Last Tuesday as a birthday treat I was taken to Leicester, the city where I was born, too many years ago now to mention. We left when I was six years old so my memories are very vague, I know we lived in what was called 'the nut streets' (now mostly demolished and the area at present the infirmary car park) close to the Granby Hall (that too is no more) on Napier Street and I attended a local school on either Hazel Street or Filbert Street. Anyway on last week's visit I wanted to see if we could find the council car park in the city centre where archaeologists from Leicester University are digging a couple of trenches to see if they can find evidence of the church belonging to the Franciscan priory of Greyfriars which stood somewhere in the vicinity. There is hope that they may also find the bones of King Richard III buried there. It is on record that he was buried in the church after his battered body was brought back from the battlefield at Bosworth where he lost his life fighting for his crown on 22nd August 1485.
We did eventually find the car park down a little lane just across the road from the Guildhall and Cathedral and behind the Social Services Offices. There was one long trench which had been taken down through modern, Victorian and earlier layers to the start of the medieval period.
I've been keeping up to date with the progress of the dig since we visited by reading the reports in the Leicester Mercury on line - link - to latest the report which gives details of some interesting and relevant finds of the right kind of building materials. Whilst we were there a man was filming the dig for a documentary to be shown on channel 4 later this year.
Before we found the site of the excavations we had a wonderful time looking around the Guildhall and the Jewry Wall Museum. We had a lovely lunch in a little cafe on Loseby Lane called Cafe Dido, the goat's cheese fig and apple paninis were very tasty!
The Guildhall stands at the side of the Cathedral, the entrance down a little lane between the two The earliest part of it is the great hall, which according to their information, was built around 1390 to be used as a meeting place for the Guild of Corpus Christi. Here is a - link - to more information.
Below are more photos of The Guildhall.
I loved the lamp, weather vane and chimneys in the entrance courtyard.
The automaton clock which is reconstruction of an original 17th century clock from All Saint's church, Highcross Street. Apparently it chimes on the hour but we didn't hear it during our visit.
Lovely leaded windows
The great hall
The unusual chair/desk at the end of the parlour is 18th century and according to the label was probably used for some sort of oath taking ceremony.
More lovely windows
In 1632 the town library was moved from St Martin's Church to the Guildhall. There are quite a few books still remaining in the upper rooms. Many of a later date, of course.
After the building of the new Town Hall in 1876 the Guildhall was used for many different purposes including being the headquarters of the local police force.
You can see into the police cells - in this one is Emma Smith a notorious pick-pocket!
I mentioned the Jewry Wall museum earlier in this post but I'll have to include that in a later post as this one is already far too long! We also looked in a fair few shops on our way around the city centre - especially book shops so all in all it was a very satisfying day not least because it was, for once, a lovely sunny day- a special birthday treat!