Central Leicester Campus

Archive Unit

Administrative / Biographical History

The first premises of the Leicester School of Art were in a disused warehouse on Pocklington's Walk, while the Leicester Technical School was based in the Wyggeston Hospital School. When the two institutions were merged in 1897 and brought under control of Leicester City Council, a new site was found where they could operate together. Now the Hawthorn Building, this was for several years the only building used by the institution.

After the Second World War the Hawthorn Building became too small and additional buildings were sought including the Lero Buildings at Painter Street from 1946, the Downings Buildings in Newarke Street in 1947 and the Boulevard Buildings on Western Boulevard in 1953. It was always considered preferable to expand locally, and when housing in the streets around the Hawthorn Building was earmarked for slum clearance the Colleges negotiated to use the land. This led to the construction of the Fletcher and James Went buildings in the 1960s and early 1970s. As well as creating new buildings in the area, the Polytechnic took over existing industrial or office sites and converted them to educational use, including the Clephan, Stibbe, Gateway, John Whitehead, Trinity, Bosworth House and Portland Buildings.

Following expansion into and then sale of other campus sites in the 1990s DMU brought its focus back to the central Leicester campus in the 2000s, beginning a process of regeneration. This work included the demolition of James Went and construction of Hugh Aston and the Magazine Square, the expansion and refurbishment of Bosworth House (now Edith Murphy), and the rebuilding of the Stibbe Building (now the Campus Centre). In 2014-2017 the Campus Transformation project saw the construction of a new leisure centre and an events venue on Western Boulevard, the total renovation of the Fletcher Building, now called the Vijay Patel Building, and the renovation of Leicester Castle as part of the Business School.