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"Spectacular" Heritage Centre and its Richard III connections captivate audiences during DMU tours of medieval campus

De Montfort University Leicester's (DMU) medieval campus and its connections to Richard III have become an essential part of the tourist trail for hundreds of people visiting the city during the week that the last Plantagenet king is reinterred.

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The arches of the Church of the Annunciation at the DMU Heritage Centre

Staff at the new DMU Heritage Centre, which has the last remaining arches of the Church of the Annunication as its centrepiece, are also running free tours covering the medieval history of the site surrounding DMU's campus, encompassing the interior and gardens of the Trinity Hospital Chapel, the Chantry Building and the Heritage Centre.

The Church of the Annunciation is famous for being the place where the battle scarred remains of Richard III were put on public display for two days so the people of Leicester could see he was dead.

With all the events currently taking place throughout Leicester during the King Richard III reinterment week, interest has been high as the public come to hear the DMU connection to the Richard III story.

As tens of thousands of people descend on the city to pay their respects at Richard III's coffin, in Leicester Cathedral, before his burial on Thursday, visitors are being encouraged to take in the free tours of the DMU campus as part of their Richard III experience.

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More than 500 people passed through the doors of the Heritage Centre over the weekend and it is remaining open to the public for the rest of the week while tours will run on Thursday and Friday between 11am and 2pm.

People on the latest campus tours were impressed by DMU's rich heritage and being able to see the remains of the Church of the Annunciation.

Ynys Crowston-Boaler, from Nottingham, said: “With everything that’s currently going on with Richard III there’s a great opportunity for people to see a lot of things that aren’t usually open. It’s amazing how much there is going on and I just wanted to come and take part in it all.

“I’m visiting with my son today  and we’re taking in all the Richard III-related sights so it made sense to come and take part in this tour which covered what it needed to very nicely.”

Rebecca Brown, from Amersham, Buckinghamshire, added: "I’m a history teacher originally from Leicester so I wanted to come and get involved with all the fantastic history that’s coming to light here.

“It’s all been incredibly interesting. The DMU Heritage Centre is a brilliant use of the space here and it’s great that DMU has beenable to do something with the arches. It’s spectacular.

“The Heritage Tour has been a really good start to an afternoon of Richard III events.”

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Vice-Chancellor Professor Dominic Shellard with students who helped design the DMU Heritage Centre

Phillip Tyler, from Wigston, said: “As someone who’s interested in local history I’ve wanted to visit for a while, so it seemed appropriate to take this tour. I’m very impressed.”

The positive feedback that the DMU Heritage Centre and the staff who run the tours are now receiving from the public is the perfect reward as far as those who made it all possible are concerned.

Alan Brine, Head of Archives and Resource Management at DMU, said: “It’s absolutely fantastic the way people have reacted to the Heritage Centre and the tours and, for us, it just proves that the investment was all worth it.”

The DMU Heritage Centre will be open every day from 9am-5pm until Sunday 29 March before returning to its usual opening hours on Monday 30 March. Full details of the Heritage Centre's opening times can be found here.

Posted on Tuesday 24th March 2015

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