Saturday, March 24, 2012
The Portland Enclave, Leicester
I went back to the London Road in Leicester today, exploring what From Tollgate to Tramshed calls The Portland Enclave. This is a collection of houses from the mid 19th century, most of which are reached along a private road.
Portland Towers and its flanking terraces Portland Cottages and Knighton Cottages, rambling red brick buildings in a Tudor style, are the most interesting of these. The private road takes you to the back of the properties, where I met the man who maintains the flats that now occupy these buildings. As he said they are far more impressive when viewed from the front, as in this photograph.
The path you see runs up to the front door of Portland Cottages, while the tower you see belongs to Portland Towers. As the name suggests, there is a second tower and beyond that are Knighton Cottages. Like every second building in this part of the city, it was at one time home to a small private school.
By 1897 Portland Towers was the home of the Oppenheim family. Edward Phillips Oppenheim did not enjoy working in his father's leather business and spent his evenings writing stories. Though he is forgotten today, he was an extremely popular writer in his day.
I came across E. Phillips Oppenheim again later on this afternoon, so more about him another day.