Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Conference Hears History of Leicester

I recently was delighted to accept an invitation to be keynote speaker at a Tenants’ Conference in Leicester.

The conference was attended by delegates from the various council housing estates around Leicester, and of course housing officers. It was held at the Ian Marlow Centre in Blackbird Road.

My brief was to give an overview of Leicester’s long history, and of its council housing, in half an hour!

“The History of Leicester and Council Housing” gave many of the delegates a completely new insight into the history of the city, even those who had lived in Leicester all their lives.

Leicester is one of the oldest towns in the country. It’s not quite as old as breathtaking Colchester, but then neither is anywhere else.

Leicester dates back to Roman times, and in the Jewry Wall has the largest freestanding civil building from the Roman period in Britain. Having been a frontier town on the Fosse Way, Leicester became an important regional capital.

During the Danish occupation it was one of the Five Boroughs of the Danelaw. John of Gaunt lived and died here; Geoffrey Chaucer was married at St. Mary de Castro Church; Richard III was buried here; Cardinal Wolsey died and was buried here; Charles I successfully besieged the town during the Civil War; and Thomas Cook began modern tourism with his historic trip to Loughborough.

And then I talked about council housing!

I had an appreciative audience and enjoyed my visit to the conference.