Oral History

Oral history is a wonderful way of preserving memories of our villages and Colin Hyde of the East Midlands Oral History Archive has spent many years on this subject.

With thanks to Colin for setting up the original pages on the leicestershirevillages.com website

To find out more please click on the following link:


Ena Barnes was born in Rothley in 1905 was interviewed in 1986 about the Rothley shops:

Mrs Barnes: Well there was the post office which was on the Green, it was only a little place really to what it is now. Mr and Mrs Archer ran that. There was the chemist shop which was Mr Wall and he had a little sweet shop at the side of it.

Interviewer: Can you tell me whereabouts that was?

Mrs Barnes: Next to the Royal Oak. Then going up Woodgate, there was one on the corner called Hamers, well that became Goodalls and all that, the grocery stall you see. There was a fish and chip shop, up the yard they used to sell the fish and chips.

Interviewer: Who was that?

Mrs Barnes: Mr Chapman ran that. Oh, there was the butchers, Mr Cook, he was a real, the old family business that was, Mr Cook. There was a baker, Mr Birsnall, he ran the bakery shop on the corner which is now Bradleys the grocers.

Interviewer: On the corner of what?

Mrs Barnes: Howe Lane. And between the butchers and the baker there was Mr Wells, he ran a sort of a hardware shop. There was a shop opposite to the butchers, it was really a house, a bit of a farm, and they used to sell bit of greengrocery, things at the door. Garner, their name was.

Interviewer: Was there a barber's or a hairdresser's?

Mrs Barnes: There was a barber, Mr Bruin, there wasn't a hairdresser. There was a shoe shop, Mr Rodwall, then there was a little sweet shop that Mr and Mrs Pepper had, which is now the newsagent. Then there was a shop where they sold shirts etcetera, oh, that was Mr Rodwall. Then there was the paper - at the corner of North Street there was a little tiny shop and Mr Hall used to run it, newspapers, and he was the one that used to cycle up to the station to get the newspapers on his cycle. He was only a small man.

Interviewer: So you had quite a lot of shops then really, didn't you?

Mrs Barnes: Yes, and then there was another one which was on the Green near the bus stop now, it's a fish and chip shop at the moment, but that was a little sweet shop, and then up Town Green Street there was one or two shops. There was a Miss Dormer, she used to sell corn and all sorts of things, and paraffin, groceries. And then there was Mr Toone, that was a greengrocer's shop. Mr Cattell, they were sweet shops, there was a Miss Harley, which was a sweet shop.

Interviewer: Rothley seems to have had an awful lot of sweet shops!



The above was part of Ruth Dormer's collection and could easily have been a group from Rothley

Mrs Ena Barnes also had a few memories of transport in the village. recorded in 1986

Interviewer: What about transport to the village then, what sort of transport did you have as a child?

Mrs Barnes: Well, there was just the trains. Then Boyes started their buses.

Interviewer: Do you know when that was?

Mrs Barnes: I'm not really sure but I think it was about 1911, something like that, but they used to run the odd one to Leicester, perhaps about three a day, Leicester to Loughborough. And then later on they did a few more and used to do outings, you know, to Matlock and all like that, and of course that was marvellous. There was a Mr Fern, he had some cabs and a brougham, which we used to hire this brougham sometimes to go to Bradgate Park and places like that.

Interviewer: What's a brougham, can you explain what it is?

Mrs Barnes: An open thing, you sat about six each side of it, it was open.

Interviewer: Like a charabanc?

Mrs Barnes: That style, yes, only horse drawn, yes. It'd hold about 12 people I should think.

Interviewer: And that was used to take people to Bradgate Park, for outings?

Mrs Barnes: Anywhere like that, yes.

Interviewer: Can you remember how much it would have cost?

Mrs Barnes: I've no idea.