From Gandhi to Lady Liberty – the most unusual monuments you will find around Leicester


Whether you live in Leicester or are just visiting the city from elsewhere, there are plenty of landmarks to see and visit.

From Leicester’s Clock Tower to The Curve Theater to The Magazine Gateway, there are many distinctive places attached to the city.

But what about a little more weird and unusual landmarks? Which ones surprise you when you see them walking down the street?

Fear not, we’ve put together a list of some of the weirdest places in Leicester that stand out from the rest as unusual, yet interesting landmarks.

Find them below and let us know if there are any we missed in the comments.

Statue of Liberty

The replica of the Statue of Liberty stood atop the Lennards Shoe Factory near its current location

That’s right, you can spot Leicester’s mini Lady Liberty right next to the De Montfort University campus.

For anyone who has visited King Power Stadium or lives in West Leicester, this may not come as a surprise, but that doesn’t prevent the statue’s entire presence in the city from being unusual.

The statue was based on the Liberty Building, which stood nearby at the corner of Raw Dykes Road and Walnut Street, and housed the Lennards “Liberty” shoe factory.

The story is that in 1920 the directors of Lennards traveled to New York and were in awe of the statue. So they ordered a replica on top of their factory and also changed the company name to Liberty.

Despite being a listed building, the factory fell into disrepair and was demolished in 2003. The statue has been renovated and moved to where it stands today.

Gandhi statue

The Gandhi statue in Belgrave, which was funded by the local community and is considered a representation of the city's Gujarati community
The Gandhi statue in Belgrave, which was funded by the local community and is considered a representation of the city’s Gujarati community

Gandhi’s statue is arguably the best-known monument on this list after a flurry of reporting about it last year.

With the fall of the statue of Edward Colston in Bristol in 2020, this has prompted calls for the removal of a number of statues across the UK, including the Statue of Gandhi in Leicester, which is based on Belgrave Road, with an online petition describing him as “a fascist, racist and sexual predator.”

However, despite national news, calls to remove the statue were flatly rejected, with Leicester East MP Claudia Webbe saying at the time “that there is no desire by the black community to move this symbol of change”.

So why is there a Gandhi statue in Leicester?

The Gandhi statue was funded through donations from locals to celebrate the man himself, who led the campaign against British rule over the Indian population in the early 20th century.

Indian history teacher Faisal Devji said part of the reason for the statue is that it is a representative of the city’s Gujarati community.

Speaking to the BBC, he said: “Gandhi himself was Gujarati, and many [city’s] the residents came from Uganda when they were evicted by Idi Amin.

“So in some ways Gandhi’s statue represents their presence there.”

The ox and the plow

The Ox and Plow celebrates Leicester's agricultural past
The Ox and Plow celebrates Leicester’s agricultural past

Next, the Ox and Plow, located in Towers Park, at the corner of Gipsy Lane and Victoria Road East.

The statue, showing a life-size sculpture of a medieval farmer with his ox and plow, was unveiled in 2018 and cost £ 25,000, and it celebrates Leicester’s agricultural past.

It is made of Corten steel and was created to represent oxen plowing the land between the 11th and 15th centuries.

During its unveiling, it was greeted by councilor Diane Cank. who was happy with the sculpture and thought it was a great way to showcase the history of Towers Park in Gipsy Lane.

She said: “Some people think the sculpture is a waste of money, but I think it’s important to remind people of the history of the place.”

The statue of sporting success

The statue was built in 1998 after several years of sporting success in the city
The statue was built in 1998 after several years of sporting success in the city

The name may not ring a bell to you, but you have certainly noticed it already.

Based on Gallowtree Gate, it depicts three sports figures in action, playing soccer, rugby and cricket. Most people will pass it without even glancing at it, but most people in Leicester would recognize it immediately.

It’s called the Sporting Success Statue, and there’s a very good reason it’s based in the city.

The statue was inaugurated in 1998 after the remarkable success of three local sports teams.

Between 1996 and 1997, Leicestershire County Cricket Club won the Britannic Assurance County Championship, Leicester City won the Coca Cola Cup and Leicester Tigers won the Pilkington Cup.

The bronze statue was commissioned by the Leicester Mercury and Leicester City Council to celebrate the triple success, and it was sculpted by artist Martin Williams.

World tree

Standing at the corner of Melton Road and Troon Way, you might have passed this landmark without even noticing it.

But the World Tree is definitely worth your attention, a bold steel sculpture with bronze bulbs at the end, which pays homage to the GE-Thorn lighting factory which was on the site of the Sainsbury’s supermarket in the ‘across the road.

The sculpture cost £ 62,000 and was paid for by Sainsbury’s, with the tree put in place in 2016.

It was unveiled on March 4, 2016 by John Bercow, then Speaker of the House of Commons.

The Millennium Mammoth,

The Millennium Mammoth can be found in Watermead Country Park South
The Millennium Mammoth can be found in Watermead Country Park South

How can we include a list of unusual landmarks in Leicester without our own wonderful woolly mammoth?

The sculpture is based in the southern part of Watermead National Park and is called the “Millennium Mammoth”.

While it may seem odd that a mammoth statue overlooks one of the countryside park’s lakes, its origins are steeped in local history.

When the area was the site of gravel works along the Soar River, mammoth bones were found in the ground.

This inspired city council to bring a mammoth back to the country park, overlooking aptly named Mammoth Lake.

The green chair

Big Green chair is back in its place after being removed for vital repair work
Big Green chair is back in its place after being removed for vital repair work

This popular Leicester landmark recently made headlines, with the Green Chair returned to its roadside home on Braunstone Lane East.

The chair was removed from its usual lair in July 2020, with the chair’s owner, County Displays Ltd, having to do essential repair work after it began to rot.

But luckily, the chair returned to its rightful place earlier this month.

It stands over 10 feet tall and has been a staple on the road since its inception in 2015 for a specialist exhibit.

After being exhibited, in 2016 it was painted blue after Leicester City’s 5000-1 Premier League win.

Paul Mills, the company’s design manager, told LeicestershireLive: “We are delighted to put him back in his place after a long absence.

“It was a success.

“We had children rolling down the car windows screaming ‘The big green chair is back’

“We had a lot of families who came in for their pictures – and kids who decided this was a good place to canood.

“So yeah, everyone benefits.”

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