New lease of life for Wygston’s House

The medieval timber-framed hall of the oldest surviving house in Leicester could soon be filled with people enjoying a drink or a meal. After inviting offers for the leasehold of Leicester’s historic Wygston’s House, the city council has selected its preferred bidder – a local business that plans to bring the building back into use by converting it into a bar/restaurant.

Subject to contract, planning permission and listed building consent, a 25-year lease on the building will be granted to Leicestershire-based 006pubco Ltd – the company that already owns and runs Taps on nearby Guildhall Lane.

Geoff Thornton, director of 006pubco, said: “This is a really exciting opportunity to create something special in a unique building.

“Wygston’s House is going to be a new, family-friendly destination for dinner or a drink, but we also hope to serve breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea and plan to host wedding receptions and private functions too.

“As we did at Taps, our intention is to carry out a sympathetic conversion, which we hope will include restoring the basement vaulted ceiling to reveal the building’s original brickwork.”

City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “Wygston’s House is a wonderful building and a fine example of the city’s architectural heritage.

“If future generations are to enjoy our historic buildings, it’s really important that we find new uses for them.

“I’m therefore delighted that an operator with a track record in converting heritage properties into successful businesses has come forward with a scheme that will not only give Wygston’s House a new lease of life, but will also help attract more visitors to one of Leicester’s most historic areas.”

006pubco Ltd’s bid was one of four expressions of interest received by the council during a six-week marketing period last year.

All proposals had to show how the scheme would bring the grade-II* listed building back into use, while maintaining its historic character and continuing to offer public access.

They also had to declare the level of rent they would pay the council each year.

Wygston’s House is believed to be the oldest surviving house in Leicester, with the medieval, timber-framed hall at the heart of the building dating back to the 1490s.

The building has had some significant modifications over the centuries. A Georgian block, built in 1796, replaced an earlier timber shop and chamber, and a later wing – at the rear of the building – dates back to Victorian times.

Situated on Applegate – between Jubilee Square and Leicester’s Cathedral Quarter – Wygston’s House was previously home to Leicester’s museum of costume, which closed in 2000.

It is currently open to the public on the last Sunday of every month from February to June.

More information is available at