Hinckley Travel Guide

  • Town sign
    Town sign
    by leics
  • St Mary
    St Mary
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  • Castle motte
    Castle motte
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Hinckley Things to Do

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    by leics Updated Dec 27, 2011

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    If you have never seen a classic Norman castle motte (mound) then you might be impressed by Hinckley's, although it is much lower than it originally was.

    The Normans built their first castles (after the 1066 invasion) in the same way: a raised mound of earth (the motte) on which a wooden tower (the keep)was constructed, with a further palisded area for stabling horses, living quarters for the lower ranks etc (the bailey). The whole thing was surrounded by defensive earthworks and, if a suitable water supply existed, a moat as well.

    Only a very few Norman wooden castles were replaced with stone buildings, but there are hundreds and hundreds of castle mottes dotted about all over England.

    Hinckley's castle has no firm date, though by the fourteenth century it was long out of use and local people were grazing their cattle on it.

    In the 1920s the town war memorial was placed on the castle mound. Not, perhaps, the best place for it to be situated..very much a case of 'out of sight, out of mind', I'm afraid,

    There is a little bit of moat left, with a great many mallard ducks, a few moorhens and a goose or two.

    Motte..... ...and moat (with ducks) As it once was Nice tree by the moat
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    • Historical Travel
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Photography

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    by leics Updated Dec 27, 2011

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    Clearly none of the Victorian and Edwardian hosiery or boot & shoe factories were built in the town centre itself. By those times Hinckley, with its market square and 'The Horsefair' (yes, site of horse sales in the past), was built-up enough for there to be no suitable space.

    So if you want to see the remaining Victorian and Edwardian factories (and the odd Art Deco building) then you'll need to walk a little further out of town.

    The Atkins hosiery factory is the largest example still standing, opposite the frame-knitters' cottages which now act as Hinckley museum. In fact, the cottages have long been known as 'Atkins' cottages', because the firm owned them before they were gifted (I think?) to Hinckley Council in the 1990s.

    The Atkins family was a powerful force in the town, its hosiery company dating back to 1722 and employing many hundreds of townspeople in its factory over the following centuries. It remained family-run until its absorption into the Coats Viyella company in the 1990s (and subsequent factory closure). The building now forms part of the North Warwickshire & Hinckley College, a brand-new (September 2011) venture which (it is hoped) will breathe new life into a 'run-down area of the town'. We shall see...

    A few other, smaller, factory buildings can be seen in the streets lying between Upper Bond Street and Council road/Holliers Walk. The Art Deco building in the photos is on the corner of Albert Road and Druid Street.

    Atkins' factory Another ex-factory Art Deco building
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    • Photography
    • Historical Travel

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  • leics's Profile Photo

    by leics Written Dec 26, 2011

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    ...or, if it is closed, at least have a look at the thatched framework knitters' cottages in which it is housed.

    The cottages have been fully-restored, of course. They date from the 1700s, and have a high, light room on the second-floor where the stocking-frames were kept. Good light was absolutely essential for thius fine weaving.

    The museum has small exhibitions on local archaeology and local industry as well as a full-size stocking-frame dating from around 1740.

    Opening times:

    Easter Monday to the end of October:
    Saturday and Bank Holiday Monday 1000-1600
    Sun 1400-1700
    Also Mondays in August which are not Bank Holidays 1100-1500
    Last admission 30 minutes before closing.

    Frame-knitters' cottages
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits
    • Architecture

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