Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Colin's Little Known Facts: The Great Hole of Leicester

[An image showing Colin's Little Known Facts: The Great Hole of Leicester]The other day, Mrs J. Scott of Oadby asked me "What on Earth is the big circular hole beside the road by West Bridge in Leicester?"

Well, thanks for asking, Mrs Scott.

If you look closely, you'll see that the top half has had a lower part added to form a circle. The top was the design over the entrance to the old wholesale fruit and vegetable market in Rutland Street, opposite the late lamented Odeon Cinema, which has recently been spectacularly refurbished and reopened as Athena.

When this market was demolished in 1972, the decorations were, quite rightly, regarded as much too good to be destroyed, so were kept in store for a while before being re-erected in 1981 as a feature and talking point.

The terracotta panels, which feature mermaids, were hand moulded at the Lambeth premises of Doulton and Co.

The old market, as well as selling fruit and veg, also sold fish. But I'm not sure whether they actually sold mermaids.