Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Colin's Little Known Facts: High Street Stores and Leicester

A number of famous High Street stores started in Leicester.

I was reminded of this when typing out a recent Journal entry regarding the fact that Dixons, the electrical goods retailers, began when Charles Kalms opened a photographic studio in Southend.

Currys, the other huge electrical retailers who are now part of the same company as Dixons, began in Leicester. Until a few years ago, there was a plaque in Belgrave Gate, on the site of their first store – which sold bicycles.

Halfords, best known for selling car accessories, also started in Leicester. They weren’t founded by Mr Halford – they began in Halford Street. Until around thirty years ago, they were known primarily for cycles and accessories.

Kendalls, the umbrella retailers, also began in Leicester.

And then of course there’s Wilkinsons. Now an enormous High Street chain specialising in hardware and toiletries, Wilkinsons began in Charles Street.

And I suppose you could say that the Thomas Cook empire started in Leicester. His first trip was from Leicester to Loughborough in 1841, marking the start of modern tourism. Thomas himself is buried in Welford Road Cemetery.

Leicester is a very interesting city indeed.