The city of Leicester is located on the River Soar, in the county of Leicestershire, approximately 97 miles north-north-west of London and 12 miles south of Loughborough.
The city has a population of around 284,000. Administratively the City of Leicester covers an area of approximately 72 sq kms.
Surrounded by farming country, the county capital is a modern multi-cultural city with an ancient heritage and which retains many notable historic buildings, including the remains of its 11th-century castle. A thriving commercial centre, it is primarily renowned for its hosiery industry although this is now in decline. As one expects from a major city it has excellent shopping, leisure and entertainment, and visitor facilities with numerous attractions.
Leicester is one of the oldest cities in England, with a history going back nearly 2000 years. The Roman city of Ratae Coritanorum (meaning 'capital of Coritani') was founded in AD 50 as a military settlement upon the Fosse Way Roman road. The city was named after the Corieltauvi, the Celtic tribe that dwelt in the area before the Romans arrived. Ratae Coritanorum grew into an important trading and military centre and one of the largest towns in Roman Britain. The Roman town was largely abandoned when the Romans left Britain in the 5th century, but was later re-settled by Saxons. In the 9th century, Leicester was captured by the Danes (Vikings) and became one of the five boroughs (fortified towns) of Danelaw, although this position was short lived. The Saxon Bishop of Leicester fled to Dorchester-on-Thames and Leicester was not to become a bishopric again until the 20th century. Leicester had become a town of considerable importance by Medieval times. It was mentioned in the Domesday Book as 'civitas' (city), but Leicester lost its city status in the 11th century owing to power struggles between the Church and the aristocracy. It was eventually re-made a city in 1919, and the Church of St Martin became Leicester Cathedral in 1927. The tomb of King Richard III is located in the central nave of the church although according to local tradition he is not actually buried there. He was originally buried in the Greyfriars Church in Leicester, but his corpse was exhumed under orders from Henry VII and cast into the River Soar. Leicester played a significant role in the history of England, when in 1265 Simon de Montfort forced King Henry III to hold the first parliament of England at the now-ruined Leicester Castle. With the construction of the Grand Union Canal in the 1790s linking Leicester to London and Birmingham, Leicester began rapid industrialisation. The main industries being hosiery, footwear and engineering, all are however in decline now. By 1832 railways had arrived in Leicester with the opening of the Leicester and Swannington Railway, which provided a supply of coal to the town from nearby collieries. By 1840 the Midland Counties Railway had linked Leicester to the national railway network, which further boosted industrial growth. The Great Central Railway arrived in 1900, providing an alternative route to London. However this closed in 1966.
Historically the city's economy was based upon hosiery, footwear and, especially in the 20th century, engineering. Major industries in Leicester today include food processing, hosiery, footwear, knitwear, engineering, electronics, printing and plastics.
The name Leicester is believed to derive from the words castra (camp) of the Ligore, meaning dwellers on the 'River Legro' (an early name for the River Soar). In the early 10th century it was recorded as Ligeraceaster - "the town of the Ligor people". It is referred to in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Ledecestre.
Leicester is one of the largest cities in England, located in the county of the same name (Leicestershire). The city has many historic buildings and f....
BBC Turn Back Time - Part of The History of the High Street season focusing on the Narborough Rd in Leicester. By James Black....