The Newarke Houses Museum is one of the public museums, located in Leicester, England. Skeffington House and Wygston’s Chantry House were built around 1511 in Leicester, which is today at the centre of the De Montfort University campus. Newarke Houses are home to collections from the Leicestershire Regiment.
The two houses, owned by Thomas Skeffington and William Wygston, take visitors on an interesting historical journey with items and objects that date back to the Tudor times. In 1953, both properties were converted into a museum, to add to the celebration surrounding the Queen’s coronation.
Amongst the various items displayed are several possessions of Daniel Lambert, one of the 18th-century residents of Leicester who weighed in at more than 50 stone (320 kg). He gained fame as the largest man in Britain at the time and is still a famous icon in this city. Some of his displayed possessions include his chair and some items of clothing.
The museum is also home to a 1950s Leicester street scene which was modelled in Wharf Street with various model shops, along with a toy exhibition from Tudor times, following up to the present.
There are also collections relating to Leicester’s hosiery and industrial industry, such as Wolsey and Cora’s, which were once major clothing companies in Leicester.
From 2014 to 2018, the Museum hosted a ‘rolling series’ of exhibitions to mark the centenary relating to the First World War, which was entitled ‘Leicester Remembers’. The Newarke Houses also house large collections of various items that relate to what life was like during these wars. Some of these items also include gas masks and a Morrison Shelter that reflects the ‘Home Front”‘ during the Second World War.
After browsing the interesting and thought-provoking collections, many visitors take the opportunity to relax in the stunning public gardens. The gardens are set out on a separate side from the main building which extends out into this peaceful setting. These have been laid to medieval-style box hedges in maze-like geometric patterns.
In Victorian times these gardens were stocked with a wide selection of exotic plants and trees, many of which are still alive today. The wall at the end of this garden features gun loops cut into it, by the Round-heads who formed a part of Cromwell’s troops. This event occurred during the English Civil War in 1645 when Prince Rupert the Cavalier decided to besiege this town.