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With a population approaching half a million Leicester is one of the fastest growing and most diverse cities in the UK. The city is home to many nationalities, languages and faiths. Accurate figures, until the next census, are hard to come by but anecdotally Leicester is the only city in Britain with a minority White British population. A Labour Party stronghold with a directly elected Mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby, Leicester voted to Remain in the 2016 referendum on the European Union.

The city has grown favourably in public consciousness and on the tourist trail in recent years. This is in part because of the discovery of Richard III’s remains (centre); his Visitor Centre has become one of the country’s top museums. It is also because of its exceptional football team. Leicester City FC, known as the Fearless Foxes, became Premier League champions in 2016 (top right). One of their most devoted supporters, and one of Leicester’s ‘favourite sons’ is Gary Lineker (centre left), the former Leicester and England footballer who presents Match of the Day for the BBC. Lineker, who shares the ‘Remain’ sentiments of Leicester, speaks and tweets vociferously on political matters and is also well known for his views on refugees; ‘I will continue to speak up for refugees and immigrants and British values of tolerance and free speech’.

Amongst Leicester’s other favourite sons are the Attenborough’s. Frederick Attenborough, the father of both Lord Richard and Sir David Attenborough (bottom right), was principal of University College Leicester from 1932 to 1951. Richard and David attended Wyggeston Grammar School, and the family lived on campus in College House, where the devoutly Methodist Attenborough’s took in two Jewish refugee girls from the Kindertransport, who grew up with Richard and David. Under Frederick Attenborough’s leadership University College grew in size and stature, and became the University of  Leicester in 1957.The late Richard Attenborough was a distinguished actor and film director. He founded and endowed the Attenborough Arts Centre at the University of Leicester, which the family, including his theatre director son Michael, continue to support. Richard collected Picasso ceramics from the 1950’s, 75 of which were gifted to the New Walk Museum after his death. Sir David Attenborough, now a national treasure, retains numerous connections to his home city, supporting natural sciences, arts and academia.

There are two major universities in Leicester, both have innovative buildings on their campuses. Leicester University’s once radical, glass roofed engineering building (bottom left) was designed by James Stirling and James Gowan and is now a listed building. The National Space Centre (centre left), designed by Nicholas Grimshaw, has become one of Leicester most iconic buildings. It houses a museum, an education centre and the University’s space research programme. Many of the displays, such as upright rockets, are housed in the 42m high Rocket Tower which has slim steel supports and a semi-transparent cladding of plastic ‘pillows’.

New architecture can be found all over the city. De Montfort University’s award-winning Vijay Patel Building (centre right) was designed by local CPMG architects and houses the art and design faculty. The Curve Theatre (top left), designed by international architects Rafael Viñoly, is the anchor building for the new ‘cultural quarter’ in St. George’s Conservation Area. Retail flourishes in the modern shopping centres, as well as around the ornate Highcross memorial clock tower (upper right) and in the back lanes. There is an exceptionally diverse and wellsupported cultural and arts scene. Leicester produced the musicians Engelbert Humperdinck, Showaddywaddy, The Deep Freeze Mice, Cornershop, Deep Purple’s Jon Lord, half of Dire Straits and Kasabian. Best known currently is singer and songwriter Mahalia (centre).