Shops & Businesses

Here we take a stroll down Main Street and a walk into the past

Joe Moore, Wheelwright, 46 Main Street, Kirby Muxloe

Joseph was born in 1851, at Walton-by-Kimcote, one of eight children born to Charles and Elizabeth (nee Fitzhugh). He was apprenticed to wheelwright Samuel Issit Harrison of Forest Edge, Leicester Forest in 1866, and completed his apprenticeship at the age of 21 in 1872. The following year, he married Sarah Jane Bradbury of Kirby Muxloe, at St Bartholomew’s Church, and moved into a cottage on Main Street, next to what is now One Stop. By 1881, Joseph had an established business and workshop and land on Main Street, which stretched from The Old White House to the shop now occupied by A.A. Moore. By 1886, Joe and Sarah had six children and they moved into a larger house - Ivy Cottage - nearly opposite the workshop.

Joseph worked very closely with John “Jack” Chesterton, the village blacksmith, as all the wheels needed a steel rim to make them stronger. Jack, who lived at the Old Forge further along Main Street, would measure the wheel and make the rim in his workshop, returning with it to Joe for fitting. They would build a fire and heat up the rim, and then place it around the wooden wheel, cooling it quickly with buckets of cold water to ensure a tight fit. Apart from wheels, Joseph also made coffins for the local community, implements and farming tools. He also made a toy horse and cart for the Wilshere family in the early 1900’s, which was later given by them to the Newarke Houses Museum.

Joseph also farmed three fields at the back of Ivy Cottage in which he kept cows. Sarah would make butter in the larder, which was situated in an outbuilding at the back of the cottage, and sell dairy produce to the villagers.

Over the years, three of Joseph’s sons worked for him. Harry, aged 14, was employed as a farmers’ boy, but by 1911, the census shows that at age 32 he is a wheelwright. He did not stay in the business, but moved to Thorneyfields Farm and became a farmer.

Charlie worked in the business for several years, but in 1901 he joined the navy and completed 6 years service. On leaving the navy, he worked as a fireman and winder at Desford Colliery. He moved into Ivy Cottage with his family after the death of Joseph and Sarah in 1929.

Apart from war service, youngest son Tom always worked for his father, and took over the business in the early 1920’s. He not only made coffins, but also seemed to become the village undertaker, working closely with Ginns and Gutteridge, funeral directors, of Leicester. He was a good carpenter and seemed to turn his hand to anything, making all sorts, including carts, sash-cord windows, milking stools, and dolly pegs. He was also known for his sign writing skills. He served in the Royal Engineers during WW1 and was injured in the shoulder and leg at Arras in 1917. He was in hospital in Sheffield, for some time, but returned to the business until his retirement in 1952. The premises were then extended and his work tools were buried beneath the concrete floor.

George Moore, youngest brother of Joseph, also came with his family to Kirby Muxloe in 1888/9. He was a carpenter and joiner, and is known to have worked on the building of the original Free Church on the corner of Church Road and Main Street, which was completed in 1897. He was probably employed by the builder G F Mason, but by 1901 he was an employer working from his home in Castle Road. Although some of his children stayed in the village, George, his wife Kate and the youngest children moved to Bardon, where he was employed as a “foreman of artificial stone” at the concrete works.