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‘Leicester from a different angle’

  |   Exhibitions, Northlight Blog, Northlight Information

Leicester People’s Photography Gallery, Leicestershire.

An exhibition of photos of the city of Leicester
… by Keith Cooper

Open to the public from May 2nd through to May 31st 2012

At the LPPG in Leicester

  • Monday to Thursday 10:00am to 08:30pm
    Friday and Saturday 10:00am to 04:00pm
    Sunday Closed

Keith Cooper is a Leicester based architectural photographer who has turned his lens on his home city, with a series of large architectural photographs emphasising some well known Leicester locations in new and striking ways, including one single print of the city centre over 14 metres (~47 feet) long.

All of the prints are available for sale.

Keith is producing the entire work himself, from photography right through image editing to printing.

  • June 7th – Exhibition extended until Saturday June 16th
  • May 30th – Exhibition extended until June 11th, although Gallery is closed 4th and 5th June for public holidays.
  • May 10th – Second feature in the Leicester Mercury.
  • May 7th – Keith has written an article about the making of the large Leicester print
  • May 4th – Keith is interviewed about the big Leicester picture on the BBC
  • May 2nd – The exhibition is open to the public
  • May 1st – Prints are going up. The 14 m long print is now up on the wall. The big print on Innova IFA36 glossy Canvasand all the exhibition prints, were printed on our specialist Canon iPF8300 printer
  • April 29th – All exhibition images added to page
  • April 23rd – First public showing (above) of the city centre image.
  • April 20th – A feature about the exhibition in the Leicester Mercury.
  • April 18th – Press release for the exhibition.
  • April 17th – We’re pleased to announce that Keith will be using media from the Innova Digital Art paper and canvas range for the prints of the exhibition.
    Keith has worked with Innova in the past, testing new fine art media and selected several of their papers for this exhibition.
  • April 10th – All images ready for printing, with the final version of the city photo reduced to 6.3GB for printing – down from the 23GB ‘working’ version.
exhibition flyer

Leicester City Centre

This photograph is taken from the open space between the intersection of 7 city streets – however, physically there is no point you can stand that will give you this exact view.

The picture shows views along, from left to right:
Cheapside – Silver Street – High Street – Churchgate – Belgrave Gate – Humberstone Gate – Gallowtree Gate

Everyone of these streets appears on Medieval maps, but interestingly, only 3 of them – Cheapside, High Street and Silver Street – would have been within the city walls.

A zoomable high resolution version of this image can be viewed on our high resolution photography page

leicester at dusk
  • Note that this image is available as a print in a range of sizes starting at 9cm x 108 cm (42 inches wide) at £25 (inc. VAT)

The actual print, with Keith Cooper pointing out a feature at the exhibition opening.

Photograph information

Canon EOS 1Ds mark 3 (21MP). Multiple shots with EF50/1.4 lens. Individual sections taken at same time of night over three successive evenings at the same time relative to sunset
Camera mounted on Gigapan Epic Pro motorised panoramic head. Images stitched with Autopano Giga software

large print of city centre on wall


Although Cheapside is not specifically named on Mediaeval maps, it is easy to identify where it was. It is quite likely it is ancient right of way into the market and probably formed part of the wide lane through which the livestock was driven to market. The name is derived from the Anglo Saxon word ‘Cheap’ , which means ‘market’ – and the name is another indication of the age of the thoroughfare.

Silver Street

Another one of the roads that would have fallen within the Mediaeval city wall. During this time, Silver Street was called Sheepmarket – almost certainly an indication of the activity that took place there.

High Street

Now a major thoroughfare into the city centre, High Street was originally known as Swinesmarket and led, as it does now onto Highcross Street, which during Mediaeval times would have been called High Street! At some point the ancient High Street took the name of High Cross Street (as it was where the market High Cross stood) and Swinesmarket became High Street. The intersection of High Street and Highcross Street formed part of the boundary of the Roman settlement.

East Gate

Unusually, in this case the word gate in the street name actually means a gate (rather than street). The East Gate referred to here was in the East Wall of both the Roman and Mediaeval towns, at the bottom of High Street, facing what is now the entrance to the Highcross Shopping Centre. The pedestrianised area between the Clock Tower and High Street (from where this photograph was taken) is now called East Gates and if you look closely at the photograph, you should be able to see street signs for East Gates above the Carphone Warehouse, Laura Ashley and the black and white mock timber building on the corner of Church Gate

Church Gate

Medieval maps show the top half of Churchgate was commonly called Gosewell Gate and Church Gate is shown as starting much further down, after the junction of what is now called Mansfield Street. The name Church Gate is fairly self-explanatory and means the street leading to the church – in this case, St Margaret’s.

Belgrave Gate

The top half of this ancient thoroughfare was known, until 1867, as Haymarket as – unsurprisingly – hay and straw were sold here. Belgrave Gate was an extension of Haymarket and led to the village of Belgrave.

Humberstone Gate

Marked as Humberstone Gate on the earliest of maps and led to the village of Humberstone.

Gallowtree Gate

Gallowtree Gate follows the line of the Medieval wall and originally ran from the what is now the site of the Clock Tower to the end of Evington Footway (nearly opposite the gates of Victoria Park) – where the gallows were located.

The Haymarket Memorial Clock Tower

Officially commissioned as a memorial to 4 Leicester benefactors – Simon de Montfort, William Wyggeston, Sir Thomas White and Alderman Gabriel Newton – the Clock Tower was really designed to solve traffic congestion around Haymarket.

£900 was raised from public subscribers and the final £1,000 came from the Borough Corporation. This Grade II Listed Building – which was completed in 1868 – was designed by Joseph Goddard and the tower is built in Ketton Stone, with a base of Mountsorrel Granite and the statues in Portland Stone.

In 1903 a complicated system of tram lines were laid around the tower – making it not just a pedestrian refuge, but possibly also one of the first traffic islands in the country.

Canon EOS 1Ds mark 3 (21MP) TS-E17mm shift lens

clock tower at dusk
The Corn Exchange

The original building on this site – The Gainsborough – was built in 1509 and replaced in 1748 by the New Gainsborough – or more officially The Exchange. In 1850 this building was replaced by the Corn Exchange – but as it was originally built as a single storey building, it’s unlikely we would recognise it as the building we know today. In 1856 a second storey was added and to avoid ‘unsightly damage’ to the interior, the stairs were built on the outside of the building – in apparently the style of a Venetian bridge. Records show that cheese was sold on the ground floor and grain on the second – which was also used for public functions.

Canon EOS 1Ds mark 3 (21MP) TS-E17mm shift lens

corn exchange at Leicester market
The Entrance to Leicester Market

The stylish and striking gateway we see in this picture is a more modern addition to what is in fact an ancient public space. Commissioned by Leicester City Council and the Market Trader’s Association, the gateway – designed by John Clinch – was erected in 1997 to celebrate the 700 year anniversary of the market’s foundation.

Now open 6 days a week, the market charter, granted by the Earl of Leicester in 1298, allowed for only 1 market a week, on a Saturday – the market as a result was more commonly called the Saturday Market (a term used as a place name on maps, as well as a description of the event), but is sometimes referred to as the Earl’s Market.

The market place now, as in Medieval times, follows the line of Gallowtree Gate, which in turn traces the easternmost wall of the Medieval town.

Canon EOS 1Ds (11MP) TS-E24mm shift lens

entrance to Leicester market
The Guildhall (Gildhall) and Leicester Cathedral

The Grade I Listed Guildhall – or to give it its proper Medieval styling, Gildhall – was built by the Gild of Corpus Christi (the principle businessmen of the town). The earliest part of this impressive, timber framed building dates from circa 1390 and was substantially added to in the mid 15th century. In 1632 the Town Library moved to the Guildhall from St Martin’s Church – and remains there today as the third oldest library in the country.

Used primarily by the Gild as a meeting place, it was also used, from the end of the 14th century, by the Corporation of Leicester and was bought by them when all Gilds were disbanded by the 1548 Chantry Act. While no date is given for the purchase of the Guildhall, the conveyance for the property, dated 1563, is still in existence. From the point of purchase, the Guildhall was used as the Town Hall, until 1875.

In 1863 the Guildhall became the headquarters of the first Leicester police force – and an old timber kitchen block was replaced with the brick built cells that still exist today. The Guildhall was extensively restored between 1922 and 1926 and was opened as a museum in 1926.

The picture also shows the spire of the Cathedral Church of St Martin – which once, as a humble parish church, housed the Chapel of the Gild of Corpus Christi in its south aisle. It is perhaps therefore no surprise that the Guildhall built by this very gild stands only feet away.

The first record of a church of St Martin on this site dates from 1086, however it is believed that this foundation replaced an earlier, Saxon church (it has also been suggested that this Saxon church was built on the site of a Roman basilica). St Martin’s was made a cathedral in 1927, after the establishment of the Diocese of Leicester in 1926.

Canon EOS 1Ds mark 3 (21MP) TS-E17mm shift lens

guild hall at night
The Parish Church of St Nicholas

Widely considered to be the oldest church in Leicester. While the Saxon origins of this unusual church are in no doubt – the oldest architecture within the church dates from circa 900, the earliest date of establishment of a church on the site often can be questioned. Dating evidence is based on the claim that St Nicholas was the cathedral church of the Bishop of the Middle Angles, an office thought to be in existence as early as circa 680 – however the bishopric can only be definitely dated from 737. It is however worth noting that the latest date of 900 still makes St Nicholas the oldest church in the city by quite a large margin.

The church is thought to be built on part of the site of the palaestra (exercise area) of the Roman Baths and although archaeological excavations have proved somewhat inconclusive, a dig in the 1970s found foundations running some 50 inches below the floor of the church, which are in alignment with the arches of the Jewry Wall.

As well as the obvious presence of the Jewry Wall in the photograph, Roman columns erected in the churchyard can also be quite clearly seen and if you look carefully you should be also be able to spot a double row of red Roman bricks in the base of the church tower. Roman tiles have also been used in a Saxon arch in the north wall of the nave.

Canon EOS 1Ds mark 3 (21MP) Multiple shots with EF50/1.4 lens. Camera mounted on Gigapan Epic Pro motorised panoramic head
Images stitched with Autopano Giga software

St Nicholas church, Leicester
St Mary de Castro and the Castle Yard

St Mary de Castro – or St Mary of the Castle was founded as a collegiate (non-monastic) chapel in circa 1107, by Robert de Beaumont, first earl of Leicester. The church – a Grade I Listed Building – is unusually built within the precincts of the castle.

The needle (or crocketed) spire which so dominates this picture was first built circa 1400 was re-built in 1785 and the tower it sits on – the foundations and walls of which are built within the nave of the church – was built in circa 1300.

An historically, as well as architecturally significant building, it is claimed that Geoffrey Chaucer married the sister-in-law of John of Gaunt in the church during the 14th century and that a 5 year old Henry VI was knighted in the chapel in circa 1426.

The black and white timber framed building shown on the left of the picture is the Tudor Gatehouse to the castle precincts and was built in the mid 1455, to replace the previous gatehouse that had been destroyed by fire. The Castle Green can be seen in the foreground of the picture – an area reputedly used for executions.

At the end of the churchyard wall, to the right of the picture, can be seen the Turret Gatehouse commonly known as Rupert’s Gateway – and rising above that on the skyline, is the Hugh Aston Building, the newest building on the De Montfort University Campus.

Canon EOS 1Ds mark 3 (21MP) Multiple shots with EF50/1.4 lens
Camera mounted on Gigapan Epic Pro motorised panoramic head. Images stitched with Autopano Giga software.

St Mary de Castro from the Castle yard
Rupert’s Gateway or the Turret Gate

Formally known as the Turret Gate, but fondly know by Leicester folk as Rupert’s Gateway, this substantial arch was built in 1422 and was one of only 2 entrances into the castle precincts.

The gateway was damaged in 1645 during the siege of Leicester (when the castle was defended by Prince Rupert – hence the familial name) and again in 1832 during an election riot.

This photograph was taken from just inside the castle wall, looking through the gateway to the
De Montfort University campus beyond.

Canon EOS 1Ds mark 3 (21MP) Multiple shots with EF50/1.4 lens
Camera mounted on Gigapan Epic Pro motorised panoramic head. Images stitched with Autopano Giga software.

The Crescent – Numbers 1 to 14 King Street

Another Grade II Listed building, this concave, brick terrace was built between 1826 – 1828, to the design of William Firmadge.

Inspired by the Royal Crescent at Bath and following the latest architectural trends, the crescent was part of a major re-development of the area, which included large Regency villas and terraces along New Walk and Princess Road, as well as tiny 2 room cottages (further along King Street).

Restored in 1971-1978, The Crescent is now a purely commercial development, but does in the past seemed to have been residential.

Canon EOS 1Ds mark 3 (21MP), Multiple shots with EF50/1.4 lens
Camera mounted on Gigapan Epic Pro motorised panoramic head. Images stitched with Autopano Giga software

New Walk Centre – Leicester City Council Offices

The two towers that constitute the New Walk Centre were completed in 1975. Built as a speculative venture as office blocks and designed by Newman, Levinson and Partners, the buildings were taken over by Leicester City Council – enabling them to consolidate their many, scattered offices.

In December 2010 staff were moved out of some areas of the building as they were deemed unsafe. In December 2011 it was announced the entire complex would be demolished. (demolished Spring 2015)

New Walk Centre
New Walk

This major – and still unique – Leicester landmark was laid out in 1785 and was originally known as Queen’s Walk (in honour of Charlotte, wife of George II), later as Ladies’ Walk and then finally the name familiar to us today.

The walk started at Welford Road and was designed to link the town centre to the Race Course – the area we now know as Victoria Park. The walk follows the line of the ancient Gartree Road or, as the Romans would have known it, the Via Devana.

Building on New Walk for almost the first 40 years was forbidden – although St Joseph’s Catholic Church, was able to get round this prohibition in 1818 by building its entrance on Wellington Street. From 1824 building development was allowed, on the strict proviso that all access to the properties via New Walk was on foot only – so as today no vehicular access – and that no building was closer than 10 yards (9 m) to the Walk .

Building work began from the town end and very little of the development that followed was planned – parcels of land were simply sold off to individual developers. The photograph shows, to the right, house numbers 27 to 37, which was also known as Provincial House – a terrace built some time between 1824 and 1844. These buildings are Grade II Listed. The office buildings on the left were built in the 1960s when the original 19th Century buildings, which were in very poor repair, were demolished.

Many of the buildings along New Walk have now been converted for commercial use, but residential properties do still exist.

Canon EOS 1Ds mark 3 (21MP) TS-E17mm shift lens

new walk, Leicester
The Tree in Museum Square, New Walk

Museum Square is one of three green open areas laid out along New Walk and as the name suggests, is adjacent to the museum.

The buildings surrounding the square are a mixture of styles and dates, in keeping with the piecemeal development of New Walk. The buildings to the left of the tree are red brick Regency terraces – likely built after 1824, when development on New Walk was first allowed and before 1840. The houses to the right of the tree are an Italianate terrace, built in 1852.

The tree in the middle of museum square
Leicester Museum and Art Gallery, New Walk

A Grade II Listed building, originally built in 1836 by J A Hansom (who also invented the Hansom Cab) as the Nonconformist Proprietary School.

In 1845 the Museums Act was passed, which gave municipal boroughs with a population of over 10,000 the power to establish museums. In 1848 the school – which by then was failing to attract sufficient numbers of students – was purchased by the Leicester Corporation and in July 1849 the Leicester Museum and Art Gallery was opened. The museum was extended in 1867 and then again in 1930.

The museum became the meeting place of the Leicester Literary and Philosophical Society and their small collection of artefacts were donated to the museum. Interestingly, the society had previously met in the Central Lending Library – the very building the exhibition is taking place.

Canon EOS 1Ds mark 3 (21MP) TS-E17mm shift lens

Leicester museum
De Montfort Square, New Walk

As with the rest of New Walk, De Montfort Square was developed in a very piecemeal fashion. The houses along the bottom of the
square (when looking at the square from De Montfort Street) were built sometime between 1822 and 1844. House numbers 1 to 11 have Grade II listed building status.

The houses on the left of the square, facing New Walk (and actually on Princess Road East) were built in the mid-1860s by William Rushin, all to a standard design. Some of this terrace has at some point been demolished and Waterloo Way now cuts along the bottom left hand corner of the square.

The statue, which dominates the picture is of Evangelical preacher Robert Hall – who was born in Arnesby. The statue was erected in 1871 and is by John Birnie, who also worked on the Albert Memorial.

In 2004, 6 carved granite semicircular seats by sculptor Graeme Mitcheson were placed near to the statue.

Canon EOS 1Ds mark 3 (21MP)
Multiple shots with TS-E90mm lens
Camera mounted on Gigapan Epic Pro motorised panoramic head
Images stitched with Autopano Giga software

The War Memorial – Victoria Park

A striking and moving memorial to the dead of both world wars – this quadrifons (four-faced) arch was designed by Edwin Lutyens and dedicated in 1925. The arch is built in Portland Stone and is a smaller replica of an arch he built in New Delhi.

The memorial stands on high ground in Victoria Park and is approached by a processional way – Peace Walk – from University Road.

Canon EOS 1Ds mark 3 (21MP) TS-E17mm shift lens

war memorial, Victoria park
St George’s Central – The Blue Tower

Built in the 1960s, St George’s Tower, formerly the home of British Telecom in Leicester – was given a total overhaul in 2007 and re-launched as St George’s Central. The tower is more commonly know to locals as the Blue Tower because of the rather controversial colour change, made as part of the re-development of the building.

Canon EOS 1Ds mark 3 (21MP) TS-E17mm shift lens

St georges tower and Elisabeth house
Charles Street Police Station

A Grade II Listed building – listed as ‘a distinguished example of civic architecture’ – the Charles Street Police Station was built
in 1933 by architects G Noel Hill and A T Gorman from the Leicester City Architects Department. The imposing building is constructed in Portland Stone ashlar and grey brick. Planning approval for change of use to the commercial premises we see now was given in 2006.

Canon EOS 1Ds mark 3 (21MP) TS-E17mm shift lens

charles street police station
Curve Theatre

Designed by world renowned architect Rafael Vinoly – and described by the judges of the RIBA awards as ‘genuinely iconic’ – the 750 seat theatre opened in November 2008 as a replacement for the Haymarket Theatre. As well as the main auditorium, the building also houses a smaller 350 seat studio theatre plus its own rehearsal rooms, a café and bar.

Canon EOS 1Ds mark 3 (21MP) TS-E17mm shift lens

Curve at night

Exhibition Print Prices

Print name Print size in exhibition Smaller print sizes available Unmounted print costs
City centre (reduced size) 9cm x 110cm £25.00
The Entrance to Leicester Market 22″ x 22″ £75.00 12″ x 12″ £33.00
The Haymarket Memorial Clock Tower 35″ x 24″ £120.00 18″ x 12″ £43.00
The Corn Exchange 35″ x 24″ £120.00 18″ x 12″ £43.00
The Guildhall (Gildhall) and Leicester Cathedral 35″ x 24″ £120.00 18″ x 12″ £43.00
New Walk Centre – Leicester City Council Offices 35″ x 24″ £120.00 18″ x 12″ £43.00
New Walk 35″ x 24″ £120.00 18″ x 12″ £43.00
The War Memorial – Victoria Park 35″ x 24″ £120.00 18″ x 12″ £43.00
St George’s Central – The Blue Tower 35″ x 24″ £120.00 18″ x 12″ £43.00
Charles Street Police Station 35″ x 24″ £120.00 18″ x 12″ £43.00
Curve Theatre 35″ x 24″ £120.00 18″ x 12″ £43.00
Leicester Museum and Art Gallery, New Walk 36″ x 36″ £180.00 18″ x 18″ £59.00
The Parish Church of St Nicholas 36″ x 69″ £340.00 18″ x 35″ £95.00
Rupert’s Gateway or the Turret Gate 43″ x 28″ £170.00 21″ x 14″ £59.00
St Mary de Castro and the Castle Yard 43″ x 43″ £260.00 22″ x 22″ £75.00
The Crescent – Numbers 1 to 14 King Street 43″ x 43″ £260.00 22″ x 22″ £75.00
The Tree in Museum Square, New Walk 43″ x 43″ £260.00 22″ x 22″ £75.00
De Montfort Square, New Walk 83″ x 23″ £280.00 41″ x 11″ £79.00

The actual prints in the exhibition are available at the end of the show. Please note that the prices shown are for collection at the gallery and include VAT at 20%. For orders via the web, please contact us directly at Northlight Images, where we can explain shipping options and costs

Prints (for local collection/delivery) are also available mounted to foamboard or mounted and laminated to foamboard – contact Keith Cooper for more details

Custom print sizes are also available to special order