Story of Parks

Abbey Park

Abbey Park

Leicester City Council has received a Heritage Lottery Fund grant to deliver an exciting new project based around the history of Leicester’s Parks.

Victoria Park Gates

Victoria Park Gates

The project will see the complete restoration of the historic iron gates located in Victoria Park. The gates were commissioned by former Lord Mayor of Leicester, Sir Jonathan North who dedicated them to his late wife, Kate Eliza Trott, also referred to as Leicester’s Florence Nightingale.

The gates were designed by one of Britain’s most notable architects, Sir Edwin Lutyens, who also created the War Memorial at Victoria Park. His most famous work includes the Cenotaph at Whitehall, which you might recognise from the televised Remembrance Day service in London.

Lutyens War Memorial, Victoria Park

Lutyens War Memorial, Victoria Park

A large scale community engagement project will run alongside the restoration to encourage local people to engage with the history of their local parks. Twenty local parks and cemeteries will see a range of activities such as guided walks, new heritage panels, family days, exhibitions, public talks and archaeological digs. 

Wolsey Statue at Abbey Park

Wolsey Statue at Abbey Park

A volunteer programme will provide opportunities for local people with no previous experience, to receive free training and develop heritage resources for the parks, such as podcasts, app content, self-guided walks, oral history recordings and schools activities. It is a fantastic opportunity to work with the local community and gain new skills.

Podcasts in the park

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You can hear the finished podcast here:

Current Volunteer Opportunity:

Oral History Interviewers

  • You will be provided with free training from the East Midlands Oral History Archive.
  • You will interview a local resident about their memories of the parks.
  • You will carry out the interview at a time that suits both you and the interviewer.
  • Clips from your interview may feature in the podcast.
  • You need only record one interview, but you can do more if you take to it

Archive Researchers

Join our team of volunteer researchers in discovering the hidden history of our parks. You will receive free training from The Records Office of Leicestershire Leicester & Rutland and learn how to use local archives. Help to design new heritage panels for the parks along with webpages, leaflets, guided walks and more. 


Volunteering with this project has been made as flexible as possible. Other than attending a training session or a fixed group meeting with the podcast leader, you are free to undertake research or interviews at a time that suits you.


Volunteering Contact Project officer Jess Boydon for more information about the project, to register as a volunteer, or to have your memories recorded.

If you would like more information about the project, to sign up to our mailing list or are interested in joining our volunteer group, please contact Jess Boydon:

Contact for more information or for a volunteer registration form.

Alternatively view more information about the roles: