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New trail celebrates history of Arts & Crafts movement in Leicestershire

A new trail has been developed to mark the history of the Arts and Crafts Movement in Leicestershire.

The Arts and Crafts Movement was an international ideology in the decorative and fine arts, formed by a group of artists, designers and social campaigners in the late 19th century. It flourished in Europe and America between 1880-1910, focused on a return to well-made, handcrated goods and was one of the most important and influential styles of the 20th century.

Leicester-born architect and designer, Ernest Gimson was one of the leading lights in this style and together with family members and colleagues, was responsible for some of the most iconic architecture in Leicestershire including Abbey Pumping Station, Leicester Town Hall, The Belmont Hotel, New Walk Museum and Art Gallery, Charnwood Museum and Stoneywell Cottage, acquired and re-opened by the National Trust in 2013.

These buildings and more are featured as part of a themed trail for visitors to the city and county, and are presented in a new guide, produced by Leicestershire Promotions in partnership with Charnwood Borough Council and the National Trust. The guide provides visitors with highlights of a number of sites and places to visit in Leicestershire, related to the Arts and Crafts Movement.

The free guide will be available from visitor centres, tourist information centres, visitor attractions and museums across the city and county. Copies can also be downloaded from www.goleicestershire.com/artsandcrafts

Martin Peters, Chief Executive of Leicestershire Promotions said: “The Arts and Craft Movement gained an international reputation but has a truly British origin, with Leicestershire and locally-born Ernest Gimson pivotal to its development. The opening and subsequent success of Gimson’s Stoneywell Cottage in Charnwood has further raised the profile of the Arts and Crafts Movement locally. Consequently, we’ve produced this new guide to provide people with ideas of places to visit to trace the theme of this grand tradition of art and architecture.”

Chris Traill, Strategic Director for Neighbourhoods and Community Wellbeing at Charnwood Borough Council, said: "Leicestershire is blessed with fine examples of outstanding architecture and we are delighted to support the promotion of some of the most fascinating parts of our county and borough and their connection to the arts and crafts movement.

"Stoneywell Cottage is a wonderful place to visit and Charnwood Museum is packed with character and there is plenty to do and see for all the family.

"I would encourage people to pick up a leaflet and use it as their own personal guide for a trip into Leicestershire's rich history."

Jennie Lloyd, Operations Manager at Stoneywell commented: “We are delighted to be included in this new leaflet and with the recognition being given to Ernest Gimson. He achieved so much and his legacy can be seen around us – not just at Stoneywell, but in the way he influenced design even today.

"We are very proud of our work at Stoneywell, and pleased to be able to work with Leicestershire Promotions to present the contribution Ernest Gimson made to the arts and crafts movement and the many architectural delights of his that can still be seen in Leicester and Leicestershire.”