John Edward Faire 1843 – 1929 A wealthy philanthropist of Evington, Leicester

John Edward Faire 1843 – 1929  A  wealthy philanthropist of Evington, Leicester
John Edward Faire

JOHN EDWARD FAIRE John was born in Derby on November 17th 1843 and he died at Evington Hall, Leicester on October 14th 1929.

He became a J P in 1895, was High Sheriff of Leicestershire in 1921 and was given the Freedom of the City in 1926.

John came to Leicester in 1851 aged 8 years and was the second eldest of a family of eight boys and one girl. He married Helen Mary Black (of Frears and Blacks Bakery) at St Margaret’s Church, Leicester on January 11th 1877. Their first home together was at 15 Seymour Street, Leicester. They had no children. John Faire’s funeral service was held at Leicester Cathedral. He and his wife are buried at Welford Road Cemetery in plot uA950, along with his parents and other family members.

John went to work in his father’s firm, Watkin Lewis Faire in September 1855 aged 12 years starting work at 6 am and working a 10 hour day. He rose to be senior partner and later chairman of Faire Bros. and Co. Ltd. He was remembered as a kindly and just employer.




The new warehouse in Rutland Street, Leicester. This warehouse had 6 lifts, an internal telephone system and 100 telephones and five GPO lines in 1898. Faire Bros & Co. made and supplied laces, elastic webbing and other small wares for the shoe trade.

He was also chairman of Black’s Bread Company Ltd. – taking on this role after the death of Helen’s father in 1884. In 1925 he laid the foundation stone of the new bakery at the corner of Abbey Park Road/ Blackbird Road. Faire Bros & Co Ltd had warehouses in Leicester, London, Northampton and Borrowash. On January 1st 1898 they moved to a new warehouse in Rutland Street, Leicester which was considered to be architecturally one of the finest in Great Britain. The main warehouse had six lifts, an internal telephone system of 100 telephones, plus five GPO lines. The company made and supplied laces and elastic webbing and small wares for the shoe trade becoming one of the largest firms in its field, selling a number of these products to Woolworth. In 1967 the company was acquired by Phipps and Son and the sales side was transferred to that company. They returned to Leicester in 1976 to their own building. It is now part of a company of the same name based in Powys. The Rutland Street premises have been converted into apartments.

John Faire and Evington










Evington Hall (modern photo). John bought Evington Hall in 1900.

John and his wife, Helen, bought Evington Hall in 1900, and they lived there until his death in 1929. Helen Faire moved to a house on London Road and was there until her death, just 13 months later. Evington Hall was then sold and the estate broken up. The Hall is Grade II listed . It was a ten bedroomed mansion in Italianate style with a stuccoed exterior, standing in 97 acres of land and built around 1830. It had a fine suite of ‘entertaining rooms’ including a large entrance lounge, inner lounge, morning room, drawing room, dining room; in addition there was a study, a billiards room, and plenty of accommodation for the household staff. Evington Hall was among the first houses to have a telephone – Oadby 10. There were numerous out buildings including a large coal and wood store, a dairy, wash-house, a garage for four cars, a hunting stable block, dog kennels, glass houses and a garden house. There was also housing for farm animals – calves and pigs among others. The estate was sold in 1930 in 19 lots which included 28 houses, cottages and 23 acres of land. During the 19th century most of the villagers in Evington would have worked on the estate. Soon housing estates were being built on former estate land – Spencefield Lane became a villa residential development. One 10 acre site became St Denys Road. In 1937 Sisters from the Convent of the Nativity at Danehills came to Evington Hall to look after Basque children who had fled from the Spanish Civil War. Since then it has been used as follows: 1 The RC Convent School for Girls to 1968 2 A fee-paying grammar school 3 St Paul’s RC School 4 In 2008 it was the junior department of Leicester Grammar School 5..2011 it became the Krishna Avanti School.

John Faire, village benefactor

Faire Opening
John Faire (full figure on left) in 1912 at the opening of Evington Village Hall.

By 1911 it was clear that Evington needed a centre for village activities and at a meeting held in December that year a Trust Deed was drawn up. John Faire was made Chairman of the Trustees. A proposal to build a hall, porch, and ante-room with heating apparatus; and with toilets (detached from the main building at the corner of the site was drawn up and an allowance was made in the estimate for fencing, chairs and lighting. The cost came to approximately £1147, including £94-5s-9d to Mr Powys-Keck of Stoughton Grange for the site.

In March 1912 a meeting was called to arrange a public subscription, and to vote for a name for new hall. The decision was taken to ask every household in both Stoughton and Evington for a donation. In addition fetes were held in the grounds of Evington Hall to help raise the money. At the same time the question of the name for the hall was discussed. The final choice was King George V Hall (the coronation of King George V had taken place on June 22nd 1911) and Mr Faire wrote to the King for permission to use his name.



Evington War memorial which originally stood on land called King’s Orchard. Today it is called Evington Village Green.


After World Ware One, John Faire presented the plot of land previously known as King’s Orchard to Evington and paid for a War memorial to be erected on the site.  In 1929 he conveyed the Village Green to trustees of the Village Green to trustees of the Village Hall except for 1000 yards needed for road widening.

“The land upon which this memorial stands known by the name of Kings Orchard was given to Evington by John Edward Faire Esq, J.P. of Evington Hall as a thanksgiving to God for victory and peace Aug. 13th 1919.”

John Faire, philanthropist

As well as taking a keen interest in Evington John Faire was a businessman whose firm was rooted in Leicester and he extended his philanthropy to the city itself.

The Provident Dispensary Hospital, later renamed the John Faire Hospital. This merged with the Bond Street Maternity Hospital in 1957. The building was destroyed by fire and demolished in 1974.

He was chairman of the Leicester Provident Dispensary, which had been established in 1833 by a group of businessmen as a charitable dispensary, to provide medical services for working class people. Drugs were made on the premises and sold over the counter. In 1862 it became a friendly society and was renamed Leicester and Leicestershire Provident Society. The first dispensary was at the junction of Causeway Lane and East Bond Street in Leicester; by 1903 the organisation had grown and had 13 branches around the town serving over 48,000 subscribing members. In the same year it opened the Provident Dispensary Hospital – later to be renamed the John Faire Hospital; built on the site of an old Boot and Shoe factory.

The John Faire Hospital was merged with the Bond Street Maternity Hospital in 1957. In 1971 when the new LRI Maternity unit was opened the Bond Street premises were redundant and later that same year one quarter of the building was destroyed by fire. The whole structure was demolished in 1974. John Faire left bequests in his will to the Faire Hospital, the Maternity Hospital, the Dispensary, the Infirmary and to Leicester University College. John Faire as president of Leicester Temperance Society continued the temperance work of his father, who had come to Leicester to support Thomas Cook, and younger brother, Samuel, later Sir Samuel Faire.

Diana Courtney

Evington Echo

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