How they pave pub paradise just to put up a parking lot
I was saddened to hear of the imminent destruction of more of our Victorian pub heritage, with the demise of landmark Leicester pub, the Victory, which stands at the junction of Leicester's Aylestone Road and Welford Road.
In yet another short-sighted surrender to the car, health bosses are further expanding hospital parking.
This follows their demolition in 2010 of the neighbouring Pride of Leicester pub, formerly the Freeman's Arms and later, the Physio and Firkin, for a car park.
The popular Granby Halls venue was demolished in 2001, also to be replaced by a car park, as was the Spread Eagle pub, on Charles Street, in 2006.
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Readers will recall that the Rutland Arms, a smart red-brick Victorian corner pub at the other end of Aylestone Road, on the junction with Wigston Lane, was also demolished recently.
I was contacted by reader Chris Lymm, from Oadby, who, prompted by the news of the Victory's demolition, told me that the pub, previously the Bedford Hotel, had been home to the Leicester Jazz Club.
Chris says the club was started by enthusiasts to replace the jazz club at the Highcross Street WMC, which had also been demolished.
Formed in the late 1950s, the club met on Friday nights and the packed Bedford rocked to tunes of the resident band, the Brian Woolley Jazzmen, featuring Brian Woolley on clarinet and Trevor Jones on trumpet. Others included Pete Wells and Maurice Colman.
Chris tells me that the music the band played was revivalist New Orleans jazz, except for the odd incursion into mainstream.
Looking further into the Bedford's history, according to new book Drink and Damnation, by local authors Barry Lount and Robert Spurr, the pub had a strong connection to the Leicester Tigers rugby club.
At one time, "Welford Road recreation ground was the Tigers' official home ground but having no clubhouse or changing facilities, teams changed at the Bedford Hotel, where rugby's association with drinking was already established".
The pub was renamed the Victory after a Tigers Cup final in the early 1980s.
I'm not against progress. But, I'm not sure the continued levelling of Leicester's heritage for car parks or its replacement with cheap, faceless, flat-pack box buildings can be called improvement.
It's a pity that the powers-that-be cannot devise schemes to re-use these smart buildings as desirable offices or salubrious health centres.