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Return of the bricks marks milestone in major revamp of city centre street

Published on Wednesday, October 27, 2021

2 minute read

Horsefair Street bricks

A MAJOR revamp of an important shopping street in Leicester city centre has reached a milestone, with the reinstatement of over 200 commemorative bricks.

The bricks were originally set into Horsefair Street near Town Hall Square almost thirty years ago, but were carefully removed in late-2018 to make way for a major work to revamp the nearby area and create a new approach to Leicester Market.

The bricks – which bear the names of local historical figures and Leicester residents who paid up to £100 to have their own or their family’s names inscribed on them – were safely stored by the city council and have now been re-laid in a new spot nearby on Horsefair Street.

It marks the final stages of work on major improvements to Horsefair Street where footpaths have been reconstructed in high-quality block paving and a new cycle track has been created. Work to resurface the main carriageway will take place over the coming weeks, with all works due to be complete by the end of November.

The work is part of a £4million scheme to revamp three busy streets in the area. Along with the improvements to Horsefair Street, work is complete on a revamp of Pocklingtons Walk where footpaths have been realigned and resurfaced, and a new protected contraflow cycle track created to provide a direct link between cycle lanes on Welford Road, Newarke Street, Belvoir Street and Horsefair Street.

Work to reconstruct and resurface Market Place South is due to be finished by mid-November, and improvements to the new pedestrian link at Dolphin Square are also now complete.

City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said: “I’m sure a lot of people will be pleased to know the bricks are now back where they belong, as a feature of what will be a fantastic revamp of Horsefair Street and the nearby area.

“By demolishing the unattractive building at 15 Horsefair Street, we have been able to create a much more welcoming route between Leicester’s historic Town Hall and our Grade II* listed Corn Exchange – and provide a much-improved gateway to our famous outdoor market.

“Along with Pocklingtons Walk and Market Place South, the street will provide a much safer and more attractive route for pedestrians and cyclists.

“We’re now just a few short weeks away from the barriers coming down on Horsefair Street. These much-needed improvements really will help to transform the look and feel of this part of the city centre.

“It will also make a significant contribution to our work to encourage more people to use sustainable forms of transport. The award of almost £2million of ERDF support is a tremendous endorsement of the carbon reduction that this scheme will help achieve.”

The improvements to Horsefair Street, Pocklingtons Walk and Market Place South have been supported with up to £1.85million from the European Regional Development fund (ERDF), as part of the city council’s successful bid for over £6million of funding to support a range of ambitious transport related projects that aim to cut carbon emissions.

The Horsefair Street commemorative bricks were originally set in 1992 to mark Year of the Maze. It was the first ‘buy a brick’ scheme in England and includes historical Leicester figures such as Lady Jane Grey, Cardinal Wolsey, who died in Leicester, and Daniel Lambert.