5th June 2014
Opening date set for King Richard lll Visitor Centre
LEICESTER’S new King Richard lll Visitor Centre: Dynasty, Death and Discovery, will open its doors to the public on Saturday 26th July.
Tickets for the unique visitor attraction – which will offer access to the King’s original burial site – will go on sale from today (Thursday June 5th).
The centre is located just 100 steps away from Leicester Cathedral where King Richard lll will be reburied in spring 2015.
More than 100,000 people are expected through its doors in its first year of operation, bringing an estimated £4.5 million to the local economy.
Iain Gordon, Director of the visitor centre said: “I’m delighted to announce that the King Richard lll Visitor Centre will be open to visitors from July 26th.
“We are looking forward to welcoming people from Leicester, and from all over the world, to learn more about the dramatic story of the king’s life, his brutal death at Bosworth Battlefield and the compelling story of his rediscovery.
“There are many different accounts of King Richard’s life,” he said. “In creating the exhibition we have tried to distil and interpret that information in a way that will inform and enthral everyone who walks through our door, and will hopefully inspire them to find out more about King Richard lll and the medieval city and county he knew.”
The centre, will tell the king’s story in three parts, through displays, interactive audio-visual elements, and colourful exhibits.
‘Dynasty’ tells the much debated story of the king’s life and times in a medieval England racked by decades of fighting in the Wars Of The Roses, detailing Richard’s rise to power as the last king from the great house of Plantagenet.
‘Death’ gives visitors the chance to learn about the key players in the Battle of Bosworth and how betrayal led to the king being cut down in the thick of battle while defending his crown.
This remarkable turn of events saw Henry VII seize the crown and ushered in a new chapter in the English monarchy: the Tudor dynasty.
Finally, ‘Discovery’ unearths the astonishing story of the archaeology, science and analysis carried out by the University of Leicester’s Archaeological Service, which rediscovered and identified the long-lost remains of the king after excavating a grave beneath a car park, on the former site of the medieval friary of the Grey Friars.
Completing the visitor experience will be a chance to visit the site of King Richard’s burial site, preserved in a quiet, respectful setting and with a contemplative atmosphere fitting for the last resting place of a slain warrior and anointed monarch.
Visitors will also be able to see a full-size, 3D replica skeleton created by Loughborough University. Scientists used CT scan data provided by Leicester University as part of their analysis of the King’s bones to create the 3D replica, which shows the king’s spinal curvature and the battle wounds he suffered at Bosworth.
Leicester’s City Mayor Peter Soulsby commissioned the creation of the visitor centre in the former Alderman Newton’s School, which is located just yards from the car park where the king’s remains were unearthed in August 2012.
“It seems hard to believe that we are just a few weeks away from opening the centre, less than two years since King Richard’s remains were discovered,” he said.
“And I am delighted that we are able to announce the opening date very soon after the High Court confirmed that Leicester Cathedral can proceed with its plans to reinter King Richard in the cathedral next spring.
“A huge amount of work has gone into transforming this historic building into what will be a world-class visitor attraction, and Leicester is ready to welcome visitors from home and abroad to enjoy it.”
Located on Peacock Lane, Leicester, the Victorian gothic building has been completely renovated inside and out to provide two floors of exhibition space, a courtyard café, shop and meeting rooms.
Prices will start at just £4.75 for a child’s ticket (three to 15 years), with adult tickets costing £7.95. Family tickets will give entry to two adults and two children for the discounted price of just £21.50. A special rate of £7.00 per person will be available to groups of 15 or more. A concessionary rate of £7.00 will also be available.
The Dig for Richard III was led by the University of Leicester, working with Leicester City Council and in association with the Richard III Society. The originator of the Search project was Philippa Langley of the Richard III Society.
[Source: Leicester City Council]