Highfields has always been a socially outgoing place, with all of the different communities that have lived there being close-knit and coming together often at meeting places around the suburb.
An important place in Highfields is the area around St Peters Shops. Just off Melbourne Road, it has two primary schools, the library, shops, a church and the home of the Highfields Community Association, the Highfields Centre, all within a 50 meter radius.
Built in 1974 the Highfields Community Centre represents everything that Highfields stands for – inclusion, participation and cohesion. Since it began the Centre has offered a varied programme taking in the arts, sports and education aimed directly at the local residents and catering to their changing needs.
Visit the Highfields Centre website to find out more, click here.
Next door to the Centre is Highfields Library, a place that is always busy with local people who come to read the paper, learn to use computers or to meet socially with friends. The Library has long been a beacon of inter-community understanding, with regular talks and workshops exploring the variety of cultures and communities living in Highfields.
Spinney Hill Park
As with a lot of Victorian built areas in Cities across England, Highfields has a large public space in the form of Spinney Hill Park. The City Corporation (later to become Leicester City Council) were worried about a lack of public open space in Highfields as the rush to build more housing increased. To solve the problem they bought the Spinney Hill Estate from Mr CS Burnaby in 1885 at a cost of £18,000 which translates to over £1,000,000 in today’s money!
Over the next few years, paths were laid out, new trees planted and a pavilion erected, the park was then opened to the public. The granite fountain was donated to the City in 1888 by a wealthy market-place pork and cheese merchant and local councillor Mr Samuel Mather.
In recent years the Pavilion has been refurbished and is now available for community groups and locals to hire for sports and non-sport activities.