Ashby de la Zouch Museum Digital Engagement Projects

Ashby de la Zouch Museum Digital Engagement Projects

Hidden History Uncovered

Here are the answers to our list of hidden history sites and how you can find out more:

1. The Royal Hotel car park.  This was the site of the Ivanhoe Baths which opened in 1822.  The mineral waters were brought in wagons from mines in Moira and were said to be good for curing skin complaints, aches and pains, stomach disorders and just about anything you can think of!  The Baths building was an elegant classical structure and offered recreational facilities such as dances, billiards and card rooms to its fashionable visitors.  You can find out more about the Baths by coming to the Museum.  We have a model of the Baths and in our shop you can buy a book on the Spa Town written by Kenneth Hillier and a 60 minute film on DVD made by our film unit.








2. The Old Vicarage Garden. This was the site of the original Ashby Grammar School building which opened in 1567.  The school was knocked down during the English Civil Wars in the 1640s to make way for the guns and fortifications which were used by the Parliamentary army to attack the castle.  Also on the site, but now in the garden belonging to St Helen’s Cottage (St Helen’s Church) are the remains of medieval buildings which have been excavated recently by archaeologists.  A film about the excavation will be shown at the Museum on 22nd November at 7.30 (contact the Museum to book a seat) and Kenneth Hillier will give a short talk on the origins of the Grammar School.

3. The new flats on Birch Street and Oak Avenue off Nottingham Road.  This was the site of the Ashby Union Workhouse.  It was built in the 1820s, before the formation of the Ashby Poor Law Union, and closed in the 1930s.  A book on the Ashby Poor Law Union and the workhouse, written by Wendy Freer, is available at the Museum.

4. The new flats on Astley Way off Nottingham Road.  An old windmill once stood on this site.  It was a wooden post mill (a post mill is where the whole of the mill revolves to turn the sails into the wind, unlike a tower mill where only the cap revolves).  It is thought that some inmates from the workhouse worked there at one time although records show that the workhouse had some sort of flour mill of its own at one time.


5. Manor House School.  The building which is now the school was built in the 1830s as a private house for the Mammatt family.  Prior to that a complex of buildings stood on the site next to the castle.  One of these buildings was “The House of Industry”, an early form of workhouse.  You can read more about this institution in Wendy Freer’s book on Ashby Poor Law Union and the Ashby Workhouse.

Well that’s our hidden histories uncovered.  So far we haven’t had any suggestions from readers to add to the list but we would be very interested to know about any more hidden history sites in the town.


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About this Sponsor

Ashby Museum was established in 1982 in a small cottage in Lower Church Street. In 1991 it relocated to its present home in North Street, where it shares the old National School building with the town Library and Tourist Information Centre. In 2006-7, thanks to a major Heritage Lottery Fund Grant, a two storey extension was added. It is a Registered Charity and is run by a group of trustees supported by over 50 volunteer custodians. It won the Leicestershire Heritage Award for best temporary exhibitions in 1998, 2001 and 2003. In July 2007, the museum won Museum of the Year in Leicestershire. It works closely with the county Museum Service and other independent museums in the area, sharing expertise and artefacts.