Leicester and Richard III

Saturday began our last full day in England, and we caught the train to Leicester on the way back to London so I could see my favorite monarch of English/British history: Richard III. If you follow my Instagram you may have seen my epic r3 Halloween costume, and if you’re on Twitter, you’ll know fake r3chard has retweeted me like 3 times now. We’re basically best internet friends.

Mom and I got into Leicester and decided to try to find a place to leave our luggage. If anyone is looking for a lucrative business to open: start a found luggage in Leicester. We carried our giant bags all over the town with no luck. The Visitors Center couldn’t help us; the museum couldn’t store bags for insurance reasons (fair). We had already bought our tickets, I was tired and hangry, and nothing was going our way. My mom, saint that she is, decided to hole up in a café with tea and cake and babysit our bags while I went to the museum. Not ideal, but at least I got to see what there was to see.

The Richard III Visitor Center is built around the archaeological site where in 2012, archaeologists found the remains of the last Plantagenet. The archaeological story itself is fascinating, because it is not at all usual for an archaeological investigation to find exactly what it is looking for on the first try; but that’s just what happened in this case. There is a Smithsonian documentary all about the discovery available on YouTube here.

The visitor begins in a display about the history of the War of the Roses, family lines, and the reasons for the turmoil that surrounded Richard III’s reign. From there, you travel through the War of the Roses, RIII’s short reign, and his burial at Grey Friar’s Priory. Heading upstairs, visitors encounter a display that discusses the portrayals of Richard as a villain throughout popular culture, from Shakespeare to the recent Benedict Cumberbatch portrayal.

Next, the display walks the visitor through the entire story of the dig from its beginning through to the discovery and analysis of the Richard’s remains. This was great! The timeline included artifacts from the dig, video interviews with the archaeologists and others involved in the venture, and diagrams. The exhibit then represents scientists’ analysis of Richard’s bones through medical testing and forensic recreations. One controversy was that of Richard’s scoliosis; many proponents of R3 have relegated the story of the hunchback king to a tale made up by Shakespeare and other detractors to vilify and lessen the monarch in some way.  When the skeleton was uncovered, it was obvious that the scoliosis was a fact after all.

The visitor center experience ends with a visit to the site where the bones were found in the parking lot that used to house the church. The websitedescribes it as, “the site of King Richard’s burial, preserved in a quiet, respectful setting and with a contemplative atmosphere, fitting for the last resting place of a slain warrior and anointed monarch.” The room is quiet and simple, and a hologram shows where the bones were found within the unit. The volunteer in the room when I visited was incredibly knowledgeable and helpful, pointing out features in the dig that helped to date the remains.

Across the courtyard from the visitor center stand Leicester Cathedral, where the remains of Richard are interred. The church also has a display about Richard and his discovery and subsequent reburial (and a giftshop, too!).

Behind the church another gem is hidden: The Guildhouse. This is a medieval timbered building dating back to 1390 in its oldest part. The architecture and features throughout are gorgeous, from the soaring timbered ceiling to the mantels to the upstairs library. The site is also supposed to be one of the most haunted buildings in Britain, as the helpful museum employee told me as I walked through the building on my own. I managed to scare myself nearly to death when I looked into an old jail cell and saw a mannequin in the darkness.

Through hordes of football fans on their way to a match, we made our way back to the train station and headed back to London, content with our few days in Yorkshire and our day in Leciester. We were back to London for one more night, a classy McDonald’s dinner, and a trip to the Sainsbury for a literal duffel bag full of candies and presents (yet I still managed to forget a can of treacle). Mom and I made it back to South Carolina with no issues, and are already planning our next trip together!

Fall 2017 Student Blog: Oral History

This is the fifteenth in a series of Tuesday re-blogs of my student work from our HIST395 course. Please enjoy these blogs written by Coastal Carolina University students.

This is the second blog by student Morissa Robinson about the importance of oral history. 

By Morissa J Robinson I recently worked on a project in one of my history classes that required us to dig up any information we could find on a person assigned to us and write up a biography entry. Easy, right? Well it wasn’t that simple. Some of us had first and last names to […]

via Why Oral History is Important — Journey into Public History

 

Fall 2017 Student Blog: National History Day

This is the thirteenth in a series of Tuesday re-blogs of my student work from our HIST395 course. Please enjoy these blogs written by Coastal Carolina University students.

This is the second blog by student Tori Peck about National History Day. 

By Tori Peck What is National History Day? It is an event that is independently sponsored by organizations that will hold local and state competitions where elementary, middle school and secondary school students present historical research done on a predetermined topic. Around 3,000 students attend the final competition and they come from all around the […]

via National History Day — Journey into Public History

Fall 2017 Student Blog: Archaeology and Public History

This is the twelfth in a series of Tuesday re-blogs of my student work from our HIST395 course. Please enjoy these blogs written by Coastal Carolina University students.

This blog is by student Bryan Maldonado about Archaeology and Public History.

By Bryan Maldonado DIRT: Archaeology, Artifacts, Bones, and Organizations Archaeology is the study of ancient and recent human remains or material like artifacts in order to get more information about the past culture and the way of life. Artifacts are more than just a rare or ancient object they also tell archaeologist a story or […]

via DIRT: Archaeology, Artifacts, Bones, and Organizations — Journey into Public History

Fall 2017 Student Blog: Battlefield Visits

This is the eleventh in a series of Tuesday re-blogs of my student work from our HIST395 course. Please enjoy these blogs written by Coastal Carolina University students.

This blog is by student Chris Colón about the importance of docents and interpretation at National Parks and Battlefields. 

By Chris Colón When I first became interested in history, I had realized that the reason I was so interested was the way in which my father would teach me about history. He made a great effort to teach me as if he were telling me a story. It was that storytelling aspect that made me […]

via Battlefield Tour Guides — Journey into Public History

Fall 2017 Student Blog: Lincoln Giants

This is the tenth in a series of Tuesday re-blogs of my student work from our HIST395 course. Please enjoy these blogs written by Coastal Carolina University students.

This blog is by student Lontay Greene about the Lincoln Giants.

By Lontay Greene Olympic Field sprouted the roots of a baseball team in New York, that would hold as much cultural impact in the Harlem Renaissance as the singers, poets, and writers. The Lincoln Giants entered the scene of Harlem in the year 1911, under the co-ownership of Jess and Edward McMahon. The Lincoln Giants […]

via Lincoln Giants — Journey into Public History

Fall 2017 Student Blog: Teaching History

This is the ninth in a series of Tuesday re-blogs of my student work from our HIST395 course. Please enjoy these blogs written by Coastal Carolina University students.

This blog is by student Morissa Robinson about teaching history and being a history major. 

 

By Morissa Robinson As a History major I am often asked, “What are you planning to do with that, teach?” The question is usually followed by a self satisfied smirk and the occasional rolling of the eyes. I have to admit the first few times this happened, my feelings were hurt. I would mutter a […]

via To Teach or Not to Teach, That is the Question — Journey into Public History

Fall 2017 Student Blog: Museums and the Male Gaze

This is the seventh in a series of Tuesday re-blogs of my student work from our HIST395 course. Please enjoy these blogs written by Coastal Carolina University students.

This blog is by student Javon Blain about Women’s Museums and the Male Gaze. 

By Javon Blain Around the world there are museums dedicated to almost everything. You have the Air and Space Museum, the African-American History Museum, the Holocaust Museum, and many others. These museums are very beneficial and it can teach everyone at least one thing about the past and present. This blog will focus on women’s […]

via Women’s Museum and the Male Gaze — Journey into Public History

Fall 2017 Student Blog: Sandy Island

This is the sixth in a series of Tuesday re-blogs of my student work from our HIST395 course. Please enjoy these blogs written by Coastal Carolina University students.

This blog is by student Jay Buckley about Sandy Island, SC and preservation. 

By Jay Buckley The Athenaeum Press at Coastal Carolina University works on projects on a regional level that are led by students. While not all of their projects are focused solely in South Carolina, they are all developed, designed, and published out of CCU. The projects that are based in South Carolina have a mission […]

via Sandy Island — Journey into Public History

Fall 2017 Student Blog: Allegheny Passage

This is the fifth in a series of Tuesday re-blogs of my student work from our HIST395 course. Please enjoy these blogs written by Coastal Carolina University students.

This blog is by student Nate Pearson about the history along the Allegheny Passage. 

By Nate Pearson The Great Allegheny Passage is a tremendous system of bike trails linking the cities of Pittsburgh and the Washington DC region. The trails currently span over 150 miles and have earned the nickname “Rails to Trails” due to the fact that they quite literally sit on the old railway lines that fueled […]

via History on the Great Allegheny Passage — Journey into Public History