Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Magazine to Be a Gateway Once More

[An image showing Magazine to Be a Gateway Once More]The Magazine Gateway, one of the historic buildings in the ancient city of Leicester, is to be brought back to its original function.

In the 1960s, when Leicester (and, to be fair, many other cities) was the victim of wide-ranging official vandalism, much of the Old Town was swept away in order to create ring roads, car parks, underpasses etc.

At this time, the Magazine Gateway was left stranded with roads all round it. I suppose one should be thankful that it wasn't simply demolished because it was old and got in the way of the motor car.

The gateway dates from the 14th century, and was the entrance to The Newarke, which was originally a religious-based addition to Leicester Castle, surrounded by its own strong wall.

Its proper name is thus the Newarke Gateway, but it has been known as the Magazine Gateway since the mid-17th century, when it was used for storing the town's arms during the Civil War.

De Montfort University, who own much of the land and buildings in The Newarke, are to bring the gateway back to its original function, so that it will be an entrance to their university, as well as to the historic buildings in the area.

Part of the road will be done away with, so that two-way traffic will pass to one side, the City Centre side, of the gateway.

The offensive subways will be filled in. Subways under roads are always offensive. They imply, if it were not already obvious, that the sort of people who use them, people not driving, are of little importance, and are thus hidden away under the ground.

If you really wanted a separation between wheeled traffic and pedestrian traffic, and somehow felt that pelican crossings are inappropriate because they force cars to halt for a few seconds, you could do it in a different way.

A sane society would put the vehicles underground, so that people on foot could breathe relatively clean air and not feel threatened by the subways' atmosphere.

I'm delighted to say that, for once and at long last, all that has been taken on board.

And when all this is done, the Magazine Gateway will revert to its proper use.

Quite right too.