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Civic Affairs

The Leicester Coat of Arms

Leicester’s political and administrative development began early in the 12th century and is tied with the growth of a town council in the early 14th century. The use of the Medieval Guildhall as the Town Hall lasted for almost 400 years. By the mid-19th Century much larger premises were needed to support a rapidly growing industrial centre.

The city has a history of active citizenship and political discourse with regular speeches, marches and rallies held in the Market Place and at Victoria Park over the years. The secular movement has long been an important part of political life in Leicester and today the city is home to the only building in the UK devoted to entirely to secularism. Many of the campaigns for workers’ rights and equal rights were spearheaded by political figures in the city.

In 1919 Leicester regained its city status after 800 years and in 2011 was one of only 12 cities in the UK to have a directly elected Mayor.

Amos Sherriff

The story of Amos Sherriff is one of remarkable achievement in the face of severe adversity.

Leicester Guildhall

Leicester Guildhall dates back to medieval times and would have been a building of importance during the time of Richard III.

Women's Social and Political Union Shop

The Women’s Social and Political Union, better known as the Suffragettes, was formed in 1903 to campaign for votes for women.

Gaols in the City

In the 18th century Leicester had four gaols on or near Highcross Street.

St Mark’s Church and School

When first built around 1870, St Mark’s was one of the main working class parishes of Leicester.

The Roman Forum and Basilica

When the streets of Roman Leicester were laid out in the early 2nd century AD, a large open space in the centre of the town was set aside for the construction of the main public buildings.

The Royal Leicestershire Regiment

The troubled days that marked the closing period of the reign of King James II saw the birth of the Royal Leicestershire Regiment. Colonel Solomon Richards was commissioned to raise the Regiment on 27th September 1688.

The Town Hall

The opening ceremony was performed on 7 August 1876 by the Mayor, Alderman William Barfoot, beginning with the Borough Magistrates and members of the Council ‘taking a regretful leave of their ancient and time-honoured place of meeting at The Guildhall’.

The Clock Tower

The Clock Tower was built originally as a solution to traffic congestion on the site of the town´s former hay and straw market in 1868.

City Hall

In 1919 Leicester was recognised as a city. It continued to expand, along with its Council. By 1930 it was agreed new municipal offices were needed to centralize the Housing, Electricity, Rates, Motor Licence and Valuation departments.

Free Grammar School

The school was built around 1573 using stone, timber and lead from St Peter´s church that had been demolished following an appeal to Queen Elizabeth I. The royal coat of arms is displayed over the entrance.

Leicester During the First World War

Following the outbreak of war on August 4th 1914 the part-time soldiers of the Leicestershire Regiment Territorial Force and the Leicestershire Yeomanry were mobilised. Magazine square was used to enlist and drill local soldiers.

The Castle Motte

The first Leicester Castle was probably built in 1068 on the order of Duke William of Normandy (William I). It was located at the south-west corner of the Roman town walls, in a dominant position overlooking the Saxon town of about 350 houses, and the river crossing.

The Magazine

Today, the ‘Magazine’, or more correctly, the Newarke Gateway dominates the western end of Newarke Street where it joins Vaughan Way and Oxford Street. Today, the gateway, which was built about 1400, is one of Leicester’s finest surviving medieval buildings.

Trinity Hospital and Chapel

The Hospital of the honour of God and the Glorious Virgin and All Saints (Trinity Hospital and Chapel) was founded in 1330 by Henry Plantagenet, the 3rd Earl of Lancaster and Leicester, who was a grandson of King Henry III and chief advisor to King Edward III.

Leicester Castle

The lord and important retainers would have sat at the north end of the hall, and in the centre of the building was a large open hearth. Doors at the north end led to the lord’s private apartments, whilst at the south end there was access to a separate kitchen above an undercoft (John of Gaunt’s cellar), where ale, wine and food would have been stored.

Braunstone Hall Junior School

This Georgian House was bought by the council in 1925 along with the surrounding land. In August 1932 Braunstone Hall was opened as a school for senior pupils, and a year later became a primary school. The school was used for 64 years, closing in 1996.

VJ75 Day

VJ75 Day, 15th August 2020 marked the 75th anniversary of victory over Japan and the end of World War II. To honour the soldiers’ memory and campaign for greater recognition of their experiences, a Leicester memorial has been created for Victoria Park to mark VJ75.

1958: First Official Visit

The Queen visited Leicester in 1958, visiting factories and Universities.

1980s: The Royal Infirmary and Greeting Crowds

The Queen visited Leicester twice in the 1980s, opening a new extensions of the Leicester Royal Infirmary

1993: The Queen's Building & Community

The Queen made a whistle stop tour of a number of places in Leicester, including opening the Queen's Building at De Montfort University

2000s: Curve and National Space Centre

The Queen made two visits to Leicester in the 2000s, officially opening two major new developments.

2012: Diamond Jubilee

The Queen visited Leicester as part of her UK-wide Diamond Jubilee tour.

2017: Royal Maundy Service at Leicester Cathedral

The Queen visited Leicester Cathedral as part of an ancient ceremony, dating back over 1000 years.

The King in Leicester: 1980s

Prince Charles visited Leicester twice in the 1980s

The King in Leicester: 1990s

Prince Charles came to Leicester in 1991 to find out about tackling environmental issues

The King in Leicester: 2000s

Narborough Road was visited by Prince Charles in 2017

The King in Leicester: 2020s

Green Dragon Square was opened by Prince Charles in 2020

John O’Gaunt’s Cellar

John of Gaunt was the third surviving son of King Edward III. He was one of the wealthiest noblemen in England and inherited Leicester Castle in 1361.

Acting Up Against AIDS

The story of a Leicester’s LGBTQ+ Community response to the world changing HIV and AIDS epidemic

story of leicester
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