Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Leicester Historical Centre - A plea for the Newarke Houses


I am aghast  that Sir Peter Soulsby in collusion with who knows whom, seems to be dismissing these buildings and this area seemingly offering them to the De Montfort University ‘on the nod’, as it has been suggested to have happened with the Castle buildings.

As an erstwhile ‘relocator’ to this area, I was intrigued and pleased by the local treasures that are St Mary Castro, St Nicholas Church, the Newarke, Newarke Houses and the Castle grounds. Indeed these were the only areas of interest I could find where I expected a richness due to the historical and manufacturing heritage I knew of the area.

Much excellent work has happened with the Richard III Exhibition and the regeneration of the areas surrounding, and I believe that in support and reinforcement there should be established a ‘historical walk’ / circle(possibly one of many) which includes Richard III, Applegate, St Nicholas Church, St Mary Castro, the castle, the Castle buildings and Castle Gardens, Rupert’s Gate, the Newarke Houses / museum, Newarke itself and return via Friar Lane / Millstone Lane or other to link to the Market or Highcross.

If believe that if the Newarke Museum and Castle Buildings are given to DMU for conversion to offices and lecture rooms, they will  lose all their charm, history,  contemporaneous materiel and more importantly access by tourists, locals and people such as I.

e.g. where in the UK can you see such a building and construction as the Castle Buildings? The under croft? The access then to the Castle Gardens and the River Soar and therefore opportunity for leisure, dining and pleasure activities?

St Mary Castro is a fantastic church, the area reminiscent of York. The old almshouses, the hospital buildings, the Newarke, the unchanging and relevant nature of the Newarke houses and the city wall - ALL are fascinating and -  to me at least -  comprise many of what I have found of the sole survivors of a great historical city. Will you take these and access to these – away from us?

I enjoyed these when I arrived and I still do. I felt that Leicester had little to offer despite its historical significance – please do not deplete what is still there!

These should be treasured, integrated and maintained for the City, not ‘given’ (please not the quote marks) to the University who will deny access to them by the public and lose the character and wonder of these sites.

I have no concerns that DMU will upkeep them, but their purpose is not the city’s.

PS – Why is the Mayor not on twitter or easier to find on email?


Cliff Sinclair

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