Leicester is proud of its industrial heritage. The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries saw the city's population grow rapidly with the construction of the Grand Union Canal and the arrival of the railway, which not only provided a supply of coal to the town from nearby collieries but also linked the town to the national network. These developments encouraged and accompanied a process of industrialisation that intensified throughout the Victorian era; hosiery, textiles, and footwear became the major industrial employers.
Leicester at Work explores the life of the East Midlands' largest city and its people, from pre-industrial beginnings through to the present day. In a fascinating series of contemporary photographs and illustrations it takes readers through the city's dramatic industrial growth, the steady decline in Leicester's traditional manufacturing industries during the post-war years and their replacement by new jobs in the service sector, particularly in retail. It takes us into the technologically advanced world of today, showing how Leicester has reinvented itself as a major distribution centre and how the city has managed to attract new service and manufacturing businesses through its academic-industrial connections with the engineering departments at Leicester University, De Montfort University and nearby Loughborough University.
Stephen Butt is a well-known local historian. After a career with the BBC, he now enjoys writing and research, with over twenty books in print combining local history with an interest in photography. Stephen's first degree was in Psychology and his MA degree is in English Local History. He has served as Hon Secretary of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society. He lives in Leicestershire.