Richard III dig: Mayor of Leicester considers sites for a museum in city
Mayor of Leicester Sir Peter Soulsby plans to create a Richard III museum and visitor centre after the discovery of remains which could be those of England's last Plantagenet king.
He said a series of properties near the site where archaeologists discovered a skeleton believed to be that of the slain monarch, were under consideration as a tourist attraction.
Though he would not give details of specific buildings, a leading contender is the old Alderman Newton school, part of the former Leicester Grammar School complex in St Martin's, which is next to the council car park where the remains were found in August.
The 1860s property has been disused since the school quit the city centre and moved to Great Glen in 2008.
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It has been bought by developers but remains available to let or for sale.
Sir Peter told people who attended his latest city mayor's lecture at the University of Leicester that he would be announcing plans in the next few weeks.
A member of the audience suggested the city council should buy the Alderman Newton building, to which Sir Peter replied: "You will have to await my announcement. It's a very interesting idea."
He later told the Leicester Mercury: "We do need to do something to tell the story of Richard, the story of Henry Tudor and the story of Bosworth, because they are part of the story of Leicester.
"Fortunately, there are a number of buildings that could be used for this purpose. I am not yet in a position to say which one it could be. We are exploring possible uses with owners.
"We have to be aware these are very difficult financial times, but this is a unique opportunity for Leicester.
"Some modest investment now will be well worth it in the future."
The Mercury contacted the former school's property agents, Andrew and Ashwell, to ask whether the building was available.
Spokesman Malcolm Gray-son said: "I think you will have to wait for his (the mayor's) announcement.
"It is a big building, a nice period property.
"It is, of course, right next to the dig site. I think his leg was found on our side of the wall."
DNA from the remains is being compared with that of Canadian-born furniture maker Michael Ibsen, who was identified as being a direct descendant of the female line in 2006.
University of Leicester scientists have yet to confirm the remains are Richard's, but Sir Peter is convinced they will be.
According to records, Richard was buried in Leicester after his death in the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485.
Leicester Civic Society chairman Stuart Bailey agreed there should be a Richard III visitor centre, but feels nearby Tudor mansion Wyggeston House would be a more appropriate venue as it is of the same period.
He said: "I have been pushing for Wyggeston House, but I can see the attraction of the Alderman Newton School.
"What is important is that the mayor seems determined not to let this wonderful chance for Leicester slip."
University of Leicester archeologist Richard Buckley, who led the Richard III dig, spoke at the city mayor's lecture.
He revealed that the skeleton, thought to be that of the king, was found without any feet.
He said: "It's possible the body was mutilated after Bosworth, but let's wait and see what happens when we have got the analysis back."
The mayor was also asked what he would do to keep the remains in Leicester.
It follows suggestions that, should they prove to be Richard III, they should be interred at Westminster Abbey in London with other dead royals, or at York, where he himself had planned to be buried.
Sir Peter said: "Those bones leave Leicester over my dead body."