The block of old houses which comprise Nos 49, 49a and 51 Beveridge Street and their gardens, and all the land on the left hand side of Melton Road almost as far as New Street were once part of the Barrow Workhouse, known at the time as the House of Industry. Before 1765, Barrow, like other local villages Quorn, Mountsorrel, Sileby and Cossington, had a parish workhouse, which was in Sileby Road possibly opposite the large building which was once Driver’s factory. About 1782, Barrow and these other parishes “incorporated” to form the Barrow House of Industry to provide poor relief to paupers from these villages. The land and dwellings in Beveridge Street and Melton Road were purchased and used until 1840 for this purpose, by which time the Incorporation had grown to include over 30 parishes. White’s Directory of 1847 records: “the Barrow upon Soar Incorporation was dissolved in 1837 and its workhouse was sold to the Guardians of the Union for £1750, and was used by them till 1840 when the present, more commodious workhouse at Rothley (Mountsorrel) was finished at a cost 0f £6500, with room for 300 inmates although there were seldom more than 180.”
The old garden walls of No. 49 still show evidence of where the cottages stood that housed the inmates of the workhouse. These cottages were knocked down in the 1950’s to make way for the bungalows in Melton Road. No. 49 and 49a Beveridge Street were the workhouse Master’s dwelling and no. 51 is reputed to be the washhouse. Although the main buildings date from around the end of the 18th century, there is evidence that part of structure is much older – part of one of the gable-end wall looking over no. 47 is built in the same local limestone as Bishop Beveridge House (16th century)
When the workhouse was sold in 1840 it was bought by Thomas Fewkes who was the Clerk to the Barrow Union. Thomas, and his family subsequently lived in what are now the three houses, nos. 49/49a/51, until 1867. During this time, part of the house was also used as the village Post Office. Thomas died in 1867 but the property was retained by Thomas’s son, John Merriman, who left it on his death to his daughter Maria Theresa, who owned it till she died in 1931. For the whole of this period it would have been rented out.
It is not known exactly when 49 and 49a were separated, but it was probably between 1928 and 1930. Between 1904 and 1929, Dr and Mrs Cresswell lived at the house. Dr Cresswell and his wife Emily apparently employed two maids, and when they retired Mrs Cresswell built them a house on Sileby Road (recognisable by the carved roof barge boards). Mrs Cresswell was prominent in the Holy Trinity Church and dedicated carvings and linen in the vestry in memory of her son who was killed in the First World War. After Mrs Cresswell died the property remained empty for some time, until in 1931 it was rented by a Mr and Mrs Joseph Greasley. In 1933 Mr Arthur Linnell became the tenant and he remained tenant until his death in 1976. He was a batchelor, and the manager at Pares' Bank in Leicester, and always had a housekeeper to look after domestic matters. He was a well-remembered figure in the village. Before 1933 he lived on North Street, renting rooms at Kimber's Farm.
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