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Free tours of Leicester Town Hall give insight to city’s civic life

Published on Wednesday, July 19, 2023

1 minute read

Town Hall opening

PEOPLE can learn more about Leicester’s Grade ll* listed Town Hall and the part it's played in the life of the city, through free guided tours that take place every month.

Led by a Blue Badge Guide, the tours take place at 2pm on the first Wednesday of every month. Each tour lasts about an hour and a half, and there is no need to book. Up to 40 people can take part in each tour.

Leicester Town Hall is one of the city’s most iconic buildings and is linked to many fascinating stories about the development of Leicester.

The expert guides who conduct the tours bring those stories to life, and give people the chance to learn more about the city's history, as well as the building.

Prior to its construction, Leicester was using the medieval Guildhall as its Town Hall, but by the 1870s this could not accommodate the needs of a rapidly growing industrial town.

The old cattle market site was chosen as the location for a new building, and Leicester-born architect Frances J. Hames won a competition to design it with his Queen Anne-style proposal.

Construction started in 1875, and the new Town Hall housed the council offices, law courts, sanitary department, school board and 30 lamplighters. The borough police moved into the basement, and the fire brigade had a station behind the building.

Frances J. Hames also designed Town Hall Square with its fountain, which was a gift from Alderman Israel Hart, the first Jewish Mayor of Leicester.

Starting from the main reception at the front of the Town hall, the tours take in the court rooms, council chamber, tea-room and former jail cells. 

More information about the history of Leicester and the Town Hall is on the Story of Leicester website