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Green Plaque Awards Scheme

The Leicestershire County Council Green Plaque Awards are awarded to people and places around the county, nominated and voted for by you.

Shortlist announced – Your chance to vote for your favourites

We asked you to nominate Leicestershire people or places that you think deserve to be honoured with one of our prestigious Green Plaque Awards.

Our judges had a tough job, but they’ve come up with an exciting shortlist.

Now it’s over to you to cast your votes and decide who or what should get recognition. We’ve got six commemorative plaques to award and the last day to vote is Monday 31 July.

Voting for your favourites couldn’t be easier. Simply fill in the online voting form

Here are the 12 shortlisted nominees, click on a name to find out more:

Tommy Brown

The Drill Hall

George Fox

Captain Robert Gee

Heathcoat and Boden’s Lace Factory

Ann Ayre Hely

John Theodore Kenney

Lord Macaulay

Revd Dr William Pearson

Pestilence Cottage

Eric Pinkett

George Spencer

Tommy Brown

Helped rescue the Enigma cypher machine and code book from a German submarine. Awarded the George Medal

In 1942, the HMS Petard was engaged in the hunt for a German submarine.  When the submarine surfaced alongside HMS Petard after being ‘holed’, it was imperative that the Royal Navy locate the Enigma machine and code book that contained information vital to code-breakers at Bletchley Park. Sixteen-year-old Tommy Brown from Earl Shilton helped rescue the documents, swimming back and forth between the sinking submarine and HMS Petard. The bravery of Tommy Brown and fellow seamen, Anthony Fasson and Collin Grazier, helped Britain survive the war, the details of which only came to light 55 years later when they were released from the Official Secrets Act.

Nominated by John Reed of Hinckley

The Drill Hall

The boys of Melton and District marched to war from here during WWI

Built in 1914, the Drill Hall was the headquarters of both the ‘A’ Squadron Leicestershire Yeomanry and the ‘C’ Company 1/5th Leicestershire Territorials, both of which suffered heavy casualties in France during WWI.

Nominated by Derek Simons of Melton Mowbray

George Fox

Founder of the Quaker movement

Born in 1624 in Fenny Drayton, George Fox lived in a time of great social upheaval and war. His unusual and uncompromising approach to the Christian faith incorporated the belief that there was something ‘of God in every person’. While his movement attracted disapproval from some, others such as William Penn and Oliver Cromwell viewed Fox with respect.  By the time of his death in 1691, the Quaker movement had 50,000 followers.           

Nominated by John Catt of Loughborough

Captain Robert Gee

Awarded the Victoria Cross

Born in 1876 and orphaned just before his ninth birthday, Robert Gee was sent to the workhouse and later the Countesthorpe Cottage Homes for orphaned children. He enlisted in the Royal Fusillers in 1893, serving in Gallipoli in 1915 and the Battle of the Somme in 1916, where he was seriously wounded and for which he was awarded the Military Cross.  On 30 November 1917 in France, Captain Gee single-handedly attacked a German machine gun post, killing eight of the crew. He was wounded in the engagement, which was later described as a ‘magnificent exploit’ and for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

Nominated by Derek Seaton of Leicester

Heathcoat and Boden’s Lace Factory

Site of the ‘Luddite’ attack of 1816

The Luddites were a group of workers who destroyed machinery that they felt was threatening their jobs.  At midnight in 1816, a group of Luddites attacked the hugely successful Heathcoat and Boden’s lace factory in Loughborough. The factory operated 55 machines which were destroyed in the attack.  Rumour had it that rival Nottingham lace manufacturers may have financed the raid. With the machines destroyed, production was transferred to Tiverton in Devon.

Nominated by Anthony Jarram of Loughborough

Ann Ayre Hely

Nurse during the Crimean War

After becoming a widow, Ann Hely answered the call for nurses to work in the East, nursing the sick and wounded soldiers of the Crimean War. Anne, who was from Ravenstone, travelled first to the Smyrna hospital and then transferred to the purpose-built Renkioi Hospital designed by the celebrated Isambard Kingdom Brunel. In December 1897, Ann was awarded the coveted order of the Royal Red Cross. A hand-written letter from Florence Nightingale to Ann Hely confirms that Nightingale knew of Hely and her excellent reputation as a nurse.

Nominated by Dr Wendy Freer of Ashby-de-la-Zouch

John Theodore Kenney

Artists who created Thomas the Tank Engine

Born in 1911, Kenney was the artist who created the image and personality of Thomas the Tank Engine and the other engines in Reverend W. Awdry’s famous series.  From Kibworth, Kenney was also a fine artist, painting rural and country scenes using the local hunts as his subjects.

Nominated by Stephen Butt of Kibworth Beauchamp

Lord Macaulay

Historian, essayist, poet and politician

Born in Rothley in 1800, Lord Macaulay wrote extensively as an essayist and reviewer; his books on British history have been hailed as literary masterpieces. As a politician he spoke out in favour of the reform of the electoral system and the abolition of slavery.

Nominated by Dr Robert Knight of Loughborough

Revd Dr William Pearson

One of the founders of the Royal Astronomical Society

Born in 1767, Pearson became Rector of South Kilworth in 1817, where he carried out decades of observations, especially measuring the times and altitudes that the Sun, stars, planets and the Moon crossed the southern meridian.  His major work ‘An Introduction to Practical Astronomy’ won him the Royal Astronomical Society’s gold medal. He built an observatory on the south side of South Kilworth which is still standing today.

Nominated by Mike Frost of Warwickshire, Carolyn Bedwell of Leicester and Teresa Hawtin of Barwell

Pestilence Cottage

Also known as the ‘Pest Houses’ or the ‘Plaque Houses’, it got its name after the owners took in a man called Thomas Rawlins who had come up from London in 1665 to escape the Bubonic Plaque.  No one else would take him in for fear of infection. Rawlins later expressed his gratitude by building a school for 22 poor boys from Woodhouse, Woodhouse Eaves and Quorn, which later became Rawlins School in Quorn.

Nominated by Robert and Pauline Knowles of Old Woodhouse

Eric Pinkett

Leicestershire Schools’ Music Advisor

Known locally as ‘Mr Music’, Eric Pinkett from Loughborough embarked on an ambitious plan to transform music teaching in schools from just being singing lessons, to enabling as many children as possible to learn to play an instrument. He also established a countywide Schools Orchestra that would meet weekly. He is credited with encouraging many children to become professional musicians.

Nominated by Barry Wilford of Loughborough

George Spencer

Industrialist and benefactor

Born in 1868, George Spencer was a successful businessman manufacturing knitted textiles and hosiery.  He provided numerous benefactions to the town of Lutterworth where his Vedonis hosiery factory was based; among these were the hospital, the recreation ground and the cricket ground.  He also contributed a considerable sum towards providing a clean water supply for Lutterworth.

Nominated by Lutterworth Town Council

2016 Green Plaque Awards

In 2016 you voted for your favourite Leicestershire people and places to be honoured with a Green Plaque. Here are your final six:

Chapel Street, Barwell

Site of the Barwell Meteorite

On Christmas Eve 1965, one of the largest meteorites recorded in British history landed on the quiet and unsuspecting village of Barwell. Its flaming arrival was followed by a sonic boom as the 4.5 billion-year-old rock exploded into thousands of pieces.

Nominated by Barwell Parish Council

William Cotton

Inventor and manufacturer of Cottons Patent Knitting Machines

Born in Sileby in 1819, William spent most of his adult life living and working in Loughborough. A hosiery manufacturer, he developed a powered knitting machine and other ingenious innovations that changed the way knitted fabrics were produced forever.

Nominated by Dennis Powdrill of Loughborough

Lady Florence Dixie

Author and campaigner for women’s rights

Lady Florence Dixie was a renaissance woman ahead of her time. In 1875 she came to live at Bosworth Hall. She was appointed war correspondent for the Morning Post of London to cover the Anglo-Zulu War, and she also wrote a feminist novel in which she prophesised that by 1999 the nation would be peacefully led by a woman! She also played a key role in the development of women’s football.

Nominated by the Market Bosworth Society


Toy Company

The original toy factory on Owen Street in Coalville manufactured some of the most popular toys in Britain, including Action Man, Tiny Tears, Pippa, Tressy, Mainline Model Railways, Merlin, Star Wars figures and the Care Bears.

Nominated by Robert Brechin of Church Gresley

Sir Frank Whittle

Inventor of the jet engine

Born in 1907, Sir Frank Whittle was a pioneering aeronautical engineer whose invention – the jet engine – created a revolution in air travel. He worked with Power Jets Ltd at Lutterworth from 1938-1948 to develop the turbojet engine.

Nominated by Geoff Smith of Broughton Astley

Wicklow Lodge

Military Hospital during WWI

Located in Melton Mowbray, Wicklow Lodge served as a military hospital in WWI treating over 1400 sick and wounded soldiers from January 1915 to April 1919. It was originally a private house given free of charge by the owner, and was fully supported and funded by the people of Melton Mowbray.

Nominated by Derek Simmonds of Melton Mowbray


The next stage involves us organising the installation of the successful six green plaques. Information on when those events will take place will be on twitter: follow @LeicsCountyHall.

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