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Medieval Magazine Building closes temporarily for repairs

Published on 25 May 2017

ONE of Leicester’s best-know medieval landmarks is temporarily closing its doors to the public due to it needing repairs to its parapets.

The 15th century Magazine Building near Newarke Houses Museum, was due to be one of the visitor attractions at this weekend’s Heritage Sunday event, but has instead closed its doors temporarily to allow the repairs to be carried out.

Two cracks were discovered on the medieval building’s parapet, along with damaged stonework on the main staircase, during routine maintenance work earlier this week. 

Conservation officers, archaeologists and the city council’s building control team agreed to close the building to allow further investigations and repairs to be carried out.

Security fencing has now been put in place around the Magazine, with scaffolding due to be installed next week, to enable experts to investigate more fully the extent of the work needed.

Any repair work needed has to be agreed beforehand with Historic England, because the Magazine is a scheduled ancient monument and Grade I listed building. 

It is not yet known for how long it will be closed. 

Leicester City Council’s heritage manager Sally Coleman said: “The Magazine Building is one of the city’s most prominent medieval buildings, which would have existed when King Richard III rode out to battle in 1485, but unfortunately the centuries of wear and tear mean it does need regular maintenance.

“During our recent routine repairs, some additional damage was discovered, and in order to ensure people’s safety, we’ve taken the decision to close it to visitors while we investigate further.

“Once we know exactly the extent of the work needed, we’ll have a clearer idea of how long the repairs will take, and when it can reopen. 

“It is a shame because the Magazine was due to feature in our Heritage Sunday event this weekend. It is a popular visitor attraction and the Heritage Sundays give a rare chance to see inside this fascinating building.

“But we’ve got to put public safety first, which means closing it while we investigate. 

“Hopefully the work can be carried out promptly, and the Magazine can take its proper place on the city’s heritage map once more.”

Heritage Sunday tours and open days take place on the last Sunday of each month from May to November 2017. 

Visitors get a chance to explore and learn more about the cream of the city’s historic sites. 

Buildings involved in the events include Leicester Castle’s Great Hall and Castle Motte, the Trinity Hospital Chapel and Trinity House herb garden, the Turret Gateway, St Mary De Castro, Newarke Houses Museum and its gardens, and De Montfort University Heritage Centre which contains the only surviving remains of the Church of Annunciation, where King Richard III’s body was displayed following his death at Bosworth in 1485. 

More details are available from www.visitleicester.info

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