The River Soar is Leicestershire’s main body of water, flowing from Warwickshire to the Trent Lock where it joins the Trent at Leicestershire’s county boundary. Running all through Leicestershire, the Soar has numerous features along its length from older, now mostly disused industrial buildings to more scenic points and through the aptly named ‘Barrow-on-Soar’ area of Leicestershire. The River Soar was once fabled to have been the final resting place of King Richard III following the battle of Bosworth as he had crossed the, now named ‘King Richard’s Bridge over the Soar. Today the river is home to a vast array of wildlife including the endangered whiteclawed crayfish. Much of the wildlife can be seen at the historic Abbey Park which the river runs through which also features a 12th century abbey and a 17th century mansion set amongst lakes, formal gardens and much more. The river itself is open for boats to travel along its majestic length which is a great way to tourists and locals alike to take in the true beauty of the River Soar. The river housed many industrial units from textiles to iron foundries. Many of these units have since closed in the recent tens of years, the unit to the right being one such textiles workshop that is no longer operational. There is, however still an iron foundry situated along the Soar, Chamberlin & Hill Castings Ltd which is one of the last few hundred iron foundries in the United Kingdom. While not a tourist landmark, it is an important feature along the Soar as it sites where the industrial heart of Leicester once beat strong.
The River Soar
Leicester’s city centre is a multicultural hive of activity on all scales, from small upcoming businesses to large coperations, all nestled into the heart of the midlands, surrounded by beautiful scenery and amazing architeture. The Town Hall, set beside the gorgeous fountain of the Town Hall Square is where the city of Leicester has their council decisions discussed and finalised; the mind of Leicestershire. The Town Hall was built in the Queen Anne style of architecture and was completed in the late 1800s with its tall clock tower and keeping features of its original build, is considered one of the city centre’s favorite landmarks. Those wishing to see inside of this great building should visit the Town Hall on the first Wednesday of any month when a tour is given, concluding with tea and biscuits in the Lord Mayor’s tea room. The fountain, featured on the next page, was gifted to the city by a former Mayor, Israel Hart, in1878, two years after this Town Hall was constructed. The fountain itself is adorned with bronze-painted cast iron as well as Shap and Ross of Mull granite features included four beautiful Gryphons, a mythical beast with the body, back legs and tail of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle. In the winter months, the fountain and Town Hall Square of Leicester are site to many nativity scenes and holiday features while in the spring and summer the fountains are active and water is let from the mouths of the Gryphons and other parts of the fountain.
Chamberlin & Hill Castings Ltd.
Leicester Town Hall
Saint George’s Central (The Blue Tower) Saint George’s Central, also known as the Blue Tower or more commonly refered to as the Connect Four building is one of the most iconic and contravertial buildings around Leicester’s city centre. Fitting for its time when it was constructed in the 1960s, the Blue Tower has split opinions of Leicester’s local as either being a fresh look for the city with its vibrant colors and bright, multi-colored window sections, or considered an eye-sore for those same reasons when in the background of Leicesters more traditional structures. While the purpose of the building as a short-stay hotel, apartment units and a shisha lounge may not be the most unique points of the city, it will be one of the first things a visitor is likely to see, being situated by the city centre train station from which this Blue Tower can clearly be seen from the platforms. While the building was only painted this color in 2009, it has been the topic on many of Leicester’s locals since then and whether you love it or hate it, Saint George’s Central is certainly a building most Leicester locals and visitors will know of and often relate to the city at first sight.
Leicester Market, focused around The Corn Exchange which was originally built for trading in1850, houses dozens of outside stalls, covered overhead. Several fairs in history were held on the site of the now Leicester Market dating back to 1229 with King Henry III, the first officially acknowledged market in1298, 1558 when Queen Elizabeth confirmed four annual fairs for various events, 1622 as William Burton adds a fifth fiar to the year with a Palm Sunday cattle fair. In the late 1900s the market saw much renovation with new roofing, the indoor market being completed, 2002 saw the addition of 15 further units and in 2005 a farmers’ market was added. 2009 saw Leicester Market winning “Britain’s Favourite Market 2009” in Namba awarded public vote and with over 300 stalls on the outside and a further 79 within the indoor section of the market, LeicesterMarket is the largest covered outdoor market in Europe. Shoppers visiting Leicester Market can expect to find a great assortment of goods on offer from fruit & veg, clothing, electronics and pets’ goods on the outside and butchers, fishmongers and outlets for wool goods and knitting equipment in the indoor market. The Leicester Market is by any definition, the heart of the Leicestershire community today.
Those visiting the historic Leicester Market can expect a host of events throughout the year, including celebrations of St George’s day, a summer food festival, continental markets, weekly antique markets and an annual service for rememberance day. The central hub of the Leicester Market is its Corn Exchange, the site of which has housed structures since the 16th centurry, the current being constructed in 1850 with 1856 seeing the addition of the upper storey and the unusual exterior staircase. While the Corn Exchanged served purpose as a trading centre for Leicester in those days, complete with its own dungeon, it now operates as a JD Wetherspoon’s licenced bar. Outside of the Corn Exchange patrons of the market can marvel at the statue of the Duke of Rutland, John Henry Manners which was the first public statue in Leicester first unveiled on April 28th 1852. Although built in 1851 to be exhibited at the Great Exhibition, the statue was erected in Leicester to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Duke’s lord-lieutenancy of Leicestershire.
Leicester railway station was first built during the Victorian era, opening initially in 1840 before being rebuilt in 1894 of which some sections still remain standing to be admired to this day. Currently, the station is undergoing renovations, as are many of the city railway stations around the United Kingdom. The station itself runs main lines connecting Sheffield to London, Stansted airport and Birmingham New Street, Lincoln and Leeds making the city of Leicester extremely accessible, helping to make Leicester the multicultural hub on the midlands that it is today. Outside of Leicester’s railway station is a statue commemorating the achievements of Thomas Cook who began his first excursion from what was at the time known as Leicester Campbell Street Station, and who is the founder of the Thomas Cook travel agency still in business today.
Leicester’s “Curve Theatre” is the latest addition to the city’s thriving cultural quarter of the city centre, along with Phoenix Square, the LCB Depot and more, as well as the esteemed De Montfort Hall theatre and The Little Theatre, also in Leicester. The Curve, previously known as the Performing Arts Centre, opened under this name in November of 2008 to show the “Lift Off ” production. The theatre, designed by Rafael Viñoly, The Curve brings in many cultural peoples to Leicester to enjoy the shows put on, but such a magnificent structure came at a cost - double the oringal budget to be precise. The addition of The Curve Theatre in Leicester does show the demand for more productions and of a higher quality, highlighting the cultural side of Leicester in the locals as well as increasing its appeal for outside tourism and show-goers. Upcoming productions at The Curve include Snow Queen, James and the Giant Peach, The Woman in Black and many more, with a good choice of seating to ensure the show can be seen in all its glory at affordable prices.
Leicester Railway Station The clock pictured above originally had a domed roof when architect Charles Trubshaw first designed and built the station, it has since had renovations however the original clock was left in place. This clock is the last remaining station clock that is hand-wound, making the Leicester railway station a very unique station indeed. The fortune of this piece of history is elevated when considering the St Stephen’s Prebyterian church that once stood beside the station was saved and rebuilt elsewhere, brick by brick in 1893 while the station was only partially completed and first opened after the renovations in June 1892.
The Curve Theatre
The High Cross momument, the namesake of Leicesterâ€™s Highcross Shopping Centre, was first built in 1577 as part of an eight pillar shelter for the sight where markets had been held since the 12th century, on the High Street. Falling into disrepair in 1773, this single pillar is all that remains of the High Cross shelter system and was removed to allow access along the street as the single pillar served no functional purpose alone. The original sight can still be seen at the end of High Street, marked by a granite cross in the floor, having been worked around when the roads have been modernised. The pillar has been at this site since 1977 after moving around Leicester to various other homes as it is situated beside the market, highlighting the historical purpose of the High Cross in medieval Leicester. While there are plans to relocate the High Cross again to make this area a public square and to bring the High Cross back to its original position, the pillar is maintained and much loved by the people of Leicester as a piece of history standing the tests of time. Leicesterâ€™s multiculturalism is captioned well in this image, with people of different backgrounds enjoying the High Cross on a warm spring afternoon. Many persons of all backgrounds thrive in Leicester and enjoy the history of the city, with the High Cross being set between the old market place and the modern High Cross Shopping Centre, from this one point any person can see the old and the new that Leicester has to offer.
The High Cross
Showcase Cinema De Lux
The Showcase Cinema De Lux is part of the modern revival of Leicesterâ€™s old Shires Shopping Centre into the new Highcross Shopping Centre. The cinema itself, of reflective walls and odd geometric shapes shows the modern feel of Leicester as it keeps with the current times. While the Showcase offers cinema, bar and restaurant services, the Highcross expansion brought in a 3000 vehicle capacity car park as well as many new designer outlets and eateries.
Haymarket Clock Tower The Haymarket Clock Tower is a focal point of Leicester culture, being a primary meeting point for many people due to its convenient location in the centre of the cityâ€™s heart. The tower itself was first built in 1868 to commemortate four historical people of Leicester who are adorning each corner of the tower; Simon De Montfort, William Wyggeston, Sir Thomas White and Alderman Gabriel Newton. The site of the Clock Tower, constructed of Ketton stone, local granite, serpentine and staute made by local masons, 12th century traders would deal in hay, straw and other agricultural goods, lending to its name as the Haymarket Clock Tower, and the Haymarket Shopping Centre behind it as photographed. A grade 2 listed building, the Clock Tower is well maintained and can be see by visitors down lengths of High Street and many other bustling streets of Leicester.
Stayfree Music is one of many music venues in Leicester, hosting live shows as well as providing recording and rehersal facilities to new and upcoming bands in the area. In 2012, Stayfree music celebrated its 20 year anniversary. Lock 42 is the section of Stayfree Music that hosts the live bands and has seen many names headline, and is owned by the former frontman of The Hunters Club. Leicester has seen rise to many mainstream bands of today including Kasabian, Showaddywaddy and Freefall Felix. With the theatres, performing arts centre, and the wide range of creative courses open at the esteemed De Montfort University, Leicester has a rich creative and cultural vein running through its heart.
Stayfree Music and Lock 42
Information about Leicester Founded in AD 43 by the Roman empire as a fortress - Jewry Wall, one of the largest remaining pieces of Roman Masonry in Britain. Located at 52.6N and 1.14W, on the M1 off junctions 21 and 21a, surrounded by Birmingham, Nottingham and Northampton. Population of 329,839 in 2011 Origin of name - Derived from the world “Castra”, meaning camp, of the Ligore translating to Dwellers on the River Ligore (an early name of Soar) Later known as Ligeracaester “The town of the Ligor people” and in the Domesday book as Ledecestre. Demographic (2011 census) - 50.6% white, 37.1% Asian, 3.5% Mixed Race, 6.3% Black, 1% Arab and 1.6% of other ethnic heritage.
Semper Eadem - Always the Same. Reliable, Dependable and Unchanging.