Belgrave Hall at Belgrave Hall and Gardens
Belgrave Hall provides an oasis of peace and quiet in a busy city. It was built in the early 18th century, in what was then a small village 3 miles from the town of Leicester. Now city traffic passes, almost unnoticed, just beyond the garden walls. It has changed hands many times but the owners have always played a major role in the economic, social and charitable life of the community.
Over the years the house has been lived in, loved and altered to meet the changing needs of its owners. Today, as one of six museums run by Leicester City Council, it fulfils yet another purpose by giving visitors a glimpse of the past. Edmund Cradock, a 'nouveau riche' hosiery merchant, built the Hall between 1709 and 1713 and died soon after its completion. Little is known of the next owners, the Simons. The Vann's who lived there from 1767 to 1844, ran a thriving hosiery business from the Hall, employing the local framework knitters as outworkers. They gave generously to many local charities, including Leicester's first free school. John Ellis and his family, who purchased Belgrave Hall in 1845 were also noted for their good work in the community. Ellis, a wealthy businessman, was responsible for bringing the railways to Leicester in 1833.
In 2005, the period rooms were given a fresh look and show the contrasting lifestyles of an upper middle class family and domestic servants in a Victorian house and gardens. With beautifully laid out natural room settings that give the feeling of having just missed the occupants, the Hall is in the midst of two acres of serene walled gardens that are open to the public. The gardens were an important aspect of the Hall in Victorian times as they were seen as a status symbol that showed the family's wealth.
During 1999, Belgrave Hall became world famous because of its ghostly goings-on. The world's media descended on the Hall when two luminous figures, one believed to be wearing a long flowing dress complete with bustle, were recorded on security cameras outside the Hall. The figures appeared to be surrounded by a halo of light. A mysterious ball of mist or fog was also seen swirling over the garden throughout the experience. Over the years there have been a number of unexplained paranormal activities in and around the Hall and today, ghost hunters from around the world are still investigating the site. The Hall has also been seen on Living TV's now legendry 'Most Haunted' TV series.