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Historic building opens it doors… to Pokémon Go!

Published on Thursday, July 28, 2016

PLAYERS of the latest craze Pokémon Go can get the chance to add to their collection of Pokémon on Sunday, when Leicester’s historic Magazine Gateway building opens its doors.

The Magazine Gateway, in the Newarke, dates back to the 15th century, when it was the entrance to the Newarke religious precinct. Later, it was used to store weaponry and gunpowder during the English Civil War.

During the 20th century, it was used as a Word War I recruiting station, but its most recent use is as part of a popular augmented reality game being played across the globe.

The Magazine Gateway is a pokéstop – a place where players of Pokémon Go can go to get virtual goodies that help them to play the game. On Sunday, players will also be able to explore the building and find out more about its rich history.

Sally Coleman, the city council’s heritage manager, said: “The Magazine Gateway is an iconic and well-known local landmark, but very few people know what it is like inside. This is a special opportunity to explore its three floors and discover hidden gems like the medieval piscina (handbasins), huge fireplaces and the historic graffiti carved into its walls by those imprisoned there in Elizabethan times and at the time of the Napoleonic wars.

“It’s an added bonus that the Magazine Gateway is a pokéstop, and we hope this will attract some new visitors to come and explore.”

Councillor Piara Singh Clair, assistant city mayor responsible for heritage, leisure, culture and sport, added: “It’s great to think that the history of Leicester could be opened up to a whole new audience because of the Magazine Gateway’s significance in this game. But I hope that, whether you’re a Pokémon Go player or not, lots of people will take the chance to visit this fascinating building on Sunday.”

As well as being a pokéstop, the Magazine Gateway is next door to a Pokémon gym – where players go to battle their Pokémon. There are more than eight other pokéstops close by, too – including three in Castle Gardens, where some rare water Pokémon have been spotted!

The Magazine Gateway is open to the public from 11am-3pm on Sunday. Entry is free.

Tours will be available, led by a Blue Badge guide, for a cost of £2.50. Tours last an hour and can be booked by calling Visit Leicester on 0116 299 4444 or online at www.goleicestershire.com

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