Since 2015, Leicester City Council has been running a Heritage Lottery Funded project called Story of Parks.
In the three years it has run, we have held an extensive range of activities, from family festival days and a regular calendar of park-themed walks and talks, to several different volunteering opportunities and working with community groups and schools. All of this was designed to inspire the people of Leicester to learn about their parks and green spaces, to find out about their secret histories and to really appreciate and take care of the parks going forward.
The City of Leicester is a well placed urban centre in the East Midlands, only an hour from London and Birmingham. It has recently gained more publicity with the success of the Leicester City FC in 2016 and the discovery of Richard III underneath the Greyfriars car park in 2012. It is up and coming, with Leicester City Council focusing on attracting investment and celebrating heritage. The city is also a melting pot of different cultures and communities and is well known for its diversity.
The council is responsible for over 130 parks and open spaces across the city, ranging from Victorian era parks to vast country parks to pocket parks and cemeteries; all of these urban green areas have unique heritage and a story of how they became parks in the first place.
One of Story of Parks primary objectives was to educate the public about these wonderful spaces and over the course of the project, it has introduced hundreds of people to them in different ways. This blog will document some of the project’s materials for those considering doing a similar HLF project in the future and hold some of our resources online for everyone to learn about Leicester’s Parks.
All photographs are copyrighted to Leicester City Council or Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Records Office.