought that I was a millionaire.

Surely the sensible thing to do was move to Hinckley, Dad didn’t drive or have a car and it is about sixteen miles from Glenfield.  He used to cycle to work, there and back every day, I cannot imagine what a chore that must have been.

Assuming he could make ten miles an hour that would have been three hours a day cycling back and forth to work.  If he got a puncture he had to walk, in the rain I remember him having a yellow oilskin cape and a sou’wester rain hat.  Later he bought a moped but it was forever breaking down so he went back to the push bike.  In the Winter it must have cost a fortune in Ever Ready batteries just for the front and rear lights! Surely the sensible thing to do was move to Hinckley!

The house today is much the same as it was in 1956.  The front garden has gone and been converted to parking spaces, there is a garage at the side and it has plastic windows but if he could pull up on his bike at the front door and go back and look at it I am certain that Dad would recognise it instantly.

And so we moved house again – but not to Hinckley!

This is me doing my French onion seller impression sitting on Dad’s rockery…

9 Ledwell Drive Glenfield

And outside the original front door in October 1958…


Ivan Petcher b. 27th March 1932 d. 28th October 2003

When I took possession of some personal possessions of my Dad I was intrigued to find details of a life that I had never known or appreciated. This really shouldn’t have come as a great surprise because there are many dimensions to a life but the only one that I was fully familiar with was in his role as my father. In what many would describe as an ordinary life this was a task that he excelled at I have to say!

But beyond the responsibility of being a parent I wonder what else he was like. I have been looking at his old employment records and these have revealed some interesting and important clues.

He was educated at Wellingborough Grammar School in Northamptonshire (Sir David Frost was a famous old boy) during the years of the Second World War and I can only imagine that this must have been a huge distraction for the country with a corresponding lack of attention paid to educational standards. This must have been good fun if you were a pupil then but it didn’t lead to a fistful of GCSEs to help you set out in life. The school in line with the custom of the time, was selective, which meant that an entrance examination had to be passed to get a place. Until 1945 the school charged fees for attendance but following R. A. Butler’s great Education Act of 1944, all places became free of charge. The eleven plus exam and secondary education obligations were also introduced in the Education Act.

According to school records, in summer 1947 Dad was in the fifth form remove (the school tried at this time to push the brightest boys for School Certificate in four years, Dad was clearly not in the bright boys form and took the usual five years). This extra time didn’t help a great deal because in summer 1948 he was in 5B (unexamined fifth form class) and sadly he didn’t manage to get the School Certificate. The School Certificate was not like GCSE but was a group certificate and you had to do well in five subjects, miss on one and tough, you got nothing, this is what must have happened to Dad because no school certificate is mentioned when he left in the Autumn of that year. The following term, he left to join his father’s business, a grocery store at 110 Higham Road, Rushden.

After Wellingborough Grammar School his own CV tells us that he did more studying at the South East London College of Commerce and the Leicester College of Art and Technology. None of these educational establishments exist any longer and although there is an interesting old boys web site for the Wellingborough Grammar School I can find nothing about the other two.

His first real job was as a Film Librarian working at Jessops in Leicester and then in June 1950 when he was eighteen years old he started his National Service in the Royal Air Force at the Air Ministry in London.  This sounds awfully exciting but I suspect that it probably wasn’t. From 1949, every healthy man between the ages of 18 and 26 was expected to serve in the armed forces for a minimum period of eighteen months. Men were exempt from National Service if they worked in three ‘essential services’, which were coal mining, farming and the merchant navy, so not film librarians then! I’d like to tell you that he was a fighter pilot or a commando or something thrilling but the plain fact is that he worked at the Air Ministry in London in the office as a clerk/typist whose job was ‘the compilation and maintenance of officers’ and airmens’ records and documents’. I can only imagine that this was exceedingly dull but it prepared him for life in the public service as a local government officer.

He must have enjoyed it however because he completed over two years and his discharge paper of 13th July 1952 says that his conduct was exceptional and his ability was very good, he was described as ‘smart’ on a scale of ‘very smart’, ‘smart’ or ‘untidy’ and he was summed up as ‘a very reliable and efficient clerk who has done good work and helped in the tuition of others’. I can understand that because he was always the most helpful person with lots of patience when dealing with other people, sadly I didn’t inherit that characteristic.

The records now reveal that he was doing a bit of moonlighting because if he was discharged on 13th July 1952 it is interesting that he started work with Lewisham Borough Council in South London two weeks earlier on 1st July 1952 as a general clerk. I think Mum’s Aunty Glad got him the job because she worked in the staff canteen and was good terms with some of the senior staff (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) and she put a good word in for him! He stayed there for six months and when he left the Town Clerk, Alan Milner Smith, wrote of him “I found him to be an intelligent boy…and a thoroughly satisfactory officer”, I wonder how well he knew Aunty Glad.

He left Lewisham and a week before his twenty first birthday and took up a new appointment at Leicestershire County Council as a general clerk in the Common Services Section of the Education Department where he stayed until May 1957. In that time he got married, I was born, and he bought his first two houses. I think he must have been a sociable chap because he was enthusiastic in running the County Offices football and cricket teams and he kept meticulous records of games and performances from 1953 until 1956. From my own experience I know that he was a well liked man and the Supplies Officer F E Collis wrote in a reference in March 1957 “ he is very popular with the staff and an enthusiastic member of the office football team” he also said, in an old fashioned sort of way, “I have found Mr Petcher’s work perfectly satisfactory and he brings to it an enthusiasm which is all too often lacking in junior officers today”. I imagine F E Collis was about a hundred years old and remembered what administration was like in the days of Dickens and the Raj!

In May 1957 he left Leicestershire County Council and took a job at Hinckley Urban District Council as a Land Charges and General Clerk. He bought his third house, Lindsay, my sister, was born in October and he cycled to work and back every day, a distance of about ten miles, later he got a moped but I seem to recall that it wasn’t especially reliable and sometimes he had to push it all the way home so he went back to the push bike. This wasn’t sustainable of course so in 1959 they sold up and we sensibly moved to Hinckley to be close to his work. That didn’t last long either and he left Hinckley on 31st December 1960 and moved to Rugby Rural District Council and that’s how we came to move to Hillmorton. I especially like his reference from F J Warren the Deputy Clerk of the Council who described my dad as “a useful, promising and reliable member of staff… I cannot speak too highly of his integrity and desire to give satisfaction” and he added in a quaint sort of way that you would never find today “he is of pleasing appearance and courteous to all with whom he comes in contact”.

That’s how I remember him too!