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Lots on at Leicester’s Newarke Houses Museum this May

Image of pilots

THERE’S a busy programme of talks, events and exhibitions at Leicester’s Newarke Houses Museum this month.

On Sunday (15 May), there’s a chance to learn about the lifetime and legacy of the early 19th century writer, artist and abolitionist Susannah Watts, who wrote and published the first ever guidebook to Leicester in 1804 and played an active part in the Abolition of Slavery movement.

Historian and Blue Badge Guide Virginia Wright will explore the life of Susannah Watts (1768-1842) in an hour-long talk that starts at 2pm. Tickets are £5 and can be booked online at 

Also at Newarke Houses Museum, there’s a last chance to see an exhibition created to mark the 80th anniversary of the ‘Leicester Blitz’.

The exhibition documents the night in November 1940, when 108 Leicester people lost their lives.

Objects, pictures, paintings and stories – often in the words of those who were there – capture the impact of the bombing raids that targeted Leicester in 1940 and 1941.

The Leicester Blitz ends its run on Sunday (15 May) and admission is free.

Aircraft enthusiasts of all ages will enjoy a family event at Newarke Houses on Sunday 22 May.

The team from RAF Museum Midlands will be out and about, bringing objects from the collections of the RAF Museum Cosford to Leicester and sharing their fascinating stories.

There will also be free craft and colouring activities for younger children from 11am to 2pm

As part of the event, there’s a free talk at 2pm that celebrates the Pilots of the Caribbean, tracing the stories of some of the amazing Black people who joined the RAF – from Robbie Clarke, Britain’s first Black pilot in the First World War, to Corporal Sonia Campbell, who serves in the RAF today.

The museum’s focus then moves from the RAF to rabbits, as Newarke Houses welcomes The World of Peter Rabbit™ Storytime Trail.

To mark the opening of the trail on Saturday 28 May, children aged five and over will be able to make animal models from clay, inspired by the characters of Beatrix Potter.

Places on the clay-modelling fun day must be booked in advance, with timed sessions taking place at 11am, 12 noon, 1pm and 2pm.

A £3 charge will cover the modelling activity and includes a bunny-themed craft pack to take home. Early booking is advised as spaces will be limited.

More information is available at

The World of Peter Rabbit™ Storytime Trail brings a magical walk-through experience to Newarke Houses Museum. Little bunnies will be able to crawl under the garden gate, hide in a watering can and see their reflection in a mirror pool, just like Peter Rabbit.

The interactive trail has been produced by publishers Frederick Warne & Company as part of Peter Rabbit’s 120th birthday celebrations this year. 

The World of Peter Rabbit™ Storytime Trail opens on 28 May and continues until 24 July. Admission is free.

More information is available at

Finally, on Monday 30 May, Newarke Houses Museum gets ready for the Jubilee weekend with a day of drop-in activities for young children.

A £3 charge, payable on the door, applies for craft activities.

Jubilee Fun runs from 11am to 3pm.

Newarke Houses Museum is open from 10am to 4pm from Monday to Saturday, and from 11am to 4pm on Sundays.

For more information, call the museum on 0116 225 4980.