When William Stenson sank Long Lane Colliery in the mid 1820s there were miners available for employment from the Swannington and Coleorton area that, with the collapse of the Charnwood Forest Canal at the end of the previous century, was in serious decline. Those miners would have expected to walk to work but, in order to attract specialists from other areas, new housing was needed for both these incomers and the local miners who were sufficiently confident move to the new pit.
The 1841 census for Whitwick separately names Long Lane and Coalville. It has been suggested that the name of the new town was taken from “Coalville Place”, new housing erected opposite the new colliery. This comprised a row of eighteen houses, built at right angles to the road leading to Whitwick Hermitage by an organization called Coalville Building Club.
Another account claims that it came from the name of Stenson’s grand residence built on Long Lane called “Coal Villa” but this is not recorded in the 1841 census, despite the mans local fame. The name was certainly in use much earlier as noted by Jeff Knight, in an article written for the Leicestershire Historian in 1983. He notes that, in a report printed in the “Leicester Chronicle” of November 1833, the development brought about by Stenson’s mine and the arrival of the Leicester & Swannington Railway had resulted in a building boom. The report notes “We hear it is intended to call this new colony COALVILLE – an appropriate name.”
The name “Coalville Place” was still used in the 1881 Ordnance Survey, but by the 1903 edition the houses were known as “Club Row”.
Many of the houses in the row seem to have provided initial settlement in the new town because the 1844 Whitwick rate book shows a significant change of occupation. The rateable value of eleven of the houses was £3 5s; for five of the houses £5 2s; for one of the houses £5 11s and for the other £6.
At this time the families still in residence were those of – Samuel Smith, John Wardle, William Wardle, James Clamp, William Cutts, John Hart, Samuel Shaw, John Horne and William Smith. Others had been replaced by families of –
Thomas Costello, Peter Aram (Orme?), John Aram, Charles Hatter, John Webster, Thomas Swain, Benjamin Whyman (Wileman?), and Henry Pratt.
The houses continued in occupation until the mid 1900s, when they were demolished to make way for the new Telephone exchange.