Heritage campaigners praise restoration of Leicester Castle

Heritage campaigners have praised the restoration work being done at Leicester Castle which will become the home to the new Leicester Castle Business School.

Soulsby Castle (3)

The castle, parts of which date from the 12th century, has been on the Heritage At Risk register for many years. Last year, De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) took over the building and began a careful restoration programme.

Historic England, which published its annual Heritage At Risk register today welcomed the work being done to bring the former Great Hall of Leicester Castle – a Grade I listed building – back to its former glory.

A spokesman said: “De Montfort University is transforming the fortunes of the former great hall of Leicester Castle as it develops its Business School at the historic site.

"Supported by ourselves, the Grade I listed hall, which housed the county courts until the 1990s, has been unoccupied and on the Heritage at Risk Register for many years."

He added: "From 2017, new generations of students will benefit from the inspirational blend of historic surroundings and state of the art modern facilities."

The building had been owned by Leicester City Council and was home to the magistrates’ and crown court until the 1990s when it was closed. It has been open once a month to the public but under DMU’s plans people can visit much more regularly and learn more about the history of the building.

Soulsby Castle (5)

The building includes a reception hall, where an archway from the time of Richard III has been rediscovered. The castle was built around 1070 and has hosted kings including Edward I, as well as key figures in English history such as John O’Gaunt, Philippa of Lancaster and Geoffrey Chaucer.

Specialist restoration firm Robert Woodhead and architects Maber are working with Historic England on the project which is costing £4.2million.

Last month, City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby was given a tour of the building to see progress at the site.  

* Visit the Leicester Castle Business School website
* Read about Chaucer's links with Leicester
* Medieval discoveries made as part of restoration work

Vice-Chancellor Professor Dominic Shellard said: “I am delighted to share the progress of our restoration project with Sir Peter Soulsby, and to see the history of this ancient building being so meticulously preserved.

“When the project completes in the spring, Leicester Castle will become not only the home of a world-class business school but also a wonderful and fully restored addition to Leicester’s extraordinary heritage.”

Sir Peter said: “De Montfort University is doing a great job – and members of the public will be able to see the results of the restoration for themselves, and enjoy this remarkable building once again, when it re-opens next spring.”
Posted on Friday 21st October 2016

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