Raucous Races

raucous races


The Raucous Races were two ‘family fun day’ events in September 2016 and 2017, organised by the Council in partnership with Enter Edem an art and theatre company specialising in public events on streets and in unlikely locations.


The races were held at Victoria Park (the site of a former racecourse) and involved a range of ‘Victorian’ characters and even Richard III, entertaining park visitors. A wide range of activities were on offer including the opportunity to take part in races on top of horsey space-hoppers.



Careful selection of characters and activities meant lots of fun that linked well with the park’s heritage and history. 





Printing Parks


Story of Parks partnered with Leicester Print Workshop to run this innovative project to explore the history of some of the city’s parks in the spring of 2017. Two local community groups, Mothers Unite, a support group for women who are living apart from their children, and Network for Change, a social enterprise assisting adults with mental health issues took part, as well as Moat Community College, a school in Highfields.Victoria Park

20170603_144926Each group started with with a session at Leicester Print Workshop, followed by accompanied visits to look at the historical features of a local park. The visits provided inspiration for the groups to produce their own individual prints and each group also designed a collaborative print that was then used to make a postcard celebrating the heritage of each park.Watermead

The project also included drop-in printmaking workshops at the Riverside Festival in June 2017 where a collaborative themed around Bede Park was made. The success of the project was built upon with further community groups participating in two more rounds of the project. 

Braunstone Park

The Finest Ruin


The Finest Ruin by Ivo de Jager, a third year History student at the University of Leicester, is a play specially written for the Story of Parks project. The play was produced and performed by University of Leicester students and directed by Edward Spence.

20170629_111429The Finest Ruin is inspired by the Arch of Remembrance, the war memorial in Victoria Park. The Drama flicks between the 1920s when it was being designed by world-renowned architect, Sir Edwin Lutyens, who also designed the India Gate in New Delhi, and the 1950s where two women from diverse cultural backgrounds happen to meet under the shadow of the Arch and become friends.


All three reflect on the meaning of art, friendship and remembrance whilst exploring what the Arch has come to represent for the people of Leicester. It was performed over several days in Leicester’s Y Theatre in 2016 and 2017. A special outdoor performance was held beneath the arch in Victoria park in November 2017.


‘Writing The Finest Ruin has been a great experience. I did a lot of research on the history of Leicester and the life of Sir Edwin Lutyens, to ensure the play is accurate and infuse it with life.’ -Ivo de Jager

The First Step

The Story of Parks project came about due to a very specific purpose. The historic park gates in Leicester’s Victoria Park had become worn and in need of repair.

LMA_Victoria Park_Looking down on the gates_14_07_34

There are two sets, one on Peace Walk and the other between the park lodges on London Road, and both were designed by the famous architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, who was also the man behind said lodges and the park’s war memorial, the Arch of Remembrance. They were installed in 1935 and are now Grade II Listed.

Leicester City Council applied to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a Heritage Grant in 2014 and was successfully awarded over £500,000 to run what would become the Story of Parks project. Some of this would go towards the repairs but the rest was to support the project in running an exciting calendar of events.

You can read the public consultation document, which was created after passing the stage one application and the original Story of Parks Activity Plan to get an understanding of what was originally intended for the project.