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Harborough Museum

Wellington Yard sign

Wellington Yard sign

During the 1930s Wellington Yard along with other yards, rows & dwellings in Market Harborough were subject to slum clearances to make way for newer, modern housing and better street lighting. The yards were originally land behind businesses that had been divided into small dwellings.

The local Council’s house building programmes meant that in total sixty-seven dwellings in the town were cleared and a further thirty two closed between the years 1933 and 1938.  Much of the housing particularly in Wellington Yard just off the High Street opposite the Angel, were no longer fit for purpose as many of the buildings were crumbling, had poor sanitation coupled with much over crowding. The new houses & estates built after the clearings were just some of the four million built nationally between the two World Wars.

One notable resident of Wellington Yard was Corporal George Henry Waters, born in 1897 in Norwich, the son of Charlie Henry Waters. George enlisted in the 1st Battalion Leicestershire Regiment in 1914 at the age of seventeen. Before joining the 1st Battalion, George Waters had previously worked in Bristol as an Errand boy for a Grocer, whilst living with his sister and his brother in law who worked as a Tanner Glazer.

A metal street sign for Wellington Yard
The Wellington Yard sign, which is in the Sickness and Health case.

When living in Market Harborough, George sought to make a living working as a Shoemaker for Mr. Wright, who occupied premises on Coventry Road. George worked for Mr. Wright up until the outbreak of World War One. The enlisting forms dated 28th August 1914  details George’s recorded occupation as a Shoemaker and his given address listed as living at 7 Wellington Yard, Market Harborough.

A photograph of fellmongers working in Market Harborough, around 1870.
Fellmongers drawing skins from a limepit at the yard of George Staynes, tanners and leather dressers, of Market Harborough, in about 1870.

Having been awarded the Star Medal for active service between 1914 to 1915, George would continue his career in the Military.  Sadly on 15th September 1916, aged just nineteen, he was killed during the Battle of the Somme: one of the bloodiest battles of World War One, which had lasted for five months. George Waters’s name is among seventy-two thousand officers and men and one of over two thousand men who served from the Leicestershire & Rutland regiments who perished, on The Thiepval Memorial in France.  All of George’s personal effects including his medals were later passed onto his sister, Mary, who is listed on George’s Infantry Records as also living at Wellington Yard.

Thanks to our volunteer, Alice, for researching and writing this entry.

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