Oil painting of John Ellis (1789-1862), Quaker and liberal reformer.
John Ellis was chairman of the Leicester & Swannington Railway and Midland Railway, and Member of Parliament for Leicester (1848-1852). Ellis instigated the first steam railway in Leicestershire after coal was discovered in the northwest. He asked George Stephenson (1781-1848) to design a line between Swannington and Leicester which opened in July 1832. Leicester prospered from this cheap new method of transporting coal. John Ellis and his family lived at Belgrave Hall and at Cross Corners, the adjacent house.