In 1887, John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles described Leicester like this:
Leicester, parl. and mun. bor., market town, and co. town of Leicestershire, on river Soar, 29 m. NW. of Northampton and 99 m. NW. of London by rail, 3200 ac., pop. 122,376; 5 Banks, 8 newspapers. Market-days, Wednesday and Saturday. It has been supposed that Leicester derived its name from the British King Lear. As a Roman station it was known as Rates or Ratiscorim. The first charter of incorporation was granted by King John. Leicester is the chief seat of the English worsted hosiery trade; besides which there are iron foundries, mfrs. ...
of elastic webbing, sewing cotton, boots and shoes, lace, &c., also agricultural implements. The town has water communication by the Leicestershire and Northamptonshire Union Canal and the river Soar. At the Blue Boar Inn (now demolished) Richard III. slept on the night before the battle of Bosworth Field (1485); and at Leicester Abbey (now in ruins) Cardinal Wolsey died in 1530. Leicester has sent 2 members to Parliament since the reign of Edward I.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Leicester has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Leicester. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Leicester and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Leicester in Leicestershire | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 31st July 2014
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