Stuart Bailey – Chairman of Leicester Civic Society 2006 – 2018
Stuart Bailey was a founder member of the relaunched Leicester Civic Society in 1971. He quickly showed his organisational acumen and ability as a civic campaigner. Throughout his association with the Society, over the next four decades, he campaigned on a whole range of issues, too numerous to go into here. He faced criticism from several quarters that he was halting the march of progress and prosperity, but he was one of the first to recognise that the old can co-exist successfully with the new.
Without Stuart’s campaigning expertise, we would no longer have the glory that is the Midland Station on London Road. Other campaigns which Stuart led for the Civic Society saw efforts to keep the Bow string Bridge and Pump and Tap pub, Sun Alliance Building, the Black Boy Pub, and the Gimson Houses. While not all of these were successful, some were and Leicester is a better place for it.
Perhaps the most lasting legacy that Stuart left for us is that Leicester City Council now sees the importance of preserving heritage for the benefit of all citizens. Stuart was also an advocate in the creation of conservation areas in the city. He had a particular fondness for the Greyfriars historic area in the centre of the city, and was a key member of the board which was successful in attracting Heritage Lottery funding to create the Greyfriars Townscape Heritage Initiative.
It was therefore fitting that in May 2019, a plaque was unveiled by his sister in the Greyfriars area to commemorate his life and work.
A small footnote to his life is that when he died, his partner Simon received a small booklet from Leicester City Planning Department containing tributes from almost every member of staff from the most senior down to the most junior. When someone expressed surprise at this mark of respect to a member of the planning team when Stuart had been such a thorn in their side over many years, the response back was – “Well he may have been a thorn, but he was a much respected thorn”.