Thursday, July 09, 2015

The tessellated Roman pavement under Leicester Central

This doorway across one of the arches beneath Leicester Central station may not look much, but their is an exciting story behind it.

Railway Archive tells that story:
The Blackfriars tessellated Roman pavement was believed to have been constructed between the years 70 and 85 AD., during the period of rule under the Governor, Julius Agricola. It remained hidden until 1832 when it was uncovered in the basement of a house at 53 Jewry Wall Street. 
This house was later demolished to make way for the Great Central Railway's Leicester Central station, but a special chamber was built around the mosaic (beneath the station) to protect it and provide public access. It survived like this until the late 1970's when the mosaic was removed to the nearby Jewry Wall Museum.
It's an extraordinary thought that it was possible to view the pavement beneath Leicester Central for a decade after the station had closed. And this was the doorway to its chamber.

The photo below shows the Jewry Wall Museum, where you can see the pavement today. It is taken through an arch of the Jewry Wall - the second largest surviving piece of Roman civilian building in Britain.

Today came news that the city council is to buy the former Vaughan College, which stands next to the museum.

The Leicester Mercury quotes Sir Peter Soulsby:
"Vaughan College is an excellent example of a building of its time, and is one of the very few city buildings from the 1960s to be listed. 
"By bringing it into the city council's ownership, we will be able to think creatively about the entire building and look at the full potential of this site. 
"It also gives us an opportunity to refresh our Jewry Wall museum, which – with its Roman masonry, mosaics and wall plasters – reflects such an important part of Leicester's history."


Anonymous said...

The pavement is rather underwhelming, but thanks.

Anonymous said...

Have you seen it? It's one of the best from Roman Britain!