Sunday, 8 September 2013

"This property comes with nice views of a medieval monarch buried under a council car park!"

So, when did all the excitement start for me?

I moved to to Leicester just in time to discover the University were starting their search for the remains of King Richard III on the medieval site of the Grey Friars Friary. That was clearly very exciting news to a lover of medieval history like myself!

I had to find myself a new job and a new place to live, but wasn't actively looking to be around the excavation site. I just wanted to be centrally based for work, so the city centre was my preference for practical rather than personal reasons. I viewed 2 or 3 properties which were not particularly pleasant and had turned those down. It just so happened I saw my present flat advertised online and it was in my price range. It was only when I viewed it that I realised it's relatively close proximity to the dig site, which by then was just the one open grave - not yet identified as that of Richard III. All the other trenches had been re-filled and re-surfaced.
My landlord and I discussed the possibility of the remains which had been discovered being Richard's. Luckily, the place was very nice and suited my requirements, and now I found out it was in an area which was going to be a hive of activity directly related to something I had a very passionate interest in. Result!

There was very little activity on the site during the winter months, apart from the announcement on the 4th February 2013 which confirmed the University's findings through DNA analysis that it was, without doubt, the remains of King Richard III they had discovered. Then the real excitement started!

The Guildhall immediately launched a temporary exhibition, while the plans for the new visitor centre took shape. I remember seeing the huge queues around the side of the Cathedral with people visiting the exhibition, then popping in to the Cathedral to have a look at the prospective new resting place of the king. The addition of the reconstructed likeness of Richard III to the exhibition attracted even more visitors.
I visited the exhibition numerous times with various visiting friends.

                                                the famous council car park in New Street

                                                                 Leicester Cathedral 

                                           New Street                                  taken from outside the car park gates

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