Haywood Cottage

On the 1841 Coleorton Tithe Map, Haywood Cottage appears as plot 191 and is simply described in the register as Cottage and Garden of 23 perches under the ownership of Sir George Beaumont. As is usual for the Coleorton Tithe Map the occupant is not stated.

In 1875 Canon William Beresford Beaumont compiled a notebook with maps showing the addresses of his parishioners. According to this notebook, in 1875 the cottage was occupied by a Mr Beckwith. The fact that Canon Beaumont uses the title ‘Mr’ implies that the resident is of some standing in the community, since in most entries only the surname is given. Examination of the Census return for 1871 suggests strongly that Mr Beckwith is in fact John Beckwith the former schoolmaster of the original Coleorton School and Almshouses endowed by Sir Thomas Beaumont in 1701. John Beckwith and his wife retired as schoolmaster and mistress in 1857 when William Briggs became schoolmaster. After their retirement the 1861 census records them as having established themselves as Green Grocers and farmers. This accords with local folklore that Haywood Cottage was once a shop, but the shop business seemed to have ceased by the time of the 1871 census. Lucy Beckwith died on the 28th December 1876 followed by her husband on the 1st of April 1877, both were aged 79 years. This accords with the entry in Canon Beaumont’s notebook, which shows that the tenancy changed to their son John in 1878. John Beckwith is described in the 1881 census as a retired innkeeper.

In 1885 the tenancy had changed again to J. Williams and early in the 20th Century (no year given) the tenancy changes yet again to Tom Brooks after which no further entries were made in the notebook. The J. Williams mentioned above, may very likely be John Williams (born 1843) and described in the 1891 census returns as a ‘Colliery Engineerman’ and ‘Stationary Engine Man/Driver’ (1901, 1911 Census). The next resident after Tom Brookes who can be reliably identified is Arthur Haywood who moved in to Coleorton in 1944. Arthur was notorious for his support of the communist party and for the erection of a life-sized wooden bear in the front garden. The bear was a recognised symbol of support for the dictator Joseph Stalin!

Canon Beaumont makes no mention of the name Haywood's Cottage in his notebook, so it seems most likely that the name dates from the mid 20th Century and possibly from Arthur Haywoods time there. More conventional later occupants of the property were Norman and Sylvia Haywood (nee Holt). A short biography of Arthur Haywood appears on the "Who's Who of Leicester Radicals" website compiled by Ned Hewitt and is reproduced below:

Arthur Haywood: From 1926 to 1940 Arthur Haywood worked as a tram driver for Leicester City Transport. He started on the trams in the year of the General Strike and his first pay packet was strike pay. He was a former pupil of Moat Road School and was well-read, cultured and played the violin. According to his grandson, he was a very strict, obstinate and opinionated man who loved Russia and idolised Stalin. This caused no end of family rows and rifts.

In August 1940, he was sacked from his job on the advice of the Chief Constable. Arthur appears to have lost his job on the very day he was given his 15 year Gold Medal for safe driving. His dismissal was raised in the House of Commons by Willie Gallacher MP, the Communist member for West Fife. He asked: "Is the Minister aware that there is nothing whatever against this man so far as his employment is concerned, and that he has said or done nothing against the law of this country? Can the hon. Gentleman give any reason why the police should advise that a competent worker should be removed from his employment?" Gallacher did not manage to elicit a reason for his sacking which remains a mystery to this day. In 1944, Arthur moved to Coleorton and he died alone, divorced, near Sutton on Sea around 1983.

Arthur Haywood

Arthur Haywood

For a more complete history of the Beckwiths see the Beckwith Family >>

Compiled by Terry Ward
November 2021