This fine Georgian building at the  centre of Braunstone Park has  been closed for too long, becoming  victim to vandals and those who do  not respect their own heritage. But  now, this fine building will once  again be restored to glory.. Local  politician and builder William Oldham designed Braunstone Hall for Clement Winstanley, a high sheriff of Leicester, back in 1776. Oldham kept construction local, using red brick and Swithland slate. However, not all went according to plan. During the hall's construction, the foreman and a labourer were killed when scaffolding collapsed. Later, a man hung himself from a cedar tree in the back garden. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is said the hall has more ghosts than the Guildhall and Leicester Castle put together. Nevertheless, the hall's smart facade was altered in 1911, when then owner Richard Winstanley set about extending the building. The year, followed by his and wife Kitty's initials, can be found in the brickwork. Around the Hall, a grand park was laid out, complete with a lake and walled gardens, plus an adjoining stable block.. However, in 1925, the tranquil grounds and its environs were all set for change, after the Winstanley estate was bought by the Leicester Corporation for £116,500 - about £6 million today - in order to build homes for men who fought in the Great War. The two leading lights in the deal, councillors Hallam and Gooding, are commemorated on the estate by Hallam Crescent and Gooding Avenue. The work left the hall marooned by the Braunstone estate.. In 1932, the hall opened as a senior school.

The following year, a junior school was added. The building and two acres of surrounding land were purchased by Leicester Education Committee in 1939 for £3,500, allowing the construction of an assembly hall and further alterations to the building. During the Second World War, Braunstone Hall was a base for the Home Guard, while the park was home to 168 Battery of the Royal Artillery and the 52nd/53rd Field Regiment Royal Artillery, plus American paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division. In 1983, the hall's beautifully-kept walled garden was opened to the public. However, the hall's school closed in 1996 and Rosemary Winstanley, the youngest of the dynasty and the last member of the family to be born at the hall, died in October 2006, aged 92. For more than 15 years, the hall fell into disrepair and was repeatedly vandalised. Thankfully, in 2013, Leicester entrepreneur Naresh Parmar unveiled plans for the restoration of the building into a hotel, restaurant, wedding venue and conference centre. It will be named after the hall's original owners: Winstanley House. Work is busy under way for the conversion and it will be great to see this important building once again looking smart and occupied after its opening in July..

(Leicester Mercury published March 20th, 2017)


The History of Braunstone Park..

The first records of Braunstone are found in the Doomsday Book of 1086..


Winstanley House is a Grade II listed Wedding Venue and Banqueting Hall..

The History of Braunstone Hall..

Braunstone Hall was built in 1776 for the Winstanley family, lords of..