Mid Anglia Group, Richard III Society

More memories of Leicester

I was also in Leicester for the beginning of the reburial week. It is a very historic city with, like Colchester, pre-Conquest, Mediaeval and Civil War history. I studied at the Polytechnic, now de Montfort University, for three years a quarter of a century ago.

Most of my academic time then was spent in the Fletcher building, ten storeys or more of concrete and glass, but visited the adjacent Hawthorn Building on occasion, over the Newarke (“New Work”) church that was Richard’s “chapel of rest” for three days. I remember visiting the Castle and passing the Holiday Inn in Jewry Walk then, in which the Society’s Monday buffet took place, but was oblivious both to St. Martin’s Cathedral and to St. Nicholas’ Church, the site of a Cathedral in Saxon times. I watched the procession highlights in “The Last Plantagenet” near the station and was able to find Mrs. Bridges’ Tea Rooms, my old favourite lunch site, near the Cathedrals. The Adult Education College, in Wellington Street near the New Walk, survives as the building in which I first attended Society meetings.

Sadly, two of the bookshops I visited regularly (Silver Street and Sherratt & Hughes) have gone as has the Southgates subway with a door into the Magazine Museum. Although Richard would scarcely have recognised Leicester 530 years later and a hundred times larger, with a little cannon damage from the 17th century, it has changed relatively little since summer 1991 – a flat and compact city centre with a lot of surprises such as Town Hall Square with the lion statues. Even St. Martin’s has eight miniature statues on the front and Henry Hastings, Earl of Huntingdon and Richard’s great-great-great-nephew is one of them, in the hose.

The Statues on St. Martin's Cathedral, including Henry of Huntingdon

The Statues on St. Martin’s Cathedral, including Henry of Huntingdon

The Town Hall Square lions

The Town Hall Square lions

St. Nicholas; Church, the Cathedral in Saxon days

St. Nicholas; Church, the Cathedral in Saxon days

The Last Plantagenet in Granby Street

The Last Plantagenet in Granby Street

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