Tickets for interactive Richard III Visitor Centre go on sale

By James Murray | 11 June 2014

Located on the site where his remains were discovered in August 2012, the King Richard lll Visitor Centre will open to the public on July 26

in the midst of a re-enactment of the Battle of Bosworth
Re-enacting the Battle of Bosworth© Paul Benjamin Tebbutt
Huge interest, both at home and abroad, is anticipated by the Centre, which expects to see more than 100,000 visitors through its doors in the first year of opening alone.

The project is run by an independent trust made up of specialists in business, finance and heritage attractions, including the Director Iain Gordon, who was formerly front-of-house manager at Alton Towers.

Calling it one of the most "significant" and "intriguing" historic sites in England, Gordon is keen to welcome people from all over the world to the new attraction, located in the former Alderman Newton’s School near Leicester Cathedral, where Richard’s bones will be re-interred early next year.

Designed in three distinct sections, the exhibits at the Centre tell the story of the ill-fated Duke’s early life and reign as king, the events leading up to his betrayal and death at the Battle of Bosworth and, finally, the circumstances of the rediscovery of his remains in a car park above the graveyard of a former Friary.

Highlights of the exhibition include a remarkably detailed facial reconstruction of the king as well as a replica of his skeleton, which has been analysed in great detail by experts at the University of Leicester’s School of Archaeology and Ancient History.

The results of an investigation into the curvature of his spine were published in the Lancet at the end of May.

gaps between vertebrae have been increased here, making the spine appear longer than it would have done in life
The vertebrae of king Richard's spine, which have been spaced out to prevent damage© University of Leicester
As part of their research, the team created a virtual 3D model of Richard’s spine which helped them determine that the curvature was due to a condition called Idiopathic Scoliosis, forming a spiral shape in his later adolescence.

In an interview discussing the paper, contributor Dr Piers Mitchell found no evidence that the king would have walked with a limp, suffered a hunch back or had a withered arm.

Richard was apparently only slightly discomforted by his condition, and may well have constituted the formidable soldier contemporaries described him as, often appearing completely normal in a well-tailored outfit.

Site map of the Medieval Church of the Grey Friars
Site map of the Grey Friars priory© University of Leicester
Trench 3 at the Grey Friars site
Trench 3 under excavation© University of Leicester
Human remains found in trench one of the Grey Friars dig
Human remains found in Trench 1© University of Leicester
Dr Jo Appleby of the School of Archaeology and Ancient History
Dr Jo Appleby of the School of Archaeology and Ancient, History, University of Leicester© University of Leicester
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