A CORNER of Leicester with a motor-racing past, memories of a ‘magical’ school and sporting glories new and old are retold on Leicester’s latest crop of fascinating heritage panels.
The interpretation panels – which can be found at locations across the city - are part of the Story of Leicester project, which celebrates the city’s rich 2,000-year history by remembering the people, places and events of Leicester’s recent and distant past.
Seven new panels have recently been added to more than 100 already installed, at locations including the King Power Stadium, Leicester Royal Infirmary and Leicestershire County Cricket Club.
In Braunstone Park, a new panel close to Braunstone Hall (now the Winstanley House hotel) tells the story of the hall’s time as a junior school. With its sweeping staircases and original features, former pupils remember it as a ‘magical’ place to go to school. It also had ‘spooky’ former servants’ quarters, and during the Second World War its cellars were used as air-raid shelters for local people.
Leicester’s oldest hospital, the Infirmary, was established in 1771 and gained its royal status in 1912. Its history – including the foundation of a children’s hospital – is told in a new panel located in Infirmary Square.
Sporting glory – and tragedy – is relived in new heritage panels at Leicestershire County Cricket Ground and the King Power Stadium. The cricket club’s achievements include trophies throughout the 1970s, the county championship title in 1996 and success in the fast-paced Twenty20 series in 2004, 2006 and 2011.
No-one will ever forget Leicester City’s amazing premier league-winning season of 2015-16, but the heritage panel at the stadium also respectfully remembers the terrible helicopter crash of 2018, which killed popular club owner Khun Vichai and four others.
In Aylestone, Coalpit Lane, close to the River Soar, is remembered with a new heritage panel. The panel – located where Middleton Street meets Aylestone Road as it turns into Lutterworth Road – also recalls what is now known as ‘Goode’s Corner’ after local racing driver and car technician Graham Goode. Graham and wife Kay opened a garage here in 1976, and Graham won several touring car championships at home and abroad before retiring from competitive driving in 1994.
Deputy city mayor and heritage champion Cllr Adam Clarke said: “These interpretation panels are now a prominent feature of the city, with many of them telling fascinating stories of recent social history, such as the new panel at ‘Goode’s Corner’. I hope people will enjoy seeking out these latest additions to the collection.”
City mayor Peter Soulsby, who first commissioned the heritage panels, said: “When we first began creating these panels, we unlocked much of Leicester’s hidden history and I’m delighted by their ongoing popularity with local people. These panels are a simple, effective and entertaining way of ensuring we maintain important links with our city’s unique and captivating past.”
Leicester’s heritage information panels can be seen in shopping centres, on medieval churches, near former warehouses and in front of the city’s iconic landmarks such as the Clock Tower and Corn Exchange. They can also be seen in Leicester’s historic villages, including Aylestone, Belgrave and Evington.
The panels are grouped in themes to tell different chapters in the city’s story, and each theme is colour-coded to make them easy to identify.
To find out more about the Story of Leicester, visit the website at www.storyofleicester.info
Picture shows Graham Goode with the panel at Goode's Corner in Aylestone