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The Sign of the Rose - FAQs and insights

About Rosalee, Sean, the Sercombe family - Aylestone, Leicester, Mill Lane, Crow Mill...

Q: Why was Leicester chosen for the location in the second half of the book?

Q: Why was Leicester chosen for the location in the second half of the book?

Q: Did trams actually run between The Clock Tower and Aylestone?

Sign of the Rose - by romantic novelist

Q: How is 'The Sign of the Rose' linked to 'Missing Years' and 'Finding Rose'?

A: Sean and Rosalee, who appear in 'The Sign of the Rose', are the forebears of Rose and Sean in the later books, some six decades later.


It is just one connection between the Romani families in the Blaby area in the 1960s, and their roots in Southern Ireland.

Q: Is it a book about mysticism and the paranormal?

A: Not explicitly.

 

There is 'flavouring' aimed at introducing mystery and a degree of 'the unexplained' into certain parts of dramatic events.

Q: How accurate are the historical events featured?

A: They have some resemblance - again mainly in name - but the precise timescales may have been altered.

Tram Lines - 1902 - Clock Tower Leiceste

Tram lines being laid at The Clock Tower in Leicester in 1902, taking over from horse-drawn trams.

Q: Did trams actually run between The Clock Tower and Aylestone?

A: Initially horse-drawn trams were used until around 1904, when electric driven trams took over.

Q: How is 'The Sign of the Rose' linked to 'Missing Years' and 'Finding Rose'

Q: Is it a book about mysticism and the paranormal?
 
Q: How accurate are the historical events featured?

Q: Are any of the characters based on real people?

A: Rosalee and Sean are totally fictitious; members of the Sercombe family are also fictitious.
 

They are built on some namesakes who lived in the late 19th century and into the early 20th century.

Q: Are the 'natural phenomena' in the book based on fact?

A: Yes. For instance, the Soar Valley still floods today, as it has done periodically over the centuries.

 

Just after completing the novel, Crow Mills flooded with the road cut off yet again.

The Crow Mills viaduct was swept away in the 1800s, re-built, then dismatled when Dr Beeching closed the line in the 1960s purge on branch lines.

Q: What is a warmblood horse?

A:The Hanoverian stallion in the book is referred to as'warmblood'.

It is an athletic horse, bred ideal for competition work but usually has a calm temperament and, in this case, was bred from a Cleveland Bay crossed with a traditional German breed like the Holstein or Trakehner.


Cold-blooded breeds like the Cleveland Bay might also be crossed with a hot-blooded Thoroughbred or Arabian, for speed and agility with a more calm nature. quicker hot horse breeds.

Trams at London Road Station served the rail passengers, taking them to The Clock Tower in the centre of Leicester or to Aylestone village Terminus.

Tram - calling at London Road Leicester
Crow Mills Viaduct featured in The Sign

Q: Are any of the characters based on real people?

 

Q: Are the 'natural phenomena' in the book based on fact?

 

Q: What is a warmblood horse?

 

Q: Do the places mentioned actually exist?

Q: Do the places mentioned actually exist?

A: Real place names form the foundation for the locations where events in the book take place.

 

This might even include actual street names and local landmarks.

 

However, some detail included within the story may have been fictionlised to suit the 'run' of the story-line.

The Cottage Homes Countesthorpe - on Hospital Lane - featured in this and in 'Rose: The Missing Years'

Q: Why was Leicester chosen for the location in the second half of the book?

A: For some 100 years from the mid 1800s, Leicester thrived as a commercial centre and leading European city.

 

Factories making boots and shoes, hosiery, clothing as well as light engineering led to the phrase 'Leicester clothes the world'.


At the heart of this were the railways, boasting the first railway line and from there on developing more 'main lines' for the delivery of raw materials and the distribution of finished goods.


For that reason, the story takes the family to Leicester where the grandfather, William Sercombe, could find more opportunities for his building expertise.


An inventor of a modification of the Hoffman Brick Kiln in real life, Sercombe did actually move from Cornwall to Leicester where it is reported he built much of the residential development in Aylestone in or near Cavendish Road.


The family grave can be seen in Welford Road cemetary.

However, the story-line in 'The Sign of the Rose' remains a total work of fiction.

Cottage Homes - Hospital Lane Countestho
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