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Record number of visitors at Richard III exhibition

21/02/2013

AN exhibition about Richard III at Leicester's Guildhall has drawn over 15,000 visitors since it opened to the public.

Richard III: Leicester's Search for a King, has in two weeks attracted more than a third of the total number of visitors the Guildhall would normally get in a whole year.

The exhibition tells the story of the search and discovery of the remains of King Richard III in a grave beneath the Greyfriars car park in Leicester city centre.

It opened on February 8, in time for Leicester's half-term school holidays, following the confirmation on February 4 by researchers at the University of Leicester that the bones were those of the Last Plantagenet, who was killed in 1485.

On its busiest day so far, 1,461 visitors came to the exhibition, which includes an exact model of King Richard's skull, touch-screen information panels, medieval weapons and narration from the key archaeologists, historians and researchers involved.

The temporary exhibition, housed in the Guildhall's visitor centre, is the first phase of a larger planned Richard III visitor experience based in the heart of the city.

A programme of lectures at the Guildhall, by University of Leicester researchers from the project, also sold out within days of being publicised. Organisers are now arranging for extra lectures to be arranged to meet the huge level of interest.

The medieval Guildhall, parts of which date from the late 1300s, normally attracts about 37,000 visitors a year.

City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: "These extraordinary visitor numbers show how much the Richard III story has captured the imagination of people across Leicester, Leicestershire and beyond. It is wonderful to see so many people taking an interest in this exciting chapter of the city's history.

"With work underway on plans for a much bigger and more comprehensive visitor experience which will open in early 2014, we hope to build on this huge level of interest and continue to help really bring to life the fascinating, gripping and colourful and story of Richard III."

Richard III: Leicester's Search for a King is open seven days a week. Daily opening times vary. For further information visit: www.visitleicester.info/richardIII

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