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DMU leases historic Leicester Castle for new business school

The historic Great Hall of Leicester Castle is set to be restored to its former glory after being formally leased by De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).

DMU is set to invest £4.2m in the refurbishment of the castle, parts of which date from the 12th century, after being granted a 125-year lease by Leicester City Council.

castle inset
The Great Hall of the castle, one of the city’s finest hidden gems, will be restored by the university and opened more regularly to the public.

DMU announced plans earlier this year to transform the Grade II-listed Great Hall into the university’s new business school. Building on DMU’s excellent reputation in the field of business and management, it will offer a portfolio of new courses for ambitious, high-calibre students from around the world.

The news comes as the university announces the appointment of Dr Dana Brown as Principal of the business school. Dr Brown, currently Director of the MBA at Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford, will take up the role in March 2016.

Dana photo
Dr Brown was previously Director of Studies for Management at Merton College, University of Oxford, Clore Fellow in Management and Tutor for Visiting Students at Lady Margaret Hall.

Dr Brown has also worked in a number of international institutions and holds a PhD in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and an MPhil in Russian and East European Studies from St Antony's College, University of Oxford, where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Dominic Shellard said: “I look forward to welcoming Dr Brown to the university as Principal of the new business school.

“Leicester Castle is a landmark building with an incredible history and I am delighted that DMU can play its part in restoring this building for the benefit of students and staff, and the people of Leicester.”

Supported by Leicester City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby, the business school development will ensure that the Great Hall and its environs are reinvigorated.

This will ensure that the castle area plays a key role in the Mayor’s Connecting Leicester strategy and turn it into a vital part of the city’s tourist trail, which connects the Leicester of today with its medieval past.

The castle has played host to kings including Edward I, Edward II and Richard III. Latterly it was home to the city’s magistrates’ and crown courts but fell into disuse. Now it is only open to the public on a handful of days each year as part of the city council’s Heritage Sundays.

Sir Peter said: “At the moment, Leicester Castle is only opened to the public on rare occasions, but this agreement will mean people will get more regular access to this historic building.

“Leicester Castle is a key part of the city’s heritage and I’m keen to see it opened up for people to enjoy. This is an excellent way of bringing the building back into regular use and capitalising on one of our city’s most important historical assets.”

Sir Peter formally took the decision to lease the building following discussions with local stakeholders and heritage body Historic England.

The project was originally conceived as a joint project with Dr Jonathan KS Choi, the Sunwah Foundation and DMU. However after detailed discussions DMU decided to proceed without a partner.

The refurbishment cost of the Great Hall will be met from university reserves and new income-generating programmes.

Posted on: Friday 06 May 2016

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