Tuesday 15 December 2009

Advent 15: Sun Alliance

The Sun Alliance building is on Horsefair Street, on the north side of Town Hall Square. It is a late Victorian building and is part of a good group of mainly Victorian buildings which form a pleasant composition in the heart of Leicester. However, it is more than that...

In the early 1970s the owners of the Sun Alliance wanted to replace it with a new building designed in a modern style. Leicester had already lost many of its historic buildings and the ensuing furore eventually contributed to Leicester's Chief Planning Officer, Konrad Smigielski, losing his job, while the reaction against this and the plans to build a multi-storey car park on Loseby Lane, led to the formation of Leicester's Civic Society. Nationally and locally there was a growing awareness of issues around the conservation of the built environment. As can be seen, the owners were forced to keep the Victorian facade and the preservation of this building now marks one of the points when the citizens of Leicester cried 'No more'!