Leicester a modern history

What sort of place is Leicester and how has it been shaped by its past?

The city of Leicester is truly rich in culture and heritage; a ‘quietly confident city built on firm historical foundations’, in the words of Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby.

This beautifully produced, lavishly illustrated book provides a highly readable portrayal of the events, changes and characteristics that have moulded the city, and which have given it its distinctive identity since 1800.

The sights, sounds and smells of the city in the twenty-first century are products of cumulative layers of history; layers which are peeled back by a specially assembled team, all with local connections. By revealing the city’s past in this way Leicester: A Modern History allows us to better understand the present, and also to know how to approach the future. As co-editor Richard Rodger says, ‘To understand how contemporary Leicester has evolved you have to read this book.’

Industry, politics, festivals, housing, multiculturalism, music, religion; these are just some of the varied themes covered in the book. Each is accompanied by a wide range of images, many from the City Council’s archives that have never been published before. The City Council has been tremendously supportive of this important publication, as Sir Peter Soulsby, who wrote the foreword, confirms: “I am delighted to welcome this book, which explains the legacy of the past and how that inheritance informs who we are as individuals and as a city.”

So, then, what sort of place is Leicester part way into the 21st century? The answer, as this book celebrates, is that it is a vibrant, cosmopolitan, multifaceted and successful city of which its citizens can be very proud.