© Leicester City Council
- Belgrave Hall provides an oasis of peace and quiet in a busy city. It was built in the early 18th century, in what was then a small village three miles from the town of Leicester. Now city traffic passes, almost unnoticed, just beyond the garden walls. It has changed hands many times but the owners have always played a major role in the economic, social and charitable life of the community. Over the years the house has been lived in, loved and altered to meet the changing needs of its owners. Today the hall and gardens host a range of events and activities offering visitors a glimpse of the past. Edmund Cradock, a 'nouveau riche' hosiery merchant, built the Hall between 1709 and 1713 and died soon after its completion. Little is known of the next owners, the Simons. The Vann's who lived there from 1767 to 1844, ran a thriving hosiery business from the Hall, employing the local framework knitters as outworkers. They gave generously to many local charities, including Leicester's first free school. John Ellis, who purchased Belgrave Hall in 1845 and his family were also noted for their good work in the community. Ellis, a wealthy businessman, was responsible for bringing the railways to Leicester in 1833. The Hall is in the midst of two acres of serene walled gardens that are open to the public. The gardens were an important aspect of the Hall in Victorian times (a status symbol that showed the family's wealth).