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Richard III: Leicester visitor centre designs unveiled

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Detailed plans and artist's impressions of the proposed Richard III visitor centre have been unveiled.

Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby also revealed the logo and motto, "Dynasty, Death and Discovery" which will accompany the Richard III branding at the museum, in Peacock Lane.

It is expected to be ready by April, said designer Paul East, of Maber Architects.

The £4 million visitor centre will incorporate the king's former grave and could include a full-size replica of his skeleton.

However, a suggestion the actual remains could be put on display before they are reinterred at Leicester Cathedral was dismissed by Sir Peter.

He said: "We are looking at having a series of processions leading up to the reinterment, but we have to treat the remains with dignity and respect.

"Putting them on display might not be the best way to honour that.

"But there's a possibility, a strong one, we'll have a replica of the remains as part of the exhibition."

Loughborough University has expressed an interest in creating a 3D print of the entire skeleton, similar to the replica Richard III skull it produced last year.

The life-size model would sit among interactive displays and story boards focusing on three aspects of the king.

Sir Peter said: "We want to tell the story of the period Richard was alive, which will include the Wars of the Roses.

"We want to tell the story of Richard and explore the man versus the myth and we want to tell the amazing story of the discovery and identification of Richard's remains."

Last year, the council bought the former Alderman Newton School building, which stands next to the car park where the monarch was unearthed.

Some preparatory work on the 150-year-old building, including removing asbestos, started this week.

Workers must await the approval of a planning application – due to be submitted today – before carrying out any major alterations.

The plans show the site will include seven exhibition spaces, a function room, courtyard, shop and cafe.

Architect Paul East said: "We've got some really nice subtle references to the medieval site where the new centre will stand.

"For example, the courtyard will be in Herrick's garden and some of the exhibition spaces will form what was the choir of the Greyfriars abbey."

Alderman Robert Herrick bought the former Greyfriars friary in the early 1600s and built a mansion and garden on the site.

The temporary free exhibition at the Guildhall has had more than 80,000 visitors in four months.

Sir Peter said the new museum would charge for entry, but it was not the time to reveal prices.

"This does have to be something which produces enough revenue to be sustainable," he said.

"People do need to pay if it's going to be more than just a 12-month wonder."

The mayor estimated it would get 100,000 visitors a year, raising £4.5 million.

Richard III: Leicester visitor centre designs unveiled


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