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Oakham in history: a workhouse and a local disco demolished to create the Fields Roads

By Evie Payne

31st Jul 2022 | Local Features

An image of the old house in Springfield (image courtesy of Unknown)
An image of the old house in Springfield (image courtesy of Unknown)

Over the past decade, a number of large and small estates have popped up around the outskirts of Oakham, many on the bypass (A606).

There is the newest Barleythorpe estate in between Stud Road and Lands' End Way, and some more established builds further north and east on the Bird and Fields Roads.

It is the Fields Road that have drawn attention this week, with old photos of the land there resurfacing on social media this week.

One local lady posed the question: what was on the Springfield/Foxfield Way estate?

The answers came in thick and fast, with some suggesting an arboretum, and others workhouses and old baths.

A few old maps resurfaced, confirming some and reshaping other memories:

From approximately 1830 - 1920, there was a workhouse locally. Some say that the workhouse was located on the Fields Roads, while others believe that it has now been incorporated into the Oakham School buildings. Others added that the original Springfield house was in fact on the other side of what is now the bypass (A606).

Find out more about this by clicking the link, sent in by Oakham resident, Tricia Mulvany. Tricia added: "The gardens around Springfield House have an interesting history too. They were designed by a well know garden designer of the time."

Hazel wrote in to confirm this, adding: "Springfield House had wonderful gardens. They were designed by Lady Londonderry. Her husband built the house as a hunting lodge."

Hazel also sent in an Ordinance Survey Map of Oakham from 1884, which highlights just how the community has grown in the last century.

If the house had been in or near Springfield and Foxfield Way, this may explain, added another interested party, the rows of trees at lining Foxfield Way: they may have led up to the main gate of this formidable old workhouse.

It appears that this was not the case however, with the trees being an organic presence, kept when the Field Roads were introduced as a part of the planning.

Regardless of purpose or origin though, the trees are now listed and encourage a range of wildlife, from insects and birds to bats and owls.

Others remember a large pub on the Springfield grounds further along what is now the bypass, evenings at which were fondly recounted by many in the discussion group.

When the transformation came is unclear, but eventually this pub was turned into a nightclub late in the 1970's. One resident remembers it well, adding: "what a cracking nightclub it was".

This nightclub would not stand for long though, as many estates were built locally from 1980 onwards.

The first of the Foxfield and Springfield houses were developed in the early/mid 1980's, with many of the houses listed as being built in 1983. The most recent Foxfield and Springfield Way houses appear to have been completed around 1990.

This account is collated from memories of those living in the local area.

Do you remember this estate being built and/or the old pub and club being demolished?

Get in touch to share your memories of Oakham or your own history piece by emailing [email protected]

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