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Small Village Industries


In the 18th century, the most prosperous industry in many Leicestershire villages was framework knitting.  In rural areas such as Osgathorpe it was largely a family cottage industry. Census records show that Osgathorpe had 14 Framework Knitters in 1841. However following the move to bigger and better machines in factories the cottage industry declined and by the end  of the 19th century framework knitting in Osgathorpe had ceased.

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The term cordwainer entered the English language as cordewaner and denoted a worker in leather. Osgathorpe censuses list at least 2 cordwainers (boot and shoemakers) between 1841-1901 and as many as 7 in the 1871 census. William Goodman of Osgathorpe trained at least two apprentices and combined his trade with being a grocer, baker, local preacher, steward of the Wesleyan Chapel and village overseer.


Osgathorpe had several Blacksmith’s and Blacksmith’s Shops in various locations. It appears to have had more than some nearby villages, presumably due to the intensity of farming here that required repairs to machinery, waggons and horse shoeing etc. Blacksmiths were also often farmers or graziers in order to supplement their income. William Gilbert was probably the most skilled Blacksmith in Osgathorpe and is recorded as being a “Master Blacksmith” here from 1841 to 1881. His forge was located in Chapel Lane opposite Manor House Farm. Joseph Billings was both a farmer / grazier and blacksmith in Osgathorpe for at least 40 years, first appearing in the 1871 census. His forge was located at Cottage Farm on Church Lane. Another Blacksmiths existed on Main Street at Rose Cottage where there are still remnants of the stone walls present.

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Osgathorpe had its own saddle / harness and collar maker. In the 1851 Census Joseph Platts was recorded as a saddler aged 27 and by 1861 was listed as a “Master Harness Maker” employing one man.  Joseph's 14 year old son, Thomas, also worked for his father. There would have been a demand for this craft due to the concentration of farming in Osgathorpe and the local area.

1950's Newspaper Article on Osgathorpe's

Old Industries 

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