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Your East Midlands questions answered

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Media captionAsk us your questions about where you live

You've been using Your Questions to tell us what you have always wondered about the East Midlands.

From "Who was Polly Bott?" to "Was there a thriving hat industry in Leicester?".

Here's how we have got on with answering your questions.


Carole West asked: "Was there a thriving hat industry in Leicester in the 19th Century?"

Carole got in touch wanting to know about the hat making industry in Leicester in the 1800s because her great-grandfather was a hatter and moved to the city around 1883.

We spoke to Cynthia Brown, a social historian in Leicestershire, who said Leicester wasn't known for its hat making - that was generally centred around Luton in Bedfordshire.

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But she has found evidence of three hat making factories in Leicester at that time. They were Hammond and Co in Slate Street; Watters and Vincent, at the Atlas Works in King Street; and Thomas Webster & Co, which had a warehouse in East Bond Street and factories in Darker Street and Foxon Street.

The Thomas Webster warehouse is mentioned in The Diary of Ada Jackson 1883 which was published in 1993 with a sketch of the building.

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We told Carole what we'd uncovered, and she was delighted.

"My great-grandfather lived in Blake Street in Leicester which is adjacent to the Thomas Webster & Co warehouse and the factory on Darker Street. Although I don't know for certain, it seems likely that he may have worked there," she said.

"Having the picture of the warehouse also brings it to life and I can now take my research further."


Chris Bell asked: "Who was Polly Bott of Polly Botts Lane in Ulverscroft?"

It would appear that not much is known about Polly Botts, so much that an internet search we did pulled up no information.

However, Charnwood Borough Council pointed us in the direction of Stoneywell, a National Trust-run property nearby and they have been able to provide an answer.

Image copyright PA

Paula Nichols, assistant house and collections manager at Stoneywell, said: "Polly Bott was a resident of Polly Bott Cottage (which is still there), and this is situated just beyond the beck on Lea Lane.

"In the 1950s, the council wanted to re-name some of the roads and one of the Gimson family (possibly Basil who was resident until 1953) put forward Polly's name.

"There are various rumours about Polly too. Some say she died of something grim - possibly Tuberculosis, whilst others say she was a witch. None have been substantiated but add to the mystery."


You asked: "What's the history of West Bridgford air raid shelter? When was it last used"

Sadly few of the people who used the shelter - off Abbey Circus - during their hour of need are still around, and the shelter is currently blocked off.

Rushcliffe Borough Council, which owns the site, said it does not have any plans to sell or demolish it, so we asked people in the area what they would like to see done with the unusual building.

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Media captionWest Bridgford's air raid shelter still standing

Do you have a question about the East Midlands?

Is there something you have seen or heard you would like us to investigate?

Use the form below to send us your questions.

We could be in touch and your question could make the news.

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