I have never been into Leicester, so we were lucky with a nice day to stroll and explore. We are moored next to Abbey Park and so we went to see the ruined abbey there and other parts of the park. The river Soar runs through the park.
We discovered Cardinal Wolsey died and was buried in the abbey, escaping an even less pleasant ending as he was on his way to the tower of London to be tried for treason. There was a memorial and a statue to him there. I was intrigued by the plaque that stated how the statue was funded.
Not far away was Abbey Pumping Station, which was also a museum. Much of it was about washing, soap, toilets and chamberpots as the pumping station was for sewage, like the steam pumping station we had seen in action in Burton-upon-Trent. This was not in action but had more child friendly explanations which helped me understand the process. It was more compact and in a surprisingly attractive room for a sewage pump.
Out of place from the general lavatorial theme was an exhibit of a knitting machine. They were extending into some local industries and apparently stockings were a big industry in Leicester.
After lunch in the Abbey Park cafe, we crossed into town and found the centre had a lot of pedestrianised areas and information boards on the history of Leicester colour coded by era: Roman, Victorian, Medieval, Edwardian etc We went to the guild hall and it also had a museum. Like the Abbey Pumping Station, it was free to go into and had new exhibitions as well as the main museum items from archeological digs and the guildhall buildings themselves.
Again I found wool had been a major export. We don’t tend to bell our sheep nowadays, but perhaps more necessary in the days before fencing. I hadn’t expected wool and knitting to be a big feature in Leicester.
After that we were a bit museumed out and found a gelateria, most refreshing and had a seat in the sun, by a fountain, which was even more refreshing when the wind changed direction and sprayed us with a fine sprinkling of water.
On our way back home I saw a traditional style statue, but it was in fact fairly recent, which could be guessed by the subject being not a rich man, but a poorly paid woman, who made up most of the workforce for the hosiery industry.
A museum to sewers in the morning and a sewer statue in the afternoon; soar river in the park and sore feet by the end.
I am not sure how this seamstress image meshes with hosiery being knitted, I am guessing they finished them by sewing the seam from flat knit items on the knitting machine. Having recently made socks for the first time there was precious little sewing involved, but used 5 needles, knitting in the round.