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Changing Leicester

Opening of Leicester underpass 1968

View the exhibition and events flyer

Changing Leicester
Now open until 10 September 2017 
Newarke Houses Museum & Gardens 


With the discovery of the body of King Richard III, there has been an increasing interest in Leicester’s 2000 year history. Evidence of the city’s past surrounds us in its buildings and its street layout, which dates from Roman and medieval times.

Until more recently, the city didn’t have a master plan for development. Buildings were demolished and put up randomly as the needs of the city evolved – which means today that ornate Victorian warehouses sit alongside concrete office blocks and medieval buildings are neighbours of factories. The latter years of the Industrial Revolution changed Leicester from a market town into an industrial powerhouse full of factories and the housing and transport networks needed to support them.

What we consider to be of historical value, or what we consider to be part of our heritage, has changed considerably over the last 70 years. The Changing Leicester exhibition looks at changes in town planning laws and how these changes have shaped Leicester. Increasing public pressure has contributed to changes in the law that has meant that archaeologists have more chances to investigate sites under development.


Greyfriars Audio Trail
Available during July, August and September

Students from the University of Leicester have created a Smartphone audio tour of the Greyfriars area of Leicester. They used newspapers and other archives from more than two centuries to explore its history as the city’s ‘legal quarter’, taking in the locations of law firms, hostelries frequented by the legal profession and other buildings later converted to legal offices. The tour starts in New Street, the location one of the oldest practices, that of William Heyrick, which dates back to 1794. 
www.mixcloud.com/LeicesterCityCouncil


Events 

The exhibition is complemented by a series of free events in venues across the city. View the supporting events flyer or please revisit this webpage for the latest events updates and booking information. 

Edwardian Leicester Walk
Sunday 13 August
2pm
Town Hall
 
The period between the death of Queen Victoria and the outbreak of the First World War was an eventful one in the history of Leicester – from its new electric trams to suffragette campaigns and protests about unemployment. Find out more from some of the Edwardian buildings and memorials around the city centre. To book your place contact Visit Leicester on 0116 299 4444.

Lecture: Quality of Leicester – 2000 years of architecture and design
Sunday 13 August
2pm
Newarke Houses Museum & Gardens
 
The city’s origins and medieval era, Tudor and Georgian periods, Victorian and Edwardian boroughs, 20th Century and modern Leicester. Writer of the Quality of Leicester book was Michael Taylor, previously Leicester’s senior building conservation officer. Free event, to book your place contact 0116 225 4980.
RSVP and share the facebook event.

Changing Leicester Discovery Walks: Hosted by Blue Badge guides
Leicester Market and Town Hall Square
Meet at Town Hall Square (in front of the Town Hall steps)
Thursday 17 August
6.30pm

Max. 20 per walk. Free tour, to book, please contact Visit Leicester.

Sketching the city
Saturday 19 August
11am - 4pm
Jubilee Square & Leicester Cathedral grounds
Leicester Sketch Club hosts a day of drawing in the city centre. Artists of all ages and abilities are welcome to join members of the club to draw the surrounding city buildings and landmarks, capturing the old and new side-by-side. Art materials will be supplied if you don't have your own. Free event, drop-in. 
www.leicestersketchclub.co.uk
RSVP and share the facebook event.

Lecture: The cinema in post-war Leicester
Sunday 20 August
2pm
Newarke Houses Museum & Gardens
 
In the immediate post-war years the cinema still played an important role in people’s lives. From the children’s matinees to the double seats for courting couples, for millions it was still their main form of entertainment and from a small screen with mono sound it developed into the wide screen cinema with surround sound we enjoy today. Free event, to book your place contact the museum on 0116 225 4980.

Medieval life in Leicester: Family Day
Sunday 20 August
11am - 4pm
The Guildhall 

The day will include music, songs and a medieval re-enactor you can also meet the medieval gardener! There will be crafts & trails for the kids, make your own medieval crown, sword and coat of arms. Enjoy a guided tour exploring how Leicester has changed since medieval times and learn all about the history of the Guildhall. Guided tours available at 12noon and 2pm, to book for a tour, please contact The Guildhall to book your place on 0116 253 2569. Free event and tours. 

Gloriana Victoriana: A Grand Day Out
Monday 21 August
11am – 4pm
 
New Walk Museum & Art Gallery
Explore the wonders of the Victorian Age at the museum. Meet her majesty Queen Victoria and revel in the mysteries of the 'Palace of Curiosities' - a traditional Victorian sideshow. Join us for craft making, dressing up and games, or simply enjoy a great magic lantern show and a spot of kite-flying in Museum Square. Something for everyone. All activities are free. T: 0116 225 4900

Lecture: The importance of the archaeology and standing buildings of Leicester
Wednesday 23 August
6pm
Newarke Houses Museum & Gardens
 
An ideal introduction to the subject for anyone interested in the recent history of Leicester. Free, to book your place contact the museum on 0116 225 4980.

Changing Leicester Discovery Walks: Hosted by Blue Badge guides
Leicester's Two High Streets
Meet at Jubilee Square (by the High Cross pillar)
Thursday 24 August
6.30pm

Max. 20 per walk. Free tour, to book, please contact Visit Leicester.

Post-War life in Leicester: Family Day
Friday 25 August
11am - 3.30pm
Newarke Houses Museum

Changing Leicester - Music, fashion and dancing from the 1940s and 50s, vintage vehicles and family craft activities to get you in the swing of the post-war period and a chance to see the Changing Leicester exhibition, which looks at the impact of development on our heritage. Refreshments available. Free, drop-in event. T: 0116 225 4980

Heritage Question Time
Sunday 27 August
1pm
BBC Radio Leicester 104.9FM / Digital

Listen in as Leicester’s very own heritage experts take questions from the audience about the key post-war developments in our city, their impact on our heritage and how people’s attitude to heritage has changed since 1945.

Tea & History: Shops and Memories
Friday 1 September
1.30pm - 3pm
Newarke Houses Museum
 
An afternoon of nostalgia looking at Leicester’s shops of yesteryear. Enjoy a cup of tea and a chat with this informal slide show, hosted by the museum curator. Free. No booking required. Refreshments available. T: 0116 225 4980 

Lecture: The slums of Leicester
Sunday 3 September
2pm
Newarke Houses Museum 

Between 1932 and 1975, slum clearance changed the face of the city. Vast swathes of housing, close to the centre of town were demolished and new estates, factories and roads took their place. Until then, the slums were home to thousands of people who had to live in conditions that were frequently cramped, unhealthy and sometimes dirty. This well illustrated talk will provide a picture of a long vanished Leicester. Free event, to book your place contact the museum on 0116 225 4980. Refreshments available.

Supporting organisations for Changing Leicester