A Brief History Of Leicester

Dating back over 2000 years, Leicester is one of the oldest cities in England and has much to interest historians. The history of the origins of Leicester are, of course, lost in time. However, there are two main theories about the origin of the settlement now known as Leicester.

This theory is supported by the name the Romans are known to have given the settlement, Ratae Corieltauvorum. The other theory is that the mythical British King, Leir, founded the settlement Kaerleir around the same time that the Celts were supposedly in the region. King Leir, is supposed to be buried under the River Soar!

What we know is that around 47 or 48 AD, the Romans built a fort, then, in about 50 AD the city grew around it. Ratae Corieltauvorum was important to the Romans, he was one of the key test positions in a major Roman road, Via Fosse, which connected are now Exeter and Lincoln. Quickly becoming a market town for local people and their products, the settlement thrived on the trade that the Romans brought to the region. The main feature still visible in Leicester of the Roman occupation is the Jewry Wall and its bathroom.

As with most of England, little is known of Leicester's history during the Middle Ages, after the departure of the Romans. The artifacts were found showing that Leicester, alongside its farming community were weavers, potters, blacksmiths and carpenters. The Bishop ran that for a canonical reason, left Leicester without a Bishop until the twentieth century.

The Norman Conquest sees Leicester mentioned in the Doomsday book as Ledcestre. The name is thought to have been derived from Ligeraceaster; a combination of Castra - Camp and Ligore - Legro, an original name of the river rises. In medieval times Leicester was a city of some importance. As was the custom in those days Leicester was ruled by a count. Unfortunately, in 1173, Robert - Earl of Leicester - rebelled against the king (Henry II), causing the citizens much suffering, indeed such was the king's wrath with Robert that many were killed. It was in the Middle Ages that Leicester became known for the quality of the wool fabric and produced socks he made of wool. At that time, the leather is also an important industry in Leicester, giving rise to its association with shoes and shoes.

In 1464 trade was so strong that traders cities could form a corporation and Leicester could then elect its mayor to run the city. Around 1500, the population has doubled in 3000 and continued to rise despite the frequent outbreaks of plague which could decimate the population of a city. In 1619, the city was granted a coat of arms. During the English Civil War Leicester told MEPs and was laid siege by the royalists in 1645 that, after breaking the city wall, again killed many inhabitants. In the early 18th century the population doubled again in 6000 and the birth of the industrial revolution saw both the population and prosperity of Leicester flourish. At the end of the 18th century, the opening of the Soar canal in 1794 literally fueled the boom in the industry, providing methods cheap and fast transport of coal and iron Leicester.

1801 first national census gives the population of Leicester as 17,000. The city developed rapidly and places that were once rural properties were included in the city as neighborhoods. In 1832 Leicester got its first railway line in 1857 and got a line connecting London. Leicester has its first public library in 1871, ten years later its first telephone exchange and in 1894 its first electric street lights. A period of expansion of light engineering took place when the Imperial Typewriter Company set up facilities in the city and between 1908 and 1950, the number of people employed in light engineering in the city has more than doubled from 6000 to 13,500.

Leicester escaped any heavy bombing during the Second World War, but a back-slums program was initiated in 1945 to rid the city of much of the old housing, built in the boom years of the previous century. At that time, there was influx of Jewish refugees from Latvia and Poland to the city. They were followed in 1950 by immigrants from the Caribbean, then in the 1960s, the population was swelled by the arrival of Asian immigrants.

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