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New mural celebrates life and times of Leicester Market

Published on Wednesday, June 28, 2023

4 minute read

The new mural viewed from ground level

AN impressive new mural celebrating the history of Leicester Market through the centuries has been created overlooking Green Dragon Square.

The huge artwork overlooks the new route connecting Town Hall Square to the historic market, which dates back to medieval times and has been the site of numerous key events in Leicester’s history.

It has been undertaken by Graffwerk, the city-based organisation behind many of the other landmark murals and public art around the city centre, including those at the recently-created Savoy Street off Belgrave Gate, the LCB Depot in Rutland Street and Europe’s tallest painted artwork on the side of the landmark blue building at the top of Granby Street.

The mural features images of landmarks including the Fish Market and Corn Exchange, as well as links to long-lost 16th century buildings at the site, including the Lion and Dolphin Inn, the White Swan Inn, the Angel Inn, Bull’s Head Inn and the Green Dragon Inn from which the present day market square takes its name.

Suffragette Alice Hawkins, who would have given public speeches in the market a century ago as part of the fight to allow women to vote, is also commemorated in the artwork, as is the UK’s first Labour Prime Minister, Ramsay Macdonald, who was a Leicester MP in the early 1900s.

Images of traders, local produce such as Stilton and Red Leicester cheeses, and vintage market scenes complete the colourful artwork.

The work is being carried out to create a new gateway feature to Leicester Market, as part of a much wider £7.5million regeneration scheme to improve the market and safeguard its future.

The mural is costing £28,000 which is funded through the market regeneration budget.

Leicester City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “I’m very pleased that we are once again able to work with Graffwerk to create such as stunning piece of public artwork, celebrating both the history and current role of such an important landmark.

“Leicester Market has been trading for over 700 years, during which it has played its part in many historic events, including the political gatherings of Prime Minister Ramsay Macdonald and Suffragette Alice Hawkins.

“The mural’s images also evoke the long-lost historic landmarks which gave their name to the surrounding area, such as The Lion and Dolphin Inn and The Green Dragon.

“This mural, commemorating all that is best about the market, is one small part of the current proposals to revamp and rejuvenate the market to ensure it continues to thrive and serve future generations.”

Graffwerk’s Izzy Hoskins added: “We are really excited to be delivering this mural working with five local artists. It's been great to learn about the heritage of the site as the designs have been developed.

“Murals are a great way to showcase heritage and the feedback so far has been incredible.”

In autumn 2022, an ambitious programme of improvements to Leicester Market was announced with the aim of creating a more contemporary market environment for shoppers and traders alike, while preserving the distinctive character of Leicester’s traditional market.

Plans include about 70 new stalls, better lighting and a shuttered perimeter to improve security at night, and new lockable units. Green roofs and solar panels would be included, as well as new paving and better pedestrian routes through the market.

Removing parts of the roof would also open up views of the Grade II* listed Corn Exchange building.

Full details of the market proposals are available at the city council’s website here