Nestled in part of Leicester Old Town, The Guildhall Museum is one of the few spots that offer visitors the opportunity to take a step back in time and explore the city’s rich history. Housed within the historic Guildhall building, the museum’s collections offer a fascinating glimpse into Leicester’s past, from its Roman origins to the present day.
Walking through the museum’s doors is like stepping into a time machine. You are greeted with displays of Roman pottery, coins, and jewellery, all offering a glimpse into what life was like in Leicester over two thousand years ago. From there, the journey through time continues, with exhibits showcasing the location’s medieval past, its role during World War II, and its transformation into the vibrant city it is today.
One of the most catching aspects of The Guildhall Museum is its awe-inspiring collection of Roman artefacts. Featuring a diverse array of objects that have been excavated from the surrounding areas of Leicester over the years, this exhibit reveals the fascinating story of the city’s Roman past. From the humble origins of Leicester as a small settlement to its subsequent growth under the Roman regime, you get the opportunity to marvel at a range of intricate mosaics, pottery, and jewellery that offer an intimate glimpse into the lives of people who once lived here.
Moving on from the Roman exhibits, visitors can explore the museum’s collection of medieval treasures. These include everything from illuminated manuscripts to suits of armour. One of the standout objects in this collection is the Leicester Corpus Christi Pageant Book, a beautifully illustrated manuscript that tells the story of the city’s annual Corpus Christi celebrations.
Having served as a meeting place for the city’s civic leaders for more than half a millennium, the Guildhall building itself also holds major historical significance. Visitors get the opportunity to experience the structure’s unique architecture, which features an array of medieval features, including a Great Hall that dates back to the 1300s. The history of the building is palpable, and you can almost feel the weight of centuries of civic decision-making as you walk through the halls.
During the second world war, the Guildhall building played an important role in protecting the city’s citizens. When air raids threatened Leicester, the building’s basement was transformed into a shelter to protect those seeking refuge from the bombs that fell from the sky. The museum’s exhibits include personal accounts and photos of people who survived the war, acting as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by those who came before us.
If you have an interest in the history of Leicester, the Guildhall Museum is a must-visit. From its Roman origins to its role in the second world war and its vibrant present, the museum’s exhibits and collections will certainly take you on a fascinating trip through time.