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Swan Street

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Swan Street

Before becoming the Swan Street as we know it today, the road was devoid of houses. In the 18th century it was part of Ratcliffe Road and ran through Banks Common, an area of manorial wasteland near the brook. Here the area was used as a sheepwash.

In the mid 1860s Abraham Smith had his White Swan beerhouse built on the street, but the road wasn't developed with housing until the late 1870s. At that time it was known as Gate Lane, probably in reference to the field gate of the old Highgate Field. However, it quickly changed name to Swan Street, perhaps after the beerhouse, and the name has stuck ever since.

The frontages of the houses show that buildings here were constructed in two's and threes, and with the odd terrace here and there (Cobden Terrace and the one on Wash Pit, for example). Industry grew alongside the residential housing in concert with other Sileby streets. Firstly, workshops and small factory units were built in the backyard of house plots. Later, larger works were built on the main street itself. Towle, Killingley and Hiam built their hosiery works next to the brook. Much later, engineering works such as Saunders, Cromaston and others were to join them.

The first few decades of the twentieth century saw the addition of a cinema (the Futurist), the Primitive Methodist School and Hall and the NABSO union building (Unity Hall). The previously open common near the brook was developed and the street was hemmed in with housing, factories and the odd shop here and there. By the turn of the millenium, the old redundant factory sites were re-purposed for housing which saw the birth of Cygnet Close. Today, retail and services are more prominent with a pharmacy, Post Office and corner shop amongst the shops and businesses here.

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