I am always surprised when Leicester folk haven’t heard of Loseby Lane. What!? What amazes me is that they know High Street, the Clock Tower is a landmark, they are even easily directed from Highcross; all literally minutes away on foot – yet alas, when I say our actual address the response I often get is ‘Where is that?’ Here is to the delights of being in central Leicester but a world away . . .
I had been shopping with my mum down here since being knee high and I loved the old buildings but my relationahip with Loseby Lane really started when I was 14. Mrs Bridges was a special place to work; in my Victorian style black attire and white frilly apron, it gave me my first work experience and I loved the traditional feel of it all – waitress service, old bistro tables and willow pattern crockery eccletically mixed with brown ceramic tea pots. If I was to have a shop, here would be ideal! Fast forward ‘a few’ years later and Pomponette is up the Lane a little whilst Mrs Bridges at number 17 is still going strong!
I used to serve these tables in the Courtyard in the back! The passageway from here (bottom right) leads to Loseby Lane from St Martins. A handy (and gorgeous) cut through . . .
Named after property owner Henry of Loseby in the early 14th century, the Lane was the site of a Medieval pig market back in the day. Today it retains its later 18th century charm and character (so no livestock is now present) through its interesting, individual buildings. Like many ‘old’ town areas it was known as a place of ‘ill-repute’ in the 19th Century – well the town Gaol was around the corner so that makes sense?! Today, diverse, independent businesses thrive in the piggledy buildings – between Pomponette and High Street, Loseby Lane is lined with such a mix; from ladies fashion and lingerie to fine diamond specialists – with many eating and drinking establishments inbetween.
Coming from St Martins through that quaint passageway and you are in the middle of Loseby and right in front of my neighbour Cafe Dido (oh did I mention we are sandwiched bewteen a cafe and a snack bar – nom, nom - happy days!). We share the same Georgian building as Cafe Dido and the same Georgian vaulted cellars, not for the feint-hearted (or people afraid of the dark and ghosties) but extremely intriguing nevertheless, after a stiff drink perhaps! Cafe Dido has a sophisticated interior and mouth-watering choices including paninis, toasties, baguettes, sandwiches and jacket potatoes all with delicious, imaginative fillings. Breakfast is popular too . . .
Piero Snack bar is our other dear neighbour and offers a wide-ranging menu with many Mediterranean specialities. Their homemade falafel , humous and olives are legendary in these parts! On a health surge? Try their guilt-free ‘healthy grill’; then you can treat yourself to a tiffin slice after
It’s businesses like Cafe Dido and Piero that make the Lane what it is today. It’s the only place in Leicester in my view that ouzes cafe culture – Continental style. Outside tables adorn the pavements, so take a well-earned rest, soak up the atmosphere and do a bit of people watching – another frothy coffee, don’t mind if I do!
The prize for quirkiest business name goes to . . . . I can’t talk about dear neighbours without mentioning the one and only Currant Affairs, directly facing us. This place was here when I was at Mrs Bridges and it still epitomizes everything that is ‘old-style’ independent. The kind of shop your parents told you about existed in city centres once upon a time; experts at what they did, knowledgeable about what they sold AND they knew your name. Community retail I call it – and in this case at it’s best. This is the furthest you can get from mainstream ‘commercial’ shopping – (HALLELUJAH!) and it’s this kind of retail ‘style’ that appeals to me and is why I actually wanted to be in an independent ‘High Street’ community whilst many were going eCommerce crazy.
Currant Affairs are a vegetarian wholefood store. Handmade, organic & gluten-free produce are a speciality.
I face their ‘goodie’ counter every day. It’s very hard sometimes to win passer-by attention when I have this kind of thing to compete with . . .
. . . thank goodness for the Annie Sloan colour palette, I can give them a run for their money
The journey continuing, if you head towards Grey Friars along Loseby (passing more hairdressers, jewellery shops and occasion wear to name a few), sits a gem of a florist that will fulfill all of your flower needs. It’s very handy for Sean to pop in here and pick me up some of my favourites (so I keep telling him).
So . . . Loseby where? Don’t come up this way much? Maybe you should get ‘out’ more? Minutes away from the High Street entrance of Highcross and nestled amongst more ‘old’ Leicester landmarks like the Guildhall and Leicester Cathedral, Loseby Lane really is worth locating on the Leicester map!