Friday, March 30, 2018

Wharf Street receives its due in a Leicester museum

Last time I visited Leicester's Newarke Houses Museum I watched a video about the clearance of the city's slums.

Praising the council's efforts and refusing to admit that anything was lost in the process, it was like something out of Eastern Europe before the Iron Curtain came down.

I won't say I walked out in protest, but I didn't make it to the end.

Finding myself at a loose end in that part of the city today, I visited the museum again today.

I was delighted to find that some of the shops from Wharf Street had been recreated as they were in the 1940s. Recordings of shopkeepers and customers played as you walked in.

No longer is this area of the city treated as an embarrassing secret. As I tried to convey in a post after visiting it, Wharf Street and the area around it has a history that should be celebrated.

In another post inspired by that visit, I wrote:
Having cleared the slums decades ago, Leicester has found nothing to do with the area since.
That situation may finally be changing.

The Leicester Mercury reported on the first day of this year:
A ... plan has been submitted to Leicester City Council to build a multi-coloured 11 storey residential complex in nearby Wharf Street South with 72 flats above four shops at ground level. 
Platinum Homes has told officials at Leicester City Council the building will create a new gateway between St Matthew’s and the city centre which will be vibrant and eye catching. 
The company says the project, if approved, will help make the area cosmopolitan and dynamic. 
A company spokesman said: “This is an opportunity to create housing for local people and regenerate a part of Leicester that has been neglected in the past. 
“The buildings on the site have been vacant for over ten years and are subject to vandalism and damage. 
“The scheme will bring back the use of this brownfield site to create stylish and contemporary homes for the people of Leicester.” 
He said the building would be a good addition to the city centre landscape.
Wharf Street was vibrant before it was pulled down. It would be good to see it vibrant again.

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