Date:May 13, 2011

My Leedham Antecedents


My father, GEORGE HARRY LEEDHAM, was born on Sunday 10th January 1897. He was born in the City of Leicester in the English Midlands.  From an early age he was known as ‘HARRY‘ and I will refer to him by that name hereafter.

He was the third child of WILLIAM and LYDIA LEEDHAM; an elder brother WILLIAM was around nine years old, being born, I believe, on 16th May 1887. Harry also had an sister, GERTRUDE, who was seven years old when he was born, her date of birth was 26th May 1889. When Harry was born his father, William was around 30 years old, his mother Lydia was around 31.

At the time of Harry’s birth it is probable the family lived at 147 Curzon Street, Leicester – the family’s address at the first Census, four years after his birth.


  • Before Harry Leedham had reached six months old, the nation celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria on 22nd June 1897. Victorian was the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and since 1876, the title of ‘Empress of India’ was conferred upon her by Parliament. The celebrations centred on London but beacons were lit across the country.
  • The Prime Minister in 1897 was the Conservative Lord Salisbury who later led Britain to victory in a bitter, controversial war against the Boers in in South Africa (11 October 1899 – 31 May 1902).
  • In May the Blackwall Tunnel, at this time the longest underwater road tunnel in the world, is opened for traffic beneath the River Thames
  • In September the first conviction for drink driving was given to London taxi driver George Smith.
  • Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula and H. G. Wells’ novel The Invisible Man were first published in this year
  • In addition to George Harry Leedham, others who were born in 1897 included the writer Dennis Wheatley, Anthony Eden future Prime Minister, Enid Blyton, children’s author and Aneurin Bevan, the Labour politician who later led the campaign for a National Health Service to provide medical care free at point-of-need across the UK, regardless of wealth.


UK Events in 1897

Queen Victoria, official Diamond Jubilee portrait – Diamond Jubilee Service at St. Pauls –Lord Salisbury, British PM – Boar War in South Africa – 1st publications of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and H. G. Wells’ The Invisible Man

1901 – CENSUS

The family is recorded on the 1901 Census, which took place on the night of 31st March of that year, as living at 147 Curzon Street, Leicester in the Ecclesiastical Parish of St. Matthews.

1901 - Leedham - Curzon Street-01

Road /Street Name Relationship Marriage Status Age Occupation Employer/Worker Working at Home? Where Born
147 Curzon St      William Leedham        Head Married 34 Shoe Hand Riveter      Worker Leicester
Lydia Leedham Wife Married 35 Leicester
Willie Leedham Son 13 Occupation Unclear Leicester
Gertrude Leedham Daughter 11 Leicester
Harry Leedham Son 4 Leicester

This Census record identifies the parent of George Harry Leedham as William Leedham (born 1866 or 1867) and Lydia Leedham (born 1865 or 1866).

NB – I’ve since confirmed William’s date of birth, as shown on his baptism record, was 20th November 1866 and maybe Lydia’s as 20th July 1864

1902 – A BIRTH

In July 1902 a second daughter was born, her parents named her IDA LYDIA. At the time of Ida’s birth Harry would have been 5 years old, William (Willie) 15 years old and Gertrude 13 years old.

Leedham Family 1902

The Leedham Family in 1902



What remains of Curzon Street is now only a short street off Dysart Way (highlighted in Red in at the top of the map on the right). However it was originally much longer (the house numbers in the 1901 Census go up to at least No. 205).

The image below left from 1960, shows house numbers 155 to 173. Therefore 147, Curzon St, where the Leedham family were living in 1901, is only a few doors away from this picture.

There are no longer any residential building at either end of the original street, as all the houses were demolished in the 1960’s as part for a slum clearance initiative when the St. Matthews Estate was totally redeveloped. Consequently Curzon Street was split and almost disappeared by these redevelopments, with the Humberstone Road end of Curzon Street being renamed Madras Street (highlighted in Red) but it is very clear from the modern Google Map where the line of the original Curzon Street lay.

NB. The low house numbers were at the Madras Street end, which allows speculation regarding the location of number 147.


1902 Ordnance Survey Map showing Curzon Street


LEICESTER RECORDS OFFICE: Get Coloured street map of Curzon Street c. 1901


1911 – CENSUS

The second Census on which George Harry Leedham was recorded took place on the evening of Sunday 2nd April 1911.

On this Census he is recorded, with his family, as living at 63 Norman Street Leicester, off the Narborough Road, near the City centre. The house in which they lived at this time was a relatively new house, around 14 years old, having been built in 1897.

Full record of occupants of at 63, Norman Street, Leicester.

1911 - Leedham Family - Norman Street-01


Name Relationship Marriage Status Age Occupation Employer/Worker Working at Home? Where Born
William Leedham Head Married 45 Commercial Traveller – Stationery Worker Leicester
Lydia Leedham Wife Married 46 Housewife Leicester
Willie Leedham Son Single 23 Printer Worker Leicester
Gertrude Leedham Daughter Single 21 Shoe Trade Worker Leicester
Harry Leedham Son Single 14 School Leicester
Ida Lydia Leedham Daughter Single 8 School Leicester

The record show William and Lydia had been married for 24 years (1886 or 1887) also shows the number of children ‘born alive’ and those ‘Still Living’ – both numbers are ‘4’. This confirms there were no children of William and Lydia who died in infancy.

The record also shows us the William Leedham’s actual handwriting and his signature as, unlike previous Censuses, the 1901 Census requires the Head of the household to enter the information.


LEICESTER RECORDS OFFICE: Get street map of Norman Street c. 1911


Next Page:  The Parents of George Harry Leedham